Favorite State Parks

Be sure to include detailed information, explanations, and specific examples for each response.

1- Identify the thesis statement and write it in your own words. Explain.

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2- Provide the major examples used in the essay as well as some of the most effective details

3- What method of arrangement does the written use for the essay. (How are the body paragraphs arranged?) Does the writer use space order, time order, or order of importance? Provide details and examples.

4- Write below at least three transition words or phrases used in the essay. Provide the specific text where the transitions are located.


Favorite State Parks



Family vacations are an American institution. When my own two boys were small, we took a vacation every summer. Because we always had to watch our budget, we usually headed to one of the hundreds of state parks that are spread all across our nation—places where we could always stay for about a week for a reasonable price. Because we lived in northeast Texas, we chose parks that were within one or two days’ driving distance from our home. Three of our favorite parks were Mount Nebo State Park in Arkansas, Beaver’s Bend State Park in Oklahoma, and Grayton Beach State Park in Florida. 1


One of the most scenic parks that we visited was Mount Nebo State Park, located seven miles west of Dardanelle, Arkansas. Driving up the zigzagging and gradually rising Highway 155 to the park was an adventure in itself. Although the park has 34 campsites, we chose one of the 14 rustic cabins. These cabins—along with park bridges, trails, and pavilions—were built of logs and native stones in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. These one- or two-bedroom cabins, which range in price from approximately $60 to $75, are all fully equipped with furniture, linens, dishes, and other kitchen necessities. Some include fireplaces and/or spas. The one in which we stayed was an overlook cabin, so that we could step outside our back door for a few feet and look over a cliff to a beautiful view of the Arkansas River Valley. The boys enjoyed the playground and the pool, and together we explored part of the fairly level four-and-one-half mile Bench Trail. 2
An excellent example of a camping and boating park where my family often stayed is Beaver’s Bend at Broken Bow, Oklahoma. The park, which has 47 fully equipped cabins with kitchens and a number of campsites for RVs and tents, is situated on the shores of the crystal clear Mountain Fork River and the beautiful Broken Bow Lake. Although one of my favorite stays at the park was in a cabin with a hammock that actually swung out over the river, my sons and I usually took our RV and camped, choosing one of the sites along the river when it was available. When the boys were small, we borrowed nets from the Nature Center and caught little fish or crawdads in one of the mountain streams that runs through the park and then put them in buckets and took them back to the center so they could be returned to the water. As my sons grew older, we enjoyed canoeing down the river or paddleboating in the lake. We also enjoyed trout fishing on the lake and the various campfire and nature programs put on by the park staff. 3
An outstanding beach park—and perhaps our all-time favorite state park—is Grayton Beach State Park on the Gulf shore in the Florida panhandle between Destinn and Panama City. Because the camp sites are so nice, we always took our RV and camped rather than renting a cabin. The private sites are in little mangroves in the midst of native pine and scrub trees that have been twisted by offshore winds so that they look ancient. From the campsites, it is only a short walk or bike ride to the beach—which is the park’s best attraction. The beach is composed of “sugar sand”—white sand that looks and feels like sugar, and the water itself varies from a deep turquoise to an emerald green. In the daytime, my boys and I could peer through the crystal clear water and see shells and small marine life on the bottom, and at night we often took flashlights to observe the white spider crabs that would be all over the beach after dark. Grayton Beach is great for swimming as well as for wading and shell hunting, and from there it is only a short drive to Panama City and great offshore and deep sea fishing. The great number of available activities, the variety of bird and marine life, and the relaxing atmosphere of Grayton Beach State Park make it a true family favorite. 4
For anyone planning a summer vacation, many state parks are an enjoyable and practical destination. Most provide a choice of cabins, ranging from the very economical ones at Mt. Nebo State Park to the slightly more expensive ones (approximately $100 per night) at Grayton Beach. All have very reasonable campsites for RVs or tents. Most state parks offer activities such as nature walks, campfire talks, crafts for children, and so forth. Excellent examples of state parks that my family and I recommend are Mt. Nebo, with its breathtaking scenery; Beaver’s Bend, with its emphasis on nature study, camping, and fishing; and Grayton Beach, with its wonderful white beaches, deep blue-green water, and fantastic marine life.

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