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Traversing American territories to camp on cornered coastline

4 CORNER CAMPSITES

  • September 20, 2020
  • Spaces
  • By: Britt Mattie

Imagine looking down on a chess set—complete with your and your opponent’s fleet of warriors, each in their allocated quadrangle bunkers on either side. In the four corner boxes, find arguably one of the most valuable and underrated players in the endgame: the rook. Rooks and queens are called heavy pieces or major pieces, as opposed to bishops and knights, or minor pieces. The castle-shaped game-piece becomes most powerful towards the finish when they can move unobstructed by pawns and control large numbers of squares horizontally and vertically to deliver checkmate. In short, we like cornerstone players. Corners tend to feel like security and seclusion as well, two edges meeting at a single point, creating a sense of privacy and protection.

Much like the rambling rooks, we’re looking to royally squat on all four corners of our treasured mainland. But instead of castles, we’re occupying campgrounds. From U.S. protected national parks to state beach park gems, we sussed out a countrywide tour with only slight bends and four compass-changing turns of the wheel to create a drunk-looking, blue-line rectangle on Google Maps. Beginning the epic highway expedition at the top left-hand corner of the “Evergreen State,” the road trip continues 3,385 miles into the sunrise on I-90 E to “Vacationland,” pivots and runs 1,615 miles on I-95 S to the “Sunshine State,” then heads 2,536 miles into the sunset on I-10 W to the “Golden State,” and finally, 1,220 miles on I-5 N back to our starting point.

Each cornered region encompasses spoiled seaboard, coastal adventures, and some of the most remote nooks of America’s chessboard. Just be sure to pack enough versatile clothing, footwear, and camping gear for the varying climates and landscapes. Depending on the time of year you decide to take off, you’ll likely be traversing through a sundry of seasons, weather forecasts, time zones, and terrains. If this sounds extreme, you’re right, it totally is. But for the overachieving explorers, geography nerds, and mile marker voyagers, they’re already filling up their Himalaya Defender or all-new Bronco Sport gas tank (and then some), pulling out a trusty ol’ map, and getting ready to streamline state lines. This bucket-list road trek would make even Kerouac giddy. Once you park and pitch the tent, you’ll get to soak in two major oceanic divisions from four unique vantage points, and with fall in the air the salty breeze will be as crisp as can be. Check and mate.

Olympic National Park

Port Angeles, Washington
“With its incredible range of precipitation and elevation, diversity is the hallmark of Olympic National Park. Encompassing nearly a million acres, the park protects a vast wilderness, thousands of years of human history, and several distinctly different ecosystems, including glacier-capped mountains, old-growth temperate rain forests, and over 70 miles of wild coastline.”

Olympic National Park

Acadia National Park

Bar Harbor, Maine
“Acadia National Park protects the natural beauty of the highest rocky headlands along the Atlantic coastline of the United States, an abundance of habitats, and a rich cultural heritage. At 3.5 million visits a year, it’s one of the top 10 most-visited national parks in the United States. Visitors enjoy 27 miles of historic motor roads, 158 miles of hiking trails, and 45 miles of carriage roads.”

Acadia National Park

Sebastian Inlet State Park

Melbourne Beach, Florida
“Surfers from around the globe flock to Sebastian Inlet State Park, but this pristine park is more than a Florida surfer’s paradise. Visitors stroll untouched beaches, collecting shells and observing sea turtle nests, or try their luck fishing from one of the jetties that slice into the Atlantic. Calmer waters on the Indian River Lagoon beckon kayakers to explore wild beauty.”

Sebastian Inlet State Park

Cardiff/San Elijo State Beach

Encinitas, California
“Located on the San Diego Coast, which has been called the Riviera of the West, Cardiff State Beach has a gently sloping sandy beach with warm water. Although San Elijo and Cardiff are separate state park units, they adjoin and can be enjoyed as one. The narrow, bluff-backed stretch of sand has a nearby reef popular with surfers, snorkelers and divers.”

Cardiff/San Elijo State Beach

This last month has been a reminder of how gentle and sacred these landscapes around us can be. One after another fires in Washington, Oregon, and California stacked up to create the worst fire season on record for our coast. Over 5 million acres have been burned between the three states. The time for action has never been more pivitol, we cannot wait any longer, donate to Fight Climate Change now and help keep our nation and it’s most gorgeous parks and forests safe.

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