The 8 Best National Parks in the USA

United States of America, it’s the alpine tundra of Alaska to the Arizona dry desert and every Florida swamp or Washington evergreen forest in between.

There’s no better way to discover the world’s most unique landscape collection than with a trip to one or more of the USA’s 59 national parks – so what are you waiting for?

Here are the 8 best national parks in the USA.

Yosemite

This World Heritage Site paved the way for the United States national park system and welcomed over 5 million visitors in 2016. The stunning sequoia groves, granite cliffs, and crystal clear streams at this California park will fill up even the most conservative photographer’s memory card.

Price: $30.00/$20.00/$15.00 (car/motorcycle/foot or bicycle).
Hours: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

granite mountains at yosemite national park

@yosemitenps via Instagram

Bryce Canyon

The most unique entry on the list isn’t so much known by name as it is from its unparalleled collection of hoodoos. These strangely shaped rock pillars that are left standing from the forces of erosion dominate the park and create scenes you won’t see anywhere else.

The star-gazing is so plentiful here that it has its own astronomy festival, taking place each year in June.

Price: $30.00/$25.00/$15.00 (car/motorcycle/foot or bicycle).
Hours: 24-7, closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, New Year’s Day.

snow covered hoodoos in bryce canyon national park

@brycedeardenphoto via Instagram

Great Smoky Mountains

There’s a seemingly never-ending series of forest ridges renowned for its plant and animal diversity along the border between North Carolina and Tennessee.

From seeing black bears in their natural habitat to the 1500 wildflower species to taking in the mountain scenery from Cades Cove, it’s no wonder this is America’s most visited national park.

Price: free.
Hours: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

a waterfall at great smoky mountains

@greatsmokynps via Instagram

Denali

If Alaska is in the cards you can’t go wrong visiting this six million acre park that has barely been grazed by the hand of humanity. Here you’ll find Denali, North Americas tallest peak at 20,310 feet, and a range of low elevation forest all the way up to high alpine tundra.

The wildlife bus trip, a sort of freezing safari, is a great place to see moose, wolves, and the piece de resistance: the grizzly bear.

Price: $10.00.
Hours: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

an aerial view of denali national park

@denalinps via Instagram

Grand Canyon National Park

America’s most famous natural landmark is overwhelming on account of its size – the canyon itself measures 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and has a depth of over 6,093 feet.

Its horizontal strata retrace the earth’s geological history dating back 2 billion years – but you’ll only need about a second to drop your jaw.

Price: $30.00/$25.00/$15.00 (car/motorcycle/foot or bicycle).
Hours: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

an aerial view of grand canyon national park

@5myf via Instagram

Acadia, Maine

The rough and tumble coast off Maine is the location of this national park famous for islands, lobster boats, and the occasional mist.

The 1,530 foot tall Cadillac Mountain is the North Atlantic’s highest point and the first place in the United States to see the sun rise from October through March.

Price: $25.00/$20.00/$12.00 (car/motorcycle/foot or bicycle).
Hours: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

a crystal clear lake at acadia national park

@acadianps via Instagram

Channel Islands

Thousands of years of isolation has led to this group of 5 islands off the coast of California to create a unique ecosystem found nowhere else in the world.

A top spot for fishing, surfing, or whale watching. To this day there are still no rental shops or food stores on the islands so those hellbent on self-reliance and a true camping experience will find a gem here.

Price: free.
Hours: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

a sunbather on a white sand beach at channel islands national park california

@elijah_ab1 via Instagram

Rocky Mountain

Spectacular mountain environments are the name of the game here. The best way to discover them at this Colorado park are through any of the 300 miles of hiking trails.

Got a car instead? Just taking the famous Trail Ridge Road, cresting at over 12,000 feet, offers what feels like an unlimited supply of awe-inspiring overlooks.

Price: $20.00/$20.00/$10.00 (car/motorcycle/foot or bicycle).
Hours: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

the moonlight and stars at rocky mountain national park

@rockynps via Instagram

Yee Haw! Time for a trip across the pond then.

Take me to the USA!