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25 MUST Visit National Parks Your Family Will Love

25 MUST Visit National Parks

Attention fellow travel-loving parents! Are you and your family itching to get out and explore some of the incredible natural wonders our National Park System has to offer? Look no further than these 25 MUST Visit National Parks!

National parks are a testament to our country’s diverse and awe-inspiring natural beauty. From the rocky coastlines of Maine’s Acadia National Park to the volcanic peaks of Hawaii’s Haleakalā National Park, each one offers a unique and unforgettable experience for familes all over the world to enjoy.

Some of the most popular national parks (in my opinion) are Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, and Zion, but in this post, I want to help you start planning your next family vacation or big road trip by exploring the top 25 National Parks- so let’s get started!

25 MUST Visit National Parks
25 MUST Visit National Parks

Best National Parks In The US

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a breathtakingly beautiful destination located in California, USA. It is known for its towering granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and ancient giant sequoia trees. Here are some interesting facts about the park that you may not know:

  • Yosemite was first protected in 1864 and became a national park in 1890.
  • It covers an area of 1,169 square miles (3,029 square kilometers).
  • The park is home to over 400 species of animals, including black bears, coyotes, and mountain lions.
  • Yosemite’s most famous attraction is Half Dome, a granite dome that rises over 4,700 feet (1,430 meters) above the valley floor.
  • The park’s waterfalls are some of the tallest in the world, with Yosemite Falls measuring 2,425 feet (739 meters) in height.
  • The giant sequoia trees found in the park are among the largest living organisms on Earth, with some towering over 300 feet (91 meters) tall.

Yosemite National Park is a must-see destination for anyone who loves nature and adventure. Whether you’re hiking to the top of Half Dome or simply enjoying the view from the valley floor, you’re sure to be awed by the park’s natural beauty.

Click here to check out our post on Planning a visit to Yosemite National Park!

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most famous and beloved parks in the United States. Here are some interesting facts and information about this incredible destination:

  • Yellowstone is located mostly in Wyoming, but it also extends into Montana and Idaho.
  • The park is famous for its geothermal features, including Old Faithful, which erupts approximately every 90 minutes.
  • Yellowstone is also home to a variety of wildlife, including bison, elk, wolves, and bears.
  • The park was established in 1872 and was the first national park in the United States.
  • Yellowstone is part of the larger Yellowstone ecosystem, which encompasses over 20 million acres of land and is one of the last remaining intact ecosystems in the world.

If you’re planning a trip to Yellowstone, be sure to pack warm clothes and comfortable shoes for hiking. And don’t forget your camera – you’ll want to capture all the incredible sights and experiences this park has to offer.

Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon National Park is located in Arizona, USA, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Here are some interesting facts about the Grand Canyon National Park:

  • The park covers over 1.2 million acres of land and is home to a variety of wildlife including elk, deer, and California condors.
  • The Grand Canyon itself is over 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and over a mile deep.
  • The rock formations in the canyon are estimated to be over two billion years old, making it one of the oldest geological sites in the world.
  • The park offers a range of activities for visitors, including hiking, rafting, and helicopter tours.
  • The Grand Canyon National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts over six million visitors each year.

If you’re planning a trip to the Grand Canyon National Park, be sure to check out the park’s official website for information on park hours, fees, and activities.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is a beautiful national park located in the state of Colorado, in the United States. It covers over 400 square miles and is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including elk, mountain lions, and black bears. The park is also known for its stunning scenery, with towering mountain peaks, alpine lakes, and lush forests.

Visitors to the park can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife watching. Some of the most popular attractions in the park include Trail Ridge Road, which offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains, and the Alpine Visitor Center, which provides visitors with information about the park’s ecology and geology.

Whether you’re an avid outdoors enthusiast or simply looking for a peaceful escape in nature, Rocky Mountain National Park is truly a must-see destination.

