With the astronomical increase in US national park visitation in the previous few years, the National Park of American Samoa is a literal breath of fresh air.
With the astronomical increase in US national park visitation in the previous few years, the National Park of American Samoa is a literal breath of fresh air.

National Park of American Samoa: a tranquil oasis

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With the astronomical increase in US national park visitation in the previous few years, the National Park of American Samoa is a literal breath of fresh air.

After enduring 15 hours of flying from Boulder, Colorado, I finally arrived at my destination: Tutuila Island in American Samoa. 

Despite multiple flights, I found myself in a US territory thousands of miles from the mainland, nestled in the South Pacific and closer to Australia than to the contiguous United States.

Unique Immigration Procedures

Stepping off the plane onto Tutuila’s tarmac, I was immediately struck by the warm island air, signaling my arrival in a place previously unknown to me. 

Despite being a US citizen traveling from the mainland to a US territory, I encountered a unique aspect of American Samoa’s immigration procedures. 

Unlike other US territories where US citizens can travel without presenting passports, all travelers here must pass through immigration and present their passports upon arrival.

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Sense of Community

As I navigated the airport, it felt less like a traditional travel hub and more like a familial gathering. The locals seemed interconnected, with an air of familiarity and kinship permeating the atmosphere. Amongst them, the few outsiders – myself included – stood out as visitors to the islands.

Exploring the National Park

The journey to Tutuila is not undertaken lightly, with only two flights per week – on Mondays and Thursdays – and a hefty price tag of around $1,000 for the 2,600-mile trip from Honolulu. Most travelers, like myself, arrive with a specific purpose: to explore the National Park of American Samoa. 

This park, one of the most remote and least visited in the US, beckons adventurers seeking to complete their quest of visiting all 63 designated US national parks.

Completing the Quest

For nearly a decade, I have embarked on solo journeys to the major US national parks, aiming to explore each of the 63 parks independently. 

While some travelers aspire to visit every country in the world, a niche but growing community of intrepid explorers sets their sights on experiencing all of America’s national treasures. 

Due to its remoteness and logistical challenges, the National Park of American Samoa often becomes the final frontier for those on this quest.

Jean Martin

Jean Martin, a seasoned Correspondent Author at USA Guardian Magazine, specializes in transforming complex subjects into engaging narratives. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to truth, her work spans politics, culture, and technology, enriching the magazine's diverse content. Jean's reporting not only informs but also inspires readers, showcasing her belief in journalism's power to drive change.

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