Best American National Parks

Aracida's Jordan Pond
Aracida's Jordan Pond

Are you one of many who enjoy the natural wonders and beauty of nature? There are fifty-eight national parks nationwide there in the United States; many such as Acadia, Carlsbad Caverns, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon are known world-wide. Others such as Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park, Denali, and Joshua Tree aren't as well-known. Here are a few national parks that are popular with travelers; all of them have rugged natural beauty and numerous activities available to all park visitors.

Acadia National Park

Acadia is located in the state of Maine on the Mount Desert Island. This park is known for its granite cliffs contrasting its sandy beaches and mountains in the mist of the sea. The terrain of Acadia varies from meadows and wetlands to dense evergreen trees. What makes this park special is the ever presence of the ocean; it can be seen, heard and smelled though out the park; this creates a unique outdoor experience providing the sounds of the ocean with the beauty of evergreen forest. One activity that is popular and can be done in less than half a day is the drive around the 20 mile park loop; this is perhaps the quick and easy way to see some of this park. Arcadia is an exceptional park with camping, hiking, shopping, lodging and of course great park facilities.

Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns is located in southeastern New Mexico, in the Guadalupe Mountains. This park was first made a national monument in October 1923; later in May 1930 it was designated a national park. At present, this park is over 46,500 acres in size and has 80 plus caves. Carlsbad is know for its underground chambers and its limestone stalagmites and stalactite. One of the chambers is called the "Big Room"; this room is thought to be the third largest in the United States and the seventh largest chamber in the world. Big Room measures 4000' long by 625' wide and 350' at it high point. To this day, the caverns are being explored; some recent finds include the Guadalupe Room(1966), Bifrost Room(1982) and the Chocolate High in 1993. The temperature inside the cavern remains a steady 56 degrees year round. Carlsbad can be reached by elevator or by walking the trail to its main entrance. On the surface, there are a few hiking trails and a unpaved drive giving access to the desert scenery. In a detached area of the park, is the Rattlesnake Springs Picnic area; this area is an oasis of wildlife habitats. Also, there are 300 plus species of birds documented too. If you are into cave exploration, and bird watching in a desert environment, Carlsbad Caverns is the place to visit.

Grand Canyon

One of the oldest national parks is Arizona's Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon itself is not the park, but is located in the National park; In January 1908, the Grand Canyon was made a national monument; later in February 1919 it was made a park. At 277 miles long, four to eighteen miles wide and over a mile deep, the Grand Canyon is a natural wonder. With its hiking trails, this is the place to see for the outdoor-enthusiast. In addition to the regular sightseeing along the southern rim, there is whitewater rafting and helicopter tours. The north rim has a higher elevation and is believed by many to have a better view. The south rim is more convenient to main entrance and visitor center. If you would like to explorer some of the old architecture & ruins, the Watchtower (build in 1932) is available. The newer Sky-walk is available too. If you are in good physical shape, a good way to see the canyon is to hike to the bottom. If you are unable to hike mules are available . For the truly adventurous a hike to the bottom and rafting on the Colorado is an experience to remember.

Redwood National Park

With trees as tall as 335 feet, Redwood National park is a nature lovers cathedral; Located in Northern California, this is the place to go to see the largest living trees on the planet. At Redwood you will find a variety of trails to match your schedule and interest. If you are a mountain biker, you have the choice of paved or dirt roads. If you are into boating, there are world class water ways close to Redwood. Nature lovers will enjoy the variety of wildlife and three hundred plus species of birds too. Redwood is home to some endangered species of animals including the Brown Pelican, Bald Eagle and the Northern Spotted Owl. Other animal sightings include black bears, mountain lions, beaver and elk. Off the coast Gray whales and Dolphins are seen from time to time. In addition to the trees, Redwood has its share of rivers, streams alone with 37 miles of beautiful coastline. Kayaking is very popular along the coast, streams and rivers too. Frequently, those kayaking and canoeing travel the Smith river; It is the longest river remaining in California. Another popular water related activity is fishing. In September 1980, Redwood Natural Park was named a World Heritage Site; a few years later in June of 1983, Redwood was named an International Biosphere Reserve.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Located in Northern Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park is known for its beautiful view of the mountains; With the evergreen-lined, snow covered mountaintops, this park is a beauty to behold. Rocky Mountain Park is split by the Continental Divide, which gives the east & western parts their unique weather characteristics. The east side of Rocky Mountain is drier, with snow covered peaks, while the west side is a bit wetter and greener. Also, the park has more than 140 lakes and many mountain peaks higher than 12,000 feet. In addition, Rocky Mountain National Park is surrounded by the national forest of Roosevelt, Routt and Arapaho. As for wildlife, the park has a wide variety, including Elk, black bear, coyotes, and hawks; also the headwaters of the Colorado river are located here. Lastly, popular attractions include hiking, fishing and camping..

