With over 60 national parks located in the United States and its territories, visitors have a variety of breathtaking and one-of-a-kind landscapes to explore. From snow-capped mountains to rivers of grass, and arid deserts, each park is unique and offers something special.
Encompassing a combined area of over 50 million acres, the 63 national parks within the National Park Service system are home to some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes and natural wonders in the world. Visitors to these parks have the opportunity to explore and appreciate the incredible natural beauty that the United States has to offer.
While it was no easy task, we’ve managed to narrow down the top twenty-five most naturally beautiful US National Parks. These parks have been carefully selected based on their distinctive natural wonders and their ability to stand out as unique and iconic even when compared to all other national parks. Whether it’s the breathtaking vistas or the remarkable wildlife, each of these parks is a true testament to the beauty and wonder of nature.
Acadia National Park
Located in the far northeastern corner of the United States in Maine, Acadia National Park includes the tallest mountain on the Atlantic coast of the US, Cadillac Mountain while also preserving and encompassing nearly half of Mount Desert Island. The park is nearly 50,000 acres in size and hosts an average 4 million visitors each year.
The geography of Acadia is diverse including mountains, the Atlantic Ocean coastline, lakes, ponds, and pine forests. Many of the park’s scenic vistas and trails are accessible via the seasonal 27-mile park loop road. Weather depending, the loop road is typically open from April 1st through December 1st each year.
What To Do in Acadia National Park
Summer activities within the park include horseback riding, rock climbing, hiking, and swimming at in the ocean at Sand Beach and freshwater swimming at Echo Lake Beach. Winter recreation includes trail hiking – snowshoes recommended, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling.
Where To Stay in Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park offers five campgrounds on-property. On the west side of the park is Seawall Campground. Blackwoods Campground is located on the more congested side of the island and is closer to the nearby town of Bar Harbor and the more popular sites and destinations within the park. The Wildwood Stables Campground is only available to visitors with stock animals, such as horses.
American Samoa National Park
Though one of the smallest and least visited national park, the National Park of American Samoa makes up for its size in natural beauty. Located in the US territory and volcanic islands of of American Samoa, the park is situated across four South Pacific islands: Ofu, Olosega, Tutuila, and Ta’u.
American Samoa NP is the only US national Park located south of the equator and was established to preserve the 2,500 acres of coral reefs, its tropical rainforests, its two different types of fruit bats – Samoa flying fox and the white-naped flying fox – as well as highlighting and preserving the Samoa culture.
What To Do in the National Park of American Samoa
The alluring crystal blue ocean waters and iconic mountains within the park offer hiking, walking the beach under swaying palm trees, snorkeling, and diving. Inside the newly reconstructed visitor center – located near Pago Pago – are exhibits showcasing the Samoa culture and vignettes describing the flora and fauna contained within the park. The park is open year round and there are no fees or reservations required to visit the park.
Where To Stay in the National Park of American Samoa
To say American Samoa is remote for visitors coming from mainland United States is an understatement. The islands are located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii and 1,800 miles northwest of New Zealand. There are no campgrounds in any of the four islands. There are several off-property, private hotels located on the island of Pago Pago providing access to the park’s visitor center and the Pago Pago International Airport.
Arches National Park
Included in the Big Five national parks in Utah is Arches National Park. Located just west of Moab, Utah, Arches offers its visitors the iconic and natural arch features making it one of the most unique and beautiful national parks. The delicate sandstone arches contained within this 76,000-plus acre park – officially more than 2,000 – are a byproduct of millions of years of wind and water erosion.
Due to its desert and arid climate, we do not suggest visiting Arches National Park during the summer months as desert temperatures reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Rather, we urge you to visit in the shoulder seasons. Due to the popularity of this national park, we suggest arriving early since on heavily attended days the park gates will be closed by the National Park Service.
What To Do in Arches National Park
There is one main road in and out of the park, off of which there are several side roads and loop roads leading you to some of the more popular natural attractions in the park. We suggest hiking to Delicate Arch, Double Arch, and Landscape Arch. Also, you don’t want to miss Balanced Rock accessible via a short walk off the main road, Courthouse Towers, Devil’s Garden, the Fiery Furnace area of narrow passageways and the Petrified Dunes.
Where To Stay in Arches National Park
Contained within the boundaries of Arches National Park, approximately 18 miles from the main entrance, is the Devils Garden Campground. The campground is open year round, however from March 1st through October 31st reservations are recommended due to its popularity and since it only has 51 sites available. November through the end of February, the campground is first-come, first-served. The campsites do not offer electrical hookups, there is no on-site camp store at the campground, no jumpstation, no showers, and no potable water. There is no cell service or WiFi available at this campground, though flush and vault toilets are provided year round.