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is a breathtaking natural wonder located in southwestern Utah. It is famous for its towering red cliffs, narrow slot canyons, and diverse wildlife. Here are some interesting facts about Zion National Park that you might find fascinating:

  • The park was established in 1919 and covers an area of 229 square miles.
  • The highest point in the park is Horse Ranch Mountain, which stands at 8,726 feet.
  • The park is home to more than 1,000 species of plants and over 400 species of animals, including bighorn sheep, mule deer, and golden eagles.
  • Zion National Park is known for its unique geology, which consists of Navajo Sandstone formations that have been eroded over millions of years.
  • The park offers a wide range of outdoor activities, such as hiking, rock climbing, and camping, and is a popular destination for adventure seekers from all over the world.

Whether you are a nature lover, an avid hiker, or simply looking for a stunningly beautiful place to visit, Zion National Park is definitely worth adding to your bucket list.

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is a beautiful national park located in the state of Maine in the United States. It covers over 47,000 acres of stunning natural landscapes, including mountains, forests, lakes, and coastline. The park is home to an incredible variety of wildlife and plant species, making it a popular destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Some of the top attractions at Acadia National Park include:

  • Cadillac Mountain: This is the highest peak on the eastern coast of the United States, and offers stunning views of the park and the surrounding area.
  • Jordan Pond: This crystal clear lake is surrounded by beautiful mountains and forests, and is a popular spot for hiking and picnicking.
  • Sand Beach: This gorgeous beach is nestled between two rocky headlands, and is a great spot for swimming and sunbathing.

Overall, Acadia National Park is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the state of Maine or the northeastern United States.

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is a stunning natural treasure located in the northern part of Montana, USA. Here are some interesting facts about this beautiful park:

  • The park covers over 1 million acres of land and is home to over 130 lakes.
  • The name “Glacier” comes from the park’s glaciers, which were formed during the last ice age over 10,000 years ago.
  • The park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including grizzly bears, mountain goats, and elk.
  • The Going-to-the-Sun Road, a scenic drive that spans over 50 miles, is one of the park’s most popular attractions.
  • Visitors can also enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, and other outdoor activities in the park’s breathtaking wilderness.

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or simply looking for a peaceful escape in nature, Glacier National Park is definitely worth a visit.

Click here to check out our post on Planning a visit to Glacier National Park!

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is a stunning desert landscape that is located in Southern California. It is known for its unique rock formations and its namesake, the Joshua Tree. Here are some interesting facts about the park that you may find fascinating:

  • The park covers over 790,000 acres of land.
  • Joshua Tree National Park is home to over 250 bird species, including the ladder-backed woodpecker and the western bluebird.
  • The park has over 80 trails for visitors to explore, ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous.
  • The Joshua Tree plant, which is native to the park, can live up to 150 years old.
  • The park is a popular destination for stargazing due to its remote location and clear skies.

If you’re planning a visit to Joshua Tree National Park, make sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and appropriate hiking gear. And don’t forget your camera, as the views are truly breathtaking.

Arches National Park

Arches National Park is located in the eastern part of Utah and is known for its unique geological formations. The park covers over 76,000 acres and is home to over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, as well as a variety of other rock formations such as spires, hoodoos, and balanced rocks.

The most famous arch, Delicate Arch, has become an iconic symbol of Utah and is a popular destination for visitors. In addition to its geological wonders, Arches National Park also offers opportunities for hiking, camping, stargazing, and wildlife watching.

With its stunning natural beauty and unique landscape, Arches National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is located in the northwestern region of the state of Wyoming, in the United States. This park is known for its stunning mountain range, which boasts some of the highest peaks in the Rocky Mountains. Here are a few more interesting facts about Grand Teton National Park:

  • The park covers an area of over 300,000 acres and is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including grizzly bears, wolves, elk, and bison.
  • The Teton Range, which is the centerpiece of the park, includes 12 peaks that rise above 12,000 feet in elevation.
  • Visitors to the park can enjoy a wide range of activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife watching.
  • One of the most popular attractions in the park is the Jenny Lake area, which features a scenic boat ride, hiking trails, and stunning views of the mountains.
  • The park is also home to the Snake River, which is a popular spot for rafting and kayaking.

