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Best National Parks

The 20 Best National Parks to Visit

Johnna Kaplan

America’s national parks are beloved by travelers from all over the United States and the globe. In 2019, these parks welcomed 327.5 million visitors. This number was down in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions and closings. The 63 national parks (plus hundreds of national historic sites, monuments, recreation areas and parkways) overseen by the National Park Service (NPS) range from world-famous destinations to hidden gems.

Originally, we published a list of some of the best national parks to visit, highlighting 10 parks chosen for their unique features. We received so much great input in response to that article that we have updated the list to include 10 more parks, based on your recommendations. The following list has something for everyone who’s eager to experience the natural beauty of the United States.

Park operations vary based on local public health conditions. Before visiting, please check the park website to determine its operating status. Additional details are available at the National Park Service’s website.  Please recreate responsibly.

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Where it is: North Carolina and Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Why you should go: With over 10 million visitors a year, Great Smoky Mountains is the country’s most popular national park. This scenic swath of the Appalachians receives almost double the number of visitors as the Grand Canyon which is the second most popular park. You can get around Great Smoky Mountains in your car, on your bicycle, on foot or on horseback. Keep an eye out for waterfalls, historic cemeteries and a large collection of restored buildings. Wildflowers bloom year-round here and if you time it right, you can catch spectacular fall foliage.

When to visit: The park’s primary roads are open all year, weather permitting, but secondary roads are closed seasonally.

2. Isle Royale National Park

Where it is: Michigan

Isle Royale National Park

Why you should go: Isle Royale National Park, situated on an isolated island in Lake Superior, is one of the least visited national parks in the country and the least visited in the lower 48 states. This is partly because you can’t just drive or hike up to these trail-heads. Visitors must take a ferry to the island and a camping permit is required to stay overnight. Along with solitude, this park offers a plethora of water-based adventures, including:

  • Fishing
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Scuba diving

When to visit: The park is open from April 16 through October 31.

3. Glacier National Park

Where it is: Montana

Glacier National Park

Why you should go: Nicknamed the “crown of the continent,” Glacier is often called the most beautiful of the national parks. Beyond snow-capped mountains, reflective lakes and dramatic vistas, Glacier offers an array of relaxing activities, like:

  • Observing the flora and fauna
  • Driving the evocatively named Going-to-the-Sun Road
  • Visiting Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park on the Canadian border
  • Learning about the region’s culture and history from members of local Native American tribes during the summer

When to visit: The park is open throughout the year, although portions of the Going-to-the-Sun Road may be closed due to seasonal weather conditions.

4. Pinnacles National Park

Where it is: California

Pinnacles National Park

Why you should go: If you’re a fan of emerging destinations, take note: Pinnacles is one of America’s newest national parks, designated in January 2013. Ancient volcanic eruptions and seismic shifts created this diverse natural environment. Pinnacles features towering rock formations and caves. It’s also home to numerous species of plants and animals. You’ll experience some magnificent views here and you might even spot an endangered California condor.

When to visit: The park is open year-round. It’s most popular for hiking in the spring. The NPS advises visitors to check the weather if hiking between late May and early September because temperatures can reach dangerous highs.

5. Virgin Islands National Park

Where it is: U.S. Virgin Islands

St John Trunk Bay Beach

Why you should go: A national park that’s not located in one of the 50 states? Yes! This Caribbean park covers most of the island of St. John, plus thousands of acres of the surrounding ocean. Hiking trails lead visitors past ruins of the island’s historic plantations. This tropical landscape is home to several acclaimed beaches and has something for everyone, including:

  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Snorkeling

When to visit: The park is open year-round.

6. Yosemite National Park

Where it is: California

Yosemite National Park

Why you should go: Most visitors drive into this popular park. However, travelers who can’t or don’t wish to drive can simply catch an Amtrak train to the park. You can even take the train between Yosemite and Yellowstone to experience two of America’s best-known tourist destinations without relying on that other American favorite: the car. There’s a lot to see in Yosemite. If you arrive by train, why not continue exploring with public transportation and take a Valley Floor Tour on an open-air tram? On the tour, park rangers cover history, nature and other park highlights.

When to visit: The park is open year-round. Some roads may be closed due to snow throughout fall and early summer. In colder weather, a heated bus is used instead of a tram for tours.

