Best National Parks in the United States

These are some of the most amazing places we've ever been and they just happen to be US national parks. You have heard of each of these parks but there is a good reason for that. Visit any of these national parks and you'll know why visitors talk so fondly of them. Each one is unique to it geography, landscape, geology, and flora and fauna. Contrast Arches with Denali with Acadia and you will understand why all these parks offer a unique experience of its own and deserve to be on a best national parks list.


Yosemite National Park (1890) - California
Yosemite National Park overs an area of 761,268 acres and reaches across the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain chain in California. Over 3.7 million people visit Yosemite each year and spend most of their time in Yosemite Valley. Yosemite is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, Giant Sequoia groves, and biological diversity.  More...

Glacier National Park (1910) - Montana
Glacier National Park is located in Montana, bordering the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. The park encompasses over 1,000,000 acres and includes parts of two mountain ranges, over 130 named lakes, more than 1,000 different species of plants and hundreds of species of animals. Glacier NP was designated as the world's first International Peace Park in 1932. More...

Acadia National Park (1919) - Maine
Acadia National Park was the First National Park East of the Mississippi River. People have been drawn to the rugged coast of Maine throughout history. Awed by its beauty and diversity, early 20th-century visionaries donated the land that became Acadia NP. Today visitors come to Acadia to hike granite peaks, bike historic carriage roads, or relax and enjoy the scenery.
More...

      

Zion National Park (1918) - Utah
In 1909, U.S. President  Taft named the area a National monument  under the name of Mukuntuweap National Monument. However, in 1918, the changed the park's name to Zion. A prominent feature of the 229-square-mile park is Zion Canyon, 15 miles long and up to half a mile deep, cut through the reddish and tan-colored Navajo Sandstone by the Virgin River. More...

 

Grand Teton National Park (1929) - Wyoming  
Located in northwestern Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park preserves a spectacular landscape rich with majestic mountains, pristine lakes and extraordinary wildlife. The abrupt vertical rise of the jagged Teton Range contrasts with the horizontal sage-covered valley and glacial lakes at their base, creating world-renowned scenery that attracts nearly four million visitors per year.  More...

     

Denali National Park & Preserve features North America's highest mountain, 20,320 ft Denali (as Alaskans call it) or Mount Mckinley. The Alaska Range also includes countless other mountains and many large glaciers. Denali's more than 6 million acres also encompass a complete sub-arctic eco-system with large mammals such as grizzly bears, wolves, Dall sheep, and moose. More...

 

Arches National Park (1971) - Utah
Arches National Park preserves over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, like the world-famous Delicate Arch, and other unusual rock formations. In some areas, the forces of nature have exposed millions of years of geologic history. The extraordinary features of the park create a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures that is unlike any other in the world. 
More...

 

Grand Canyon National Park (1919) - Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park encompasses 1,218,375 acres and lies on the Colorado Plateau. The land is semi-arid and consists of raised plateaus and structural basins typical of the southwest. Drainage systems have cut deeply through the rock, forming numerous steep-walled canyons. Forests are found at higher elevations while the lower elevations are comprised of a series of desert basins.
More...

   

Yellowstone National Park (1872) - Idaho, Wyoming, Montana
Yellowstone National Park, established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872, is a national park located primarily in  Wyoming, though it also extends into Montana and Idaho. Yellowstone was the first national park in the world, and is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful Geyser. More...

   

Rocky Mountain National Park (1915) - Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park is located in north-central Colorado. It features majestic mountain views, a variety of wildlife, varied climates and environments—from wooded forests to mountain tundra—and easy access to back-country trails and campsites. The park is located northwest of Boulder and includes the Continental Divide and the headwaters of the Colorado River.  More...


Honorable Mention


Carlsbad Caverns - New Mexico

As you pass through the Chihuahuan Desert and Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico and west Texas—filled with prickly pear, chollas, sotols and agaves—you might never guess there are more than 300 known caves beneath the surface. The park contains 113 of these caves, formed when sulfuric acid dissolved the surrounding limestone, creating some of the largest caves in North America. 

 

Mount Rushmore National Monument - South Dakota
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is host to almost three million visitors a year from across the country and around the world. They come to marvel at the majestic beauty of the Black Hills and to learn about the ideals of democracy and freedom represented by the granite portraits of Washington, Jefferson, T. Roosevelt, and Lincoln. Over the decades, Mount Rushmore has grown in fame as a symbol of America-a symbol of freedom and democracy and a hope for people from all cultures and backgrounds.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park - Tennessee & North Carolina

Great Smoky Mountains National Park preserves a rich cultural tapestry of Southern Appalachian history. The mountains have had a long human history spanning thousands of years—from the prehistoric Paleo Indians to early European settlement in the 1800s to loggers and Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees in the 20th century. This park strives to protect the historic structures, landscapes, and artifacts that tell the varied stories of people who once called these mountains home.  Great Smoky Mountain Park Lodging
 
Complete Listing of National Parks, Battlefields, Seashores, Preserves and Historical Sites