✅ Looking for a full service campground near Arches National Park? Check out Sun Outdoors Canyonlands Gateway (formerly named Archview RV Resort and Campground):
Badlands National Park
If arid buttes, pinnacles, grassy prairies, bison, and prairie dogs are on your checklist for national parks, then head to Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Covering over 240,000 acres, Badlands National Park is one of the more unique in the park service’s roster. At first glance it looks barren, but once you visit and immerse yourself into its natural beauty you will see why memories of visiting will stick with you long after you left.
While visiting, be sure to visit the Ben Reifel Visitor Center to speak with Rangers, visit the bookstore, see a film about the park, and grab some lunch at the adjacent Cedar Pass Lodge (open seasonally April through October).
What To Do in Badlands National Park
Loop roads and multiple park entry points will lead you to the more popular destinations the park offers in the North Unit area of the park. Locations such as the Pinnacles area, the Ancient Hunters viewpoint, and the Seabed Jungle Overlook. While visiting Badlands, consider taking a short trip to the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site located north of the park’s Northeast Entrance entry point. Minutemen highlights the history of the region’s ICBM nuclear missile launch sites developed during the Cold War.
Where To Stay in Badlands National Park
If you want to stay in the park, you have two options. The Cedar Pass Campground is a paid campground taking reservations for their 96 camping sites, some allocated with electrical hookups for RVs. The park also offers the Sage Creek Campground is a free first-come, first-served campground with 22 sites. Sage Creek has an 18′ length limitation for RV’s and vehicles. Pit toilets are available but no potable water is provided.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is a beautiful, unique and iconic National Park located in southwestern Utah, in the United States. It was established in 1928 and covers an area of 35,835 acres. The park is known for its remarkable geological structures, including its famous hoodoos – tall, thin spires of rock that have been shaped by wind and water erosion over millions of years. The park is also home to a variety of plant and animal species, including mule deer, pronghorns, and coyotes.
One of the main features of Bryce Canyon National Park is the Bryce Amphitheater, a stunning natural amphitheater made up of colorful hoodoos, cliffs, and other rock formations. Visitors can take a scenic drive along the park’s main road, which provides access to several overlooks and hiking trails. One popular trail is the Rim Trail, which runs along the top of the canyon and offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. Another popular trail is the Queen’s Garden Trail, which takes visitors down into the canyon and through some of its most impressive formations.
What To Do in Bryce Canyon National Park
In addition to its natural beauty, Bryce Canyon National Park also has a rich cultural history. The park is home to several historic sites, including the Bryce Canyon Lodge, which was built in 1924 and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can also learn about the park’s Native American history at the park’s museum, which features exhibits on the area’s Paiute and Ute tribes.
Where To Stay in Bryce Canyon National Park
There are two campgrounds within the park, North and Sunset, both of which offer tent and RV sites. The North Campground is open year-round, while the Sunset Campground operates from late spring to early fall. For those seeking a more comfortable stay, the park also offers two lodges: Bryce Canyon Lodge and the newer Sunset Lodge. Both lodges offer a range of room types and amenities, including restaurants, gift shops, and guided tours. Additionally, visitors can find several hotels and motels in the nearby town of Bryce Canyon City, just outside the park’s entrance.
Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park, located in southern Oregon, is a stunning natural wonder that draws visitors from all over the world. The park covers an area of over 183,000 acres and features the deepest lake in the United States, with a maximum depth of 1,943 feet. The lake was formed over 7,700 years ago when a massive volcano, Mount Mazama, collapsed and created a caldera that was eventually filled with rain and snowmelt. Today, Crater Lake is renowned for its clear blue water, which is fed solely by precipitation, and its surrounding cliffs and forests.
The main features of Crater Lake National Park include not only the lake itself, but also the stunning natural landscapes that surround it. Visitors can hike the park’s numerous trails, including the popular Rim Trail, which offers breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. In the winter months, visitors can enjoy snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and other winter sports in the park. The park also offers a variety of ranger-led programs and educational activities for visitors of all ages.
What To Do in Crater Lake National Park
Within the park, there are several locations that visitors should not miss. These include Rim Village, which offers stunning panoramic views of the lake, as well as the historic Crater Lake Lodge, which was built in 1915 and offers comfortable accommodations for visitors. Other must-see locations within the park include the Pinnacles, a series of rock formations that were created by volcanic activity, and Wizard Island, a volcanic cinder cone that rises out of the lake’s crystal clear waters.
Where To Stay in Crater Lake National Park
Mazama Village is the only campground open within the park, and it provides over 200 campsites that can accommodate tents, RVs, and trailers. Additionally, Mazama Village features a store, gas station, and restaurant. For those seeking more comfort, the Crater Lake Lodge provides a historic and elegant stay. It has 71 rooms with stunning lake views, and guests can enjoy the dining room and lounge with a fireplace. The park also offers alternative accommodations such as cabins and cottages at the Mazama Village Cabins and Mazama Ranch House. However, it is important to note that these lodging options fill up quickly, so booking in advance is highly recommended.
