Summer is the perfect time to get out of the house and explore. From day hikes to mountain climbing, and from backcountry camping to scenic drives the US National Parks have you covered.
The United States has over 60 national parks. So which are the best ones? It all depends on what you are looking to do. To help aid with your summer get out of the house plans, here are the 10 best national parks in the USA.
10. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Parks
Hawai’i is one of the most secluded places on Earth, and Hawai’i Volcanoes National Parks is one of the best national parks in the US.
Located over 2,000 miles from the nearest continent, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Parks allows access to Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes. Witness the birth of cinder cones, rivers of lava, and fountains of spatter before your very eyes.
If volcanoes aren’t your thing, explore the fauna and flora of Hawai’i. Over 90% of the plants and animals in Hawai’i are only native to these islands – that’s more than the Galapagos Islands!
9. Acadia National Park
When thinking about national parks in USA, don’t forget about Maine! Acadia National Park covers 47,000 acres of mountains, woodlands, and rugged New England coastline.
Acadia was created when 9,000’ deep glaciers carved into the North American continent. This erosion and evolution continues today, leaving behind valleys, lakes, glacial polish, and kettle ponds.
While at Acadia National Park, be sure to visit Mount Desert Island (pronounced more like dessert than desert). Mount Desert is the second largest island on the eastern coast, and contains Cadillac Mountain (the highest point in the North Atlantic) and the seven miles long Somes Sound.
8. Denali National Park
If you are looking for the highest point in the United States then you need to head to Denali National Park. At 20,320 feet, Mount McKinley (or Denali as the locals call it) is certainly a sight, but Denali National Park is more than just a mountain.
Denali National Park encompasses 6 million acres and includes a complete sub-arctic ecosystem. If your goal is to go mountaineering, backpacking, or to try to get a view of a Grizzly Bear, Denali National Park is clearly one of the best american national parks.
7. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
Most US national parks give you something amazing to see. Few others provide the range of sights like Sequoia and Kings Canyons National Parks. With an elevation change from 1,500’ to 14,491’ the two parks provide a vast range of habitats to explore.
Above ground explore the Sequoia groves. Among them is the largest tree in the world, the General Sherman Tree. These trees grow only on the Western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and nothing else compares. You can also backpack the John Muir Trail, that takes you to the summit of Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in California. If you don’t like heights, instead of up, head down Crystal Cave. The half-mile loop provides wondrous views of a marble cavern.
6. Arches National Park
One of the best national parks in the USA, Arches National Park is perfect for those looking for a weekend hike or few hours diversion from the highway. Located in the desert-like Colorado Plateau, the national park contains over 2,000 catalogued arches, many of which can be witnessed on a gorgeous 18-mile scenic drive.
For longer trips stay at Devil’s Canyon Campground. Then head out to see Landscape Arch, Delicate Arch, or any of the other arches, fins, and spires created from the park lying atop the Paradox Formation.