Ah, America's National Parks might just be our favorite thing about this vast country. They are truly the best way to explore and discover the natural beauty and biodiversity of America's distinct regions.
As vegans traveling National Parks, we've learned that it's important to be prepared. Many National Parks are located far from where veganism is typically understood or practiced, so you'll be entering non-vegan territory on your adventures - but hey, that's all part of the journey. Embrace the challenge.
In this post, we're revealing our best tips for vegans traveling to National Parks so you can discover America while staying true to your core values.
8 Tips For Vegans Traveling National Parks
1. Plan ahead
Before heading out to a National Park, it's essential to do some research on the food options available. Typically, you can do this by searching in Google Maps, but if you're really thorough you can check the park's website or contact the park's administration to inquire about vegan-friendly restaurants or eateries nearby.
2. Bring your own food
Pack some non-perishable vegan snacks such as nuts, seeds, granola bars, and dried fruits to ensure that you have some food to munch on throughout your visit. You can also pack some ready-to-eat vegan meals that are easy to prepare, such as hummus, crackers, and fresh vegetables. Bringing a cooler will allow you to store other foods and liquids too, which is a must when going off-grid.
3. Look for vegan-friendly restaurants and cafes
While you're unlikely to find 100% vegan restaurants, many National Parks have cafes that offer vegan options. Check the menus and ask the staff for recommendations. They may be able to customize a dish and veganize it for you. It's also a good idea to check online reviews or social media pages to find vegan-friendly eateries near the park. You can search "vegan" in most review sites to filter through easier.
4. Know your major chain fast food options
While I'm not a huge fan of this tip, it's a hunger-saver on any long road trip. As more big chains like Burger King start offering plant-based options, it means roadside eats become a lot easier to find. Let's face it, you'll find a Burger King at almost any corner of America too. Here is a short list of some fast food restaurants offering vegan options:
- Burger King
5. Be prepared to explain your dietary requirements
Many people may not be familiar with veganism, so be prepared to explain your dietary requirements to the restaurant staff or your tour guide. It's helpful to bring a list of vegan-friendly ingredients or show them a vegan food guide to help them understand what you can and cannot eat.
6. Consider packing a portable stove or camping equipment
If you're planning on camping or staying in an RV, consider packing a portable stove or camping equipment. This will give you the flexibility to cook your own vegan meals and ensure that you have a variety of food options during your stay.
7. Bring reusable containers and utensils
To reduce waste and minimize your environmental impact, consider bringing your own reusable containers and utensils. You can use these to pack your own vegan meals, store leftovers, or bring snacks on the go. Plus, many National Parks have recycling and composting facilities, so you can dispose of your waste responsibly.
8. Research local vegan-friendly businesses and markets
In addition to the restaurants and cafes within the national park, research local vegan-friendly businesses and markets in nearby towns or cities. This will give you more options for vegan meals and allow you to support local businesses that share your values. You can also stock up on vegan groceries or snacks for your visit to the National Park.
To summarize, visiting national parks as a vegan takes a little bit of preparation, but it's no cause for concern.
With a little research, planning, and creativity, you can find delicious and nutritious vegan meals to fuel your National Park adventures.
Just remember to pack some vegan snacks and be prepared to explain your dietary requirements to ensure a stress-free and enjoyable visit to America's treasures.