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park is located in eastern California, covering over 3.4 million acres of desert wilderness. It’s the largest national park in the contiguous United States, and one of the hottest and driest places on the planet. The park is known for its extreme temperatures, with summer temperatures often exceeding 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and its starkly beautiful landscape, featuring mountains, sand dunes, canyons, and salt flats.
One of the most popular attractions in Death Valley National Park is Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level. Visitors can walk out onto the salt flats and marvel at the otherworldly landscape, or hike the nearby hills for a stunning view of the basin. Another must-see location in the park is Zabriskie Point, which offers breathtaking views of the colorful badlands and eroded rock formations.
What To Do in Death Valley National Park
For those looking for a more challenging adventure, Death Valley National Park also offers backcountry camping and hiking opportunities, including the famous 134-mile-long Death Valley Trail. The park also features a number of historic sites, including the abandoned mining town of Rhyolite and the Scotty’s Castle mansion, which was built in the 1920s and offers guided tours.
Where To Stay in Death Valley National Park
The park has nine campgrounds, with some offering RV hookups and others providing tent camping. Furnace Creek Campground is the most popular campground, located near the park’s visitor center and offering over 150 sites. The park also has several lodging options, including the historic The Oasis at Death Valley and Ranch Resort, which features a variety of room types and amenities such as a golf course, restaurants, and a spring-fed pool. Other lodging options include the Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel, and Panamint Springs Resort.
Denali National Park and Preserve
Denali National Park and Preserve is one of the most popular national parks in the United States, located in Alaska’s Interior region. Covering an area of 6 million acres, the park offers visitors a chance to experience the breathtaking beauty of Alaska’s wilderness, including glaciers, mountains, forests, and tundra. The park’s centerpiece is the Denali mountain, the tallest peak in North America, rising 20,310 feet above sea level. The park is also home to a diverse array of wildlife, including grizzly bears, moose, wolves, and caribou, making it a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts.
Visitors to Denali National Park can explore the park’s vast wilderness through a variety of activities, including hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing. The park offers over 350 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging multi-day backpacking trips. The park’s wildlife is another popular attraction, and visitors can take guided tours or explore on their own in search of bears, moose, wolves, and other animals. Other popular activities include birdwatching, fishing, and mountaineering.
What To Do in Denali National Park
Denali National Park is home to several popular locations that visitors can explore, including the Denali Visitor Center, which offers exhibits and information about the park’s history, wildlife, and geology. The park also has several campgrounds, including the Savage River Campground, which is open year-round and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Other popular locations include the Polychrome Overlook, which offers panoramic views of the park’s stunning landscape, and Wonder Lake, which is known for its picturesque reflections of the Denali mountain.
Where To Stay in Denali National Park
The park features several campgrounds, ranging from primitive sites with no amenities to sites with electricity and water hookups. For those who prefer more comfortable lodging, there are also several backcountry lodges in the park and hotels located just outside the park. Visitors should note that reservations are strongly recommended for all overnight stays in Denali National Park, especially during peak season from mid-June to early September.
Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park is a protected area located in the Gulf of Mexico, about 68 miles west of Key West, Florida. It covers a total area of approximately 100 square miles, which includes seven small islands and the surrounding waters. The park is best known for its crystal-clear blue waters, coral reefs, and historical significance. One of the park’s most prominent features is the 19th-century fortress, Fort Jefferson, which was built to protect the United States from enemy attacks. The park is also home to diverse marine life, including sea turtles, dolphins, and hundreds of species of fish.
Visitors to Dry Tortugas National Park can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, and birdwatching. The park’s coral reefs are some of the most pristine in the world, making it a popular destination for snorkelers and divers. The park also offers guided tours of Fort Jefferson, where visitors can learn about the history of the fort and its role in protecting the United States. In addition, visitors can hike along the park’s nature trails, which offer stunning views of the islands and the surrounding waters.
What To Do in Dry Tortugas National Park
Some of the most popular locations within Dry Tortugas National Park include Garden Key, Loggerhead Key, and Bush Key. Garden Key is home to Fort Jefferson, the park’s main attraction, as well as a campground, picnic areas, and a lighthouse. Loggerhead Key is the second-largest island in the park and is home to a historic lighthouse that offers panoramic views of the park. Bush Key, on the other hand, is a small island that is closed to the public during the nesting season of the sooty tern, a type of bird that nests on the island.
Where To Stay in Dry Tortugas National Park
Camping options in the park are limited to the Garden Key Campground, which is accessible only by boat or seaplane. The campground offers 10 primitive campsites with stunning ocean views and easy access to snorkeling, kayaking, and other outdoor activities. Visitors should come prepared with all necessary supplies, as there are no stores or facilities on the island.
Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park is one of the largest national parks in the United States, covering 1.5 million acres in the southernmost part of Florida. The park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including endangered species such as the Florida panther, the manatee, and the American crocodile. It is also known for its unique ecosystem, which includes both freshwater and saltwater habitats, making it one of the most biologically diverse areas in the country.
