Whether you’re interested in the beauty of nature, adventure, traveling, or simply finding some of the most Instagram-worthy spots in the U.S., the national parks system can’t be beat. More than 300 million people visit national parks every year, pouring over $30 billion into the economy. Whether you’re looking for parks to explore alone or with your family, we have a park for you.
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
A quick 75 miles from the epicenter of Washington D.C., Shenandoah National Park offers visitors 200,000 acres of pristine mountains, waterfalls and wildlife. Visit in the summer to catch the waterfalls at their most powerful and hike a section of the Appalachian Trail in comfortable 50 to 60-degree weather.
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
Crater Lake is one of the main attractions in Crater Lake National Park; it is the deepest lake in the United States. Visit in the summer to enjoy the spectacular hiking and biking backcountry trails. View the spectacular waterfalls and capture the beauty of the meadows.
Glacier National Park, Montana
Though Glacier National Park can be crowded in summer, it is the best time to visit. The 700+ miles of hiking trails and abundance of wildlife are the best. Bears, moose, elk, goats and sheep roam more than 1 million acres, sharing the land with more than 1,000 different species of plants. If you hike to the spectacular Hidden Lake or experience the beauty of the Grinnell Glacier, either way, you will not be disappointed.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Explore the wilderness through the breathtaking canyons in Canyonlands National Park. Experience the backcountry and geology or try the number of adventure sports they have to offer like biking, boating, climbing, hiking, and horseback riding. Canyonlands National Park preserves a colorful landscape of sedimentary sandstones eroded into countless canyons, mesas and buttes by the Colorado River and its tributaries.
Redwood National Park, California
The tallest trees on the planet live in Redwood National Park. The Tall Trees Grove is the visitors’ favorite hike – about 4 miles in each direction. Huge grasslands, oak forests, wild rivers and dozens of miles of beaches keep the park diverse and entertaining.
Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
“Where Mountains, Ice, and Ocean Meet,” according to NPS. The icebergs and glaciers are majestic year-round. Spring is the best time to visit if you want to see gray whales on their way back to Alaska. Wildlife flourishes in icy waters and lavish forests around this vast expanse of ice. Complete the strenuous Harding Icefield Trail and you’ll have bragging rights for life.
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Experience the diversity of this park through wildlife watching, hiking, sand sledding, sandboarding, backpacking, horseback riding and fall hunting. Also, make sure you view the breathtaking waterfalls and beautiful alpine lakes.
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Wyoming
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is a lesser known treasure that’s waiting to be discovered. It boasts breath-taking scenery, countless varieties of wildlife, and an abundance of recreational opportunities, such as boating, fishing, ice fishing, camping, and hiking. Bighorn Canyon offers visitors what few other National Park areas can, that of solitude, serenity, and beauty. In the midst of a chaotic world, this is a truly unique quality.
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
One of the trademarks of the West, the Badlands, are situated in Montana, parts of Utah, and South Dakota. Badlands National Park is dedicated to protecting this barren plateau. It’s truly a sight to behold, but because it is heavily eroded, the area can be hard to traverse.
Acadia National Park, Maine
The oldest national park east of the Mississippi, Acadia National Park sits close to quaint New England towns, making it an attraction to see on a family vacation. It has more than 100 miles of hiking trails and beautiful beaches.