7. Yellowstone National Park

Where it is: Wyoming, Montana and Idaho

Yellowstone National Park

Why you should go: This geothermal landscape is not only one of the most famous national parks in America, it was also the first national park in the world, preserved as parkland in 1872. Yellowstone is famous for its geysers, hot springs and bison. But there are also activities like:

  • Snowshoeing
  • Fishing
  • Guided backcountry trips with horses or llamas

When to visit: Yellowstone is open year-round, but some roads and areas of the park are closed seasonally, so double check your route before you go.

8. Everglades National Park

Where it is: Florida

Everglades National Park

Why you should go: As the largest subtropical wilderness area in the country, Everglades National Park is one of the top picks for travelers wanting to see diverse forms of wildlife. As you explore the park by foot, boat or canoe, you might see:

  • Alligators
  • Crocodiles
  • Greater flamingos
  • Ibises
  • Florida panthers
  • Manatees

When to visit: Everglades is open year-round.

9. Denali National Park

Where it is: Alaska

Denali National Park

Why you should go: If you like extremes, you’ll appreciate the fact that Denali—North America’s tallest peak—has been called the windiest national park in the country and the coldest mountain in the world. Climbing Denali, the NPS warns, is a serious undertaking meant for experienced climbers only. This park offers other challenging, snowy activities for visitors of varying skill levels such as:

  • Cross-country skiing
  • Dog-sledding
  • Snowboarding

When to visit: Denali is open year-round, but the park’s single road closes in winter. When in doubt, contact the park before visiting.

10. Arches National Park

Where it is: Utah

Arches National Park

Why you should go: If you’ve ever seen a vehicle with a Utah license plate, you’ve seen Delicate Arch, the most famous natural attraction at Arches. There are over 2,000 arches to be found in this 76,679-acre park, as well as countless other surreal red-rock formations. These fanciful structures make this park a jaw-dropping place to spend hours – or days. You can take in the sights of this awe-inspiring natural environment while:

  • Hiking
  • Driving
  • Rock climbing
  • Horseback riding

When to visit: Arches is open year-round. It’s busiest between March and October.

Have you chosen the National Park you plan on venturing to next? If not, maybe the next ten will win you over. Whichever park you decide on venturing to, keep reading for five tips to help you prepare for your visit.

11. Zion National Park

Where it is: Utah

Zion National Park

Why you should go: For active travelers, Zion is a vast playground of slot canyons, towering multi-colored cliffs and natural features with intriguing names like:

  • The Narrows
  • Angels Landing
  • The Emerald Pools

This park offers multiple opportunities for challenging activities like canyoneering, rock climbing, whitewater kayaking and strenuous hikes through dramatic landscapes. That said, Zion’s not solely reserved for hard-core adventurers. There are also:

  • Easier day hikes
  • Scenic drives
  • An impressive variety of plant and animal life to watch out for
  • A lodge with dining options

When to visit: Zion is open year-round. Some services and facilities may be closed or their hours limited at certain times of year.

12. Grand Teton National Park

Where it is: Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park

Why you should go: The NPS calls Grand Teton “the mountains of the imagination.” And this park lives up to two very different fantasies about the ideal high-elevation vacation. On the one hand, the rugged terrain, including the Teton Range, Jackson Hole, the Snake River and numerous lakes, makes for challenging conditions for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountain climbing
  • Rafting
  • Snowshoeing

On the other hand, there are opportunities to experience the park’s stunning scenery without the workout. Enjoy a 42-mile scenic loop drive and a tram that climbs over 4,000 feet, then stop at a restaurant known for gourmet waffles. The park also has rustic-yet-luxurious accommodations, including:

  • A resort hotel
  • Private cabins
  • A dude ranch

When to visit: Grand Teton is open all year, but some roads may close in the winter, limiting access by car to some areas of the park.

13. Grand Canyon National Park

Where it is: Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park

Why you should go: The Grand Canyon is 277 river miles long, an average of 10 miles wide and one mile deep. It is so immense it has to be seen to be believed, which is why tourists have been drawn to it for centuries. Today, most visit the relatively easy to access South Rim, but there’s more to this park than the dizzying view from the canyon’s edge. From mule trips into the canyon, to backcountry hiking and camping, to rafting on the Colorado River, there are numerous ways to navigate these 1,904 square miles of wilderness.