One of the most popular features of Everglades National Park is the vast network of waterways that flow throughout the park. Visitors can explore the park’s waterways by canoe, kayak, or boat, and may even spot alligators, turtles, and other wildlife along the way. The park is also home to a number of hiking trails, including the Anhinga Trail, which takes visitors through a marsh filled with alligators and other aquatic wildlife.
What To Do in Everglades National Park
In addition to its natural wonders, Everglades National Park is also home to a rich cultural history. The park is home to the Miccosukee and Seminole tribes, and visitors can learn about their traditions and customs at various sites throughout the park. Other popular locations within the park include Shark Valley, which offers stunning views of the park’s sawgrass prairies, and Flamingo, which is known for its world-class fishing opportunities.
Where To Stay in Everglades National Park
There are two drive-in campgrounds available: Long Pine Key Campground and Flamingo Campground, both with amenities such as picnic tables and fire rings. Additionally, backcountry camping permits are available for visitors looking to explore more remote areas of the park.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park, located in Montana, is one of the United States’ most stunning national parks, covering over 1 million acres. The park is named for the numerous glaciers that once covered its mountains, and its beauty is attributed to the diverse array of natural features that can be found within it. The park is home to more than 700 miles of hiking trails, with a range of difficulty levels to cater to hikers of all skill levels.
Glacier National Park boasts numerous stunning natural features, including 26 glaciers, more than 130 named lakes, and an array of alpine meadows, forests, and waterfalls. The park is home to the Going-to-the-Sun Road, a scenic drive that spans 50 miles and offers breathtaking views of the park’s peaks and valleys. Along the route, visitors can stop at numerous pullouts and overlooks to take in the scenery or hike to nearby attractions, such as Logan Pass or Hidden Lake.
What To Do in Glacier National Park
Visitors to Glacier National Park can explore its varied landscapes in numerous ways, including hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife watching. Some of the most popular destinations within the park include Lake McDonald, the largest lake in the park, and Many Glacier, an area known for its stunning alpine vistas and abundant wildlife.
Where To Stay in Glacier National Park
There are 13 campgrounds available, with different amenities and levels of accessibility, making it easy for visitors to find the perfect spot to pitch a tent or park an RV. The park also has several lodges, including the iconic Many Glacier Hotel, which was built in 1915 and features stunning views of the mountains and lakes.
Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park is a stunning wilderness area located in Alaska, USA. The park covers an impressive 3.3 million acres, making it one of the largest national parks in the United States. The park was established in 1980 and is known for its breathtaking landscapes and abundant wildlife. Visitors can explore the park by boat, kayak, or hiking the many trails, and they are sure to be impressed by the spectacular scenery and diverse ecosystems.
What To Do in Glacier Bay National Park
The main feature of Glacier Bay National Park is its vast ice fields, glaciers, and fjords. The park has over 1,000 glaciers and is home to some of the largest glaciers in the world, including the famous Margerie Glacier, which measures over 1 mile wide and 350 feet tall. The park’s coastline is also dotted with fjords, towering mountains, and lush forests, making it a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can witness calving glaciers, see humpback whales breaching, and observe bears, moose, and eagles in their natural habitats.
The Bartlett Cove area is another popular spot, featuring hiking trails, a visitor center, and a campground. The park’s west arm is a remote and rugged region that offers incredible opportunities for kayaking and exploring pristine wilderness areas. Other popular areas of the park include the Johns Hopkins Glacier, the Muir Inlet, and the Tlingit village of Hoonah.
Where To Stay in Glacier Bay National Park
There are several locations within the park that visitors can explore, including the Glacier Bay Lodge, which offers stunning views of the bay and is a great starting point for exploring the park.
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park, located in northwestern Arizona, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its iconic vistas and stunning natural beauty. The park covers over 1.2 million acres, making it one of the largest national parks in the United States. The canyon itself is approximately 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and over a mile deep, carved over millions of years by the Colorado River.
One of the main attractions at Grand Canyon National Park is, of course, the canyon itself. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the canyon from various vantage points, including the popular South Rim and the less-crowded North Rim. The park also offers a range of activities, such as hiking, backpacking, and rafting, allowing visitors to explore the canyon’s diverse landscapes up close. Additionally, the park is home to a variety of wildlife, including California condors, bighorn sheep, and mountain lions.
What To Do in Grand Canyon National Park
Within the park, there are several popular locations for visitors to explore. The South Rim, located on the southern side of the canyon, is the most visited area of the park and offers a range of amenities, including hotels, restaurants, and gift shops. The North Rim, located on the northern side of the canyon, is more remote and less crowded, offering visitors a quieter and more secluded experience. Other notable locations within the park include the Grand Canyon Village, which offers historic buildings and museums, and the Havasu Falls, a series of stunning waterfalls located in the western part of the park.
