America has some of the world’s most beautiful parks right in its own backyard. America’s national parks are home to global treasures ranging from snowcapped mountain peaks and glaciers to the world’s oldest, largest, and tallest trees.
These natural areas are ideal for hiking, camping, sightseeing, learning about cultures and natural history, or simply contemplating the universe’s wonders.
The majority of the national parks in the United States are easily accessible and well-equipped for visitors. Many of them are only a few hours’ drive from major cities. Informative visitor centers provide information about the features, and park staff are available to make your visit easy and enjoyable.
Pack the car for a day trip, weekend getaway, or week-long adventure, and check the National Park Service website for possible closures or to book camping reservations. Take to the road with our list of the best national parks in the United States.
Yosemite National Park, CA
Yosemite National Park is home to some of America’s most iconic natural wonders. These landmarks, along with incredible drives to stunning viewpoints, hiking trails leading to plunging waterfalls, and giant sequoia trees, will forever cement Yosemite in your mind.
Yosemite National Park spans 1,200 square miles, but the majority of the main attractions are concentrated in Yosemite Valley. With four million annual visitors, this can cause congestion and crowding, so plan your day and arrive early.
Try camping in Yosemite if you want to make the trip truly memorable. However, make sure to book well in advance.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is well-known for its distinctive geological features. Some of the main attractions include bubbling mud pots, colorful pools, steaming vents, and, of course, geysers such as Old Faithful. Yellowstone National Park has one of the world’s most extensive collections of geysers and thermal features.
Yellowstone National Park, which spans more than two million acres, provides more than just thermal activity. Herds of bison roam the park, and these massive, shaggy beasts can be seen from the park’s roadways. If you’re camping in Yellowstone, you might hear wolves howling late at night.
Yellowstone National Park is mostly in Wyoming, but it also has sections in Montana and Idaho.
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, CA
These two parks protect some of the world’s oldest and largest trees. Other parks may be more popular for hiking and camping, but there is nothing like standing in front of a 3,200-year-old giant sequoia tree. It’s easy to imagine a time when nature ruled the Earth and humans had no say.
These massive trees grow to this size only in a few places around the world, and the United States is fortunate to have the largest and best collection. The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are approximately four hours from San Francisco or Los Angeles.
Both parks have hiking trails, some of which are simply short walks past these ancient giants. Others are lengthy hikes.
Camping is available in both Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Winter road closures restrict access to some campgrounds and a large section of Kings Canyon.