Imagine setting a goal of visiting all 63 U.S. National Parks and all 50th states and doing it only in 3 years?! That’s exactly what Daemen University alum Tessa Wisniewski‘17, ‘19, Physical Therapy, did recently with her spouse Anthony Chiarmonte. We spoke to Tessa about traveling for the last few years and what it was like.

Tessa Wisniewski‘17, ‘19 and her husband standing on a shoreline with a bear and mountains behind themWho did you travel with? 

My husband, Anthony, and I have been traveling Physical Therapists since I graduated from Daemen in 2019. Together, we have seen all 63 U.S. National Parks and all 50 states. 

How did you decide to do this idea?

We were working in Massachusetts and took a spontaneous road trip up to Bar Harbor, Maine. During our trip, we decided to check out Acadia National Park. We loved that experience and felt inspired to continue exploring the National Parks. Our next job was in California, so we planned a road trip that enabled us to visit several National Parks along the way. Eventually, we made the goal to see them all!

Describe the experience.  

Visiting the US National Parks has been such an incredible and humbling experience. There is so much natural beauty throughout our country, and each park has something special and unique to offer. We particularly loved viewing the different wildlife throughout the parks -  massive bison grazing in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, beautiful marine life swimming throughout the coral reefs in Biscayne National Park in Florida, coastal brown bears foraging along the shores of Lake Clark National Park in Alaska, fluffy white mountain goats navigating the steep mountainsides in Glacier National Park in Montana. Observing these animals in their natural habitats first hand has been truly exhilarating!

Tessa Wisniewski‘17, ‘19 and her husband holding up certificates that say 63 National ParksHow long did it take you to complete?

We visited our first US National Park in September of 2020 and our 63rd in June of 2023 so slightly under 3 years. 

Would you ever do it again?

Absolutely! We have already revisited several parks. Our first visit to the Grand Canyon was during the winter, and the trails were mostly frozen. We returned this summer and hiked to the bottom of the canyon. It’s interesting to revisit a park during a different time of the year or hike another trail. It can feel like a whole new experience. 

What tips do you have for anyone considering traveling to all 63 National Parks?

Definitely buy an annual America The Beautiful National Parks Pass because the individual entrance fees can get expensive. Try to visit parks during weekdays when possible or get an early start in the day to avoid crowds and lines, especially during the summer. Research ahead of time because some parks or trails may require timed entry permits. Stop at each park’s visitor center where rangers can tell you about closures or provide advice on how to best maximize your time. Plan a road trip and go for it!