We have had the good fortune of visiting the best national parks in the USA from the south of the Equator (See #7) to the Arctic Circle. We haven’t been to them all, but we have seen a lot of the best national parks in America. There are 63 national parks in the United States and we’re rounding up the best and most beautiful that you should add to your bucket list. From the most visited national park to the most famous national parks, you’ll be armed with a list of beautiful places to visit in the United States for your summer holidays.
The Best National Parks in the USA
Besides the 63 specifically designated national parks in the USA, there are a total of 423 National Parks Sites. This designation includes places like national historic sites, national memorials, national historic parks, national battlefields, or a national historic landmark. A list of 423 places would make for a very long read, so today, we are going to focus on the best-protected areas of land that are officially dedicated as National Parks in America.
We can thank early settlers of the United States for having the foresight to protect these beautiful lands. The first National Park in the world was in the United States. Yellowstone National Park was dedicated by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. It was the birthplace of the national park system and after that, many countries and states followed suit.
The Best National Parks in America
The above Mesa Verde National Park is one of the coolest national parks in America that is famous for its ancient ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings and protected archaeological sights. Located in Colorado, this is one of the best places to visit in Colorado.
We have spent a lot of time in America visiting its national parks. Be it on an Alaskan cruise, going to Everglades in Florida, or popping into Smoky Mountains National Park on our way to Florida. It’s not hard to see a national park in the US, the national parks system covers 84.6 million acres of land. So chances are, no matter where you may be, you’ll be close to a protected area.
So, let’s get on with our list of the most beautiful and best national parks in the USA.
1. Yellowstone National Park – Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park was made for tourists. It’s no wonder Yellowstone was the first national park in the world. With the greatest concentration of geysers on earth, mud pools, waterfalls, and an abundance of wildlife, you’ll fall in love with Yellowstone. With herds of bison roaming free, this national park is one of the best national parks in America for wildlife spotting.
There is a reason it was named the first on earth and the designation of Yellowstone National Park also sparked the creation of the National Park Service in 1916. Today, the National Park Service oversees 84 million acres of America’s national parks and Yellowstone is one of the most visited national parks of them all. Check out Best Hikes in Yellowstone
Things to do in Yellowstone
Most of the attractions of Yellowstone National Park are located directly off Grand Loop Road with the stars being the Grand Prismatic Spring, and Upper Geyser Basin featuring Old Faithful and Morning Glory Pool. Make your way to the visitor center to find out when Old Faithful is going to erupt and then once you’ve seen the spectacle, take a hike to see all the geysers of the upper geyser basin. Read our guide to visiting Grand Prismatic Spring: The Essential Guide to Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone
Many springs and geysers are accessible and easy to walk to but there are several hiking trails throughout the park. There is spectacular wildlife viewing in Hayden Valley and Lamar Valley and there are glorious lookouts throughout the park. Read more: Things to do in Yellowstone
Where to Stay in Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone national park attracts nearly 5 million visitors each year making it one of the most visited of America’s national parks so to really take it all in, we suggest spending 3 days at Yellowstone.
There are several lodges within Yellowstone National Park and in the surrounding communities of Cody, West Yellowstone, Gardiner, Cook City, and Big Sky. Our picks to get you started are:
- Canyon Village
- Old Faithful Inn
- Old Faithful Snow Lodge
- Read our full article at Where to Stay in Yellowstone National Park – Guide to the Best Hotels
2. Grand Canyon National Park – Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park is the most famous of all the national parks in the USA, and it lives up to the hype. I didn’t expect it to take my breath away but the Grand Canyon truly did. Standing at the south rim overlooking the Colorado River felt like we were staring into a huge photograph.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Grand Canyon National Park encompasses 1,218,375 acres and the Grand Canyon is 6000 feet deep at its deepest point. It is massive. With the Colorado River cut through the landscape millions of years ago creating one of the largest canyons on earth. Read more: Facts about the Grand Canyon
Things to do in the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon national park is a mecca for whitewater rafting down the Colorado River But there is also hiking, horseback riding, waterfalls, and the Grand Canyon Skywalk for panoramic views.
