by Alanna Smith
Content Quality Editor
The National Park Service turns 101 this year, which is certainly worth celebrating. Take advantage of the 4th of July or a beautiful summer weekend, and visit one of the dozens of parks across the country. Having trouble choosing? Take a look at our list below, and get inspired!
There are also free admission days this year on August 25, September 30, and November 11-12. Find out more here.
10. Glacier National Park
Known as the "Crown of the Continent," Glacier N.P. had almost 3 million visitors last year. Filled with towering mountains and mirror-like lakes, it is home to Going-to-the-Sun Road, one of the most spectacular drives in the U.S.
9. Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton is located only 10 miles from Yellowstone, but it is a wholly unique park. Of the 3 million or more annual visitors, many gravitate towards its fantastic climbing peaks and backcountry campsites.
8. Acadia National Park
Acadia is famous for its rocky shoreline and fantastic camping, which draw in over 3 million visitors every year. Most of the park can be found on Mount Desert Island, a patchwork of parkland, private property, and picturesque seaside villages.
7. Olympic National Park
This jewel of the Pacific Northwest saw 3.4 million visitors last year, even though there are no roads that cross the park. It contains a unique blend of ecosystems ranging from boulder-strewn beaches to snow-capped mountains.
6. Yellowstone National Park
Wyoming, Montana, & Idaho
Want to visit the country's very first national park? Yellowstone welcomes over 4 million visitors each year. It covers 2.2 million acres across three states and is home to two-thirds of the world's geysers.
5. Zion National Park
Distinguished by its steep red cliffs, Zion attracted nearly 4.3 million visitors last year. Sometimes overshadowed by the Grand Canyon, this park offers fantastic hiking and some of the country's most unique and majestic rock formations.
4. Rocky Mountain National Park
With 150 lakes, 450 miles of streams, and a huge variety of wildlife and ecosystems, it's no surprise that this park is a top destination for tourists– with over 4.5 million visitors last year–seeking the ultimate Colorado wilderness experience.
3. Yosemite National Park
Cascading waterfalls, deep valleys, and giant sequoias are just a handful of the reasons to visit this historic park, which saw 5 million visitors last year! Many visitors love the stunning Yosemite Valley, an eight mile-long canyon bordered by famous peaks like Half Dome and El Capitan.
2. Grand Canyon National Park
1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Tennessee & North Carolina
The most-visited national park in the U.S., the Great Smoky Mountains saw over 11 million recreational visitors last year. Unlike other parks, admission is always free, which makes it easy to enjoy 850 miles of hiking trails (including a section of the Appalachian trail).