When to visit: The South Rim is open year-round, though some facilities may close in winter. The North Rim is fully open from May 15 through October 15. It’s open for limited use at other times. Check with the NPS for information about seasonal closures and reservations, which may be recommended or required.

14. Rocky Mountain National Park

Where it is: Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park

Why you should go: As its name implies, Rocky Mountain National Park lets visitors get close to the natural wonders of the Rockies. The park’s scenic drives include Trail Ridge Road which is the highest continuous paved road in America, This roadway climbs to above 12,000 feet. On top of this, the park has plenty of alpine peaks you can admire. There are also many opportunities for sports in the winter. For wildlife watchers, the colder months are also a good time to spot elk and moose. The busiest season is summer, when visitors flock here to camp, fish, picnic, and hike on hundreds of miles of trails of varying difficulty.

When to visit: Rocky Mountain is open year-round, weather permitting. Keep in mind that some roads close seasonally.

15. Big Bend National Park

Where it is: Texas

Big Bend National Park

Why you should go: Not every park lets you gaze up at picturesque canyons while floating down the Wild and Scenic River that doubles as an international border. Big Bend, named for a bend in the Rio Grande, does just that. And that’s not the only cool feature of this 801,163-acre park. It’s also home to the Chisos Mountains, the only mountain range in the United States that’s contained within a national park. It boasts an impressive collection of fossil discoveries covering a period of 130 million years. And it’s full of historic sites, scenic drives (on paved or “primitive” roads), hikes (choose desert, mountain or river) and many other activities.

When to visit: Big Bend is open – and popular – all year. You’ll need to plan ahead if you want to visit on a long weekend or another especially busy time.

16. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Where it is: Hawai’i

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Why you should go: In May 2018, a series of earthquakes and lava flows forced much of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park to close. The park has since reopened and while some restrictions remain in effect, there’s still plenty to see and do. Visitors can follow two main driving routes, the 11-mile Crater Rim Drive loop or the longer Chain of Craters Road leading to the coast. Both pass scenic overlooks and noteworthy natural features. A range of day hikes and backcountry camping take you further into the park. Visitors to this ever-changing place will not see the same sights others have seen here months or years before. But if you’re interested in understanding the geology and wildlife of this unique region, that in itself is a reason to go.

When to visit: Hawaii Volcanoes is open year-round, but some areas have reduced hours. Check with the NPS before you go to ensure the area you are visiting isn’t closed due to volcanic activity.

17. Saguaro National Park

Where it is: Arizona

Saguaro National Park

Why you should go: Saguaro, which is split into two sections located at the eastern and western edges of Tucson, makes the Sonoran Desert easily accessible from the city. Visitors can observe a wide variety of desert plant life, including a seemingly endless array of iconic Saguaro cacti. You might also spot a prehistoric petroglyph, a roadrunner or javelina and a stunning sunset.

You can explore the park by car or bike. In fact, each section has a loop drive that takes you past some prime spots for cactus viewing and photography. You can also explore on foot by choosing from the more than 165 miles of hiking trails with options ranging from short walks to challenging treks. You can even venture into the backcountry to camp overnight.

When to visit: Saguaro is open year-round. Both sections are open to pedestrians and cyclists 24 hours a day. Drivers can enter the Tucson Mountain District (west) from sunrise to sunset and the Rincon Mountain District (east) from 7 a.m. to sunset.

18. White Sands National Monument

Where it is: New Mexico

White Sands National Monument

Why you should go: This national monument became a national park in late 2019. White Sands is one of the most unusual landscapes you’ll encounter. This remote, 275-square-mile area looks like a cross between a snowy mountain range and a wind-swept beach. It is in fact the largest gypsum dune field in the world. Some of the activities to enjoy include:

  • Rent a sled to slide down the dunes
  • Stroll along a boardwalk
  • Hike
  • Camp out
  • Drive the 16-mile road through the monument to appreciate its otherworldly beauty

When to visit: White Sands is open year-round. The monument may close temporarily for extreme weather conditions or missile tests at the adjacent White Sands Missile Range. Check for up-to-date information before you visit.

