Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (2023)

Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on Email

Spring is here and summer is around the corner, meaning it’s time for road trips to America’s prized national parks. People come from all over the world to witness these natural wonders. However, tracking down bucket list-worthy destinations can be a daunting task. So, we’ve rounded up the best national parks in the USA from travel experts who share the top things to see and do at each destination. Read on to start planning your next national park road adventure.

1. Blue Ridge Parkway

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (1)

Image Credit: appalachianview
/Depositphotos.com.

Winding through the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Virginia, the Blue Ridge Parkway connects Shenandoah National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Many people flock to the Parkway in the fall for the gorgeous foliage but spring and summer bring wildflowers, mild temperatures, and beautiful waterfall hikes.

Hiking or picnicking at the overlooks are popular activities but you’ll also want to stop and explore some of the small towns off the parkway.

Stop to hike at Devil’s Courthouse, Craggy Gardens, Linville Falls, or Crabtree Falls in North Carolina. Make sure you check out things to do in Black Mountain, Blowing Rock, or West Jefferson.

On the Virginia side, stop at Mabry Mill, Chateau Morrisette Winery and Vineyard, and Peaks of Otter. Lexington, Roanoke, and Waynesboro are great cute towns a short distance from the Parkway.

Be sure to pack a picnic blanket, hammocks, and your camera for the drive!

By Anna | Stuck On The Go

2. Crater Lake

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (2)

Image Credit: wollertz/Depositphotos.com.

Crater Lake is located in southwestern Oregon. It is the deepest lake in the United States at 1,943 ft. The water is the most magnificent blue. The best time of year to visit is July through September. Make sure to do the Rim Trail by car or via the park trolley (reserve in advance).

There are a lot of hikes to do, but if you want to say you’ve “done” the park, try the Cleetwood Cove hike that takes you down to the lake. The boat is a fantastic way to get a better look into the crystal-clear water and get a completely different perspective from what you see riding around the rim. The ascent back is deceptively tough – take your time, wear shoes with good traction, and bring plenty of water.

By Chrissy Trotter | Destined Globetrotter

3. Olympic National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (3)

Image Credit: emilymwilson@comcast.net/Depositphotos.com.

Olympic National Park is one of the most unique, diverse, and beautiful national parks in the US. Located across the Puget Sound from Seattle (about a 2-hour drive), it’s a relatively easy location to access.

Spring and summer are the best times to visit as the weather will be mild and drier.November through April bring the rainy season. As the home of the only mainland US rainforest, it is lush, green and even covered in beautiful carpets of moss in areas like the Hoh Rainforest.

Waterfalls like Marymere Falls and Madison Falls are relatively easy to hike to, making it great for many abilities.The beaches are gorgeous and covered in smooth rocks.

Go from sea level to 6,000+ feet all in the same park by visiting Hurricane Ridge.This alpine location has gorgeous views and unique hikes.

By Megan |Letsjetkids.com

4. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (4)

Image Credit: digidream/Depositphotos.com.

Sitting on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an oasis of lush forests, incredible wildflowers, and stunning waterfalls that span an incredible 522,419 acres of land.

Just be sure to fly into McGee-Tyson Airport near Knoxville, Tennessee, and drive to the park from there.

Upon arrival, be sure to tackle sections of the Appalachian Trail, like an 8-mile stretch that takes you to Cherlie’s Bunion, before visiting the Newfound Gap near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

You could also do the Alum Cave Trail and visit the Alum Cave Bluffs and Arch Rock as you climb to the summit.

Afterward, visit Clingsmans Dome and admire stunning views from the highest mountain in the area, which sits at 6,644 feet tall. You can drive to the top any time between May and November.

Also, visit in October since the weather will be cooler. The fall foliage is absolutely stunning.

By Victoria | Southern Trippers

5. Big Bend National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (5)

Image Credit: theraja/Depositphotos.com.

No list of the best national parks would be complete without Big Bend National Park. It’s located in southwest Texas, kind of in the middle of nowhere. So, if you are looking to get away from it all and experience gorgeous desert mountain scenery – this is the place!

Spring and fall are the best times to visit when temperatures are mild. Summer in Big Bend can be swelteringly hot and should be avoided unless you really like it hot. No reservations are needed to access the park.

Hiking should be at the top of your Big Bend to-do list. The Window Trail winds through the valley- black bears are frequently seen. Lost Mine Trail leads you high up into the mountains with incredible views at the top.

Lodging in the park is very limited, but there aremany greatplaces to stayin the surrounding area. Be sure to book well in advance.

By Jody Phifer | My Travel Obsession

6. Acadia National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (6)

Image Credit: appalachianview/Depositphotos.com.

