USA National Parks: Best Places to Visit!
The USA is famous for its impressive national parks. The national parks in the United States are a treasure trove of natural beauty and biodiversity. With over 60 designated national parks, these protected areas span diverse landscapes, from towering mountains and vast deserts to lush forests and pristine coastlines. Each park offers a unique experience, with iconic landmarks such as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite captivating visitors from around the world. These parks provide habitats for countless species of plants and animals, and their preservation efforts contribute to conservation and environmental awareness. From breathtaking vistas to thrilling outdoor adventures, the national parks of the USA offer unforgettable experiences for nature enthusiasts and travelers alike.
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park in Utah is one of the best parks in the US, but it is also one of the underrated national parks compared to the rest of Utah’s Mighty 5. Capitol Reef and the area surrounding it are both worth a visit on a Utah road trip. Hickman Bridge is one of the easier hikes in the park and is worth it for the view at the end. Utah State Road 24 also takes you past the historic Fruita Schoolhouse and petroglyphs.
If you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, don’t skip driving back to Cathedral Valley to see the Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon. Glass Mountain is also near them and a sunny day lights it up. Add on a day or two in Hanksville to explore the otherworldly landscapes of Capitol Reef and nearby. The colorful Bentonite Hills and Goblin Valley State Park hoodoos are two areas that will make you feel like you’ve gone to Mars.
Yellowstone National Park
One of the most amazing National Parks to visit in the USA is for sure the Yellowstone NP. A huge part of the park is located in the US state of Wyoming. This national park, which covers an area of around 9,000 square kilometers, was founded in 1872 and is therefore the oldest national park in the world. Since 1978, it has been on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Visitors can explore the park’s numerous trails, marvel at the iconic Yellowstone Falls, and witness the awe-inspiring beauty of this remarkable national treasure. For some outstanding inspiration, check out this perfect Yellowstone National Park itinerary!
Yellowstone is especially famous for its breathtaking thermal springs and the 3,000 hissing geysers – like the Old Faithful, which is one of the most important attractions there. And the Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest thermal spring in the USA, is also uniquely beautiful. Additionally, it gives home to hundreds of animal species, including even grizzly bears, moose, wolves and bison. Interesting is also that this park is named after the largest park river, the Yellowstone River.
Tip: Check out this outstanding list of the ultimate best Cabin Rentals in Yellowstone NP!
Grand Canyon National Park
One of the most spectacular natural wonders in the world and one of the best national parks to visit in the United States is definitely the Grand Canyon National Park. It is located in Arizona and is a popular stop on Arizona road trips. Almost 8 Million visitors from all over the world come each year to see this stunning nature jewel. For sure, also this park is on the list of UNESCO. The area of Grand Canyon is basically divided into 3 different parts: the most famous South Rim, the North Rim and the Inner Canyon. With a depth of about 1.6 kilometers and a length of 446 kilometers, this is the longest canyon on earth.
When visiting the Grand Canyon, don’t miss checking the countless viewpoints and the high skywalks, offering breathtaking Instagrammable photo spots of the gigantic canyon. In addition, the Colorado River invites taking boat tours and rafting – a unique experience that you will certainly not forget so quickly. If you want an unforgettable camping experience, then you should check out the Grand Canyon Glamping Sites!
Tip: Check out this complete Guide about a perfect Utah National Parks Road Trip Itinerary!
Glacier National Park
Another nature highlight in the USA is the Glacier National Park. This Park is located in the north of the famous Rocky Mountains and reaches the Canadian borders. On a size of about 4,100 km² here you will discover a high number of glaciers and amazingly beautiful mountain lakes like Lake McDonald or St. Mary Lake. A must-visit is the Logan Pass at 2,026 meters. Here is the highest point of the 1933 built “Going-to-the-Sun Road. Since 1995, this breathtaking national park has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Most tourists come in summer, when the roads are free of snow and therefore easier to drive on. But also in the Glacier National Park in winter is worth seeing because then you have possibilities for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or just to take great pictures.
Joshua Tree National Park
The Joshua Tree National Park is located in southern California and is another highlight on our list of the best national parks in America. On a perfect day trip to Joshua Tree NP you can expect a very unique landscape of imposing rock formations and dry desert scenery. There’s a wide range of attraction to add to a Joshua Tree itinerary and photographers love these partly bizarre landscapes.
The park was named after the so-called Joshua trees and the Jushua forests, which create an extraordinary atmosphere. It was not until 1994 that this was declared a national park and is therefore one of the newer national parks in the USA.
Tip: Joshua Tree Glamping is one of the best ways to experience a night inside this amazing National Park!
Last, but not least, one of the oldest and for sure the most impressive State Parks in US are definitely the famous Niagara Falls. They are an incredible force of nature and, its unbelievable, but around 22 million visitors from all over the world come every year to experience this State Park.
The Niagara Falls are part of the same named Niagara River, which connects Lake Erie with Lake Ontario. They are located at the border between the US State of New York and Canada.
Tip: Visiting Niagara Falls with kids is so much fun and a boat ride near the falls is a must-do on any family-trip! Also, don`t miss to see the Butterfly Conservatory and the Bird Kingdom!
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is the next on our list of the best US National Parks. With a size of about 3000 square kilometers it attracts around 4 million visitors every year! Located in California, many come on a road trip. Founded in 1864 it is the third-oldest national park in the country. And since 1984 it is declared as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.
During a visit you will enjoy many impressive natural attractions, such as the enormous granite rock formations, amazing waterfalls like Yosemite Falls, crystal clear rivers, and not to forget the huge 2000-year-old giant sequoia trees. Here is a perfect list for the best things to do in Yosemite with kids!
Tip: Check out this complete guide to help you on how to get to Yosemite!
More Tips for Visiting the US-National Parks
- Plan ahead: National parks can be busy during peak season, so plan your trip well in advance to secure accommodations, tours, and permits. You can find bus and train tickets here and also a complete guide about the best health insurance for travel to the USA.
- Check the weather: The weather in national parks can be unpredictable, so check the forecast before you go and pack accordingly.
- Respect wildlife: Keep a safe distance from wildlife, never approach or feed them, and always follow park regulations for your safety and theirs.
- Leave no trace: Practice responsible tourism by leaving the park as you found it. Dispose of waste properly and avoid disturbing the natural environment.
- Stay on designated trails: Stick to established trails to avoid damaging the park’s delicate ecosystem and protect yourself from potential hazards.
- Be prepared: Bring plenty of water, food, and appropriate clothing for hiking and outdoor activities. For more, you will find here a complete USA National Park Checklist.
These are the coolest parks summarized at a glance. From glaciers to deserts and forests, everything is represented here, and a visit should not be missing on any epic USA bucket list. If you would like to know more about interesting monuments, check out this remarkable list about the 129 National Monuments in the United States!
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