In the late 19th century, then United States President, Theodore Roosevelt, campaigned heavily for the protection of natural resources in his country and because of his efforts, people decades later, were able to enjoy and experience the same natural beauty he once did. These seven best US National Parks to visit are some of the best and most picturesque. They also highlight the country’s environmental diversity.
7 Best US National Parks to Visit
Yosemite National Park
Why go? Yosemite National Park is one of the most photographs places in the world. Stare upwards at the summit of the imposing El Capitan and then hike up the viewpoint at Glacier Point to get a bird’s eye view of the Half Dome and the park’s many waterfalls. It is also one of the most diverse landscapes in the country with mountain peaks, riverbeds, vast meadowlands, and a dense giant sequoia forest.
Travel tip: Dress in layers since weather can be temperamental.
Location: Sierra Nevada, California
Grand Canyon National Park
Why go? Seeing this vast hole created over millions of years by erosion makes you appreciate and respect the power of nature even more. Grand Canyon National Park is truly a spectacular sight, not only for its size, but also for its intimate details that the person can only see if he or she takes the time to examine. Every layer of rock tells a story.
Travel tip: Go on a hike towards the Colorado River and take on its mighty rapids.
Location: Northern Arizona, about four and a half hours east of Las Vegas
Shenandoah National Park
Why go? This is one of the best US National Parks worth visiting, particularly during the autumn foliage. Shenandoah National Park is also the only national park in the United States that has a scenic road that traverses the entire length of the park.
Travel tip: Use Skyline Drive as a starting point when exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway but make sure to take in a hike or two during your trip. There are plenty of short trails for hiking accessible from the viewpoint stops.
Location: Western Virginia, about an hour and half west of Washington, D.C.
Gettysburg National Military Park
Why go? Relive the moment that many consider was the turning point of the American Civil War at Gettysburg National Military Park and pay respects to tens of thousands of men who lost their lives during the three-day Battle of Gettysburg. Also, follow the path that beloved president Abraham Lincoln took, right before he delivered the Gettysburg Address, one of the most famous and influential speeches ever spoken.
Travel tip: Stay the night and explore the charming rural town of Gettysburg. Check out the historic houses turned inns and go on a ghost tour. Many say that the spirits of Civil War soldiers remain afloat around town.
Location: An hour south of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Arches National Park
Why go? Arches National Park is where you go to see how nature makes art. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches and summits that will certainly blow your mind away. The arches were formed by wind and water erosions and are unique geological formations.
Travel tip: Get a motorhome rental and drive the 18-mile scenic drive, perfect for those that do not have plenty of time to explore or are visiting during the hot summer months.
Location: Three and half hours southeast of Salt Lake City, Utah
Yellowstone National Park
Why go? If I can only pick one of the US National Parks worth visiting, I’d probably go with Yellowstone National Park. It has the largest concentration of geysers in the world, with one particularly famous one, Old Faithful. Yellowstone National Park is the first national park established in the United States and the best one to observe all sorts of wildlife that are distinctive to the United States and much of North America.
Travel tip: Plan your to stay at least two to three days and combine it with a visit to Grand Teton National Park.
Location: Northwest Wyoming, about an hour north of Jackson, Wyoming
Glacier National Park
North America’s Switzerland lies right on the border of the province of Alberta in Canada and state of Montana in the United States. Glacier National Park is that wonderful landscape made up of towering rugged peaks, glacier-carved valleys, and untouched alpine meadows. Anyone who wants to experience nature at its finest and escape the hustle and bustle of daily life will definitely find solace in this national park.
Going-to-the-Sun-Road is the popular east-to-west scenic route within the park that is suitable for driving and cycling but there is also a free shuttle that tourists can take if they prefer to simply enjoy the views without the hassle of navigating. Also, fishing enthusiasts will be pleased to hear that licenses aren’t required to fish in the park.
Three hours south of Calgary, Alberta