19. Acadia National Park

Where it is: Maine

Acadia National Park

Why you should go: The only national park in New England, Acadia is 47,000 acres of quintessential Maine, with vast swaths of forest, rugged rocky coastlines and unspoiled natural beauty in every season. At Acadia, you can do nearly everything you might imagine at a place the NPS calls the “Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast” including:

  • Take scenic drives with lighthouse views
  • Go leaf-peeping
  • Catch a ferry to a campsite on a remote island
  • Ski
  • Dog-sled
  • Watch for wildlife
  • Hike mountains and valleys
  • Stroll beside the ocean
  • Bike
  • Swim
  • Go boating
  • Enjoy a picnic

When to visit: Acadia is open throughout the year, but roads may be closed and facilities may reduce their hours during the winter.

20. Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

Where it is: Alaska

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

Why you should go: You may have seen news coverage over the past few years about growing issues of overcrowding at America’s best-known national parks. One way to experience the splendor of these protected lands without becoming part of the crowd is to visit during the off-season. But to seriously get away from it all, there’s nothing like a trip to the least-visited national park in the country: Gates of the Arctic. To be clear, this park is not for everyone. In fact, it’s only for the few who are determined enough to fly or hike to its remote location. You also need to be experienced enough to be fully self-sufficient in a region with no facilities, services, roads and marked trails. It’s also important to be intrigued enough by this truly unspoiled environment to risk it alone or hire an outfitter to guide you.

When to visit: The park itself is always open. Hours at visitor centers (in the nearest towns) vary by location and season.

Preparing for Your National Parks Visit

Before you head to any of America’s national parks:

  • Research the local climate and terrain.
  • Familiarize yourself with what the park offers in terms of food, water and shelter.
  • Make sure the dates you’re planning on visiting are optimal ones. Some parks are closed on Thanksgiving and/or Christmas Day. The best-known parks can get extremely crowded at certain times of year.
  • Remember that many national parks are wild places with the potential for extreme conditions and that roads or sections of any park may close for various reasons. To avoid a disappointing experience, check the NPS website for park closures and alerts.
  • If you’re driving your own vehicle or a rental car, keep up to date with local weather and traffic conditions, It’s also important to make sure your car insurance is up to date.
  • Be careful to pack proper clothing, footwear and equipment.
  • Get a pass. The America the Beautiful-National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass gives you access to move than 2,000 national parks and other public lands locations. There are passes with discounts for those 62 and over, current military and more.

Being well prepared can make a trip to one of America’s national parks the trip of a lifetime. To learn more about your options within the national park system, you can search the complete list of U.S. national parks by state, activity and topic. If you are eager to visit any state parks along the way, check out our list of the 25 best state parks in America.

Calling All Road Trip Readers

Have you had a memorable experience at any of the national parks listed above, or one that we haven’t mentioned? Share in the comments.

78 Responses to "The 20 Best National Parks to Visit"
    • Deborah Weber | June 28, 2021 at 12:30 pm

      These are all spectacular Parks but we live on the eastern shore of Delaware. Do you have any suggestions for Delaware and our surrounding States for great places to see. We are retired and cannot afford to travel to your 20 recommendations.

      • Extra Mile Staff | June 29, 2021 at 10:08 am

        Deborah – You can visit this page from the National Park Service to find a national park near you. Enjoy!

    • Dulcie | June 27, 2021 at 11:23 am

      Yosemite Nat’l Park is NOT accessible via Amtrak (or any) train; the journey requires the connection to a YARTS (Yosemite Area Regional Transit System) bus in Merced (CA), I believe.
      P.S. I’ve been to all but two on your list. 🙂 )

    • Patricia Doran | June 15, 2021 at 9:37 pm

      The parks look so beautiful.

    • Linda Coleman | June 14, 2021 at 8:31 pm

      Is the Redwoods Forrest in California considered a National Park?

    • Patricia | June 14, 2021 at 7:26 pm

      Love this! Can’t wait to see them on next road trip, seen maybe 4 of parks…. so beautiful ❤️

    • Patti herf | June 13, 2021 at 8:54 pm

      Excellent photos and commentary, I look forward to receiving information in the future regarding our National Parks

    • RICHARD A BUSCH | June 13, 2021 at 8:09 pm

      While walking in glacier my wife said bear. I though she was maybe seeing a deer. I said where and the big bear was within 6-8 feet of us in the brush right above the path we were on. She wanted a picture and i said get going. We did stop two other people from walking into the bear.

