From soaring mountains to spectacular desert landscapes and ocean views, national parks in the U.S. have much to offer. When you’re looking for an exciting and memorable place to go for your next vacation, consider visiting a national park or two.
America’s Best National Parks
These parks are open all year round and provide plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, no matter when you go. Here are some of the top US national parks to look into for your next trip.
Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park in northwestern Wyoming offers just under 500 square miles of scenic areas to explore. The Teton Mountains, Jackson Lake, Jenny Lake, and Snake River are some of the biggest draws for park visitors.
Kayaking, hiking, and whitewater rafting are just a few of the activities to enjoy. The park also has historic sites to visit, including Mormon Row Historic District and Menors Ferry Historic District. Park visitors also have a chance to see bison, elk, moose and other local wildlife.
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California provides a great chance to see some of the tallest trees in the world, including the famous General Sherman Tree.
Visitors can hike along trails to take in these impressive views. Other activities that are available in the park include horseback riding, fishing, climbing and snowshoeing. The park also offers scenic drives, such as the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, as well as waterfalls, meadows, and caves to explore.
Grand Canyon National Park
Located in the northwestern part of Arizona, Grand Canyon National Park offers stunning views of this natural wonder. Visit the South Rim to hike along the Bright Angel Trail and explore Grand Canyon Village, which provides amenities such as restaurants and shops.
The North Rim offers a more secluded visit for those who want to hike more challenging trails or camp in the great outdoors. Helicopter tours of the area are also available for visitors who want a bird’s-eye view of the Grand Canyon.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, straddling the border between Tennessee and North Carolina, is the ideal place to go for beautiful views, thrilling outdoor adventures, and more. The park spans half a million acres, which includes over 800 miles of hiking trails and over 2,000 miles of streams and other waters.
Visitors can head to Cades Cove for mountain views, historic buildings, and a chance to see black bears and other wildlife. With hundreds of luxury Gatlinburg cabins in the surrounding foothills available year-round, visitors can find a scenic and comfortable place to rest after a day of outdoor fun.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park stretches across parts of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. The park offers more than 2 million acres of scenic sights and areas for outdoor activities. Visitors can wander through valleys, hike mountain trails, stroll along lakeshores, and see hot springs and geysers.
Those who come to this park also have a chance to see bison and other wildlife. Notable places to visit in the park include Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake and Hayden Valley.
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island in Maine, known as the Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast, provides visitors with a chance to explore forests and mountains while also enjoying views of the Atlantic Ocean.
The park has 158 miles of trails, as well as 27 miles of historic roads and 45 miles of carriage roads. Activities that are available include bird watching, biking, swimming, boating and hiking. Visitors can also check out tide pools and see historic gatehouses, lighthouses, fire towers and monuments.
Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park in southern Florida gives visitors a subtropical environment filled with wetlands and wildlife. Hiking, canoeing, kayaking and camping are some of the activities visitors can enjoy in the park.
Both saltwater and freshwater fishing are also available. Those who visit the Everglades can see roseate spoonbills, alligators and other wildlife species that make their home in this area. Adventurous visitors can go slogging, or off-trail hiking, to get better views of the park’s plants and wildlife.
White Sands National Park
White Sands National Park in southern New Mexico offers picturesque views of gypsum sand dunes. The park has trails available for hiking through the dune field for a closer look at the white sands.
Dunes Drive provides an easier way to explore the area for those who prefer taking scenic drives to hiking on foot. Sledding on the dunes is also available, as well as backcountry camping and picnicking. Visitors can stop by the historic Visitor Center to learn more about the area.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana has alpine meadows and scenic lakes to explore, along with mountains and forests. The park offers more than 700 miles of hiking trails, as well as fishing, cross-country skiing, boating, river camping and other activities.