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Smoky Mountain National Park

The Smoky Mountain National park is located near the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains there along the eastern Tennessee border. In June 1934, this 500,000 acre piece of land was made a National park, making it one of the largest national parks in the eastern United States. With the wide assortment of wild flowers & plants, found along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, it is no wonder this is one of the nations favorite parks. Also, there are over 500 miles of trails for hiking, including seventy miles in the Appalachian Trail. Some popular activities include hiking, sightseeing, and fly fishing. In addition, Smoky Mountain is home to a very diverse wildlife population. If you are interested in simple sightseeing of the park visit the Clingmans Dome; it is the highest point in the Park. Smoky Mountain also has historical related attractions including Cades Cove; this is one of the most visited attractions in Smokey Mountain National Park.

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is one of the most popular parks in the world; with an area of over 3,468 square miles, you can site-see for days and see only a small portion of what this park has to offer. Forever linked to its name and the active geyser Old Faithful, this is more than just a regular park; it is one of the last remaining nearly intact ecosystems; Yellowstone is.also part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which is home to more than 1600 species of trees and plants native to Yellowstone. Also, there are hundreds of species of fish, mammals and birds that have been cataloged there, including a few that are endangered. Herds of bison have been seen roaming the park. In addition to the wildlife, Yellowstone has various recreational activities such as hiking, boating, camping and fishing. When visiting the park most road to the geothermal areas, lakes and waterfalls are paved. During the winter, visitors often use snowmobiles or snow coaches to see the park.

Yosemite National Park

Located in central eastern California, spanning an area of over 760,000 acres is Yosemite National Park. Founded in October 1890, Yosemite was central to the concept of land preservation; this would eventually lead to creation of a National Parks system. Credit for this work is given to people such as John Muir. Yosemite has three groves of giant sequoia trees they are Mariposa, Tuolumne and the Merced Grove. In addition, Yosemite its known for its waterfalls; because of the sheer drops, the park has many waterfalls. Although this park is large, most of the visitors coming to Yosemite spend most of their time in Yosemite Valley, which is one percent of the park.

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Arches National Park

Arches National Park is located near Moab, Utah; it became a national Monument in April 1929; however it wasn't until November 1971 Arches became a national park. There is a concentration of over two thousand formations that have been carved via erosion. Arches sits on top a salt bed, which is the main contributor to formation of arches, balanced rocks and other formations in the park. Climbing on the rock formations is not allowed; however, some approved activities include backpacking, biking, camping and hiking. This park is home to a diverse wildlife population, which includes scrub jay, peregrine falcon, red fox and mountain lions. If you are into rock formations and observing wildlife in open areas, this park could be for you. Should you decide to visit Arches, please check to see what areas and activities require a permit. Also, some guided tours are available.

Denali National Park

Denali National Park

Denali was made a national park first under the name Mount McKinley National Park in Feb 1917; later in 1976, the park was renamed Denali National Monument, and was made into a International biosphere reserve. Finally in Dec 1980, the monument became Denali National Park. Located in the state of Alaska, covering more than 9,400 square miles, the park name Denali means "The High One;" Visitors coming to this park enjoy site-seeing, hiking, and mountaineering. Some of the wildlife found in Denali include bears, foxes, caribou and moose; because of the remote location of this National park, it is possible to see what a true wilderness looks like before the influence of man. During the winter months some popular activities include dog-sledding and skiing. Denali is one of the true unspoiled gems under the care of the United States National Park service.