    • lynn adams | June 13, 2021 at 7:26 pm

      Too many people visiting some of these parks already. Don’t add to it, please.
      And Big Bend is HOT in the summer.

    • DENNIS SCHWANK | June 13, 2021 at 11:37 am

      I believe your statement that it is possible to travel by train between Yosemite and Yellowstone National parks is not correct. Amtrak does run next to Glacier N. P. and actually stops there. There are no trains anywhere near Yellowstone. And, Yosemite is not really that close to a rail connection. I love your enthusiasm and wish you were right!

      • Extra Mile Staff | June 14, 2021 at 7:26 am

        Dennis – Thanks for reading. Check out this blog from Amtrak.

    • Martha Lyons | June 13, 2021 at 7:34 am

      You forgot Kings Canyon National Park. It is actually deeper than the Grand Canyon. It is the smallest deepest river gorge in the USA.

    • Keith A Baker | June 12, 2021 at 10:44 pm

      10? No
      20? No

      The lesson here is, if its a national park, go see it.

    • Diana | June 12, 2021 at 10:21 pm

      I have been to several of the parks. They are all spectacular in their own way. One you missed is Crater Lake. It is also a gorgeous park.

    • Richard T Stanek Sr | June 12, 2021 at 5:48 pm

      Hi the info on the parks is great it would b great if u sent out information on them so that us customer can keep them and visit them all I was with State Farm for 50 years til I came over to ur company they would give out road atlases to their traveling customer that would b a great idea for this company y not try it??? Thanks much Rich Sr

    • Roger | June 12, 2021 at 5:15 pm

      Is there an annual or lifetime pass for senior citizens?

      • Extra Mile Staff | June 14, 2021 at 7:36 am

        Roger – Great question! Here’s some information on how to get a pass. We’ve also added the link to the article. Thanks for the suggestion!

    • Bill | June 12, 2021 at 5:12 pm

      Is Katmai National Park more visited than Glacier National Park?

      • Extra Mile Staff | June 14, 2021 at 7:45 am

        Bill – Thanks for reading. Glacier National Park had 1,698,864 visitors in 2020, while Katmai had only 51,511. You can find more National Park Service stats here.

    • Kathy Landreville | June 12, 2021 at 2:16 pm

      We traveled the west in 2018 for a full 2 months, what a beautiful place we have here to enjoy throughout our lives. We are headed again soon, so many gorgeous places we have to see and enjoy. We were so grateful for what we got to visit, and can hardly wait to go back and see we didn’t see the first time.

    • Ted Zidek | June 12, 2021 at 2:14 pm

      went to masa Verdi, also to Petredified forest in Arizona last week and many state and city parks in colorado. they were fantastic.

    • Mike Last | June 12, 2021 at 2:09 pm

      Re. Hawaii Volcanoes NP- In mid-2018 the eruption has caused the partial closure of the Crater Rim Drive. It is still closed between Kilauea Overlook and Chain of Craters Road.

    • Michael Urbaniak | June 12, 2021 at 12:32 pm

      Love them all.

    • Louis Angellella | June 12, 2021 at 11:20 am

      I live in South Delaware 11 miles from Maryland what National Parks are near me?

      • Extra Mile Staff | June 12, 2021 at 1:13 pm

        Louis – You can visit this page from the National Park Service to find a national park near you. Enjoy!

      • Frank Ferriola | June 17, 2021 at 7:36 pm

        Delaware has a National Park in New Castle.

    • Jim Omilak | June 12, 2021 at 10:49 am

      We are staying at 7 points at Raystown Lake in October

    • Dale Kelley | June 12, 2021 at 10:05 am

      I have been to half of these parks in my 80 years – all spectacular beyond words and by all manner and means should be preserved and protected for all future generations to enjoy!

      • James West | June 16, 2021 at 10:01 am

        I agree

    • James West | June 12, 2021 at 10:01 am

      Canyon land is in my top Three., For accessibility And overall beauty of the area. Outshines the Grand Canyon every day of the week.

