By Sarah Waffle Gavin, on January 6, 2016

Celebrating our national parks

You don’t need me (or, say, Willard Scott) to tell you that commemorating a 100th anniversary is REALLY a big deal. But when the birthday celebrant is something as wonderful and important as our country’s national park system—well that’s a cause for everyone to take notice.

Technically, the Big Day is Aug. 25—then-President Woodrow Wilson signed the bill that created the U.S. National Park Service as a separate bureau of the Department of the Interior on Aug. 25, 1916.

But here at Expedia, we’re working with a variety of partners to keep the party going all year long, and we have created an easy way for travelers to book their next trip to explore all that our national parks have to offer at


  • Ice-climbing

  • Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park

  • Filming the movie


Our ongoing fete for the national parks comprises a number of parts.

First, we’ve partnered with Brand USA, the organization tasked with spreading the word to travelers about all of the great things to come and visit in our country. The goal of this partnership is to get international travelers to come and explore our more than 400 amazing national monuments and parks. We hope the partnership inspires fellow Americans to visit U.S. National Park Service properties, too.

(For some fantastic content about outdoor adventures across the United States, check out this special microsite Brand USA has put together in conjunction with the centennial.)

Second, we’re supporting a new IMAX film celebrating the centennial. The film, titled, “National Parks Adventure,” takes audiences on the ultimate off-trail adventure into the nation’s awe-inspiring great outdoors and untamed wilderness.

The movie was filmed in 30 national parks over a nine-month period, and IMAX cameras capture incredible shots of our natural wonders and landscapes. The flick is narrated by Academy Award-winner Robert Redford, and it opens Feb. 12. You can check out the trailer in the embedded video; for a list of theaters where you can see the film, or to find out how you can buy tickets, click here.



Third, we’re blowing out new and exciting national parks content here on the Expedia Viewfinder travel blog all year long:

  • Over the next 12 months, each of our bloggers will be dispatched to one of the Top 10 national parks to find and share incredible adventures. We’ll call upon our bloggers to write or film videos about their experiences while they’re on the ground. Hopefully their work will inspire you to take similar trips to the same places.
  • This spring, our entire Expedia Viewfinder team (including me; I’m super-excited) will gather in person in Western Montana to give you the ultimate inspiration for a road-trip adventure. Over the course of a week, we’ll be sharing several perspectives from our team’s incredible journey. The special project will culminate in a visit to the iconic Glacier National Park. You won’t want to miss it.

Finally, we’re rolling out a series of social media initiatives to celebrate our national parks. This campaign will begin with a dedicated National Parks theme week in February (Feb. 8-14, to be exact), and eventually will include an Instagram contest with Passion Passport and a Twitter chat Feb. 10. The grand prize for the Instagram contest is a Glacier National Park getaway (valued at US$3,000) for the winner and one guest; terms and conditions will come soon. Giveaways for the Twitter chat are still being determined, but we know one of the prizes will be a US$500 voucher for any travel booked on

Of course the absolute best way to experience our national parks is to get out there. Visit ranger stations. Take informative hikes. Venture into the backcountry. Attend educational talks. The year 2016 is a great year to celebrate America’s best resource, and Expedia is committed to getting you there. Happy Birthday, U.S. National Park Service!

Which national parks are your favorites and why?