Sixty-three national parks in the United States, from the South Pacific to the Caribbean, offer various activities and experiences. Some of these include hiking trails, historic sites, and wildlife.
If you’re planning on visiting one of the parks during the winter, spring, or late fall, you might find fewer people and more tranquil landscapes.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite is one of California’s most famous national parks. The park is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, an area known for its massive sequoia trees and waterfalls. Although it was initially a protected area, it became a national park in 1890.
Most people visit Yosemite to hike the various miles of trails that the park has to offer. Before you start your trip, you must plan to ensure that you’ll have the necessary equipment and experience to navigate the different terrains.
There are plenty of campsites and lodges in the park to stay in. You can also stay in one of the many restaurants in the area. Those who want to be in nature while still connected to civilization will find some great options within the village of Yosemite.
Acadia National Park
One of the most popular parks in Maine is Acadia National Park. Nicknamed the “Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast,” this area is known for its rocky coastline.
The area is known for its beautiful beaches, coastal cliffs, and sunrise locations. There are also plenty of short, scenic drives that lead to various areas of the park. You can take in some of the area’s best views by cruising boats.
The area is a great weekend destination. You can explore the park by day and spend some time in Bar Harbor in the evening. This is an excellent choice for those not fans of hiking, as the scenic drives will take you to various viewpoints and beaches. If you are a fan of hiking, you should also check out the Precipice and the Beehive trails. During the autumn season, the park is ablaze with vibrant colors.
Yellowstone National Park
On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a bill that created Yellowstone National Park. Since then, it has become one of the most visited attractions in the country. The park is known for its bison and elk herds, hot springs, glacier-carved valleys, steaming geysers, and other natural features.
Although the Old Faithful geyser is a must-visit for first-time visitors, Yellowstone offers many other natural attractions that are less popular. The Lone Star Geyser requires visitors to leave the paved parking areas and worn-out boardwalks. The rewards are the solitude and the hot water flowing into the air from this area.
Olympic National Forest
Situated between the coast of Washington and Puget Sound just west of Seattle, Olympic National Park is diverse and breathtaking. It features three ecosystems: a temperate rainforest, the Pacific coast, and glaciers. Those who visit this area can walk along remote shorelines, climb through a rainforest, and explore the top of numerous alpine peaks.
There are a variety of ways to explore the park during low tide. One of these is to visit Hole in the Wall, which is 1.5 miles away from the beach. Another is to go to Hurricane Ridge to take in the views of the peaks. In-park lodging is often limited, and some of the more popular locations include the Lake Quinault Lodge and Kalaloch Lodge.
Denali National Park and Preserve
One of the most popular attractions in the country for mountain-based adventure and remote wilderness experiences is the Denali National Park and Preserve park. It has only one road that goes through it.
The park’s valleys are filled with wildflowers during the spring and summer, and the high alpine peaks are free from man for miles. During the winter season, the area becomes a playground for mountaineers and skiers, and it’s a great place to see the aurora borealis.
Many people who visit the park are looking for a truly remote wilderness adventure, but you can spend a little time hunting and fishing for food to enjoy the park. There are plenty of day hikes in the area, such as the Savage Alpine Trail. Off-trail activities are also allowed in the park, and hikers should ensure they have the necessary equipment and knowledge to go on these expeditions.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Surprisingly, Colorado, known for its tall peaks, also has vast dunes. As you drive through the Great Sand Dunes National Park in the state, the golden orange dunes come into view, and you can see the backdrop of snow-capped peaks.
Although the dunes are the park’s main draw, it’s also home to various ecosystems, such as alpine tundra and subalpine forests. This area is perfect for sandboarding, which is similar to snowboarding. The Great Sand Dunes Oasis is located outside the park.
The Great Sand Dunes National Park is relatively undeveloped and has few lodging options. The only hotel that’s close to the entrance is the Great Sand Dunes Lodge. This property is situated against the backdrop of massive dunes and 14,000-foot peaks.
The Grand Canyon
One of the most popular natural wonders in the world is the Grand Canyon. There’s no better way to experience this area and its surroundings than by visiting the Grand Canyon National Park. It spans over 1.2 million acres, and it’s truly something special.
When visiting the south or north rim of the park, most people flock to this area due to its rugged setting. One of the most popular activities available in the area is a river rafting trip through the canyon. Other notable attractions in the park include the Mary Colter’s Lookout Studio, the Yavapai Observation Station, and Lipan Point.