AcadiaNational Park is the most popular destination in New England, and for good reason.It’s home to some of the most iconic coastline views in the region, and offers breathtaking hiking, gorgeous nature trails and even a scenic restaurant.

If it’s thrills you’re looking for, you’ll want to head straight to the Beehive Trail, which offers some of the best bird’s eye views in the park.

One of the most epic things to do in Acadia is to wake up early for sunrise at the Cadillac Mountain Summit. Take the auto road for the easiest option, and experience one of the first places you can see the sun in the US!

Be sure to walk Ocean Path for views of the famous Otter Cliffs, and squeeze in lunch at Jordan Pond House for their popovers(and more views of the mountains). And definitely don’t leave without driving Park Loop Road.

By Sam | New England Wanderlust

7. Rocky Mountain National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (7)

Image Credit: sizet/Depositphotos.com.

Located outside Estes Park, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the best national parks in the USA. It is only a 90-minute drive from the Denver International Airport (DIA).

It’s the fourth most visited national park in the United States and is home to incredible alpine scenery that can be seen from Trail Ridge Road. In fact, this is the highest continuous paved road in the country sitting at an elevation of 12,183 feet. Be sure to stop at Many Parks Curve, Forest Canyon Overlook, and Fairview Curve during this incredible, 48-mile drive.

Next, enjoy local hikes like Sky Pond, Dream Lake, Longs Peak, and Bear Lake.

Just know that you’ll need a timed entry permit when visiting the park between May 26 to October 22, 2023. However, permits cost $2.00 and week-long passes cost $30.

Additionally, try to visit between mid-June and September since the weather is comfortable and the park’s main attractions will be open.

By Meg | Fox in the Forest

8. Dry Tortugas National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (8)

Image Credit: sergey.miami2you.com/Depositphotos.com.

Dry Tortugas is a one-of-a-kind national park that includes seven islands located 70 miles off the coast of Key West.

Therefore, to visit the park you need to fly into Key West and then grab a ride aboard the Yankee Freedom III Ferry. Tickets typically cost $190 per adult and include lunch.

And while the journey takes two hours, it’s worth it to visit gorgeous coral reefs, the historic Fort Jefferson, and to take in iconic views at South Swim Beach.Afterward, you can snorkel at Moat Wall, and see if you can spot sea turtles that regularly visit the area.Next, rent a kayak and paddle to Loggerhead Key before enjoying even more snorkeling at Garden Key.

And while there is no bad time to visit this park, February through April and October through November are great times to visit since crowds are small and the weather is mild.

By Victoria | Southern Trippers

9. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (9)

Image Credit: kamchatka/Depositphotos.com.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is on the Big Island of Hawaii and is home to two active volcanoes Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. Visitors can explore Volcanoes Park themselves or take avolcano tour from Konaor Hilo.

The most popular attraction of the park is the active Kilauea Volcano which erupts within the Halema’uma’u crater. The Volcanoes Park has several hiking trails like the Kilauea Iki trail which involves walking on a former lava lake inside a volcano crater. There are several scenic drives to enjoy such as Crater Rim Drive and Chain of Craters Road. The Thurston Lava Tube is a huge cave formed by volcanic activity.

Any time of the year is great to visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, but the busy tourist season is during the summer and winter months.

By Anu Agarwal | Destination Checkoff

10. Hot Springs National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (10)

Image Credit: zrfphoto/Depositphotos.com.

Though not your typical nature-infused park, Hot Springs National Park is an urban park and is considered one of the oldest in America. Located in the Ouachita Mountains of Hot Springs, Arkansas, you can enjoy the natural hot springs along the historic Bathhouse Row. Two bathhouses are available for soaking: The Quapaw Bathhouse and Buckstaff Bathhouse.

Be sure to walk the Grand Promenade trail behind Bathhouse Row. You’ll also want to make time for a rootbeer float at Superior Bathhouse. They make their brews from the natural spring water, and it’s the only brewery in all of the national parks.

There are so many things to do in Hot Springs. Be sure to add it to your national park bucket list!

By Ashlee Fechino | The Happiness Function

11. Mount Rainer National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (11)

Image Credit: jamcgraw/Depositphotos.com.

Mount Rainier is the highest peak in Washington state. It stands tall at 14,411 feet. Although Mount RainierNationalPark is open year-round, thebesttime to visit is the late summer to early fall. In the late summer, visitors can take in the park’s stunning wildflower meadows, crystal-clear lakes, and alpine vistas. This season offers ample opportunities for wildlife viewing, bird watching,hiking, and camping. There are over 260 miles of trails to explore ranging from easy walks to challenging alpine hikes.

