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Vacation in US National Parks

I love beautiful scenery and the changes of the season offer us some scenes of beauty and I love to travel. Learn from travel experience.

USA Map of National Parks

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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:

  1. Blue Ridge Parkway
  2. Golden Gate National Recreation Area
  3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

National Parks with Highest Number of Visitors

The top ten most visited national parks include:

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 11,388,893 visitors
  2. Grand Canyon National Park - 6,254,238
  3. Zion National Park - 4,504,812
  4. Rocky Mountain National Park
  5. Yosemite National Park - 4,366,890
  6. Yellowstone National Park - 4,116,524
  7. Acadia National Park - 3,509,271
  8. Olympic National Park - 2,401,996
  9. Grand Teton National Park - 3,317,000z
  10. Glacier National Park - 3,305,512

Alaska National Parks

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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

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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.

Grand Canyon

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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

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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

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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

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In Summary

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

Comments

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 24, 2019:

Hello Umesh Chandra, I am glad your enjoyed the article. Thanks you for your comments.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on February 23, 2019:

Very exhaustive information about the US national parks. Nice reading. Thanks.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 20, 2019:

Hi Aldene, I like your statement about breathing fresh air and experiencing the peaceful "untouched forest." I agree! Thank you so much for your comments, and I am glad you liked this article.

Aldene Fredenburg from Southwestern New Hampshire on February 20, 2019:

Thank you for your informative article on these valuable resources. We are lucky that over a hundred years ago Teddy Roosevelt had the sense to create the national park system. We have a small park, the White Mountain National Forest, in New Hampshire, in addition to a number of state parks. It's wonderful to have easy access to areas that are undeveloped where you can breathe fresh air and experience the peacefulness of untouched forest.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 17, 2019:

Hi Alyssa, I grew up in OH and I spent a lot of time in the Cuyahoga Park, and it is so beautiful. I hope you do travel to many other parks as you will love them.

Thank you so much for your comments.

Alyssa from Ohio on February 17, 2019:

Yes!!! I love this article, and I'm bookmarking it for later use. My husband and I love taking our son to our state parks here in Ohio, but we want to start traveling out of state and visiting our nation's beautiful parks! This is a great list! Thank you, Pamela!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 15, 2019:

Flourish, Since the government shutdown is over I would hope that parks are up and running. The Blue Ridge mountains are beautiful, and I have spent a fair amount of time there as well. I love traveling to these parks also.

I agree that these parks are rreplaceable natural assets also. Thank you so much for your comments, and I hope you get to see each park on your bucket list.

FlourishAnyway from USA on February 15, 2019:

What a beautiful article highlighting terrific vacation spots throughout the US. I hope the recent government shutdown hasn't done too much damage to most of these locations, as they are irreplaceable natural assets of the American people.

FlourishAnyway from USA on February 15, 2019:

I have several of these locations on my bucket list as travels spots with my daughter, as my husband's schedule often doesn't allow. I've been lucky enough to live near the Blue Ridge Mountains and the parkway. It's beautiful.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 13, 2019:

Hi Maria, I agree that you need the right climate to enjoy these beautiful parks. Thank you for the birthday wish - How did you know? I appreciate your comments as well.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on February 13, 2019:

If there is sun and milder temps involved, count me in, dear Pam.

Wonderful armchair vacation here - thank you.

Wishing you a happy birthday too. Love, Maria

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 11, 2019:

Hi Nell, I have wanted to visit England. I have traced many ancestors back to England and I would love to see the older architecture.

I hope you do get to visit the US some time. The parks are beautiful and I have traveled quite a bit in the US. Thanks so much for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 11, 2019:

Miebakagh, Thank you for your comments. Have a nice week.

Nell Rose from England on February 11, 2019:

I would love to visit. I have been to a lot in England, but over there is so lovely!

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on February 11, 2019:

Hello, Dora, I agreed with you. Just taking a shut at the videos will make people visit they national parks in they own country. But if they happen to be abroad, they is no bar to visit a first hand a good and famous national park like the Yelloowstone. Thank you,and have a nice day.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 10, 2019:

Hi Dora, I am glad ou enjoyed the enjoted the video. I appreciate your comments. Happy Sunday!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on February 10, 2019:

It is worth considering that people do not have to go abroad to find beautiful vacations spots. Thanks for the video on the National Parks. The Grand Canyon is on my to do list. Great article!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 10, 2019:

Miebakagh, Yhank you again. Happy Sunday to you.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on February 09, 2019:

Hi, all, good to note.Thanks, and happy Sunday!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 09, 2019:

Hi Liz, I knew there were some nice parks in England and many around the worls, but I couldn't even over all the best known parks in the US. The article would have been too long. I love the pictures also. I appreciate your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 09, 2019:

Hi Sherry, You make a good point about the lesser known parks. I was raised in Lakewood, OH and the Cuyahoga Park was right next to us and we spent many hours in that park as it was a beautiful place for a picnic or just a ride through. Thank you for your comments and help.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 09, 2019:

Hello Miebakagh, I think many people go on the weekends if a park is not too far from their home as many people love these parks. It is difficult if none are close by. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

Liz Westwood from UK on February 09, 2019:

We have some national parks in the UK, but nothing on the scale of yours in the USA. They are a photographer's paradise.

Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on February 09, 2019:

Thanks for the info. Our national parks are a wonderful resource, and I'm so glad that these treasures have been preserved for us and future generations. I would just like to add that there are many lesser known national parks (and state parks for that matter) and one advantage to them is that they are not so crowded as the famous ones are.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on February 09, 2019:

Visiting these national parks is delight and leisure. But the majority will not have the time or chance. Thanks for visiting and weighing in.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 09, 2019:

Hi Linda, I hope you get a chance to visit some of the parks. I appreciate your comments.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 08, 2019:

I would love to visit some of the national parks in the United States. Thanks for sharing the information, Pamela. The facts are interesting and the photos are gorgeous.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 08, 2019:

Hi Peggy, My dream is the same as yours as I love to visit these parks. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 08, 2019:

One of my very favorite places to visit is our national and state parks. Even national monuments are often wonderful. Taking a quick look at the map at the top of this page, I have visited 23 of these national parks. My dream would be to visit many more of them!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 08, 2019:

Hi Bill, Visiting 17 is pretty good. Yellowstone is one I would love to see but it has never worked out. The redwoods are probably my favorite at this time They are all worthy of a visit.

I apprreciate your comments. Ha,e a good weekend.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2019:

I did a quick count. I've been to seventeen of them. They are breathtaking. My favorite, by far, is Yellowstone, but they are all worthy of a visit.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 08, 2019:

Hi Miebakagh, The hotsprings do attract tourists as it is so unique. I have never had the pleasure of traveling in Nigeria, but I imagine the Yukari Games reserves is beautiful. I hope they develop more sites for parks. Thank you so much for your comments Miebakagh. Have a good day.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on February 07, 2019:

Hello, Pamela, in my geography lessons, I took note of the Yellow Stones National Park, where I was told one of the best hotspring like the Old Faithful is.

It seems also that the United States has more national parks than any other nations of the world. They are few national parks in my country, Nigeria like the Yankari Games reserves, but these are not well develop as in the US to attract foreighners. The reason being Nigerian Government seems bent on crude oil export as a major means of earning foreigh exchange.

Happily, as tourish is being emphasize as alternative means to develop the economy, some other natural sites are being develop as a park. Thanks for sharing, and good day.