Many people find peace in remarkable places. As winter settles in and many of us dream about hibernating, explore how parks can be places of healing, inspiration, and peace. Some parks become serene winter wonderlands blanketed in snow; others offer dreams of vacation getaways or festive fun. Whether you think the weather outside is frightful or delighful, stay connected with national parks in-person and virtually as the year comes to an end and a new one begins.
Reflect on Social Media
From the glow of the northern lights to a quiet snow-covered trail, parks can be places of healing, inspiration, and peace. Time spent in nature can have a significant positive effective on mental and physical health. Take time to reconnect with the natural world in parks. Find places to relax, unwind, or that inspire you to learn more. Where will you go? What are your favorite park memories and traditions? Do you have a peaceful photo of parks?
Share ways you find peace in parks with the hashtag #MyParkStory.
Ways to Find Your Peace in Parks
Stay connected with national parks across the country with online resources and virtual experiences.
Visiting a park? Model best practices to protect America's treasures while looking out for each other's health and safety.
Find inspiration exploring some of the scenic views of nature and cultural places in parks. Share some of your favorites.
As fall turns into winter and temperatures drop, get ready to find your winter experience in national parks.
With the cold air upon us, share in cultural traditions of communities that celebrate the winter season.
Bundle up and head outdoors to play in a winter wonderland of snow! Choose your favorite snow activity and where to go.
Partnering for Finding Peace in Parks
Explore some of the ways that our partners are sharing opportunities to find peace in parks and how you can get involved or enjoy the experience.
Listen in to an innovative audio experience with the National Park Foundation to enjoy soundscapes of your favorite parks from anywhere.
Join a collaborative effort to collect, enjoy, and celebrate the acoustical beauty of the world's national parks and other protected areas.
Peace in Nature
Many people find solace and inspiration in natural landscapes. The National Park Service December 2020 theme is “finding peace in parks”. We hope this short video reminds you of some of the peaceful landscapes of Mount Rainier through the seasons, from mountain vistas to temperate rain forests. What landscapes do you find calming?
- 3 minutes, 12 seconds
Personal Journeys of Finding Peace, Healing, and Understanding
People often come to national parks on personal journeys of reflection, remembrance, healing, or understanding by connecting to the many places of history, memorials, and wilderness. Follow some of the stories shared by visitors and staff.
This episode explores the end of the war and the peace that has lasted to this very day.
- 7 minutes, 19 seconds
Serene & Surreal: Healing Waters of Congaree Wilderness During the winter months, waters from the Congaree and Wateree Rivers sweep through the floodplain of the Congaree National Park Wilderness in South Carolina - opening up a new, surreal world. Kayak through the forest and experience this special place through the eyes of local veterans who find a reprieve in the healing and dynamic waters.
- 5 minutes, 11 seconds
A ranger shares her personal connection to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, and how the memorial helps her honor the service and sacrifice of her father.
- 1 minute, 34 seconds
The wilderness of the Blue Ridge Mountains has long been a source of artistic inspiration and creativity. Join two Blue Ridge musicians as they describe their artistic connections to this distinct mountain wilderness in Shenandoah National Park.
- 6 minutes, 42 seconds
A Peace of Mind for Safety and Health
Winter can be a great time to take advantage of health benefits of parks for physical and mental well-being, especially to de-stress at the end of the year. Whether you are out taking a hike, sledding, snowshoeing, or just enjoying the winter scenery in the great outdoors, remember to keep safety in focus at all times when visiting a park in person.
Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local public health authorities, park operations continue to adapt to changing conditions while maintaining public access, particularly outdoor spaces. Before visiting a park, please check the National Park Service's public health updates and the park's website to determine its operating status.
The illustration includes the road signs and text for "Slippery Road" and "Reduced Visibility".
The infographic includes four driving tips, including drive slowly, increase following distance, turn on headlights, and always wear a seatbelt. More information is on the website "nps.gov".
Roads can be slippery and visibility can be reduced during the winter. Practice these basic winter weather driving tips to keep yourselves and others safe while out enjoying the spectacular winter scenery in parks.
- Drive slowly to adjust for the conditions of the road and your surroundings.
- Increase following distance between you and the vehicles in front of you.
- Turn on your headlights to help others see you and to increase your own visibility.
- Always wear a seatbelt.
International Peace, Cooperation, and Healing
African Burial Ground NM
A sacred space in the heart of New York City, the monument is a memorial to free and enslaved Africans who were buried there.
Armistad National Recreation Area
Amistad, from the Spanish word for "friendship," was originally managed through an international agreement with Mexico.
Chamizal National Memorial
The park is a living memorial that celebrates the accomplishment of the Chamizal Treaty, made possible through international cooperation.
Coronado National Memorial
The park is an international memorial to reflect on the interactions between early European explorers and indigenous peoples.
Glacier National Park
Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is the world's first international peace park and world heritage site.
National Mall & Memorial Parks
The internationally-famous cherry blossom trees adorning the National Mall were a gift of friendship from Japan.
Perry's Victory & International Peace
On an island in Lake Erie, the memorial celebrates the long-lasting peace of the US and Great Britain after the War of 1812.
Saint Croix Island IHS
A designated international historic site, Saint Croix Island is a memorial to the first attempted French settlement in North America.
Comfort Foods (Or in Foods)
The preparation and the eating (of course) of food can often be a fun experience bringing people together or finding a peaceful state of mind. Check out some historic or personal recipes from parks.
Last updated: December 4, 2023