    • Lisa | June 11, 2021 at 2:12 pm

      Rocky Mountain NP requires reservations for 2021, COVID protocol.
      Many are being turned away as it is not well reported

    • Jasper National Parks | July 11, 2020 at 11:58 am

      I was studying some of your articles on this internet site and I think this website is real informative ! Keep posting.

    • Colet Allen | March 25, 2019 at 1:55 pm

      Every one of our parks is worth a visit. Only have three left to visit in continental USA!

      • Extra Mile Staff | March 25, 2019 at 2:40 pm

        Colet- that is a great accomplishment! Congrats on almost being done.

    • Extra Mile Staff | January 8, 2019 at 6:12 pm

      Can’t wait to visit these!

    • Kent Taylor | September 8, 2018 at 6:12 pm

      Have been fortunate to visit most of the continental U.S. National Parks on Hartford’s list as well as all of the parks listed in additional comments. One of my favorites not on any of the lists is Big Bend in Texas. You can enjoy a lot of solitude in even the most crowded National Parks once you get on the hiking trails. For the disabled, even the paved accessible trails will get you away from some of the crowds.
      If the purpose of a vacation is to visit natural beauty, there is more than enough to keep you busy for a lifetime in the U.S. alone (although I would highly recommend the Canadian Rockies National Parks as well).

      • Malcus Richards | July 29, 2021 at 5:34 pm

        Pls join us for the extra learning.

    • Paul | September 4, 2018 at 11:24 pm

      thanks for inspiring article, Johnna.
      I would have liked it better if you had listed ALL national parks (see the wikipedia List_of_national_parks_of_the_United_States), give a thumbnail review and then allow users a rating based on, “of the parks you visited (check those), rate your favorite (the checked list is re-ordered by user)”, and then show the ranked ratings.
      Somehow Grand Canyon isn’t here in your list? or Zion, Sequoia, Hawaii volcanoes, Canyonlands, Everglades, Carlsbad Caverns, etc etc … ?

    • Carl Ted Stude | September 2, 2018 at 1:12 am

      I have been to all of the parks mentioned other than the one in American Samoa. The two in Washington State — Mount Rainier and Olympic — deserve inclusion for their spectacular virgin evergreen forests at lower elevations, their spectacular displays of wildflowers near timberline, and the last remaining substantial “wild” coastline in the lower 48 states in the coastal part of Olympic National Park, which — by definition — is only accessible to hikers.

    • Phillip Morse | August 31, 2018 at 5:53 pm

      I have been to only a few so far, but plan many more during upcoming retirement; two of which are Great Smokey Mountains and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which is located on the northwestern edge of the lower peninsula of Michigan. That one is special to me as I am the Assistant United States Attorney who oversaw the Park Service’s acquisition in the late 70’s and early ’80’s of 77,000 acres and approximately 21 miles of lake Michigan’s Northeastern shoreline (formerly owned by private individuals), which, to me, is one of the most beautiful of the Great Lakes. The park is named after the 400 ft. high sand dune on the shore, which from out in lake Michigan you can see what appears to be a sleeping bear on top of the dunes.

    • Janet Schenk | August 31, 2018 at 2:57 pm

      I have visited five of these nine national parks.

    • John sarff | August 31, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      My wife and I have camped in 48 states. to hike in the states is a adventure that gives you memories forever. Untold beauty awaits

    • Mary Jane Graham | August 31, 2018 at 2:33 am

      Have been to many of these parks but some we haven’t Enjoyed it so much.

    • Jennifer | August 31, 2018 at 2:26 am

      Thank you to the author for clearly mentioning in the written article, about visiting the Arches in Utah. They sound gorgeous. The author supplied a nice variety of different options. The list is enormous and the beauty is in the eyes of the visitors .

    • Patsie Griffin | August 31, 2018 at 1:12 am

      Acadia National Park is amazing, and Assataque Island National Seashore Park is lovely.

    • Mary Ann | August 31, 2018 at 12:16 am

      Agree with another comment on here. Vacation in our wonderful USA National Parks, along with state parks, as said no passport needed. If possible stay within the parks. We are in our 80’s and enjoyed many on the list. Glacier may have a slight edge for us, however all have something unique.