The Grand Canyon visitor center is located on the south rim and park rangers are on hand to answer any questions. There are three main sections of the South Rim to explore, The Rim Trail, Hermit Road and Desert View Drive. They are all easily accessible for taking scenic drives and shuttle busses are on hand to transport visitors from the Visitor Center to the trailheads. Read more about Grand Canyon National Park The Absolute Best Things to do in The Grand Canyon
Where to Stay in Grand Canyon National Park
Even though one can get a glimpse of the Grand Canyon’s beauty in one day, staying there for a few days lets you make the most out of your trip by allowing you the time to experience its beautiful sunrises, its hiking trails, and extraordinary viewpoints.
Grand Canyon National Park is divided into 4 major areas: The South Rim, North Rim, Grand Canyon East, and West Grand Canyon. Each area is unique and provides its guests with diverse experiences so it is good to stay in one of these areas or the nearby villages of Valles, Williams, and Tusayan. Read our complete article Where to Stay At The Grand Canyon: Best Hotels And Areas For Every Budget
- Best Luxury Hotel: El Tovar Hotel
- Best Mid-Range Hotel: Squire Resort at The Grand Canyon
- Best Budget Hotel: Bright Angel Lodge
3. Yosemite National Park – California
Oh Yosemite National Park, what can say about this mother of all US national parks? Yosemite was first put on our radar in college when we bought an Ansel Adams print and said “I want to go there one day.” His black and white images of Yosemite Valley and Sequoia Tress inspired Dave’s photography and when we finally did visit, Dave recreated many of his favorite scenes by Ansel Adams.
Things to do in Yosemite
With iconic rock faces like El Capitan and Half Dome, impressive waterfalls, backcountry hikes, and gorgeous lookouts, Yosemite national park is one of the best national parks to visit in America. One of the most iconic scenes in Yosemite is the view from Tunnel View Lookout which showcases the famous panoramic view of Yosemite Valley. It is worth spending a few days hiking and exploring this beauty. Read more: Things to do in Yosemite
Location 3 hours east of San Francisco, Yosemite National Park is one of the most famous parks in the united states and is known as a rock climber’s mecca.
Where to stay near Yosemite National Park
Yosemite national park is one of the most beautiful national parks in the USA. With 1,200 square miles of heaven on earth you’ll need some time to really enjoy its beauty so make sure to select a hotel nearby so you can easily explore all of the corners of one of the best national parks in the USA.
- Curry Village has a range of canvas tents and wooden cabins plus hotel rooms.
- Yosemite Valley Lodge is a great location to make a base in Yosemite. There’s free parking, free Internet and a pool.
- Read more: Where to Stay in Yosemite National Park
4. Zion National Park – Utah
Zion National Park is the star of Utah’s National Parks. It was the first of Utah’s national parks and one of the most beautiful national parks in America thanks to its incredible rock formations. It’s no wonder it is the second most visited national park in the USA.
There are five national parks in the state known as the Mighty Five and we are going to cover a few more in this post. The others are Bryce Canyon National Park, Arches National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, and Canyonlands National Park.
Things to do in Zion
If you only have a short time in Zion National Park, take the free shuttle bus to stops along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. But this is a national park that requires time. From canyoneering to rock climbing and horseback riding to hiking, Zion National Park has plenty to keep the adventurous busy so we suggest staying overnight nearby.
Some of the main attractions to see in Zion National Park are the Weeping Rock and the Lower Emerald Pools. Be sure to take a scenic drive along the hair-raising Zion-Mount Carmel Highway. Read more: 12 Best Hikes in Zion National Park, Utah
Where to Stay in Zion National Park
There are a lot of areas to choose from that cater to different styles and needs, and there are plenty of hotels for every type of budget level. Here’s a breakdown of where to stay in Zion National Park. Zion National Park Lodge is the closest lodge to Zion National Park and you can also stay at the nearby communities of Springdale, Hildale, Hurricane, St. George or Cedar City. Read our complete guide to where to stay in Zion National Park: Where to Stay in Zion National Park – The Complete Guide
- Luxury: Zion Villa
- Mid-range: Under Canvas Zion
- Budget: Bumbleberry Inn
- VRBO: Gorgeous 8-Bedroom Mansion With Pool
5. Denali National Park – Alaska
Alaska is the final frontier of the United States and the place to really be able to experience Alaska with ease is in Denali National Park. This is one national park for the bucket list. We have had the luxury of visiting Denali National Park three times and each time it surprises us with something new.