As fall arrives, the park’s foliage explodes into an array of colors, and the crowds begin to disperse. While summer and early fall offer the most favorable weather and access to facilities, each season in the park has a unique charm for recreational opportunities. So, you can visit and experience the park’s beauty and activities all year round.

By Tammi Kaeberlein | Wander Healthy

12. Grand Teton National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (12)

Image Credit: haveseen/Depositphotos.com.

Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming is located just south of Yellowstone National Park. The park is full of gorgeous scenery with soaring mountains, beautiful lakes, and plenty of wildlife.

One of the best things do in Grand Teton National Park is drive the 42-mile scenic loop route through the heart of the park. The road has plenty of turnouts where you can stop to admire jaw-dropping views.

Another must-do activity is the boat cruise on Jenny Lake. It gives you up-close views of the Teton mountains and the guides do a great job of explaining the local history and culture. The cruise also drops you off at the trailhead for one of the best short and easy hikes in the park: Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls.

Since it is high in the Rocky Mountains, May through September are the best times to visit since those months are typically snow-free.

By Taryn Eyton | HappiestOutdoors.ca

13. Joshua Tree National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (13)

Image Credit: lunamarina/Depositphotos.com.

Located about an hour away from the Southern California resort city of Palm Springs is Joshua Tree National Park. This is one of the best national parks to visit as it offers visitors incredible views of the Mojave Desert.

One of the main attractions at Joshua Tree are the larger-than-life jumbo rocks. Witnessing these towering rock formations in person will leave you speechless. Visitors can climb or scramble on top of them to see sweeping views of the striking desert landscape.

If you prefer to stay on the ground, consider hiking one of the many trails. Two crowd favorites with great sightseeing opportunities include the Hidden Valley Nature Trail and Arch Rock Nature Trail.

For those interested in visiting, the best time to visit is the fall and spring, when the area experiences beautiful weather with mild temperatures.

By Kristin | Global Travel Escapades

14. Denali National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (14)

Image Credit: NationalParked/Depositphotos.com.

DenaliNationalPark should be on everynationalpark bucket list. Not only is it home to the largest mountain in the US, but the park’s vast wilderness is an important reminder of humanity’s relative smallness.

There is so muchtosee and do in Denaliincluding witnessing Alaska’s Big 5: bear, moose, caribou, Dall sheep, and wolves. To protect the ecosystem, private vehicles are restricted after mile 15 so don’t plan on driving.

If your budget isn’t a concern, plan a once-in-a-lifetime flight over the park to see Mt. Denali. Or reserve a ride on one of Denali’s daily bus tours to go beyond mile 15. However you see Denali, its stunning beauty will not disappoint.

Summer is the main season to explore the park. Buses run from the end of May until mid-September. Due to the short visiting season, reservations are recommended to book campsites, bus rides, and hotels.

By Faith | 3Ticketsplease.com

15. Arches National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (15)

Image Credit: jose1983/Depositphotos.com.

Arches National Park is one of the best national parks in the US. Hidden away in the red rocks of Utah, it’s a destination full of adventure and fun.There are so many things to do in Arches!

The park can be explored in a variety of ways. Take a scenic drive, or hike as you make your way through one of the park’s legendary trails. Delicate Arch and Balanced Rock are two highlights you definitely don’t want to miss.

Due to the desert climate, spring is the best time of year to plan your trip to Arches. The weather can still be a bit brisk in the early mornings and evenings at this time of year, but the days will be perfect.Plan a fun getaway to the rugged, outdoor paradise that is Arches National Park.

By Candice | GS Ginger

16. Everglades National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (16)

Image Credit: seqoya/Depositphotos.com.

The Everglades National Park is full of Florida wildlife and wonder.This park is about four hours south of Clearwater and less than an hour west of Miami. November through April are the best times of year to plan a visit.

There are three entrances to the park: Shark Valley, Homestead and Everglades City. The park is so varied, that visitors will have entirely different experiences at each location.

Everglades City is a wonderful place to experience the water and paddle around in a kayak. Biking is an amazing way to experience Shark Valley. You might spot alligators along the way. Ranger tours and, of course, the Anhinga Trail, where you’re almost guaranteed to see alligators and water-wading birds, are highlights of the Homestead location.Enjoy the magnificence of the Everglades!

By Candice | Exploring the Gulf

17. Yosemite National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (17)

Image Credit: lunamarina/Depositphotos.com.

Yosemite National Park is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range in central California. It’s one of the most visited national parks in the US. Yosemite is famous for its El Capitan and Half Dome summits.