Volcanoes National Park

Established as a National Park in 1916, Volcanoes is truly unique among the national parks. Volcanoes is the result of thousands of years of volcanism; the volcanoes Kilauea and Mauna Loa are some of the main attractions in this park; not only does Volcanoes gets the attention of locals, it has attracted the attention of the international community; in 1980 Volcanoes National Park was made an International Biosphere Reserve. Later in 1987, it was designated a World Heritage Site. The park is over 500 square miles in size, with half of the park undeveloped for various outdoor activities such as hiking and camping. In addition, the park is home to diverse species of wildlife, which makes it a unique Hawaiian ecosystem. A word of caution about this park; please remember this national park is close to active volcanoes. Please wear durable shoes and stay on the main trails; If you have breathing problems or have small children, please exercise caution when you are close to the volcanoes. With caution and common sense, a visit to this national park can be a memorable vacation experience.

show route and directions
A markerAcadia National Park -
Acadia National Park, 109 Cottage St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, USA
[get directions]

B markerCarlsbad Caverns -
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, 727 Carlsbad Cavern Hwy, Carlsbad, NM 88220, USA
[get directions]

C markerGrand Canyon -
Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023, USA
[get directions]

D markerRedwood National Park -
Redwood National Park, 1111 2nd St, Crescent City, CA 95531, USA
[get directions]

E markerRocky Mountain National Park -
Rocky Mountain National Park, 1000 U.S. 36, Estes Park, CO 80517, USA
[get directions]

F markerSmoky Mountain National park -
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, USA
[get directions]

G markerYellowstone National Park -
Yellowstone National Park, 200 Old Yellowstone Trl, Gardiner, Mt 59030, USA
[get directions]

H markerYosemite National Park -
Yosemite National Park, Northside Dr, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, USA
[get directions]

I markerDenali National Park -
Denali National Park, Alaska 99743, USA
[get directions]

J markerVolcanoes National Park Hawaii -
Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, State Highway 11, Pāhoa, HI 96778, USA
[get directions]

Other Great United States National Parks

There are many great parks in the United States, I wanted to mention a few more.

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Comments 45 comments

amulets profile image

amulets 7 years ago from Singapore

Thanks for showing all these wonderful places. I dearly love to visit every single one of them. It is so beautiful in nature.

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@amulets - yes they are; thank you for your comments

Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

Ghost Whisper 77 7 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

Coolmon- hi! :) Great Hub! I loved it and it brought back great memories. I went on a 4 month plus vacation and I visited so many National Parks all over the U.S. I got to hike, climb and take the best photographs! I can't pick a favorite but some of my most pleasurable were ARCHES, Denaili was a long drive to get to but pretty neat,Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon...shoot I could go on and on...loved them all so much!

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Ghost Whisper 77 - Sounds like you had quite the road trip; Glad you had a good time. nice to chat with a fellow nature lover and thanks for sharing your travel experiences :)

hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 7 years ago from Italy

Very good hub Coolmon, I've never been to USA but I have a couple of place now that I must see. Yellowstone and Grand Canyon first. Thanks for sharing.

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@hypnodude - Glad this article helped you with your travel plans. Thanks for your comments

Mystique1957 profile image

Mystique1957 7 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

Thank you for this magnificent tour around US National Parks. Strange enough I lived 4 years in the US and never got to visit any of them! This hub made me want to.

It is very complete and well-researched!

My compliments to you!

Two thumbs up!

Kind regards,


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Mystique1957 - Glad you enjoyed reading this hub. Hope you enjoy your trip once you decide which park you want to visit.

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 7 years ago from Texas

Nice pictures and great information. I actually used to live by the Guadalupe mountains and it is beatufil there indeed. Good job.

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@ladyjane1 - Must have nice waking up each morning to those mountains; thanks for your feedback on this article

Greg Cremia profile image

Greg Cremia 7 years ago from Outer Banks

I have been to the Grand Canyon. There are some others on your list which are on my list of must see places. thanks.

