The US is home to 62 breathtakingly beautiful national parks. With so many amazing parks, the choice of which one to visit can become a little overwhelming. Have no fear, we are here to help! No matter what type of traveler you are, we've selected the best national parks that fit your needs to help you find what you are looking for.
For the Hiker
Due to the diversity of landscapes and over 600 miles of trails, the Olympic National Park in Washington State is ideal for hikers. One of the park's most popular hikes takes you through the Hoh Rainforest, one of the few temperate rainforests in the world.
This hike is suitable for all levels. For the more seasoned hiker, you can hike to waterfalls and glacier-fed rivers, or along Hurricane Ridge, often covered in snow until summer. a portion of the park runs along the Pacific Ocean, so you can also enjoy walks along the water. Between bright green trees, glaciers, alpine lakes, and waterfalls, you will not be disappointed!
For the Camper
The best way to visit a park for several days is to camp. And the two jointly administered parks of Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park have 14 campgrounds. Choose between low-altitude campsites free of snow in winter and campsites at high altitudes in the warmer months.
Both Kings Canyon and Sequoia, which rival Yosemite, have the advantage of receiving fewer visitors meaning they have more campgrounds available in high season. In particular, you will find three campsites near Grant Grove from which you can walk to General Grant's tree, the second-largest living organism in the world. The Lodgepole is just two miles from the German Sherman Tree, the largest tree on the planet. If you fancy some time with nature and waking up among the redwoods, this is the place for you!
For the Stargazer
If you fancy yourself an amateur astronomer, then you will want to head to Bryce Canyon National Park for stargazing. National parks in desert regions from California to Texas all have incredible night skies, located far from city lights. The absence of humidity allows you to enjoy a night without rain or clouds.
We chose Bryce Canyon in particular because the park makes observing easy at Bryce Canyon City Telescope Field. Some evenings of the week you will even have programs led by astronomers. And every year, you can find the annual astronomy festival there. In winter, enjoy snowshoe hikes guided by forest rangers on full moon nights.
For the Backpacker
For the Nature Lover
Among the national parks known for their wildlife, Yellowstone might be the most famous and usually attracts the attention of documentary filmmakers and animal lovers alike. However, the Everglades offer the chance to see animals in their natural habitat that you won't find anywhere else. The Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. This is the best place to see manatees, flamingos, alligators, river otters, and the Florida panther.
For the Family with Kids
It is well known, children love volcanoes! And so it is only natural that the Lassen Volcanic National Park is the ideal park to discover with your children. They will learn more about the different types of volcanoes and will be able to observe all four of them, including Pic Lassen which is the largest lava-domed volcano in the world.
In the midst of boiling mud pools and vast fields of hardened lava, you can also stroll through pine forests and skirt alpine lakes. In winter, you can go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Making it an ideal place for a successful family vacation.
For the RV Road Trip
The Shenandoah National Park offers routes and parking spaces with beautiful views for motorhomes. Located a short drive from the East Coast, the park offers one of the most scenic drives. Take the winding Skyline Drive for breathtaking views. Other natural wonders to see along the route include Mount Mitchell, the oldest river in North America, the highest waterfall east of the Rockies, and the deepest gorge east of the Grand Canyon.
For the Fisherman
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has nearly 3,000 miles of streams, all of which are suitable for fishing. Fishing is allowed year-round, and you can catch various species of trout as well as bass in the streams and lakes.
For the Dog Lover
Acadia National Park is one of the smallest national parks and is perfect for dogs. There is 100 miles of dog-friendly hiking trails in the mountains and along the Maine coast. One of the highlights to take your pet is Cadillac Mountain. Accessible by car, it is the highest point on the East Coast and offers magnificent views of a glaciated coastal and island landscape. The park offers more opportunities for dogs than most national parks, but there are still hikes that are only for people or for experienced dogs only.
For Kayaker and Paddle Boarder
The clear, wildlife-filled waters of Channel Islands National Park call to us and offer plenty of opportunities for kayaking and paddleboarding. The experienced kayakers can squeeze between eight islands located off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. There are sea caves to explore at low tide, sea lions that rest on rock formations, bright orange fish called garibaldi, pods of dolphins, and depending on the season, gray whales as well. It is an extraordinary place.
For the Climber
Joshua Tree National Park might not be an obvious destination for climbing, but it offers plenty of options for everyone from beginners to expert climbers. With over 8,000 routes, Joshua Tree offers all kinds of rock faces including cracks and slabs. Quail Springs and Intersection Rock are good places for beginners, while experts will enjoy steep climbs in Clean and Jerk or climbing overhanging like Big Moe. The best is, you can go rock climbing and bouldering all year round.
For the Honeymooners
Spend your honeymoon on a Caribbean island in the Virgin Islands National Park. The options to fill your itinerary include hiking, the white sand beaches, visiting historical sites, as well as snorkeling in the coral reef.
Learn how you can visit these National Parks for free! Click HERE.