When visiting Yosemite National Park, don’t miss the breathtaking views from Glacier Point. If you’re a hiker, use the Panorama Trail from Glacier Point to Curry Village. It’s a hard 8.5-mile hike with a 3,200 feet descent, but it’s so worth it. The views are amazing, and you’ll see a few of Yosemite’s waterfalls including Yosemite Falls, Mist Falls and Nevada Falls.

Then, the Mariposa Grove area is worth a visit where you can see impressive ancient Sequoia Trees. The Big Trees Loop Trail and Grizzly Giant Loop Trail allow you to walk through the giant Sequoias.

Note that reservations are not needed in 2023 (like the last two years).

By Emilie | Love Life Abroad

18. Yellowstone National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (18)

Image Credit: lorcel/Depositphotos.com.

YellowstoneNationalPark is one of the oldest parks in the US. The park is large and located in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.

People from all over the world visit Yellowstone to see its geothermal features, especially the famous Old Faithful geyser and the beautiful Grand Prismatic Spring.

Wildlife is another reason to visit Yellowstone. Some wildlife you’ll see here include bison, elk, moose, grizzly bears, and wolves.Thebesttime of the year to visit Yellowstone is during the summer because the weather is at itsbestand all the park roads and facilities are open.Summer is especially great for thosetraveling to Yellowstone with kids.

By Kim Swanson | Traveling Swansons

19. Mammoth Cave National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (19)

image credit: iStock.com/zrfphoto.

Mammoth Cave National Park is located about 1.5 hours south of Louisville, Kentucky. You can visit this park year-round, but the best time to schedule a trip is during the summer or fall. The park provides everything you need, including cottages, campgrounds, a hotel, and a restaurant, so you can truly relax during your vacation.

Most people travel here just to tour the cave and forget to enjoy the rest of the park. When you visit, make sure you take the time to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the hiking trails. The trails can be a bit confusing, so it is recommended to carry a trail map.

Highlights include two springs, the Green River Bluffs, and several historic churches and cemeteries.

Cave tour reservations are recommended but not required. Mammoth Cave National Park is also one of the few dog-friendly national parks, so your whole family can come!

By Tiffany | Pennies, Places, and Paws

20. New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (20)

Image Credit: steveheap/Depositphotos.com.

New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia is one of the newest additions to the National Park Service. The New River is one of the oldest rivers on the continent.

Located near Fayetteville, WV, there are four visitor centers for the park, two of which are seasonal. However, October is considered the best time of year to visit. Not only is the fall foliage on full display in mid to late October, but also, the third Saturday in October is Bridge Day at the New River Gorge. Bridge Day is when the brave and daring base jump from the steel arch bridge into the gorge!

There is something for everyone at New River Gorge, including whitewater rafting, hiking, ziplining, and traversing the catwalk under the steel arch bridge spanning the New River Gorge. Some activities require a reservation, but not all.

By Audra | The Nerd Traveler

21. Death Valley National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (21)

Image Credit: oscity/Depositphotos.com.

Death ValleyNationalPark is one of the most fascinating and unique destinations in the US. Located in both California and Nevada, Death Valley covers over three million acres.

Death Valleyis an incredible natural beauty and wonder, with diverse and otherworldly landscapes. You can explore rolling sand dunes, a massive volcanic crater, rainbow-colored mountains, panoramic views of the golden badlands, and much more.

A pro tip is to visit Badwater Basin at sunset. Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America and offers expansive views of the salt flats. Enjoy the mesmerizing hues of orange, pink, and purple reflecting on the surface of the honeycomb salt flats.

Death Valley experiences scorching hot summers. To avoid the unbearable heat, the best time to visit is mid-October through mid-March. Death Valley is a one-of-a-kind destination and worth a visit!

By Alisha| Travel Today Work Tomorrow

22. Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (22)

Image Credit: digidream/Depositphotos.com.

Cape HatterasNationalSeashore protects the barrier islands of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Composed of parts ofBodie Island, Hatteras Island, and Ocracoke Island, the Outer Banks is full of natural and historical intrigue.

Ocracoke Islandcan only be reached by ferry and was home to Blackbeard, the infamous pirate. Be sure to visit the wild ponies cared for by the National Park Service on the island.

Thebesttime to visit the islands is in the summer for water activities on the miles of silky sand beaches. Swimming, surfing, kiteboarding, windsurfing, and fishing are popular. Nature lovers will enjoy the hiking trails, shell collecting on the beach, or kayaking through the salt marshes or surf. Ocean front campgrounds will also delight visitors. The lighthouses that protected the ship graveyard of the Atlantic are interesting to visit.

By Karen | Outdoor Adventure Sampler

23. Muir Woods National Monument

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (23)

Image Credit: MNStudio/Depositphotos.com.