From incredible grizzly bear spottings to Denali sheep looking on from high mountains and taking a scenic flight over Mount Denali to see the mammoth 6190 meter high (20,310 feet) mountain from above.
With a whopping 6 million acres of preserved wilderness, Denali National Park houses the highest peak in the Americas. Believe it or not, Denali isn’t the largest park in the entire National Park System, that trophy goes to another Alaskan national park, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve.
You can stay right in the national park and take day trips and organized tours to see its beauty. We visited Denali as part of a land tour on our Alaskan Cruises. Read more Things to do in Alaska
6. Glacier Bay National Park – Alaska
Glacier Bay is a spectacular national park spanning 3.3 million acres of untamed wilderness, massive glaciers, and temperate rainforest. Seeing this beauty by ship is something everyone should add to their bucket list. With an abundance of wildlife, whale and bald eagle spotting is a daily occurrence.
And being surrounded by fjords and mountains as grizzly bears walk along the shore is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Read more: The Ultimate Alaskan Cruise Through Glacier Country
Best Way to See Glacier Bay
If you want to even go more remote in Alaska, you can visit the Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve. It is the least visited national park in the USA and for good reason. It’s located way up in Northern Alaska and the only way in is by flying. We haven’t visited this yet, but we’ve come close at Innuvik National Park in Canada.
The only way to see this spectacular park is on a cruise. We have visited this bay on three different occasions with a Princess Cruise, Holland America Cruise, and a small ship cruise with UnCruise. Each time we see it, it never disappoints.
7. American Samoa National Park – American Samoa
Well, American Samoa may not be in the United States proper, but we must include it in our round up because we have been there and it is the second least visited national park in America. It is the exact opposite location of the Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve. Located way down in the South Pacific on the American territory of American Samoa, we had the chance to visit this national park while on a South Pacific Cruise.
Here’s a cool fact, it is the only American national park service site located south of the equator. If you have the chance to visit this national park do it! Read more: What to Expect on a South Pacific Cruise
8. Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Tennessee and North Carolina
Going from the least visited of US National Parks, it is fitting to go to the most visited national park in the US. One would think that Yellowstone National Park would be the most visited National Park in the USA, but surprisingly the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in America. It seems that Yosemite or even Grand Canyon National Park would have more visitors, but when you think about it, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park makes sense.
In fact, it was the first national park in America that I ever visited. Many a snowbird makes their way to Florida crossing through the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. It was during our annual pilgrimage from Canada to Florida that my family stopped to see Great Smoky Mountain National Park and millions of others have done the same.
9. Isle Royale National Park – Michigan
Before we move on to more traditional US national parks, I have one more of the least visited national parks in the USA to share with you. Isle Royal is located way up north near Canada in the middle of Lake Superior. Dave and I have had a lot of chances to explore the shores of the largest of the Great Lakes and going out to the islands of Lake Superior is a very special experience. Read: Lake Superior Circle Tour – Ultimate Two Week Itinerary
It is one of the most remote national parks in the USA offering a true wilderness experience for visitors. It has an array of wildlife that includes moose, wolves and beavers. Read more: Things to do in Detroit
Isle Royal National Park is known for its dense forests, crystal-clear lakes, and rugged cliffs. Visitors can enjoy scenic hiking trails, paddling trips, and boat tours that offer breathtaking views of the Lake Superior coastline and pristine waters. Read more: 21 Best Places to Visit in Michigan
10. Dry Tortugas National Park – Florida
While we are on the subject of remote national parks in the United States, Dry Tortugas in Florida, just might be the most isolated. Located (113km) 70 miles from Key West in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, The Dry Tortugas can only be reached by boat or sea plane. It is an easy day trip from Key West with tours leaving daily.
