We are so lucky to have so many beautiful national parks here in the USA! Planning a trip to a National Park is a great option if you want to get away and enjoy some time in nature — Especially right now during a pandemic. Here’s a roundup of the 12 most beautiful national parks in the USA, from Hawaii to Maine!
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1. Zion National Park
This gem of the southwest is characterized by distinct red rock features interspersed with the shimmering Virgin River. The 2,000-foot sandstone cliffs make Zion National Park a hot rock-climbing destination, but this park is great for all sorts of outdoor activities. Enjoy a wide variety of hikes, go tubing in the river, or enjoy stargazing from the canyon campgrounds.
2. Yosemite National Park
Nestled in the glorious Sierra Nevada mountains, Yosemite National Park beckons visitors from all over the world to see the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome. Watch world-class rock climbers try to conquer these walls, visit some of the world’s oldest sequoia trees, or enjoy the charm of Yosemite Village while you’re there.
3. Canyonlands & Arches National Park
4. Rocky Mountain National Park
Spanning the USA’s continental divide in Colorado and encompassing gorgeous alpine tundra, old-growth forests, and expansive mountains, Rocky Mountain National Park is not one to miss. Camp in the park for a chance to see wildlife like bears, elk, and even moose. Or, stay in the infamous Stanley Hotel just outside of the park in Estes Park.
5. Yellowstone National Park
Founded in 1872, Yellowstone is the oldest national park in the US. This national park is made unique by the fact that it sits on top of a volcanic hot spot. Be amazed by the technicolor hues of the sulphuric hot springs, see some wildlife, and explore the canyons and lush rivers of Yellowstone National Park.
6. Grand Teton National Park
If you’re going to visit Yellowstone National Park, consider tacking this park onto your trip as well. Located just south of Yellowstone by about two hours, Grand Teton National Park is well-loved for its lush valleys, stunning and abrupt Teton mountain range, and all the wildlife that lives there. Visit in the summer for sunny hiking and the winter for some killer skiing in nearby Jackson Hole.
6. Glacier National Park
Located just below the Canadian border, Glacier National Park is an absolutely stunning wilderness area dedicated to protecting ancient glacier formations and alpine forests. This is a great national park for avid hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, as the park is filled with long, strenuous hikes of stunning vistas and an abundance of wildlife. Just from the photos below, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it made the list of most beautiful national parks in the USA.
8. Grand Canyon National Park
I couldn’t make a list of the most beautiful national parks in the USA and not include this famous natural landmark! Grand Canyon National Park is home to millions of years worth of exposed geological history: the famous layered bands of rock that form the awe-inspiring canyons leading down to the Colorado River.
9. Denali National Park
Encompassing a whopping 6 million acres of Alaskan wilderness, Denali National Park is home to North America’s tallest peak as well as heaps of wildlife like grizzly bears, wolves, and caribou. This park is a top destination for mountaineers and those who prefer their outdoors a little more rugged.
10. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the entire country, and for good reason. This national park encompasses a large stretch of the Appalachian mountains, and has all sorts of outdoor activities for every age and ability level. Enjoy the scenery from Cades Cove Loop road, watch the synchronous fireflies light up on a spring night, or even hike a section of the famous Appalachian Trail.
11. Acadia National Park
As one of the eastern-most parts of the US, Acadia National Park is the first part of the country to be touched by each morning’s sunrise. Nicknamed the Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast, Acadia gets over 3.5 million visitors every year! It boasts 27 miles of scenic roads, 158 miles of hiking trails, and 45 miles of carriage roads.
12. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park
This national park on the big island of Hawaii is home to two of the world’s largest active volcanoes: Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park extends from sea level to an insane 13,667 feet and is the perfect spot to witness natural steam vents, drive over real hardened lava, and explore one of the most unique geological and biological landscapes in the world.
Have you been to any of these Most Beautiful National Parks in the USA before? Any favorites of yours that I’ve left off this list? Let me know in the comments below, or feel free to DM me on Instagram!