Muir Woods, located a short drive from San Francisco, California, is a nature paradise. This federally protected forest is home to redwood trees, some of the tallest and oldest trees in the world. Often reaching over 350 feet, they can live for over 1,000 years.

The best time to visit is during the summer when the weather is warm and conditions for hiking through the woods are perfect. Many people visit in the winter thanks to California’s warm climate, but it is riskier and more likely to have bad weather.

The most popular activity in Muir Woods is hiking through the lush forest. There are trails for every fitness level, including easy ones that are wheelchair and stroller-accessible and difficult full-day trails. The best trail is the Canopy View Trail. This moderate hike brings you above the trees, so you can experience the forest from a different perspective.

By Shar | Sightseeing Shar

24. Glacier National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (24)

Image Credit: jaybeeare@gmail.com/Depositphotos.com.

GlacierNationalPark is one of the more remoteparksin North America, but you wouldn’t know it from the crowds that pour in every summer. Tucked away in far northern Montana, it actually has a twin park just across the border in Canada – Waterton LakesNationalPark.

Due to winter closures of some of the most popular sites dragging on late in the year, the window to visit Glacier is brief, with mid-July through September being the high season. You can still appreciate many sites in the park in October but expect weather closures to hit earlier than you might expect!

Must-sees in Glacier NP include driving the full Going-to-the-Sun Road, seeing beautiful Lake McDonald and Saint Mary Lake, and spotting the park’s namesake glaciers. This is a great park for families, as there are accessible trails like the Trail of the Cedars Nature Trail.

By Stephanie Craig |Oklahoma Wonders

25. Padre Island National Seashore

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (25)

Image Credit: CheriAlguire/Depositphotos.com.

Padre IslandNationalSeashore (PINS) is a beautiful stretch of North Padre Island along Texas’ portion of the Gulf of Mexico. North Padre is a barrier island, and the park protects one of the last coastal prairie habitats left intact in the US.

While you can visit year-round, this park is most popular in summer. Beachgoers come to stretch out on Malaquite Beach, which, shockingly, doesn’t get as crowded as nearby beaches in Port Aransas andMustang Island State Park.

Unlikenationalparks, where hunting is not allowed, you can fish in the waters of the PINS, including in the channel. Local anglers know that this place will likely provide a good catch in late August and September.

One special event not to miss is the sea turtle hatchling release. Come at sunrise to watch these babies make their way into the Gulf!

By Stephanie Craig | History Fangirl

26. Grand Canyon National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (26)

Image Credit: vwalakte/Depositphotos.com.

Grand Canyon National Park is probably the most well-known and one of the most jaw-dropping national parks in America. Located in northern Arizona, most people visit the South Rim, but the North Rim is just as beautiful and with fewer crowds. The best time to visit the Grand Canyon is during the spring, summer, and fall when the snow is gone.

There are many things to do at the Grand Canyon for kids and adults alike. You can visit all the viewpoints and marvel at the incredible, varied scenery at each one (there are over a dozen viewpoints along the South Rim). There are also many hikes at the Grand Canyon. The South Kaibab Trail and the Bright Angel Trail are popular hikes that take you from the rim down into the canyon. Hike a few miles or go all the way to the Colorado River!

By Stephanie | The Unknown Enthusiast

27. Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (27)

Image Credit: kamchatka/Depositphotos.com.

Located on the western slope of Colorado, Black Canyon of the GunnisonNationalPark is one of thebestplaces to avoid the crowds and enjoy the views of some of the steepest cliffs in North America.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a perfect alternative to Rocky MountainNationalPark if you’re wanting to see one of the national parks in Colorado.

The park contains the deepest and most dramatic section of the canyon. The Gunnison River drops an average of 34 feet per mile through the entire canyon, making it the fifth steepest mountain descent in North America.

Forthe best experience, visit from July through October when there’s no snow and the temperatures are perfect to be outside.

By Daria | The Discovery Nut

Plan Your Next Road Trip to the Best National Parks in the USA

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (28)

Image Credit: The Happiness Function.

From coast to coast and even the islands of Hawaii, the National Park Service manages 424 locations, with 63 having “National Park” designated in their name. So, don’t be fooled by the naming system- there are a lot of incredible destinations waiting to be explored. These are rated as some of the best. Happy road-tripping!

Featured Image Credit: bennymarty/Depositphotos.com.

Top 15 Most Visited National Parks in the USA According to the Park Service

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (29)

Image Credit: Maridav/Depositphotos.com.

With such a long list of sites, how do you decide which national park to see, and which is the best? Here are the most visited national parks in the USA.

