Vacation in US National Parks
USA Map of National Parks
Facts - USA National Parks
I have friends that talk about visiting various islands or countries around the world, but the United States has also beautiful areas to visit. For instance, the nation parks in the USA are spectacular. I have been to several, but certainly not all of them. There are certainly beautiful beaches and exciting cities in numerous countries around the world, but getting back to nature in a beautiful park is spectacular.
Whether you live on the east or west coast there is a beautiful national park nearby for you to enjoy. There are 60 protected national parks in the USA and 417 parks altogether. When you look at the above map you can see that there are more national parks west of the Continental Divide.
In 2017, there was an increase in park visitors, which spent 1.44 billion recreation hours in parks. Out of the 417 parks in the USA there are 385 that count visitors. There are three parks with over had 10 million visitors, which include:
- Blue Ridge Parkway
- Golden Gate National Recreation Area
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
National Parks with Highest Number of Visitors
The top ten most visited national parks include:
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 11,388,893 visitors
- Grand Canyon National Park - 6,254,238
- Zion National Park - 4,504,812
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Yosemite National Park - 4,366,890
- Yellowstone National Park - 4,116,524
- Acadia National Park - 3,509,271
- Olympic National Park - 2,401,996
- Grand Teton National Park - 3,317,000z
- Glacier National Park - 3,305,512
Alaska National Parks
Alaska’s National Parks
Alaska has 8 beautiful national parks, which is only exceeded by California with 9 parks. People come to these parks to camp in summer or winter. You may see a moose or even a grizzly bear. You may also get the chance to see the Aurora Borealis.
Denali National Park & Preserve has the tallest North America peak in the USA at 20,310 feet, which use to be called Mount McKinley. This park has 6 million acres with abundant wildlife. Kenmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska is another beautiful park with a lake full of sockeye salmon and numerous brown bears.
Most of the various activities in the Alaskan parks includes:
- Climbing and mountaineering
- Ranger programs and exhibits
- Hiking and backpacking
- Hunting and fishing wild berry picking
- Flightseeing (viewing from an aircraft)
- Mushing and snowmobile
- Bird watching
- Scenic river kayaking
Top 10 Best National Parks
Blue Ridge Parkway
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains extend over Tennessee and North Carolina, and they are known for the diversity of plant and animal life. This park covers 522,419 acres. The Appalachian Trail passes through the center of the park on its route from Maine to Georgia. Camping is very popular, and fishing in over 700 miles of beautiful streams in the park is a popular sport.
There are also 80 historic homes and many people come to see some of the gorgeous waterfalls, which include: Grotto, Laurel, Abrams, Rainbow and Mingo. This mountainous park is often called the “Smokies” due to the magical, smokey haze seen each morning.
“There are trees here that stood before our forefathers ever came to this continent; there are brooks that still run as clear as on the day the first pioneer cupped his hand and drank from them.”
-- President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon National Park is unique for the combination of geologic colors and the most interesting erosional rock formations located in Arizona. This canyon was formed by the Colorado River, and it runs for 277 miles. The width is up to 18 miles wide. The park actually covers 1,217,262 acres. This mile deep canyon is fascinating. In 1979, the park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is a good idea to make reservations for lodging or camp grounds early as they fill up quickly, particular from March to October. Activities include rim to rim hiking, donkey rides or whitewater rafting. There are also 500 species of animals in this park.
Travel: 3 Underrated National Parks
Zion National Park
Zion National Park
The Zion National Park is located in Utah and is unique for its narrow slot canyon that is 15 miles long and 2,640 feet deep. The native Indians and pioneers walked these paths 8,000 years ago. In fact, the use of the park landscape dates back to at least 6,000 B.C. Mormons arrived in this are in 1858 and were settling in by 1860.
There are good restaurants and plenty of lodging. Check out the Zion Lodge. Interesting museums are also available, and there are 278 species of birds live here. In addition to the typical activities when visiting parks is the helicopter and jeep tours
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park
This is the first national park in the USA and is located in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. This park is 3,500 square miles. President Ulysses S. Grant, on March 1, 1872, signed this national park into law. Native Americans have lived in this area for 11,000 years. Yellowstone was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 and may be the oldest park in the world.
This park has rivers, canyons, lakes and mountain ranges. In addition to the dynamic canyons, it features vibrant hot springs and the Old Faithful Geyser. In this national park there are one half of the world’s geysers and hydrothermal features, which are fueled by volcanic eruptions. Lava flows covera much of the land in Yellowstone.
This park also has hundreds of types of animals that include wolves, bison, bears, elk and antelope.
Shenandoah National Park
Shanandoah National Park
The national parks offer a plethora of things to do and see. Whether you just want to site see or get into some action there is plenty to keep you busy. There are numerous things to do, such as hiking, backpacking, fishing, white water rafting or kayaking.
I have been through the Shenandoah Valley, which is absolutely gorgeous and one of my favorite places. There are numerous parks all over the country. I didn't mention the redwoods and they are one of the most amazing parks I have seen.
Get out and see this beautiful country!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Pamela Oglesby