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National park tips: There's sweet music where the Blue Ridge Parkway meets Crooked Road

16. Big Bend National Park, Texas

Big Bend spreads over more than 800,000 acres in southwest Texas and includes mountain, desert and river environments. The park is named after the sharp northeast “bend” of the Rio Grande, which runs through the park. Visitors should carry plenty of water when exploring the park's remote desert and be aware of the Mexican border across the Rio Grande. Visitors in 2009 (through August): 239,452 More info: Pictured: Santa Elena Canyon
Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times
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