It was used as a fort between 1845 and 1876 to defend during the Spanish American War. You can take a day trip out to explore the island and beautiful sandy beaches and you can even camp overnight on Garden Key. Read more: Things to do in Key West
11. Haleakala National Park – Maui
Moving from one remote American destination in Alaska to the center of the Pacific Ocean, we take you to Haleakala National Park on Maui. Meaning, the House of the Sun in Hawaiian, Haleakala National Park is only 47 sq miles, but is a little slice of heaven.
From hiking to the top of the Haleakala crater for sunrise to hiking to the bamboo forest and high waterfalls on the Pipiwai Trail, this national park is one of the main reasons to visit Maui. Read more: 17 of the Best Road To Hana Stops – With Video
12. Grand Teton National Park – Wyoming
When visiting Yellowstone National Park, you can see Grand Teton National Park in the distance. Grand Teton is another one of the best national parks in America. Grand Teton National Park is easily combined with a trip to Yellowstone so make sure to add it to your list of the best national parks in the USA.
In fact, I think this national park is in the top 10 most visited national parks because of its close proximity to Yellowstone. Many people come from around the world to see Old Faithful, so why not check off another state and national park during your trip? Read more: 15 Best Hikes in Grand Teton National Park
13. Joshua Tree National Park – California
Joshua Tree National Park is the coolest of the cool. Located 2 hours East of Los Angeles, Joshua Tree NP is where the Mojave and Colorado Deserts meet. The park came by its name from the early settlers in the 1800s who named the strange-looking trees that graced the landscape after a bible story.
The trees reminded them of Joshua raising his hands to the sky in prayer. These slow growing trees are hundreds of years old and fascinating to look at. But there is a lot more to do in the park with some fantastic hikes, scrambling through rock formations and climbing and bouldering. See more about this national park at 11 Best Hikes in Joshua Tree National Park
14. Death Valley National Park – Nevada and California
Death Valley National Park is the hottest and driest national park on earth. In fact it is the hottest and driest place on earth period. With an elevation of 282 feet below sea level, it is also the lowest point in all of North America. Death Valley National Park is beautiful, but man it is hot!
Make sure you have plenty of water and stay covered when visiting this national park where 110 degrees is the norm. But it certainly goes higher reaching 127 degrees. With a lunar landscape spanning 3000 square miles (7800km) Death Valley National Park can be deadly.
How Death Valley Got its Name
Death Valley National Park got its name from a group of pioneers called the 49ers who perished while trying to cross this desolate stretch of land. Today Death Valley National Park can be visited safely as long as you follow precauthions and carry plenty of water. Read more: 21 Best Things to do in Death Valley National Park
15. Everglades National Park – Florida
Want to spy on the elusive Florida panther? The cute as a button manatee? Or what about the American Crocodile? I said it, not an alligator, a crocodile? This 1.5 million acre wetland preserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere. The best way to explore it is by paddling, but there are hiking and biking trails too.
High speed jet boat tours are offered in the Everglades, but why whizz through it when you can take a week long canoe trip in silence to see the animals up close. You’ll find everything from flamingoes to dolphins in this protected habitat. Read more: the Best Places to Visit in Florida
16. Badlands National Park – South Dakota
Located in South Dakota, the Badlands are a spectacular sight. With an area of 242,756 acres this national park is one of the most photogenic in the country.
Filled with sharp pinnacles and blunt buttes, the landscape is like something out of this world. The great thing about this national park is that you can see a lot of it by road and there are plenty of hiking trails located right from the parking lot.
Things to do in Badlands National Park
Follow the Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway to take you through some of the best scenery in the area. There are several hiking trails leading out to jaw dropping overlooks
There are two sections to Badlands National Park. The North is the more popular portion run by the National Parks Service. It has the Badlands Loop Scenic Byway and the top hiking trails in Badlands National Park. The South is managed by the Lakota Sioux People and there are no hiking trails or park services. Roads are not paved and it is much more rugged.