Top 15 Most Visited National Parks in the USA, 2023 Update

Best Things to See and Do in Buffalo National River Arkansas

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (30)

Image Credit: The Happiness Function.

Tucked in the rugged wilderness of the Ozark Mountains, Buffalo National River is the perfect place for those who like floating, hiking, and camping in the backcountry. Come see why this national park is a local favorite and treasure of “The Natural State.”

Best Things to See and Do in Buffalo National River

How to Spend One Perfect Day in Hot Springs National Park

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function (31)

If visiting all of the national parks in the US is on your bucket list, you’ll love exploring Hot Springs National Park. Though it is an urban park, it’s steeped in history and charm.

How to Spend One Perfect Day in Hot Springs National Park

This article was produced and syndicated by The Happiness Function.

Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on Email

Related Posts:

  • Top 15 Most Visited National Parks in the USA, 2023 Update
  • USA Outdoor Bucket List by Best Month to Visit
  • ​​37 Amazing Amtrak Routes You Can Take Across the USA

FAQs

Travel Experts Share the 27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip - The Happiness Function? ›

"There is nothing so American as our national parks.... The fundamental idea behind the parks...is that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us." Wallace Stegner, 1983: "National parks are the best idea we ever had.

What is a famous quote about our national parks? ›

"There is nothing so American as our national parks.... The fundamental idea behind the parks...is that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us." Wallace Stegner, 1983: "National parks are the best idea we ever had.

What is America's number 1 national park? ›

1. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.

What is the motto of the national parks? ›

NPS's mission is to “preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.” To learn more about NPS, visit their website at nps.gov.

Who called the national parks America's best idea? ›

In an often-cited 1983 commentary, Wallace Stegner, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and environmentalist, proclaimed, “The national parks are the best idea we ever had.

Why national parks are amazing? ›

National Parks are largely free of development and human interference in the natural ecosystems, which means healthy flora and fauna and cleaner air, water and soil. They're also well-organized to keep hikers on designated trails minimizing destruction of land.

What is fair quote Yellowstone? ›

Yellowstone Quotes on Instagram: "“That's not fair.” “No. Let me tell you what fairs means: Fair means one side got exactly what they wanted in a way that the other side can't complain about.

What is the least visited national park? ›

1. Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska: America's least-visited national park contains no roads or trails. It's a true wilderness experience.

What is America's most visited park? ›

Great Smoky Mountains remains America's most visited national park by a long shot. Nearly 13 million people visited the park straddling North Carolina and Tennessee last year, according to newly released National Park Service numbers.

What is the national park Mission Statement? ›

Our Mission

The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.

Why are national parks called America's best idea? ›

The National Parks: America's Best Idea is the story of an idea as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence and just as radical: that the most special places in the nation should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone.

What is the only national park named after a president? ›

Today, the 70,448-acre Theodore Roosevelt National Park is home to a variety of plants and animals, and continues to memorialize the 26th president for his enduring contributions to the safekeeping and protection of our nation's resources.

Where was America's 1st national park? ›

Established in 1872 and located primarily in Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park was America's first national park.

Who owns America's national park? ›

Answer and Explanation: The national parks are owned by the Federal Government. The legislative branches of the U.S. House and Senate have the power to determine the use of federal lands and can pass laws affecting the sale or preservation of those areas including national parks.

What is America's most remote national park? ›

Key West is home to one of the country's most remote parks; the Dry Tortugas are located 70 miles offshore past uninhabited mangrove keys until you reach Fort Jefferson.

Why do people like national parks so much? ›

These parks give you the opportunity to explore nature. See wildlife in their natural habitat, watch wildflowers as they bloom, take a scenic trail walk, view incredible waterfalls and ultimately, discover the wonders of the natural world.

Why do people like going to national parks? ›

When you visit a National Park, not only are you exploring new territories, but you become open to new discoveries…in nature, life, and in yourself. Being outdoors in wide-open spaces can spark creativity, and inspire you to imagine unlimited possibilities. I am looking forward to my next visit to the National Parks.

Do national parks actually help? ›

National Parks in the United States protect important places. Some of these places are important because they include natural wonders, like the Grand Canyon, or contain large areas of forest, like Shenandoah National Park. In these parks, plants and animals can live far from any humans that might bother them.

What is a funny quote from Yellowstone Beth? ›

Beth Dutton Quotes
  • "Just tell me who to fight."
  • "I made two bad decisions in my life based on fear, and they cost me everything."
  • "You are the trailer park. ...
  • "Where's the fun in wrecking a single man? ...
  • "You can't unmake family, Jamie, but you can take their gold card."
  • "Well, that's what it means.
Jun 13, 2021

What is the quote Beth said in Yellowstone? ›

Beth Dutton Quotes

I believe in lovin' with your whole soul and destroying anything that wants to kill what you love. That's it. That's all there is.” “My mother was the spine of this family, She was the center, And without her, he's, well, the best of him died with her.”