    • Stuart Naterman | August 30, 2018 at 9:08 pm

      BI went with my wife and daughter and son in law this past month to Arches. This is the most breathtaking place that I have ever been to. Being disabled and requiring a cane and rolator didn’t stop us from seeing almost every site. I would recommend to everyone that you take the time and effort to see what we have here in our backyard. We also went to the Canyon where one sight is more breathtaking then the next. I only wonder how God created such beauty for us all to see.

    • darlene edwards | August 30, 2018 at 9:08 pm

      Glacier NP is not open year round! The western lower part may be open part of the winter but not the rest of the park.

    • Dennis Toth | August 30, 2018 at 8:33 pm

      I won’t name it, but it holds Hurricane Ridge, Crescent Lake, Sol Duc Hot Springs.
      Mountains, lake, ocean … outdoor activities and sightseeing for all of them. No other National Park in itself, or with adjacent activities, can compare. None.

    • richard bahr | August 30, 2018 at 8:32 pm

      I fell in love with the big trees. Don’t miss Sequoia and Redwoods and the most inspirational of all (although not a park) Mount Rushmore.

    • Lee | August 30, 2018 at 8:28 pm

      Pick 1 – any one!
      Mountains = Yellowstone
      Desert = Death Valley
      Water = Keys
      Will not find 1 that is not worth the time / effort / or expense!!
      What you see / experience enroute is often as rewarding as what you get on arrival. BUT it is all an AMERICAN experience!

    • Ardys Stickney | August 30, 2018 at 8:00 pm

      How did Isle Royale slide all the way over to Michigan? It used to be in Minnesota!!

    • Jim Santagata | August 30, 2018 at 6:02 pm

      I was really disappointed that you didn’t see fit to include any of Southern Utah’s wonderful red rock National Parks! Bryce Canyon, Zion and Arches are some of the most magnificent places in the entire USA! But then again, maybe a few less people will show up there, which will be very welcome for those of us who are so much in love with their incomparable hiking trails and mystical rock formations!

    • Pat McKee | August 30, 2018 at 5:58 pm

      Grand Teton National Park in all its grandeur is my favorite. We hiked to Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls 3 times with grandkids, to Cascade Canyon with grand and great-grandkids, many of the trails, taken our kayaks and paddled Jackson, Leigh, Jenny Lakes and the Snake River. The grandkids counted over 25 species of animals, birds and fish that they saw. Kids and I all have our G.T.N.P. Junior Ranger badges! My heaven on earth.

    • louis cooker | August 30, 2018 at 5:07 pm

      I visited the Great Smokies Nat. Park in July 2017. While I was in the area, I climbed the highest peak
      east of the Mississippi River – Mt. Mitchell, in N.C. And rode the “Tail of the Dragon” on my motorcycle.
      Both activities that were very simulating and enjoyable.

    • Carol | August 30, 2018 at 4:52 pm

      Nothing more beautiful than Bryce Canyon, just a short distance from Zion. Also agree that Acadia Park in Maine is incredeible.

    • Nicola Patrinos | August 30, 2018 at 12:47 am

      Another extremely beautiful park, Rocky Mountain National Park (if I missed it, I apologize ) in Colorado! I recommend July, Aug as the weather can be unusually cooler end of Aug into October. The mountains, animals and wildflowers are sure to take your breath away! There is hiking for all fitness levels too.

    • Russ R | August 29, 2018 at 9:18 pm

      As a side note, I would offer for your consideration the option of snowmobiling in Jellystone in the Winter. There are tour operators that visit this Park in the near total desolation that Winter brings. It hearkens back to times before man. The geysers and waterfalls are eerily prehistoric during this lonely season. I have found nothing else like it anywhere.

    • C.E. Lee | August 29, 2018 at 7:51 pm

      The Sneffels Range of the San Juans in SW Colorado is so gorgeous in late Sept. and early Oct. when the abundant Aspens blanket entire hillsides ranging from light yellow to almost reds.The peaks are around 13,000 ft. The brilliant colors are limited to about a third of that height because of thinning atmosphere, and lessening of soil base. The absolute best is after a snowfall caps the peaks and the morning and afternoon sun light lift the brilliant color to its peak. A major part of John Wayne’s movie “True Grit” was filmed there. Portions of the drive are on the “million dollar highway”.