This beautiful national park surprised us. We expected Badlands to be desolate and dry, but it was filled with color and texture making it one of our favorite national parks in America. To truly appreciate Badlands, you must get out of the car and take a hike to the scenic lookouts. Read more Badlands National Park Hikes and Things to do
17. Sequoia National Park – California
Welcome to the land of giants at Sequoia National Park. The world’s largest trees grace the scenic groves of this park. You can drive through the park via the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, but to get out and walk the hiking trails among the giants is awe inspiring. The General Sherman Tree is considered the largest tree by volume
Things to do in Sequoia National Park
There are other things to see in Sequoia National Park too. Go underground to see the Crystal Cave or take the high ground to the top of Moro Rock for views of the Western Divide.
The park offers a diverse range of scenic beauty, including the towering peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, rolling foothills dotted with wildflowers, and rushing streams and waterfalls. Visitors can enjoy scenic drives, hiking trails, and panoramic views of the park’s breathtaking landscapes.
Not only are the trees old, but the park also has historical significance as well. The park is rich in history, including evidence of human habitation by the native Monache people for thousands of years, as well as mining and logging history from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Visitors can explore historic sites, attend ranger-led programs, and learn about the park’s unique history and cultural heritage.
18. Redwood National Park – California
Speaking of grand trees, Redwood National Park is home to some of the tallest trees in the world – redwoods (scientifically known as sequoia sempervirens). Nature and hiking lovers will enjoy the hiking trails through old-growth forests and the hundreds and hundreds of redwood trees. Read more: The Complete Guide to Visiting Redwood National Park
19. Kings Canyon National Park – California
Kings Canyon National Park is considered one of the best national parks in the USA for several reasons. With its soaring granite cliffs, deep canyons, and alpine meadows, this is the perfect national park to enjoy its many hiking trails. While visiting Kings Canyon keep an eye out for unique and rare wildlife such as the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, the endangered Pacific fisher, and the elusive mountain lion.
Kings Canyon National Park also has abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation and adventure from hiking and camping to rafting and fishing. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or just looking for a peaceful escape from the city, you’re sure to find something to suit your needs in this amazing park.
20. Glacier National Park – Montana
Glacier National Park in Montana shares a border with Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park. Together, they are very unique. Glacier National Park (along with Waterton Lake National Park ) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an International Peace Park, and a Biosphere Reserved rolled all in one. It’s the only one of its kind in the world.
With more than 700 miles of hiking trails, this is an outdoor lover’s paradise. But there are plenty of things to do that don’t involve hiking in Glacier National Park. Take a drive on the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road, a 50-mile-long road that crosses the park and offers stunning views of the mountains, glaciers, and valleys.
Wildlife is plenty in Glacier National Park with grizzly bears, gray wolves, mountain lions, elk, and bighorn sheep inhabiting the park. So when camping within its 13 campgrounds, make sure you are aware of how to keep food safe from attracting wildlife.
Glacier National Park boasts more than 130 lakes and numerous streams, boating, and fishing are popular activities in the park. You can rent a boat or bring your own. Read more: 16 of the Best Glacier National Park Hikes
21. Rocky Mountain National Park – Colorado
Nothing beats the Rocky Mountains in North America and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is the only national park to carry its namesake. This beautiful national park really shows off the striking scenes of the Rockies. There is a reason it is one of the most popular national parks in the United States.
With 3 million visitors flocking to see the views inside this 415-square-mile protected high-country this is one of the best national parks for outdoor lovers. The continental divide runs directly through Rocky Mountain National Park and one of America’s most iconic hikes passes through. Read more 15 Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park
Best HIke in Rocky Mountain National Park
With all the usual mountain scenes of alpine lakes, waterfalls, and jagged peaks, Rocky Mountain Nationa Park has it all. The best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park are probably all of them. That’s because no matter what part of Rocky Mountain National Park you travel, you’re treated to 360 degrees worth of stunning views.
