When was the last time you truly felt in awe of something you saw? Recently, I visited Sequoia National Park and even though I am not an outdoorsy person, I discovered that our National Parks are spectacular trips with breathtaking views. Clearly, I need to spend more time vacationing in the most naturally beautiful places in the U.S.
The Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Sequoia, Acadia, Mesa Verde, and Joshua Tree are just a few of the 63 natural landscapes in the U.S. that are protected as National Parks. These parks are a part of the 423 national parks, monuments and federally protected lands that are part of the National Park Service (NPS) system.
Undeniably, each is unique and incredible. These parks offer unending opportunities for hiking, mountain climbing, fishing, swimming, skiing, camping, picnicking, sight-seeing, photographing, wildlife watching, meditating, and so on and so on.
The Top Visited National Parks:
During the 2020 pandemic, Americans hit the road and visited the parks. Here are the top 10 National Parks visited:
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park (TN, NC) ~ 12.1 million
- Yellowstone National Park (ID, MT, WY) ~ 3.8 million
- Zion National Park (UT) ~ 3.6 million
- Rocky Mountain National Park (CO) ~ 3.3 million
- Grand Teton National Park (WY) ~ 3.3 million
- Grand Canyon National Park (AZ) ~ 2.9 million
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park (OH) ~ 2.8 million
- Acadia National Park (ME) ~ 2.7 million
- Olympic National Park (WA) ~ 2.5 million
- Joshua Tree National Park (CA) ~ 2.4 million
If You Go:
Be prepared to fall in love with our National Parks. Plan ahead to make your trip as enjoyable as possible by following the tips from a self-proclaimed, and well-traveled, Park Expert. To have information at your fingertips while you travel, download the official National Park Service App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.
Visit from Home:
Not able to travel? There are so many online resources for you to take virtual trips across the country to visit our national parks. Additionally, PBS.org airs a series that gives an outstanding account of the development of the National Park Service:
This simply brilliant series is a detailed walk through history of how our National Park Service was created to protect the incredibly majestic natural resources we have here in the U.S.
As tourists, we get caught up in the latest places to go, shows to see, beaches to lay on etc. and those are certainly fun vacations. But I realize I want to see firsthand some of the National Parks we have in the U.S. with my own eyes. You run out of adjectives to describe places that take your breath away.
I want to travel the country and see just how speechless I can be.