Overall, Grand Teton National Park is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves the great outdoors and wants to experience the natural beauty of the American West.

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is located in the state of Washington in the United States. It was established in 1938 and covers an area of 1,442 square miles. Here are some interesting facts about the park:

  • The park is home to three distinct ecosystems: temperate rainforest, rugged mountains, and wild coastline.
  • The highest peak in the park is Mount Olympus, which stands at 7,980 feet tall.
  • The park is also home to numerous glaciers, including the largest glacier in the contiguous United States, the Hoh Glacier.
  • The coastline of the park stretches for 73 miles and features tide pools, sea stacks, and sandy beaches.
  • Olympic National Park is home to hundreds of species of plants and animals, including elk, black bears, and the endangered northern spotted owl.
  • The park offers a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and kayaking.

Whether you’re a nature lover or an adventure seeker, Olympic National Park is definitely worth a visit and is the perfect adventure when exploring the PNW!

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is located in the southwestern part of Utah, USA. The park is known for its unique geological formations called hoodoos, which are tall, thin spires of rock that rise up from the ground. These hoodoos were formed over millions of years by the forces of erosion and weathering.

The park is a popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts, with many trails winding through the hoodoos and offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Some of the most popular trails include the Navajo Loop Trail, the Queens Garden Trail, and the Rim Trail.

In addition to hiking, visitors can also enjoy camping, stargazing, and ranger-led programs. The park is open year-round, although some facilities may be closed during the winter months. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned park-goer, Bryce Canyon National Park is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park is a vast and diverse ecosystem that is home to a variety of plant and animal species. It is located in southern Florida and covers over 1.5 million acres of wetlands, mangroves, and sawgrass prairies. Here are some interesting facts about Everglades National Park:

  • The park is home to 36 threatened or protected species, including the Florida panther, American crocodile, and West Indian manatee.
  • It is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
  • The Everglades is a unique ecosystem that is fed by the slow-moving waters of the Kissimmee River and Lake Okeechobee.
  • Visitors can explore the park by hiking, biking, kayaking, or taking an airboat tour.
  • The park is also home to several historic structures, including the Nike Hercules missile base, which was built during the Cold War.

Whether you’re interested in wildlife, history, or just exploring the great outdoors, Everglades National Park has something for everyone.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a popular destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Here are some interesting facts about the park that you may find fascinating:

  • The park is located in both Tennessee and North Carolina, covering over 500,000 acres.
  • It is home to over 1,500 species of plants, making it one of the most biodiverse areas in the world.
  • The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, elk, and white-tailed deer.
  • The Great Smoky Mountains are actually a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, and their name comes from the blue mist that often surrounds them.
  • Visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, camping, and scenic drives throughout the park, as well as educational programs and ranger-led tours. 

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or an adventure-packed vacation, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must-visit destination.

Denali National Park

Denali National Park is a beautiful and vast wilderness area located in Alaska, United States. It is home to the highest peak in North America, Denali, which stands at an impressive height of 20,310 feet. The park covers an area of 6 million acres and offers a wide range of recreational activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some interesting facts about Denali National Park:

  • The park was established as Mount McKinley National Park in 1917 and was later renamed Denali National Park and Preserve in 1980.
  • The park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou, and Dall sheep.
  • Visitors can explore the park through various means, such as hiking, biking, fishing, skiing, and even dog sledding.
  • The park offers stunning views of the Alaska Range, which includes several other peaks besides Denali.
  • The park also has a rich cultural history, with the native Athabascan people having lived in the area for thousands of years before the arrival of European settlers.

If you’re planning a trip to Alaska, be sure to add Denali National Park to your itinerary for an unforgettable wilderness experience.