However, if you are looking for the mother of all hikes, The Continental Divide Trail is just over 3000 miles long and is a mix of wild and developed trails that is recommended for the experienced. Continental Divide Trail runs along Rocky Mountain National Park all the way up to Canada and all the way down to Mexico. Read more at the Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park
22. Olympic National Park – Washington
Olympic National Park in Washington State is one of the latest national parks in America that we visited. It is often voted as one of the best national parks thanks to fewer crowds than the more famous national parks and its pristine landscape. Located just outside of Seattle, Olympic National Park offers a wide range of activities for visitors throughout the year.
With miles of hiking trails to explore throughout the beautiful temperate rainforest you’ll marvel at its beauty as you admire waterfalls, lakes, and stunning lookouts. Olympic National Park has it all from high snowcapped mountains to clear mirror lakes. We loved hiking in Olympic National Park. Its trails were unlike others because of the mossy trees from the damp rainforest.
In the summertime, you’ll see elk, deer, and bear while you take part in activities from camping to kayaking and rafting. In the winter, trap on the skis for cross-country skiing through miles of groomed trails or do the snowshoeing to take in its breathtaking winter landscapes. Olympic National Park is a great place to visit no matter what time of year.
Another popular national park in Washington is Mount Rainier National Park. Mount Rainier is the centerpiece of the park and one of the most recognizable and iconic peaks in the country. It is an active volcano and the tallest mountain in the Cascade Range. Mount Rainier National Park is also home to 26 named glaciers, including the largest glaciers in the contiguous United States. So if you are in Washington, make sure to add it to your list.
- Read more about Olympic National Park
23. Arches National Park – Utah
Another one of Utah’s national parks is Arches National Park. It is home to more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, pinnacles, and balancing rocks making Arches National Park one of the most visited national parks in the USA. With a striking red rock landscape and contrasting blue sky, Arches National Park is one of the most beautiful parks in the national park system.
This national park is located near Moab, Utah, and is easily accessible from many major cities in the Western United States. Arches National Park offers a wide range of activities for visitors of all ages and abilities, including hiking trails to see the arches up close, camping, rock climbing, wildlife viewing, and scenic drives.
The park also offers ranger-led programs, such as walks and talks, that provide opportunities for visitors to learn about the park’s unique history and geology. Read more: 14 Best Hikes in Arches National Park
24. Acadia National Park – Maine
Acadia National Park is one of the best national parks in the USA with rocky shorelines, rolling mountains and a stunning coastal landscape that is perfect for outdoor activities.
Located along the Coast of Maine, Acadia National Park has a rich history originally inhabited by the Wabanaki People. Visitors can learn about their history and the arrival of French and English settlers through the national parks exhibits and ranger-led programs.
The national park offers over 120 miles of hiking trails, several lakes and ponds for kayaking, and a variety of campgrounds for overnight visitors. Whether you’re a hiker, a kayaker, a camper, or just looking for a scenic drive, Acadia has something for everyone.
25. Bryce Canyon National Park – Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park is another Utah National Park that will take your breath away. You have to blink a few times fast to make sure you are seeing what you are seeing when you visit Bryce Canyon National Park. The combination of fairy chimneys, amphitheaters, and beautiful pink and orange rock will make you feel like you’ve traveled to another planet.
This unique and beautiful destination offers a range of activities for visitors. With over 50 miles of trails, hiking is a popular activity in Bryce Canyon National Park. Some popular hikes include the Navajo Loop, Queen’s Garden Trail, and the Peekaboo Loop. Read more: 12 Bryce Canyon Hikes That Will Blow You Away
Things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park
With its colorful rock formations and breathtaking views, Bryce Canyon National Park is a photographer’s paradise day or night. Bryce Canyon is known for its dark skies, making it a great place for stargazing and astrophotography. You can attend a ranger-led stargazing program or go on your own to take some photos of the starry skies.