What is the quote about evil in Yellowstone? ›

He explains his outwardly peaceful mindset in the face of the increasing pace of his ranch's demise. He tells Beth, “You can't reason with evil. Evil wants what it wants and won't stop until it's won or you kill it.” For John, this isn't about market forces. This is an explicitly moral fight.

What is the easiest national park to visit? ›

Yellowstone National Park, United States

Yellowstone is easily one of the most famous and top-visited parks across the country, making it a great place for beginners to get their feet wet *cough*not in the burning hot waters *cough*.

What is the most untouched national park? ›

Take a look at this stunning place in the Alaskan wilderness: Gates of the Arctic National Park includes 8.5 million acres of wildlands nearly totally untouched by tourists. This place is so remote that few people visit.

Which state has 0 national parks? ›

States without National Parks are: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho (see above,) Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

What is the most beautiful national park? ›

Most Beautiful National Parks in the USA
  • Yellowstone National Park. ...
  • Grand Teton National Park. ...
  • Glacier National Park. ...
  • Grand Canyon National Park. ...
  • Denali National Park. ...
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park. ...
  • Acadia National Park. ...
  • Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.
Dec 3, 2020

What is America's number one tourist spot? ›

1. National Mall | Washington DC. Immaculately maintained by the National Park Service, the National Mall and Memorial Parks feature more than 1,000 acres of must-see monuments, sites and green space.

What is the 1 theme park in the US? ›

Walt Disney World Resort: Orlando, Florida

Arguably the most famous amusement park in the world, Walt Disney World Resort inspires awe in children and adults alike.

What is the most expensive park in the US? ›

Located in Tampa, Florida, Busch Gardens opened to the public in 1959. According to ticket-price data gathered by The Family Vacation Guide in May 2022, Busch Gardens is the most expensive theme park in the world just above Disney World.

Which state has the best parks? ›

What Is the State With the Most National Parks? That state with the most national parks is California, with nine of the nation's 61 national parks within its borders. The total acreage of these nine national parks in California is more than 6.3 million acres.

What is the most famous park? ›

Possibly one of the most famous parks in the world, Central Park ranks alongside the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of New York City. Not only was Central park the first public park in America, but it's also the most visited – with over 25-million visitors each year.

What are the values of national parks? ›

Integrity – We deal honestly and fairly with the public and one another. Stewardship – We provide and inspire exceptional care of the places entrusted to us by the American people.

Why is it called a national park? ›

A national park is an area set aside by a national government for the preservation of the natural environment. A national park may be set aside for public recreation and enjoyment or for its historical or scientific interest while keeping most landscapes and their accompanying plants and animals in their natural state.

What was the first national park? ›

Yellowstone, the First National Park.

Are national parks good or bad? ›

Parks do more than protect land and wildlife, they bring in tourism jobs and dollars. Researchers estimated that tourists spend $600 billion annually in protected areas. Protecting our National Parks isn't just good for our planet, it's beneficial for your health as well.

What was the very first national park not only in the United States but in the world? ›

Thanks to their reports, the United States Congress established Yellowstone National Park just six months after the Hayden Expedition. On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act into law. The world's first national park was born.

What national park is 99% water? ›

Located in the southwest corner of the Florida Keys reef system, Dry Tortugas National Park is a remote park that is more than 99% water. Its crystal clear ocean waters abound with incredible marine life.

What state has the most national parks? ›

Join National Park Trips

California has the most with nine, followed by Alaska with eight, Utah with five, and Colorado with four. The newest national parks are New River Gorge National Park established on Dec.

Which president loved national parks? ›

Theodore Roosevelt

His efforts led to the establishment of the National Parks System, which was created in 1916 — seven years after he left office. During his presidency, Roosevelt protected wildlife and public lands by establishing 51 national bird refuges, 18 national monuments and five national parks.

What is the oldest park in the United States? ›

Significance: Considered the oldest public park in the United States, Boston Common played an important role in the history of conservation, landscape architecture, military and political history, and recreation in Massachusetts.

Which is better Yosemite or Yellowstone? ›

If you prefer warmer temperatures and more reliable weather, Yosemite wins. Yellowstone weather is known to fluctuate with sudden thunderstorms and temperature drops. Winter is the least popular time to visit both parks, but it's a great time to plan a trip if you enjoy snowscapes, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Who owns the Grand Canyon? ›

Despite these strategically located private in-holdings, the vast majority of the Grand Canyon is owned by the federal government, held in trust for the American people and managed by a varied collection of federal agencies. Indian reservations, state land, and private land surround these federal lands.