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is a beautiful national park located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in the United States. It covers an area of over 200,000 acres and is home to a wide variety of wildlife and plant species. Here are some interesting facts and things to do in Shenandoah National Park:

  • The park has over 500 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy to strenuous, offering beautiful views of the mountains, waterfalls, and valleys.
  • Skyline Drive, a scenic drive that runs the length of the park, is a popular attraction for visitors, especially during the fall season when the leaves change color.
  • The park is home to many animals, including black bears, deer, wild turkeys, and more. Visitors should take caution and keep a safe distance from these animals.
  • Shenandoah National Park is also a great place for stargazing, with its location far from city lights offering a clear view of the night sky.
  • Camping is another popular activity in the park, with several campgrounds available for visitors to stay overnight and enjoy the natural surroundings.

Whether you are a nature enthusiast, a hiker, or just looking for a peaceful getaway, Shenandoah National Park is definitely worth a visit.

Badlands National Park

Located in southwestern South Dakota, Badlands National Park covers more than 244,000 acres and is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including bison, bighorn sheep, and prairie dogs. The park’s unique landscape features layered rock formations, deep canyons, and towering pinnacles that offer a glimpse into millions of years of geological history.

Visitors can explore the park’s hiking trails, take scenic drives, and even participate in ranger-led programs that highlight the park’s natural and cultural resources. One of the park’s most popular attractions is the Badlands Loop Road, a 31-mile drive that provides stunning views of the park’s rugged terrain and abundant wildlife.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or just looking for a new adventure, Badlands National Park is definitely worth a visit.

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park is a beautiful and picturesque park located in the state of Washington, USA. The park is named after the towering Mount Rainier, which is the highest peak in the Cascade Range and is an active volcano. Here are some interesting facts about the park:

  • Mount Rainier National Park was established in 1899, making it one of the oldest national parks in the United States.
  • The park covers an area of 369 square miles and contains over 25 glaciers.
  • Mount Rainier is an active volcano and is closely monitored by scientists for signs of volcanic activity.
  • The park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including black bears, elk, and mountain goats.
  • Visitors to the park can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and skiing.

Whether you’re a nature lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or just looking for a peaceful getaway, Mount Rainier National Park is definitely worth a visit.

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is a vast expanse of desert wilderness located in California, USA. It is known for its extreme temperatures, stunning geological formations, and unique wildlife. Here are some interesting facts about Death Valley National Park:

  • It is the hottest and driest place in North America.
  • The park covers an area of over 3 million acres.
  • Death Valley contains the lowest point in North America, which is Badwater Basin at 282 feet below sea level.
  • The park has an incredible diversity of plant and animal life, including the iconic Joshua tree.
  • Visitors can explore the park through hiking, camping, and scenic drives, including the famous Badwater Road and Artist’s Drive.
  • The park also offers opportunities for stargazing, with clear skies and minimal light pollution. 

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a nature lover, or just looking for a unique adventure, Death Valley National Park is definitely worth a visit.

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park is a stunning landscape of canyons, mesas, and buttes. The park is located in southeastern Utah, and it covers over 337,000 acres. The park is divided into four districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers. Each district has its own unique features and attractions that draw visitors from all over the world. Here are a few things to know about each district:

  • Island in the Sky: This district offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape from atop a mesa. Visitors can hike to the mesa’s edge to take in the scenery, or they can explore the many trails that wind through the canyons below.
  • The Needles: This district is named for the towering sandstone spires that dot the landscape. Visitors can explore the many hiking trails and backcountry campsites in the area, or they can take a scenic drive along the park’s main road.
  • The Maze: This district is the most remote and rugged area of the park. It is only accessible by foot, horseback, or four-wheel drive vehicle, and visitors should be prepared for a challenging adventure. The Maze is known for its towering cliffs, winding canyons, and incredible solitude.
  • The rivers: The Green and Colorado Rivers flow through the park, offering visitors the chance to explore the canyons from a unique perspective. Visitors can take a guided rafting trip down the rivers, or they can hike along the banks to enjoy the scenery.

No matter which district you choose to explore, Canyonlands National Park is a must-see destination for anyone who loves the great outdoors.