There are several campgrounds in Bryce Canyon National Park, including primitive sites and RV-friendly sites with electrical and water hookups so that is probably your best option for capturing astrophotography. No matter what your interests are, there is something for everyone in Bryce Canyon National Park.
26. Canyonlands National Park – Utah
The largest of Utah’s National Parks, Canyonlands National Park is part of the Mighty Five. Canyonlands National Park has miles of desert hikes, slot canyons, and panoramic views. Being the largest of Utah’s National Parks means that it feels like it sees fewer crowds. Plus, a lot of the park takes you into the backcountry, so it is a bit of an effort when visiting this park.
You’ll either need to hike or get on a four-wheel drive to really explore Canyonlands National Park and that is what makes it. it’s so special. Read more: Best Hikes in Canyonlands National Park
27. Crater Lake National Park – Oregon
Crater Lake National Park takes you to the deepest lake in all of the United States. The national park is a baby compared to Yosemite as it’s only around 8000 years old, but it isn’t a baby when it comes to stunning views. Read more about outdoor travel in Oregon at 12 Best Hikes in Oregon That Will Blow Your Mind
Best National Parks in the USA – FAQ
What is the largest national park in the USA?
The largest national park in America is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve in Alaska. At 13.2 million acres is larger than the entire country of Switzerland. The three largest national parks in the USA are all actually located in Alaska, The second largest being the Gates of the Arctic National Park and then Denali National Park.
And these are the best national parks in the US that we’ve been to. What park do you suggest we go to when we can cross the border again?
What is the most visited national park in America?
The most visited national park in America is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina followed by Zion National Park in Utah and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
What are the top 10 National Parks in the USA by visitors?
These are the top 10 most visited national parks in America as of 2021. Stats taken from the National Parks Service website. For number 10 we had to do some digging because this website included the top 15 National recreation areas, National Seashores, parkways, and more.
1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park – 14.1 million visitors
2. Zion National Park – 5 million visitors
3. Yellowstone National Park – 4.9 million visitors
4. Grand Canyon National Park – 4.5 million visitors
5. Rocky Mountain National Park – 4.4 million visitors
6. Acadia National Park – 4 million visitors
7. Grand Teton National Park – 3.9 million visitors
8. Yosemite National Park – 3.3 million visitors
9. Indiana Dunes National Park – 3.2 million visitors
10. Glacier National Park – 3.08
What State Has the Most National parks?
California has the most national parks in the United States. There are 9 national parks in California and we have been lucky enough to have most of them. They are:
- Yosemite National Park
- Death Valley National Park
- Joshua Tree National Park
- Kings Canyon National Park
- Pinnacles National Park
- Redwood National Park
- Sequoia National Park
- Channel Island National Park
- Lassen Volcanic National Park
Alaska comes in second with 8 national parks and Utah has 5 national parks. We think the Big 5 of Utah are the most beautiful national parks in America.
What is the least visited US National Park?
Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve is the least visited national park in the US. It is located in Alaska away from the beaten tourist trail. American Samoa is a close second. While Samoa is actually a territory of the United States, we decided to include it since we have been there.
And there you have it ladies and gentlemen. We haven’t covered all the national parks in America but these are the most beautiful and memorable that we know. Let us know in the comments below where to go next. We are always updating The Planet D and when we visit a new park, you can be sure we’ll be adding it.
3 thoughts on “27 Best National Parks in the USA To Visit in 2023”
What a fantastic blog post! I am trying to visit all the national park units one day (so all 424 — they just added one in Illinois!) but I have not been able to visit many of the biggest ones in the West yet, so I’m glad you explained them so succinctly. I will say, though, that the four national parks of West Texas and Southern New Mexico are some of the best in the country: Big Bend, White Sands, Guadalupe Mountains, and Carlsbad Caverns. They can be done in only 3 days (I did it only a few weeks ago) and feature some absolutely amazing scenery in the Chihuahuan Desert.
Really it’s a fantastic blog, I’ll definitely visit those places one day. Good work, Keep going.
would really love to visit this beautiful parks someday and enjoy the scenery in person.