Where To Stay in Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park offers a variety of lodging options, including campgrounds, lodges, and hotels. The South Rim, which is the most popular area of the park, has several lodges and hotels, including El Tovar, Bright Angel Lodge, and Maswik Lodge, all of which are operated by Xanterra Travel Collection. In addition to these options, there are also several campgrounds located on the South Rim, including Mather Campground, Trailer Village, and Desert View Campground. The North Rim, which is less developed and visited, has one lodge, the Grand Canyon Lodge, operated by Forever Resorts.
Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park is a stunning natural wonder situated in northwestern Wyoming, USA. The park spans over 310,000 acres and boasts a diverse range of wildlife, lakes, and mountains. The most famous peak in the park, the Grand Teton, rises to a height of 13,775 feet and is a popular destination for hikers and climbers. In addition to its impressive geological formations, the park is also home to a wide variety of animals, including grizzly bears, moose, elk, and bald eagles.
What To Do in Grand Teton National Park
One of the most popular activities in Grand Teton National Park is hiking. Visitors can choose from over 200 miles of trails, ranging from easy nature walks to strenuous mountain climbs. The park also offers several scenic drives, including the Teton Park Road, which winds through the heart of the park and provides stunning views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. In the winter, the park is transformed into a winter wonderland, with opportunities for skiing, snowshoeing, and wildlife watching.
Grand Teton National Park is home to several must-visit locations, including the Jenny Lake Visitor Center, where visitors can learn about the park’s history and geology, and take a boat ride across the lake. Other popular spots include the Mormon Row Historic District, where visitors can see restored homesteads dating back to the late 1800s, and the Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris, which offers guided tours of the park’s wildlife and landscapes.
Where To Stay in Grand Teton National Park
For those who prefer camping, there are several campgrounds located within the park, including the popular Jenny Lake and Colter Bay campgrounds. These campgrounds offer scenic views of the Teton Range and easy access to hiking trails and other outdoor activities. If you’re looking for a more luxurious option, the park also offers several lodges and hotels, including the historic Jackson Lake Lodge and the up-scale rustic cabins at Jenny Lake Lodge. These properties offer comfortable accommodations and a range of amenities, including restaurants, shops, and guided tours.
Great Smoky National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a popular destination in the United States that offers visitors breathtaking views, diverse wildlife, and a chance to experience the natural beauty of the region. Located in the southern Appalachian Mountains, the park is straddled between the states of Tennessee and North Carolina. With an area of over 816 square miles, it is the most visited national park in the United States, attracting more than 12 million visitors each year.
One of the main features of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is its diverse ecosystem, which includes over 19,000 documented species of plants and animals. Visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, camping, and picnicking in the park, with more than 800 miles of trails available. Among the park’s most popular attractions are Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the park, and Cades Cove, a historic valley with a variety of historic buildings and stunning scenery.
What To Do in Great Smoky National Park
There are numerous locations within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that are worth exploring. Visitors can explore the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which offers scenic views of waterfalls, mountains, and historic buildings. The park is also home to several museums, including the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center and the Mountain Farm Museum. In addition, the park offers opportunities for outdoor adventures such as horseback riding, rafting, and zip-lining, making it a perfect destination for anyone seeking to immerse themselves in the great outdoors.
Where To Stay in Great Smoky National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to a variety of accommodation options that provide visitors with a comfortable place to rest after a day exploring the park’s vast natural beauty. The park boasts ten developed campgrounds, offering both primitive and modern amenities. Most campgrounds have picnic tables, fire pits, and access to restrooms and showers. In addition to camping, visitors can stay in one of several lodges or hotels located within the park or nearby towns. These lodging options range from rustic cabins to luxurious hotels, with amenities such as restaurants, swimming pools, and spas.
Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park is a stunning 230 square mile park located in northeastern Arizona, known for its incredible natural beauty and unique geological formations. The park features a stunning collection of ancient petrified wood, dating back over 225 million years. Visitors to the park can explore a range of environments, including the colorful badlands of the Painted Desert, vast mesas, and rugged hills, all of which offer a glimpse into the area’s fascinating geological history.
One of the highlights of the park is the Rainbow Forest Museum, which houses a collection of stunning petrified wood specimens and provides an informative introduction to the park’s history and geology. Visitors can also take a stroll through the Crystal Forest, where they can see an array of brightly-colored petrified wood logs. Another must-visit location within the park is the Agate House, an ancient pueblo constructed entirely from petrified wood.
What To Do in Petrified Forest National Park
In addition to these locations, visitors can explore a range of hiking trails, including the Giant Logs Trail, which provides a leisurely walk among some of the park’s largest and most impressive petrified wood specimens. The park is also home to numerous archeological sites, such as the Newspaper Rock, a collection of ancient petroglyphs.
Where To Stay in Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park offers a variety of lodging options for visitors, including campgrounds and several lodges or hotels located outside the park’s boundary. There are no RV campgrounds or lodges within the national park. The historic Painted Desert Inn, within the park, is not available for overnight accommodations for visitors, however there are several chain hotels located in the nearby town of Holbrook.