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Greg Cremia - Thanks for your feedback

Truth From Truth profile image

Truth From Truth 7 years ago from Michigan

I have always wanted to visit Carlsbad Caverns, I definitely will one day soon. I enjoyed this hub thank you, I appreciate the tips for future travel.

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Truth From Truth - I am glad the information was helpful to you; when you visit Carlsbad, hope you enjoy your visit.

RealEstateHelper profile image

RealEstateHelper 7 years ago

Interesting hub and great information. I would definitely love to visit all these places. Thanks for sharing :)

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@RealEstateHelper - Glad my article helped; Thank you for stopping by

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@dali48 - Thank you for your feedback

Raven King profile image

Raven King 7 years ago from Cabin Fever

This is great, Coolmon. Do you have a favorite? :)

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Raven King - Kinda hard to pick just one; I have a few; on my short list is Acadia and Grand Canyon

skyfire profile image

skyfire 7 years ago

I think yellowstone and arches are more famous. My brother has collection of his pics in these two parks,your hub reminds me of that.

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@skyfire - thank you for your feedback

Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

Oh, Coolmon, what a wonderful hub. I want to go to Yosemite, no Redwood, no Grand Canyon, no Yellowstone. They all are so incredible. Someday...

Kapadokya 7 years ago

Thanks for showing all these wonderful places.

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Dolores Monet - I know what you mean it is hard to decide which one; thanks for your comments

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Kapadokya - Thanks for your feedback

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

nice share Cool, I want to go to Yosemite, great and well researched, Maita

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@prettydarkhorse - Thanks for your comments and thanks for stopping by

Mikel G Roberts profile image

Mikel G Roberts 7 years ago from The Heartland

This is a fantastic hub!! I really enjoyed it.

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Mikel G Roberts - Thank you for your kind words

frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 6 years ago from Central United States of America

Wonderful hub info and pictures/videos you shared. I have visited most of these places as a child - many years ago - as my parents thought their children should benefit by seeing them. Indeed, you brought back many good -and a few scary - memories. Thanks for your detailed work in this hub!

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@frogyfish - Thanks for your feedback; I hope I brought back more good memories than bad. Thank you for taking time to respond to this article.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hiya, I wish I could come visit some of these places. I loved the caverns. But that is just me! Over here, I have visited a few caves but there are not that many near me that are that big. I just love them. I will come back to finish reading and checking it out later. I got stuck on the cavern video and realised I was going to be late! (gotta go to work!)ha ha thanks nell

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Nell Rose - Hope you have a good day at work, and thank you for taking the time to read my article :)

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hi, thought I would come back! I do two or three little jobs, so I am dotting about all over the place! I just wanted to say that America has some great places, and one of these days I am going to drag my brother over there! He is an Americanphile! ha ha do you like the word? He is nuts about anything American, but he doesn't like flying! I had better get him on a train, boat, bike etc, lol thanks nell

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Nell Rose - When you and your brother visit here, hope it is an enjoyable memorable experience; as always, it is nice to hear from you :)

Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 6 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

Great hub. We just got a camper after years of tenting. I am going to bookmark. I am sure this will come in handy. Thank you

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

I am glad you find this article useful; I hope you get much enjoyment out of your camper too :)

Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 5 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

@Coolmon2009...Nice job on the inspiring subject of our national parks! They are beautiful places for family access to nature, and places of pleasure for the single visitor, as well.

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 5 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Barbsbitsnpieces - I am glad you like this article; thanks for your comments too :)

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I ave been to some of these parks.Usually it was on a trip to somewhere else so I had limited time to enjoy it.

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 5 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@dahoglund - I hope your visits were enjoyable; Also,it is nice to hear from you again :)

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

The only ones mentioned here that I have not yet visited are Denali and Acadia. I have written hubs about the others and many more. I just LOVE our national parks! Wish I could see all of them! Nice hub.

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 5 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Peggy W - I know what you mean, I hope to visit a few I don't have listed here too :)

travelpapafly profile image

travelpapafly 5 years ago

Very nice post and thanks to showing all these wonderful travel places.

Igor Kopmar

"Cheap Flights" Advisor and owner of ""

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 5 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@travelpapafly - Thanks, I am glad you enjoyed reading this article.

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