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is an incredibly beautiful and diverse park located in California, USA. Here are some interesting facts and information about the park that you might find helpful:

  • Sequoia National Park is home to the largest tree in the world, the General Sherman tree, which stands over 275 feet tall and is estimated to be over 2,000 years old.
  • The park also features stunning mountain ranges, including the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Great Western Divide.
  • If you’re a fan of hiking, the park has over 800 miles of trails to explore, ranging from easy walks to challenging multi-day backpacking trips.
  • Sequoia National Park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, mountain lions, and mule deer.
  • In addition to hiking, there are many other activities to enjoy in the park, such as rock climbing, fishing, and horseback riding.
  • The park is open year-round, but some areas may be closed during the winter months due to snow and ice.
  • If you’re planning a visit, be sure to check the park’s website for up-to-date information on road closures, weather conditions, and other important details.
  • Redwood National and State Parks

Redwood National and State Parks is a protected area that is located in the United States, specifically in the state of California. The park was established in order to preserve the natural beauty and diversity of the redwood forests that are found in the area. Here are some interesting facts about the park:

  • The park covers an area of over 138,000 acres
  • It is home to some of the tallest trees in the world, with some reaching heights of over 300 feet
  • The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, elk, and sea otters
  • Visitors can enjoy a range of activities in the park, such as hiking, camping, and fishing
  • The park is also a popular destination for birdwatchers, with over 400 species of birds recorded in the area

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat in nature or an adventure-packed vacation, Redwood National and State Parks has something for everyone to enjoy.

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park is an expansive and breathtaking park located in the state of Texas, USA. Here are some additional points to give context to this beautiful destination:

  • The park covers over 800,000 acres, making it one of the largest national parks in the United States.
  • Big Bend is named after the bend in the Rio Grande River that forms its southern border.
  • The park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including black bears, mountain lions, coyotes, and over 450 species of birds.
  • Visitors can explore the park’s many hiking trails, go on scenic drives, and even go on river tours of the Rio Grande.
  • The park’s remote location also makes it an ideal spot for stargazing, with some of the darkest skies in the country.

Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventurer, or simply looking for a peaceful escape, Big Bend National Park is definitely worth a visit.

Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park is a stunning national park located in the northern part of Lake Superior. It is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including moose, wolves, and otters.

The park is also known for its scenic hiking trails, which offer visitors the opportunity to explore the island’s rugged terrain and stunning views. If you’re a fan of water activities, the park also offers opportunities for kayaking and fishing. Additionally, the park is steeped in history, with evidence of human habitation dating back thousands of years.

Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Isle Royale National Park is definitely worth a visit.

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park is a stunning natural wonder located in southern Oregon, USA. It is home to the deepest lake in the United States, with crystal-clear blue waters that are perfect for swimming, fishing, and boating. Here are some interesting facts about this beautiful park:

  • Crater Lake was formed over 7,000 years ago when a massive volcanic eruption caused the collapse of a tall peak, creating a deep basin that eventually filled with water.
  • The lake is so clear that you can see down to depths of over 100 feet, making it a popular destination for scuba divers.
  • The park is also home to a diverse array of wildlife, including bears, elk, and cougars.
  • Visitors can explore the park’s many hiking trails, which offer breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
  • In the winter, the park is transformed into a winter wonderland, with opportunities for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and sledding.

Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or simply a peaceful retreat in nature, Crater Lake National Park is a must-visit destination.

25 MUST Visit National Parks

It’s time to pack your bags and head out to explore the incredible natural wonders that our National Park System has to offer. After all, there’s no better way to create unforgettable memories with your family than by immersing yourselves in the beauty of nature.

Whether you’re looking for towering granite cliffs, geothermal wonders, vast canyons, or picturesque landscapes, these 25 MUST Visit National Parks are sure to have something for everyone. From the iconic Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, and Zion, to the lesser-known but equally stunning parks, there’s a whole world of adventure waiting to be discovered.

So why not start planning your next family vacation or big road trip by exploring the top 25 National Parks? Trust me, your family will thank you for it.

Get ready to experience the beauty and wonder of our country’s diverse landscapes and create memories that will last a lifetime. Let’s hit the road and make some unforgettable adventures!

25 MUST Visit National Parks Your Family Will Love

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