Redwood National Park
Redwood National Park, located in Northern California, is a sprawling natural treasure with a total area of 138,999 acres. Established in 1968, the park is home to the tallest trees on earth, including the famous coast redwoods that can grow up to 379 feet high. Apart from the majestic redwoods, the park boasts a diverse range of ecosystems, including old-growth forests, prairies, and miles of pristine coastline, making it an excellent destination for nature enthusiasts.
The park is divided into four major areas, each offering unique experiences. In the north, visitors can explore the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, which is home to some of the largest and oldest trees in the park. The Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, located in the center of the park, is another must-see area, with miles of scenic trails and the stunning Fern Canyon. Meanwhile, the south of the park is home to the Humboldt Lagoons, where visitors can enjoy kayaking and birdwatching. Finally, the Del Norte Coast State Park, located on the coast, is an excellent spot for hiking and camping, with picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean.
What To Do in Redwood National Park
The Redwood National Park is not only a place of natural beauty but also an essential ecosystem for wildlife. The park is home to over 200 species of birds and 40 species of mammals, including black bears, mountain lions, and Roosevelt elk. In addition, the park is a vital habitat for the endangered marbled murrelet, a seabird that nests in the park’s ancient redwoods.
Where To Stay in Redwood National Park
The park has several campgrounds that provide tent and RV camping, including the Jedediah Smith, Del Norte Coast, and Gold Bluffs Beach campgrounds. Additionally, there are several lodges and hotels located just outside the park, such as the Hiouchi Hamlet, Elk Meadow Cabins, and the Redwood National Park Hostel.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park, located in north-central Colorado, is one of the most popular national parks in the United States. Spanning over 415 square miles, the park is home to over 60 peaks reaching elevations of over 12,000 feet, including the famous Longs Peak, which towers at 14,259 feet. The park is also known for its vast wilderness areas, pristine alpine lakes, and diverse ecosystems, which are home to a wide range of flora and fauna, including elk, bighorn sheep, and mountain lions.
What To Do in Rocky Mountain National Park
One of the park’s most popular features is Trail Ridge Road, a 48-mile scenic drive that winds through the heart of the park, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Visitors can also explore the park’s many hiking trails, ranging from easy strolls to strenuous backcountry treks. Some of the most popular hikes include the Emerald Lake Trail, the Bear Lake Trail, and the Chasm Lake Trail, each offering unique vistas of the park’s stunning landscapes.
In addition to its natural wonders, Rocky Mountain National Park also offers a rich cultural history. Visitors can explore historic sites such as the Holzwarth Historic Site, a 1920s dude ranch that offers a glimpse into the park’s early tourism industry, and the Fall River Visitor Center, which provides information about the park’s geology, ecology, and human history.
Where To Stay in Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park offers a variety of accommodation options, including campgrounds and lodges/hotels. There are five established campgrounds in the park, which offer different amenities and facilities. Moraine Park, Glacier Basin, and Aspenglen campgrounds offer reservations, while Longs Peak and Timber Creek campgrounds are first-come, first-served. Additionally, the park has several lodges and hotels just outside it entries including the historic Stanley Hotel and the modern Estes Park Cabins. Visitors should note that peak season (June-September) can be busy, and reservations are recommended for all accommodation options.
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park, located in southern Arizona, is a unique and beautiful natural wonder that is home to the largest cacti in the United States. The park covers an area of 91,716 acres, divided into two districts: the Tucson Mountain District, located to the west of Tucson, and the Rincon Mountain District, located to the east of the city. The park was established in 1933, with the goal of protecting and preserving the unique and diverse desert ecosystem found in the area.
The main feature of Saguaro National Park is its iconic saguaro cactus, which can grow up to 50 feet tall and live for up to 200 years. Visitors can hike along the many trails in the park and see these impressive cacti up close, as well as enjoy the stunning desert landscapes and abundant wildlife. The park is also home to other desert plants and animals, such as the barrel cactus, javelina, and coyote.
What To Do in Saguaro National Park
Within the park, visitors can explore a variety of locations, each offering its own unique beauty and recreational opportunities. In the Tucson Mountain District, visitors can enjoy scenic drives, picnic areas, and hiking trails, such as the Signal Hill Trail, which features ancient petroglyphs. In the Rincon Mountain District, visitors can explore the popular Cactus Forest Loop Drive, which offers stunning views of the park’s landscapes and wildlife, as well as a variety of hiking trails, such as the Douglas Spring Trail.
Where To Stay in Saguaro National Park
For those looking to immerse themselves in the park’s natural beauty, there are five camping areas available in the Rincon Mountain District. These campgrounds offer tent camping with amenities such as picnic tables, fire pits, and restrooms. For those looking for a more comfortable and convenient stay, there are also lodges and hotels located just outside the park’s boundaries.
