Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite National Park. Credit: Yosemite National Park via Facebook

UNITED STATES – Many of us dream of making our lives a vacation. Some people are just born in a situation where they can do that, some are able to work their way into that position, and many, many never will. Lauren and Steven Keys claim to have become millionaires on five-figure salaries, mostly by keeping household expenses low after college. They also specialize in taking grand adventures without spending any of their savings, like when they traveled and ranked all of the National Parks in the United States.

In total, the Keys spent $36,875 throughout their entire trip, living in a Nissan NV200 throughout, showering in Planet Fitnesses, and working in coffee shops. Working is the key here. Because the Keys had already saved enough money for the trip, they were able to negotiate remote work situations with their existing jobs (they had the upper hand, since they could just quit and go anyways). While Steven managed to get a good remote work setup working 10 hours a week, Lauren’s offer was much less than she liked, so she just quit.

They rented their condo to someone willing to accept a 7 month lease, packed up their van, and hit the road in January. They had until August to check off as many parks as possible, as Steven had to return to in-person work by then. With renting, working part time, and investments, they finished the trip with more money than they started with.

So how did they rank all of the parks? They considered three categories: wow factor, fun factor, and crowd factor. Difficulty and expense to reach each park was not considered, so make sure to keep that in mind. They claim their top seven parks really sit at a tie, but they still ranked them nontheless. The top seven is as follows:

  1. Death Valley, California
  2. Yosemite, California
  3. Hawai’i Volcanoes, Hawai’i
  4. Yellowstone, Wyoming
  5. American Samoa, American Samoa
  6. Carlsbad Cavens, New Mexico
  7. Canyonlands, Utah

You can view their entire list here.

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