Categories: CampingDestinations

16 U.S. National Parks to Visit This Year

With a brand new year (and new decade!) comes an updated list of resolutions — and if you’re like us, you’ve resolved to spend more time outdoors in nature, see places you’ve never seen before, and experience a few more U.S. National Parks. Here are our picks for the 16 best, along with info and links so you can explore all the lodging options, including some unique Hipcamp camping, glamping, and RV accommodations near the parks.

1. Sequoia National Park

Sequoia trees only grow in coastal California, and you can find the largest concentration of them at Sequoia National Park. You may feel tiny and young as you get up-close and personal to these towering trees that have been alive for over 3,000 years! Sequoia National Park is made of magic, and we highly recommend a visit this year.

2. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is the unique and fascinating site of two of the world’s most impressive volcanoes — Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. From the “Big Island” where the park is located, you can witness how the Hawaiian Islands were born, and see dramatic landscapes and lava flows! Plus, hit the beach afterwards because…you’re in Hawaii!

3. Saguaro National Park

Saguaros are the largest cactus species in the US, are truly a desert wonder! Saguaro National Park is the best place to get a dose of sunshine, explore the unique flora, or watch the sun go down across the vast Arizona desert.

4. Big Bend National Park

A anthropological mecca, West Texas’s center for hiking and backpacking, and an astronomer’s delight — Big Bend is one of the best places in the United States for stargazing, and has the least light-pollution of any national park!

5. Arches National Park

An icon of Utah and the entire National Park System, Arches National Park features other-worldly sandstone arches, best viewed at sunrise or sunset when the red rock glows the brightest. With over 2,500 arches throughout the park to explore, your day will be full of incredible hiking and your memory card will be full of breathtaking photos.

6. Olympic National Park

There aren’t many places in the world where you can experience a rainforest, snow-capped mountain, relaxing hot springs, and a surfable beach – all in the same day. It’s no wonder Washington state locals want to keep this low-key gem on the hush-hush.

7. Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone includes some wild backcountry in its 3,400 square miles of Wyoming. After fishing Yellowstone Lake and hiking Mammoth Hot Springs, try a horseback riding camping trip into the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

8. Joshua Tree National Park

Home of the park’s unique namesake — Joshua Trees — Southern California’s Joshua Tree National Park is a dreamy desertscape, which attracts artists and photographers alike. With expansive views and divine sunsets, nothing beats a golden hour hike through the boulders of this Southern California escape.

9. Rocky Mountain National Park

Boasting 100 stunning mountain peaks, 147 lakes, and some of the best hiking and fishing that North America has to offer, the 350 miles of Colorado wilderness that make up Rocky Mountain National Park are the perfect escape for the avid outdoorsman.

10. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains allow for four seasons of outdoor bliss. The park features mountains for exploring, the Appalachian Trail for hiking, color-changing deciduous forests, and a whole lot of history—there’s something for everyone at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

11. Yosemite National Park

A climber’s paradise with vast views and colossal rock faces, California’s Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada is an iconic must-see. While hiking in Yosemite’s meadows and towering forests along the winding rivers you might see bighorn sheep, black bears, and mule deer.

12. Acadia National Park

On a string of islands in Maine, Acadia is known for its sweeping coastal views, sandy beaches and beautiful hikes. If you’re up for the challenge, hike The Beehive — a commanding geological formation that towers over the treetops. It’s a strenuous trek involving steep trails, granite steps, and rebar rungs but the view from the top makes it worth it.

13. Zion National Park

Utah’s Zion National Park is so intricately beautiful, it almost looks fake — but it’s not! It’s real, and you should absolutely make the trip to experience it. With towering red rock averaging 2000 feet deep, Zion is a go-to for hikers, climbers, and photographers alike.

14. Channel Islands National Park

One could argue that in a titan national park state like California, Channel Islands is not the most notable national park, but trust us…it’s a MUST VISIT. Because of its secluded location, visitation is much lighter than many other National Parks, and there are endless activities to choose from like kayaking, hiking, scuba diving, and wildlife watching (145 species there exist nowhere else in the world!).

15. Glacier National Park

Featuring high alpine lakes, jagged snow-capped peaks, and a LOT of mountain goats, Montana’s Glacier National Park is a must-see for any nature-lover. Go for a swim, paddle the lakes, or hike through the forest, Glacier National Park has it all!

16. Everglades National Park

The Everglades make up a large chunk of South Florida. Guided boat tours and tram tours are the easiest and fastest way to see this massive park. You can also hike along the many trails in the Everglades if you have more time. You can see American crocodiles and alligators in their natural swampy habitat. Manatees also call this place home, along with endangered Florida panthers.

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Coffee-drinkin', true-crime obsessed, small-town gal from Texas, living in a big city + trying to save our planet!

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