The USA and its territories are home to more than 60 national parks. Offering an extremely diverse variety of landscapes, these gorgeous national treasures attract millions of visitors each year looking to immerse themselves in natural beauty.Less
Declared a national park in 1919 under the name of Lafayette, Acadia National Park, as its been known since 1929, is a stunning area located in Maine. The first national park east of the Mississippi River, the land, which was donated by people who wanted to see it protected, features rugged coastline and 47,000 acres (19,000ha) of verdant forests, lakes and mountains plus flora and fauna.
Located in southeastern Utah north of Moab, Arches National Park features approximately 73,000 acres (30,000ha) of colorful desert landscape along with over 2,000 natural red rock arches. To qualify as an arch, the opening must be at least three feet (1m) wide. Officially becoming a national park in 1971, this national treasure will entice anyone to explore its beauty either through hiking, biking, climbing, off-roading or camping.
Not far from Cleveland and Akron in Ohio, Cuyahoga Valley National Park features a wide variety of landscapes from gorgeous forests and rolling hills, to open farmlands still in use. Becoming a national park in 2000, this 33,000-acre (13,350ha) area is not quite as old or large as some of the others on this list, but its beauty is just as powerful. The park is brimming with picturesque scenery and hours of activities, including walks along the Towpath Trail.
Declared a national park in 1910, Glacier National Park is a breathtaking area in northwest Montana. With over one million acres (404,000ha) of protected land, including majestic peaks, lakes, alpine meadows and glacier-carved valleys with numerous types of trees and other vegetation, this park is an outdoor lover’s haven with endless recreational opportunities. From hiking the over 700 miles (1,100km) of trails, to biking to historic chalets and lodges, there is something for every explorer.
Found in Arizona, Grand Canyon National Park is an awe-inspiring desert stunner that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A national park since 1919, this massive, colorful geological wonder, where some of the geological formations date back 1.8 billion years, is an impressive 277 river miles (446km) long, up to 18 miles (29km) wide and one mile (1.6km) deep and is home to a diverse group of wildlife.
Situated in northwestern Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park is a serene area comprised of approximately 310,000 acres (125,000ha) of beautiful scenery. From majestic peaks that rise from the land to clear lakes to lush forests and more, the national park, declared in 1950, is bound to impress anyone who visits. Along with the natural elements, including a great variety of wildlife, an impressive cultural history can also be explored through various old homesteads and ranches.
Home to some of the oldest mountains in the world, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (declared in 1934) is the most visited national park in the US, and it’s easy to see why. Straddling two states – Tennessee and North Carolina – the park boasts more than 500,000 acres (200,000ha) of dense forests containing over 1,600 species of vegetation blanket the mountains and create a natural masterpiece like no other.
Designated a national park in 1980, Kenai Fjords National Park is an Alaskan gem featuring forests plus 40 glaciers that flow out of the incredible Harding Icefield. A stunning landscape, the park features over 600,000 acres (240,000ha) of land, half of which is covered by ice. The area is also popular for adventure seekers with activities such as hiking and kayaking.
Located in the Pacific Northwest state of Washington, Olympic National Park is a spectacular area of almost one million acres (405,000ha). Featuring several distinct ecosystems, from glacier-capped mountains to old-growth forests and rugged coastline, the scenery is truly diverse and breathtaking. Established in 1938, the land is home to an impressive array of animal life, while the sea is home to whales, dolphins and sea otters.
The country’s first national park, established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park spreads across three states: Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Home to the largest group of geysers in the world – of which Old Faithful is a definite must-see – this area contains over two million acres (810,000ha) of incredible landscape, including alpine lakes, waterfalls, canyons, forests and mountains.