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park, located in the southern Sierra Nevada region of California, is a natural wonderland encompassing an area of 404,051 acres. It was established in 1890 and is the second-oldest national park in the United States, after Yellowstone. The park is home to some of the world’s largest trees, including the General Sherman tree, which is the largest living organism on Earth by volume, and stands at 275 feet tall and 36 feet in diameter at its base. The park is also famous for its stunning vistas, which include soaring mountains, deep canyons, and vast meadows.
What To Do in Sequoia National Park
One of the park’s most popular attractions is the Giant Forest, a vast expanse of trees that includes five of the world’s ten largest trees. The General Sherman Tree is located here, as are other notable trees such as the President Tree and the Sentinel Tree. Visitors can explore the Giant Forest on a series of hiking trails, including the popular Congress Trail, which winds through the heart of the forest.
Another must-see feature of Sequoia National Park is the Crystal Cave, a subterranean wonderland of marble passages and spectacular rock formations. Guided tours of the cave are available, and visitors can marvel at its natural beauty while learning about the geologic processes that created it. The park also features a number of scenic drives, including the Generals Highway, which provides access to many of the park’s most popular attractions. Other notable locations within the park include Moro Rock, the Tokopah Falls, and the Cedar Grove area.
Where To Stay in Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park offers a range of accommodation options for visitors, including campgrounds, lodges, and hotels. The park’s main lodging facility is the Wuksachi Lodge, which is located in the heart of the park and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The lodge features 102 rooms, a restaurant, a cocktail lounge, and a gift shop. There are also several campgrounds within the park, including the popular Lodgepole Campground and the more secluded Dorst Creek Campground. Both campgrounds offer a range of amenities, including fire pits, picnic tables, and access to hiking trails.
Virgin Islands National Park
The Virgin Islands National Park is a protected area located in the United States Virgin Islands, covering approximately 60% of the island of St. John. Established in 1956, it encompasses over 7,000 acres of tropical forests, white sandy beaches, coral reefs, and historic ruins, making it a popular destination for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike. The park is also home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, including over 800 species of plants and dozens of species of birds, reptiles, and mammals.
What To Do in Virgin Islands National Park
One of the main features of the Virgin Islands National Park is its stunning beaches, including Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, and Maho Bay, which offer crystal-clear waters and pristine sands. Visitors can swim, snorkel, and sunbathe, and explore the underwater world of the coral reefs, home to colorful fish and other marine life. The park also features several hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging treks, that allow visitors to discover the island’s natural beauty and historic sites, such as the ruins of sugar plantations and old forts.
Other popular locations within the park that people can visit include the Annaberg Plantation, a restored 18th-century sugar plantation that offers insight into the island’s history and culture, and the Reef Bay Trail, which leads to a waterfall and ancient petroglyphs carved by the island’s original inhabitants, the Taino people. Additionally, visitors can take a guided kayak or paddleboard tour of the park’s mangrove forests, or explore the park’s coral reefs and underwater life on a snorkeling or scuba diving excursion.
Where To Stay in Virgin Islands National Park
Virgin Islands National Park offers several lodging options for visitors looking to explore the stunning natural beauty of the park. The campground at Cinnamon Bay is a popular choice for those seeking a more rustic experience, with sites available for both tents and RVs. Cinnamon Bay also offers cabin rentals for those who want a roof over their heads without sacrificing the outdoor experience. For those seeking a more traditional hotel experience, the park offers two options: the Maho Bay Camps, which offer eco-friendly tent-cottages, and the Caneel Bay Resort, which features luxurious beachfront accommodations.
White Sands National Park
White Sands National Park is located in southern New Mexico and is the newest national park in the United States, having been upgraded from a national monument in 2019. The park covers an area of 224.6 square miles and is home to the largest gypsum dunefield in the world, covering over 275 square miles. The dunefield is a unique natural wonder and is made up of pure white gypsum sand that creates a stunning contrast against the blue skies and surrounding mountains.
The main feature of the park is, of course, the gypsum dunefield, which is constantly shifting and changing due to wind and weather. Visitors can take a scenic drive through the park or hike one of the several trails available to experience the beauty of the dunefield up close. The park also offers ranger-led programs and special events, including full moon hikes, stargazing, and sand sledding. Additionally, there is a small museum and visitor center where visitors can learn about the park’s natural and cultural history.
What To Do in White Sands National Park
Within the park, there are several locations that visitors should not miss. The Interdune Boardwalk is a wheelchair-accessible trail that provides an opportunity to experience the gypsum dunefield up close. The Alkali Flat Trail is a challenging five-mile hike that leads visitors through the heart of the dunefield to the park’s lowest point. For those looking for a more leisurely experience, the Dune Life Nature Trail is an easy one-mile loop that highlights the unique plant and animal life that can be found in the dunefield.
Where To Stay in White Sands National Park
The park does not offer any lodging or camping. However, in the neighboring town of Alamogordo, approximately 13 miles away, there are several hotels. The closest campgrounds to White Sands are the Oliver Lee State Park, Aguirre Springs Recreation Area and the Lincoln National Forest.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is one of the most visited national park in the United States, covering an area of 2.2 million acres across Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. The park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, elk, and moose, and features unique geological formations, such as geysers, hot springs, and mud pots. Yellowstone was established in 1872, making it the first national park in the world and a symbol of America’s commitment to preserving its natural wonders for future generations.
