3 National Park Trips to Bring Your Passport on
Unless you’re paying close attention to a map, the proximity of some of America’s best national parks to both our southern and northern neighbors might elude you. Below are some easy sojourns into Canada and Mexico on a national park trip. Be sure to bring your valid (unexpired) passport!
Victoria, British Columbia – day trip from Olympic National Park
Most people get to Victoria on a cruise from Seattle or Vancouver. But the easiest way to get there is actually from Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. Port Angeles just so happens to also be the gateway to the mountain portion of Olympic National Park (which is huge and also has rainforest and beach sections further west).
The ferry ride from Port Angeles to Victoria takes only 90 minutes. I recommend the 8 am departure/3 pm return for the early birds or the 10:30 am departure/7 pm return for the sleepy heads. Choose the walk-on option rather than bringing your car – you don’t need it anyway – and the cost of the ferry will drop in half for 2 people.
We did a day trip to Victoria as part of a 10-day trip to visit all 3 Washington national parks. It provided us with a break from driving (the ferry was walking distance from our hotel in Port Angeles) and I loved spending a day in a city and wearing normal clothes.
Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta – day trip from Glacier National Park
Did you know that Glacier national park abuts to Waterton Lakes national park in Alberta, Canada? The two parks are actually part of the same geographical area. Pesky human borders split it into two distinct national parks, one in the US and one in Canada.
I recommend experiencing Waterton Lakes by boat. Drive over the Canadian border to the town of Waterton, then take the Waterton Lakes boat tour.
The tour takes you south on the lake and you will cross the border into the US and Glacier national park while on the lake! There will be a post on shore your boat captain will point out so you’ll know when that happens.
You’ll have a quick stopover at Goat Haunt, which is the gateway to the northern wilderness in Glacier.
You may see backpackers coming and going in both directions! There is a border patrol station at Goat Haunt, the first and only I’ve seen in the outdoors!
Boquillas, Mexico – border crossing within Big Bend national park
This unique border crossing is the only one within a national park! Enter into Mexico from the Boquillas border crossing on the east side of Big Bend national park.
A short trail will take you to the banks of the Rio Grande where you will pay $5 for someone to take you across to Mexico in a row boat. From there, you can walk or hire a burro/car to take you half a mile to the Mexican village of Boquillas.