Do Native Americans still live in Yellowstone? ›

27 tribes have ties to the area and resources now found within Yellowstone National Park.

Do taxpayers own national parks? ›

OWNERSHIP.

All federal public lands are owned by U.S. taxpayers whose money goes toward maintaining national parks, forests, wilderness areas, wild rivers, and scenic rivers. That means that every person has a right to be there, and a say in how those lands can be used.

What is America's smallest national park? ›

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

Hot Springs is the smallest of the 61 national parks in the country. The Arkansas park is so small – just 5,550 acres – that it could fit into Wrangell-St. Elias National Park nearly 2,400 times.

What US national park has the most wildlife? ›

Not only does Yellowstone have the highest population of wildlife in the contiguous 48, it also allows guests to witness the vital predator-prey relationships that persist and impact the greater ecosystem inside the park and beyond.

What is the largest nature park in the USA? ›

The largest national park is Wrangell–St. Elias in Alaska: at over 8 million acres (32,375 km2), it is larger than each of the nine smallest states. The next three largest parks are also in Alaska.

What is a famous quote about Yosemite National Park? ›

"It was like lying in a great solemn cathedral, far vaster and more butiful than any built by the hand of man." - Read more of Roosevelt's quotes from the National Parks Service. "Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space."

What is a famous quote about Glacier National Park? ›

Here's what naturalist, John Muir, had to say about Glacier National Park: “Wander here a whole summer, if you can. Thousands of God's wild blessings will search you and soak you as if your were a sponge, and the big days will go uncounted.

What was Theodore Roosevelt's famous quote? ›

The famous Theodore Roosevelt quote about striving valiantly and daring greatly. “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.

What is a famous quote about Yellowstone National Park? ›

“Yellowstone, of all the national parks, is the wildest and most universal in its appeal... Daily new, always strange, ever full of change, it is Nature's wonder park. It is the most human and the most popular of all parks.” “You can hike into the Yellowstone backcountry.

What is Yosemite Sam's favorite saying? ›

You rackin' frackin' varmint!” – Yosemite Sam.

Why is Yosemite so famous? ›

Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, towering granite monoliths, deep valleys and ancient giant sequoias. On October 1, 1890, Yosemite became a national park, and more than 125 years later, it's still wowing visitors.

Why is the water so blue in Glacier National Park? ›

Story by Adam Voiland. Fine particles of pulverized rock absorb and scatter sunlight in ways that can give water a striking blue-green color.

Why do people go to Glacier National Park in Montana? ›

Glacier Offers Many Different Attractions

In addition to the fact that Glacier is home to more than 700 miles of hiking trails, it's also an excellent place to go fishing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, or whitewater rafting. No matter what you want to do, you'll find it in Glacier.

What is the famous ice T quote? ›

Being cool is when you win, you don't get too happy; and when you lose, you don't get too mad.

What was JFK's famous quote? ›

"Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate." "Inaugural Address (1)," January 20, 1961, Public Papers of the Presidents: John F. Kennedy, 1961.

What was George Washington's famous quote? ›

"Every post is honorable in which a man can serve his country."

What is Eleanor Roosevelt's famous quote? ›

Remember always that you have not only the right to be an individual; you have an obligation to be one. You cannot make any useful contribution in life unless you do this.

What is a powerful patriotic quote? ›

  • “I have long believed that sacrifice is the pinnacle of patriotism.” —Bob Riley.
  • “The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful and virtuous.” —Frederick Douglass.
  • “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” — Mark Twain.
7 days ago

What is a famous Abraham Lincoln quote about unity? ›

“My purpose is to be, in my action, just and constitutional; and yet practical, in performing the important duty, with which I am charged, of maintaining the unity, and the free principles of our common country.”

What is a catchy slogan about unity? ›

Unity is power and gives strength. Unity always benefits, lives together in unity. Unity is itself a power, don't underestimate it! Unity always wins, learn to live in unity.

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Greg Kuvalis

Last Updated: 27/12/2023

Views: 6068

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (55 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Greg Kuvalis

Birthday: 1996-12-20

Address: 53157 Trantow Inlet, Townemouth, FL 92564-0267

Phone: +68218650356656

Job: IT Representative

Hobby: Knitting, Amateur radio, Skiing, Running, Mountain biking, Slacklining, Electronics

Introduction: My name is Greg Kuvalis, I am a witty, spotless, beautiful, charming, delightful, thankful, beautiful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.