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Are You Ready for Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is around the corner, and everyone is planning for the long weekend. Longer daylight hours offer lots of opportunities to get off the beaten path and see Mother Nature coming back to life. You can also attend one of the many festivals held across the US.

Every state has their “go-to” campgrounds, but we love to look for the hidden gems tucked away in remote (and sometimes not-so-remote) areas. National parks are always a good choice too, whether it’s a day hike or a multi-day expedition.

Whether you’re spending a weekend hiking the Appalachian trail or enjoying the view from a canoe, you’ll want to be prepared. We suggest toting along our heated camping chair (of course!). No matter where you roam, the nights are likely to be chilly, so snuggle in and turn up the heat. And, for a limited time, Chaheati is offering free shipping to US customers!

We hope you enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. We are honored by your patronage and grateful for the men and women who died for our freedom. America truly is beautiful.

Have a special place you want to share? Leave us a comment and we may feature it in a blog post!

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Support Your National Parks This Spring

Americans are increasingly turning to national park vacations as a cheaper travel alternative. In 2009, U.S. national parks nearly set a new record in overall attendance. And while numbers dipped again in 2010, overall attendance remains strong among the best national parks in the country. And for good reason: U.S. national parks are among the best in the world.

Despite the dip in attendance in 2010, several U.S. national parks set or nearly set new records. After seeing several years or attendance increases, Yellowstone National Park saw another record shatter last year, with over 3.6 million people visiting the park. Glacier National Park in Montana was another park that saw a surge of attendance in 2010, falling a mere 3,800 people short of its 1983 record of 2,203,847 visitors in 1983.

Yet whispers of a potential government shutdown are causing alarm, with concerns that a repeat of 1995’s nearly month-long closure of national parks could drastically affect those planning spring activities in those locations. Additional funding cuts to national parks are being proposed as part of the budgeting process occurring in Congress, drawing an even darker shadow. “We need to keep our national parks open and well-funded,” said John Gardner, a budget and legislation representative with the National Parks Conservation Association. “During a time of economic hardship, we need to adequately fund the places that protect our American heritage and draw tourists from throughout the world.”

It’s difficult not to agree with Mr. Gardner. Americans have been keeping travel more local over the last several years, meaning more tourist dollars for already cash-strapped states. It would be a shame if national parks had to shut down because of budget issues. That’s why it’s more important than ever to support your national parks. Grab your national parks pass, camp chair, and tent, and see America’s beauty. Let your representative know that national parks should be free of the whims of politicians. Tell them that national parks are not merely local draws: people from around the world wish to experience our natural wonders.

Finally, if national parks do get shut down this spring, don’t be afraid to turn to state parks or private museums for your vacation. State parks and attractions are having their share of budget woes. They often don’t have the same pizzazz as national parks, but there’s still plenty to be discovered.