What To Do in Yellowstone National Park
One of the most popular features of Yellowstone National Park is its geothermal activity, which includes over 10,000 geothermal features, including Old Faithful, the park’s most famous geyser. Visitors can also explore the park’s numerous hot springs and mud pots, including the colorful Grand Prismatic Spring and the aptly named Mud Volcano. Yellowstone’s geothermal features are caused by the park’s location atop the Yellowstone Caldera, one of the largest volcanic systems in the world.
In addition to its geothermal features, Yellowstone National Park offers visitors a range of activities and attractions, including hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife watching. The park is home to over 900 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy strolls to challenging backcountry routes. Visitors can also enjoy guided tours, ranger-led programs, and educational exhibits at the park’s visitor centers. Other popular attractions include the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone – best seen from Artist Point -, a dramatic gorge carved by the Yellowstone River, and the Lamar Valley, a prime location for spotting wildlife such as wolves, bears, and bison.
Where To Stay in Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park offers a variety of accommodation options for visitors, ranging from campgrounds to lodges and hotels. There are 12 campgrounds within the park, with over 2,000 individual campsites available for tents, RVs, and trailers. Each campground has its own unique features and amenities, including fire pits, picnic tables, and access to potable water and restrooms. In addition to camping, there are several lodges and hotels located throughout the park. These range from historic lodges like the Old Faithful Inn to modern hotels like the Lake Yellowstone Hotel. Each offers a different experience, with amenities such as restaurants, gift shops, and guided tours.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, is a breathtaking natural wonder that attracts millions of visitors every year. The park covers an area of over 1,200 square miles and is home to some of the most iconic natural landmarks in the United States. Yosemite Valley, a deep glacial valley surrounded by granite cliffs and waterfalls, is the park’s main attraction and draws visitors from all over the world.
What To Do in Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park offers visitors a wide variety of outdoor activities and natural wonders to explore. Hiking and rock climbing are two of the most popular activities in the park, with many trails and climbing routes available for all skill levels. Yosemite Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in the world, is another must-see attraction in the park. Other popular features include the granite monoliths Half Dome and El Capitan, as well as the giant sequoia trees found in the Mariposa Grove.
There are several locations within Yosemite National Park that visitors can explore, each offering its own unique experience. In addition to Yosemite Valley, visitors can also explore Tuolumne Meadows, a high-elevation meadow area surrounded by granite peaks and alpine lakes. Glacier Point offers stunning panoramic views of the park and is a popular spot for watching sunrises and sunsets. The Hetch Hetchy Valley, located in the northwestern part of the park, offers a more remote and peaceful experience, with fewer crowds and stunning views of the surrounding wilderness.
Where To Stay in Yosemite National Park
The park has 13 campgrounds that are spread throughout the valley, and reservations are highly recommended during peak season. The campgrounds offer various amenities, including fire pits, picnic tables, and restrooms. In addition to camping, Yosemite also has several lodges and hotels, including the luxurious Ahwahnee Hotel and the rustic Yosemite Valley Lodge. It’s important to note that lodging and camping in the park is very popular. Reservations should be made well in advance to secure availability.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is a natural wonderland located in southwestern Utah, covering over 232 square miles of breathtaking landscapes. The park is known for its towering sandstone cliffs, narrow slot canyons, and winding rivers. With elevations ranging from 3,666 to 8,726 feet, Zion National Park offers visitors a diverse range of experiences, from hiking and rock climbing to scenic drives and wildlife viewing.
One of the main features of Zion National Park is Zion Canyon, a 15-mile-long gorge that was carved over millions of years by the Virgin River. The canyon is home to some of the park’s most iconic landmarks, including the Great White Throne, Angels Landing, and The Narrows. The Narrows is a narrow slot canyon that can only be explored by hiking through the Virgin River, making it a unique and memorable experience for visitors.
What To Do in Zion National Park
Other locations within Zion National Park that people can visit include Kolob Canyons, located in the northern section of the park, and the East and West Rims. Kolob Canyons is a series of colorful sandstone canyons that offer stunning views and hiking opportunities, while the East and West Rims offer panoramic views of the park’s diverse landscapes. Visitors can also explore a network of trails that range from easy strolls to challenging hikes, or take a scenic drive along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, which provides access to some of the park’s most popular landmarks and overlooks.
Where To Stay in Zion National Park
The park’s main campground, South Campground, provides 127 campsites with access to drinking water, flush toilets, and a dump station. The Watchman Campground offers 176 campsites, including RV sites with electrical hookups, and is situated near the park’s visitor center. For those seeking a more luxurious stay, Zion Lodge offers cabins and hotel rooms nestled in the heart of the park.