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3 No-Cost National Park Mobile Apps For Your Next Trip

3. National Parks by National Geographic

Available for Apple products through  iTunes only.
Price – Free with in-app purchases

National Parks Mobile Apps

Key Features (Free Version)

  • Includes 27 of the most popular national parks.
  • Offers basic info for each park including tips for the best time to visit, entrance fees and pet restrictions.
  • Lists all campgrounds in the park along with info about open dates, overnight fees, and a links to the reservation site if applicable.
  • Interactive map shows points of interest inside the park. The map can be filtered by activity or season.
  • Shows current weather and stats on visitors.
  • A news section includes links to the most recent articles around the web featuring national parks.

Key Features (Paid Version)

Unlock the complete park guide for $1.99 per park, or $13.99 for the full set.

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  • Photo Tips: Beautiful photos from inside the park with really great info about where each shot was taken, what time of day, what equipment was used, and more tips about “how to get the shot”.
  • Park Secrets: Interesting facts about the park including history, legends, and geographical information.
  • What To Do: Lists ranger led activities, hiking trails, scenic drives, et cetera. Each listing has a full description along with a links to map pinpoints.

National Park Mobile Apps

  • Gorgeous photos (I would expect nothing less from National Geographic).
  • Simple, easy to use interface.


  • The number of national parks is somewhat limited. Includes no national monuments, preserves, et cetera.
  • While the park map shows points of interest such as hiking trials and over looks, no further info about these sites such as GPS coordinates is provided in the free version.
  • No offline access which is really not very useful in most national parks where cell service is spotty at best.
  • No detailed maps of roads or trails.

National Park Mobile Apps
The Bottom Line

A visually stunning app with lots of inciting photos. The information in the free version was helpful on a basic level, but if you want to delve deeper and find detailed info about hiking trails, scenic drives, and other features you must buy the complete guide for each park.

In regards to the in-app purchases, if you plan to spend an extended amount of time in a certain park it might be worth the extra cost. I shelled out $1.99 for the Joshua Tree upgrade and found the “What to Do” section chock full of fun things that I would not have found simply by visiting the park website. The photography section is also really helpful and unlike anything I found on the other apps.

Despite all of that, I was ultimately disappointed in this app because it is missing a hiking trails map. Since most visitors of national parks plan to go on at least one hike, this seems like a major oversight.

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