      • Paul 4 Hiking | June 12, 2021 at 2:56 pm

        Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone.

    • Mitzi | August 29, 2018 at 7:22 pm

      I live about 30 miles from Glacier National Park. Not much is open there now, until sometime next year. Too many forest fires!! 😢

    • K Kelley | August 29, 2018 at 7:20 pm

      I’ve been to all of these except Denali which is on my bucket list. I have been to many other National Parks and love them all. We must maintain the current Parks, Monuments and other federal lands so everyone can enjoy them.

    • Becky Stout Higgins | August 29, 2018 at 7:03 pm

      Rocky Mountain National Park is also worth a visit.

    • Deborah A Therriault | August 29, 2018 at 7:01 pm

      You missed Arcadia National Park. Visit Cadillac Mountain and whatc the sun rise. It is where the sun rises first in the United States and its beautiful!

    • Karen | August 29, 2018 at 6:46 pm

      A beautiful place is The Breaks of the Mountains in Virginia. Just over the border of Pikeville, Kentucky. Many beautiful floral in its natural habitat, OMG the Rodedanderium (sp) is to die for. There is a moonshine still, with instructions on how it is made, and what each piece is. There is a Salt Kettle there that was used in The Battle of Saltville, (my Grandfather fought in that battle). You can see a train go into a mountain and part of it disappear only to come out down the way. You can stand in one spot and you are in Virginia, look one way you can see Kentucky, another West Virginia, another Tennessee and another North Carolina! You will not be disappointed with this day trip!

    • Franklin Forster | August 29, 2018 at 5:30 pm

      There are many more great National Parks in America. We have the most beautiful country in the world and you don’t need a passport to visit them. If American’s would spend their vacation time exploring our many wonders, it would take them the rest of their life in doing so….. ENJOY OUR COUNTRY FIRST

    • Nancy | August 29, 2018 at 5:21 pm

      I would include Grand Canyon. It’s my favorite!

    • John | August 29, 2018 at 4:29 pm

      I agree with Ron about Arches and Zion but feel I should mention that if you make it to Zion you should include a visit to Bryce Canyon – it is stunning!
      Also, you mentioned that Glacier is open year round but plan ahead if you want to travel Going To The Sun Highway as it is closed for a good part of the year due to snow. I arrived at the St. Mary entrance to Glacier around Memorial Day one year to find that Going To The Sun Highway was closed at the 13 mile marker in the park. Check before you go.

      • Larry Dudgeon | June 10, 2021 at 1:01 pm

        I think you and Ron need you eyes checked, grab your glasses and look at #10 and #11.

      • Extra Mile Staff | June 10, 2021 at 3:24 pm

        Larry – Originally, we published a list of some of the best national parks to visit, highlighting 10 parks chosen for their unique features. We received so much great input in response to that article that we have updated the list to include 10 more parks, based on recommendations like those here in the comments.

    • Carol | August 29, 2018 at 4:18 pm

      You missed Grand Teton. Hiked the Jenny Lake trail yesterday whil vacationing with family. Seven mile workout, but worth the effort.

      The Grand Tetons truly are GRAND

      • Ron | June 12, 2021 at 10:14 am

        Ok thank you.

      • marty podolsky | June 12, 2021 at 1:54 pm

        Look again. It is listed.

      • Extra Mile Staff | June 14, 2021 at 7:33 am

        Marty – Originally, we published a list of some of the best national parks to visit, highlighting 10 parks chosen for their unique features. We received such great input in response to that article that we have updated the list to include 10 more parks, based on recommendations like the one Carol left in the comments.

    • Ron | October 29, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      You overlooked Zion and Arches in Utah. But maybe it’s just as well you did. 4.5 million visitors each year. Yes, go to the others so it’s less crowded here amidst this gorgeous scenery.

      • marty podolsky | June 12, 2021 at 1:53 pm

        Look again, I saw them both.

      • Extra Mile Staff | June 14, 2021 at 7:34 am

        Marty – Originally, we published a list of some of the best national parks to visit, highlighting 10 parks chosen for their unique features. We received such great input in response to that article that we have updated the list to include 10 more parks, based on recommendations like the one Ron left in the comments.

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