Our Favorite Travel Essentials of the Year
Everything you need for your 2023 travel: our editors’ picks for on-the-road...
Finding the Keys
Michael Carroll examines the literary history and enduring allure of Key West.
Courtesy of National Park Service
The NPS has more than 100 parks and recreation areas close to major cities. Here, four to explore.
Nearest City: Washington, D.C., a 30-minute drive.
What It Is: In McLean, Virginia, the park overlooks the Potomac River’s, well, great falls. 703-285-2965.
What To Do: Early in the morning, hike the one-and-a-half-mile River Trail, which runs along the river’s stunning cliffs.
Santa Monica Mountains
Nearest City: Los Angeles, just outside the city.
What It Is: At 154,094 acres, the country’s largest urban national park is in L.A.’s backyard. 805-370-2300.
What To Do: Go beyond Griffith Park: Hike at Paramount Ranch, where dozens of movies and TV shows have been filmed.
Nearest City: Boston, a 20- to 40-minute ferry ride.
What It Is: A group of 34 islands and peninsulas across the harbor from Boston. 617-223-8666.
What To Do: There are tons of activities: Explore a Civil War–era fort, visit lighthouses, hike, picnic, fish and more.
Nearest City: San Francisco, within city limits.
What It Is: An urban recreational area that’s home to George Lucas’s headquarters. 415-561-4700.
What To Do: Hide away at luxury resort Cavallo Point. Rooms, from $400; 601 Murray Cir.; 415-339-4700; cavallopoint.com.
For more on national parks, see U.S. National Parks (Without the Crowds).