The United States is home to some of the most beautiful and well preserved national parks in the world. No matter the season, there is a national park for those looking to spend time outdoors.
Below are the Top 10 National Parks in the United States
1. Grand Canyon
Millions of people come see this wondrous park each year, and it is obvious why. With its breathtaking views and so much to do, this is a must see for all U.S citizens, tourists, and those just moving into the country. Sunrises and sunsets are stunning, but there is really no bad time to visit. Although the Southern Rim is the most visited part of the park as it is easily accessible from many large cities, the Northern Rim is cooler, making it perfect for those looking to see the park in the summer months.
While most tourists visit the canyon by bus, there are many ways to experience this unique park. Helicopter tours are available for those looking to see as much as possible in a short amount of time. Boat tours on the Colorado River offer spectacular views from within the canyons. Hikes and walking tours are available, though it is recommended inexperienced hikers do not attempt this by themselves but hire a guide as to avoid becoming lost. Even tours on horseback can be taken through the canyon. Although not for the fainthearted, tourists can also visit the Skywalk Glass Bridge which offers superb views down the canyon.
2. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes are some of the earth’s most impressive and powerful monuments. With volcanoes both above ground and beneath the ocean, as well as lush forests, indigenous wildlife, and an array of beautiful birds, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has something to offer for every member of the family.
The Hawaiian Islands are the result of over 70 million year of volcanic eruptions. While not the only national park in the United States to feature volcanoes, it is the only park where tourists can witness an island forming, making it a one-of a kind experience. Visitors can watch the continuously erupting volcano change the landscape of the island. Driving and helicopter tours can take tourists to a point where Kilauea volcano’s lava falls into the ocean, enlarging the island every year. If close to the lava, protective gear is recommended.
3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park boosts between 9 and 10 million visitors annually, making it the most visited park in the nation. As one of the only national parks that does not charge an entrance fee, it is easy to see why it is such a favorite among tourists. With over 800 square miles of pristine mountain scenery and trails located between North Carolina and Tennessee, it is not difficult to escape the crowds and find isolation in nature.
With hundreds of acres of wildlife, exciting views, hiking trails, and streams, the park is perfect for people in all walks of life. Elevation in the park ranges from 840 ft. to over 6,640 ft. offering trails for all hiking levels. Fishing and swimming are permitted for those looking for a day trip in nature. With thousands of plant species, hundreds of bird species, and dozens of species of animals, this park is the perfect place to teach children about the beauty of nature.
There are so many activities to undertake in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one day is never enough. From hot air balloon rides, to Llama Treks, camping, hay rides, tubing, boat rides, spinning and weaving classes, and even train rides, this park keeps visitors returning year after year.
4. Rocky Mountain
The Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado has over 400 miles of stunning views, and beautiful lakes and waterfalls. With 355 miles of hiking trails, it is easy to escape civilization and become one with nature. The park is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which means that tourists can come and go as they please to ensure they have the best vacation possible. Although open during the winter, certain roads become impassible due to the vast accumulation of snow.
The Trail Ridge Road is situated at more than 12,000 feet so visitors are cautioned that they will feel the effects of lower oxygen than they might be accustomed to. However, because of the elevation, the views are spectacular. Camping, hiking, climbing, and exploring are all possible within the park. Horseback riding through the wilderness is also possible. While hotels are not found on the grounds, there are many available around the Rocky Mountain Park.
Yellowstone became the first National Park in the United States back in 1872. It is best known for the more than 300 geysers that can be found throughout the park, representing the world’s largest collection of geysers.
Scientist are now able to predict exactly when five of the geysers will erupt, including the oldest, Old Faithful Geyser which erupts 135 feet in the air every 92 minutes. But Yellowstone has a lot more to offer than geysers for the enjoyment of visitors. Herds of bison can be seen roaming the area as well elks, grizzly bears, and wolfs. Many species of plants and critters are also present. Activities include museum visits, hot springs, rafting, wildlife watching, and hiking.
Yosemite National Park encompasses 1,200 square miles of wondrous fauna, flora, and views. Known for its many waterfalls, the park is a favorite destination among nature lovers. Situated among the mountains of California, Yosemite offers hikers once in a lifetime views as well as solitude in nature.
The traffic to the park is substantial during the peak travel season, so it is advised visitors plan to arrive early in the morning and leave late evening for the best experience. There are numerous shuttles to the park, including to the famous El Capitan loop, Glacier Point, and other destinations. Once in Yosemite, the possibilities are endless. Camping is permitted, fishing is allowed all year round, and exploring is encouraged. With miles and miles of trails, hiking and climbing are possible. The views from the Half Dome are said to be among the best in the world. For those looking for a more upscale vacation, a stay at one of the hotels might be preferred.
7. Zion National Park
Zion National Park in Utah is loved by hikers, climbers, backpackers, and nature lovers everywhere. Nature took millions of years to carve the cream, red, and pink peaks that can be found throughout the park. The Main Canyon is a favorite among photographers and hikers alike, seeing the most visitors every year.
Hiking train for both beginners and advanced hikers are available. Angel’s Landing is said to offer the best views, and is only reachable by a demanding hike. The Narrows is one of the most popular trails offering unique views of the canyon. Wildlife watching is also one of the top reasons to visit this amazing park
A World Heritage Site, Everglades National Park in Florida is the largest sub-tropical wilderness reserve in North America. The park is home to many endangered species as well as thousands of other plant and animal species. Manatees, the American crocodile, and the Florida panthers are among the endangered species protected here. It is also the only place where crocodiles and alligators co-exist. Many species of birds, insects, and other animals can be found throughout the park.
Geocaching, triathlons, bird watching, and camping are a few of the activities in the park that the whole family can enjoy. Airboat tours, boating, and canoeing are also favorites among visitors. Biking and hiking are also possible. The activities as well as the wilderness make the Everglades National Park unique throughout the world.
Denali National Park is located within Alaska’s most beautiful scenery. With 6 million acres of land, the park offers many opportunities for wildlife viewing, amazing views, and an array of activities.
Mount McKinley is the most popular attraction in Denali National Park as it is America’s tallest peak with an elevation of over 20,000 feet. Lakes, hiking trails, camp sites, and golfing also attract many tourists to the par. Tours can be reserved for specific parts of the park, but visitors can also go by themselves, on foot, by bike, or car. The park is best visited late spring to early autumn.
10. Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is home to 30,000 acres of forest and rocky shoreline. In this park visitors can climb Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain on U.S. Atlantic Coast. The mountain is composed of pink granite offering spectacular views during sunrise and sunsets.
Although the parks mentioned above are some of the most memorable in the country, there are many more worth visiting throughout the United States. State parks feature impressive scenery and wildlife and can offer a once in a life time experience.
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