Instead of traveling internationally this year, we have the opportunity to explore the variety and natural beauty of the United States in its National Parks. You can probably name the big ones, but did you know that the US is home to 62 different National Parks that, on a normal year, bring an average of 300 million visitors a year? That’s a lot to take in. Not to worry though, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best national parks to add to your bucket list this year. Let’s get road-trippin!
Yosemite is California’s most visited National Park, year after year. The views simply cannot be beaten. There are powerful waterfalls, towering sequoia trees, iconic cliffs, and many species of wildlife to view from a safe and respectful distance. It’s most popular landmarks are the Half Dome and popular rock climbing site El Capitan. If you choose to visit Yosemite, get ready to get your hike on. It’s also good to keep in mind that Yosemite gets an average of 4 million visitors a year, so you might want to plan your trip for a less crowded time of year. May and September are ideal, as you’ll miss summer vacationers, but the majority of the park’s trails won’t be covered in snow.
Say hello to the first-ever official National Park, located in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho and spanning 2.2 million acres. If you choose to visit Yellowstone, you can expect to see incredible multi-colored pools, hot springs, thick forests, open meadows, geysers, canyons and so much more. Yellowstone is also known for its incredible wildlife including bison, elk, wolves, and grizzly bears.
Glacier National Park
Another gorgeous Montana gem, Glacier National Park sits in the Rocky Mountains at the border of the United States and Canada. Glacier is home to more than 200 waterfalls, 700+ lakes, and as many miles of hiking trails. It is pretty much guaranteed that you will always have something to do and explore in this geological playground.
The Grand Canyon is one of the most famous National Parks in the United States and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to the National Park Service, it measures 277 miles in length, up to 18 miles in width, and is over a mile deep at its deepest point. The Grand Canyon is located in Northern Arizona and is a sight that cannot be missed. It is extremely popular, with about 6 million visitors per year, so make sure to plan your trip accordingly. The South Rim tends to be much more crowded, so if you are looking for a more secluded trip it is best to head to the North Rim.
Zion National Park
Zion is most well known for its incredible red rock formations. It is located in Utah and welcomes about 4 million visitors a year. This park is extremely accessible and is just a short drive from Las Vegas or Salt Lake City. While you are there, you can enjoy hiking, camping, rock climbing, canyoneering, horseback riding, or bicycling! Zion has something to offer everyone, from easy scenic loops to renowned big-wall rock climbing to possibly the most dangerous hike in the world.