There may be a lot worth seeing in the world, but some of the planet’s best nature can be found right in the United States. For over a century, the US National Park Service has conserved land solely for the purpose of public enjoyment. Visitors from the US and abroad travel miles to visit National Parks, looking to witness these places of untouched beauty.
From coast to coast, the US is home to varied biomes and terrain, making for a truly diverse and awe-inspiring array of parks. I’d like to share some of the country’s most interesting National Parks.
Acadia National Park
I love the state of Maine. It’s a picturesque state even outside of Acadia, a park which exemplifies the alpine forests and rocky coastline that the state is known for. With the only fjord on the east coast, the park gives you options to park, hike, ski, or even swim in the summer!
Featuring unique rock formations, primal forests, and an overlook of the ocean, Acadia proves that there’s more to Maine than just cheap lobster.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
In contrast to the hinterlands of Maine, the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado is home to “conventional” mountains as well as towering sand dunes. Experience a beach away from the ocean, with visitors even surfing down the dunes on snowboards!
During the spring, water flowing from the mountains creates temporary lakes in the dunes, adding to the allure of this unusual attraction.
Zion National Park
Centered around the red and rocky Zion Canyon, Utah’s Zion National Park is a great destination for hikers looking to test their mettle. The park’s varied terrain is notable for housing a great diversity of animal and plant life. Like other parks, there are many ways to travel, and the terrain makes for challenging rock climbing.
Almost alien in its topography, Zion’s distinctive rock formations were formed millions of years ago.
Lake Clark National Park
Alaska, due to its frigid weather, may seem to some like an unappealing destination, but places like Lake Clark prove that the state is worth braving the cold for. While much of Alaska boasts views that seem to have been lifted straight off of a postcard, Lake Clark takes it a step further with its vast expanse of terrain and wildlife.
So remote that plane is the standard method to travel there, visitors travel to witness smoldering volcanoes, fish in lakes, and observe the park’s notable population of brown bears. From a safe distance, of course.
Badlands National Park
Really, these lands are anything but bad. Located in South Dakota, the park invites visitors to wander directly onto the badlands themselves, where they are free to hike, observe the park’s wildlife, and perhaps even discover fossils. Yes, Badlands is famous for its fossils of prehistoric mammals, and the lack of restrictions on where visitors are allowed to hike makes it so that hundreds of new finds are reported every year.
With a system in place allowing hikers to get pictures taken with the things they discover, Badlands adds a bit of adventure to any family trip.