Top 10 National Parks: Unforgettable Adventures & More



United States National Parks - Grand Teton

Table of Contents

Introduction to U.S. National Parks

America has a plethora of national parks, each with its own charm. There’s something for everyone, from the famously known ones like Yosemite and Yellowstone to the lesser-known ones like Dry Tortugas National Park and Gates of the Arctic National Park. 

The largest park is Wrangell-St. Elias in Alaska, which spans over 8 million acres. The three largest parks are also located in Alaska.

Wrangell St-Elias National Park Alaska

There are even National Parks in the US with volcanoes. These volcanoes are found in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, located on the Big Island of Hawaii. 

Don’t forget the bighorn sheep, beautiful and agile climbers, in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Also, wooly mammoths used to run wild in the Mammoth Cave National Park.

When visiting NPS (National Park System) in the USA, people often have a dilemma – which parks to visit? Well, we’re here to help you make that decision easier.

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How Many National Parks Exist in the U.S.? Visitor Statistics Revealed

There are currently 63 national parks in the United States. These parks are managed by the National Park Service and are spread across different states, offering a diverse range of landscapes and natural wonders for visitors to explore.

From iconic parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite to lesser-known gems like Isle Royale and Dry Tortugas, each national park has its own unique features and attractions.

Visitor statistics reveal that national parks in the U.S. attract millions of visitors each year. In 2019, a total of 327.5 million visits were recorded across all national parks, marking a slight increase from the previous year.

These visitor statistics highlight the enduring popularity of national parks in the U.S. and the importance of preserving these natural and cultural treasures for future generations. Whether it’s hiking through breathtaking landscapes, observing wildlife in their natural habitats, or learning about the history and heritage of a particular park, national parks offer something for everyone to enjoy.

The Top 10 Must-Visit National Parks In The USA

These are the top 10 must-visit National Parks, according to data from the National Park Service, the top 10 most visited National Park in the USA are:

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina and Tennessee) – 12,542,179 visitors
  2. Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona) – 6,380,495 visitors
  3. Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado) – 4,665,141 visitors
  4. Yosemite National Park (California) – 4,336,890 visitors
  5. Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho) – 4,097,710 visitors
  6. Olympic National Park (Washington) – 3,401,996 visitors
  7. Zion National Park (Utah) – 3,190,467 visitors
  8. Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming) – 3,149,921 visitors
  9. Acadia National Park (Maine) – 2,811,184 visitors
  10. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio) – 2,657,172 visitors

Yellowstone National Park

What Are Our Top 3 Choices For National Parks in the USA

  1. Yellowstone National Park is one of the best National Parks because of its geothermal features and wildlife. The park is also home to the world’s first national park, established in 1872.
  2. Grand Canyon National Park should be on your list if you’re looking for an adventure, as it offers hiking trails with different difficulty levels. You can also go on a mule ride down the canyon or a rafting trip down the Colorado River. Remember to take in the beauty of the canyon too!
  3. Zion National Park is perfect for those who love climbing, hiking, and being outdoors, as it offers over 150 miles of trails. The park is also home to the world’s largest freestanding arch, Kolob Arch.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, USA.

Alphabetical List and Printable Checklist of U.S. National Parks (National Parks Alphabetical List PDF)

Click On The Links Below To Be Taken To The Article On That Specific National Park:

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

National Parks in Every State


  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Petrified Forest National Park
  • Saguaro National Park


  • Hot Springs National Park


  • Channel Islands National Park
  • Death Valley National Park
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Kings Canyon National Park
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park
  • Pinnacles National Park
  • Redwood National and State Parks
  • Sequoia National Park
  • Yosemite National Park


  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Rocky Mountain National Park


  • Biscayne National Park
  • Dry Tortugas National Park
  • Everglades National Park


  • Haleakalā National Park
  • Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park


  • Yellowstone National Park


  • Mammoth Cave National Park


  • Acadia National Park


  • Isle Royale National Park


  • Voyageurs National Park


  • Glacier National Park


  • Great Basin National Park
  • Yellowstone National Park

New Mexico:

  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park

North Carolina:

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park

North Dakota:

  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park


  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park


  • Crater Lake National Park

South Dakota:

  • Badlands National Park
  • Wind Cave National Park

South Carolina:

  • Congaree National Park


  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park


  • Big Bend National Park
  • Guadalupe Mountains National Park


  • Arches National Park
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Zion National Park


  • Shenandoah National Park


  • Mount Rainier National Park
  • North Cascades National Park
  • Olympic National Park


  • Grand Teton National Park
  • Yellowstone National Park

Zion National Park, Utah

Least Visited National Parks: Surprising Facts and Figures

The United States is home to a vast array of national parks, each offering unique landscapes and experiences. Some parks are hidden gems, attracting fewer visitors, while others are popular tourist destinations. Let’s explore some surprising facts and figures about US National Parks.

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

Situated in Alaska, this remote park receives only around 11,000 visitors per year. Its rugged wilderness, untouched landscapes, and lack of road access make it a challenging destination for all but the most adventurous explorers.

Isle Royale National Park

Located in Lake Superior, Michigan, this park sees approximately 26,000 visitors annually. Its isolation and limited accessibility contribute to its low visitor numbers, but those who do make the journey are rewarded with pristine forests, secluded lakes, and abundant wildlife.

North Cascades National Park

Nestled in Washington state, this park spans acres of land and attracts around 30,000 visitors each year to its stunning natural beauty and diverse visitation options. Its rugged mountains, cascading waterfalls, and serene alpine lakes offer a peaceful retreat for those seeking solitude in nature.

10 Reasons Why National Parks are Still Very Popular and Important To The United States

  1. Preservation of Nature: National parks play a crucial role in preserving and protecting natural ecosystems, ensuring the survival of diverse plant and animal species for future generations.
  2. Conservation of Biodiversity: These protected areas provide a safe haven for endangered species, allowing them to thrive and recover their populations.
  3. Outdoor Recreation: National parks offer a wide range of recreational activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife viewing, providing opportunities for people to connect with nature and improve their physical and mental well-being.
  4. Education and Research: These parks serve as living classrooms, offering valuable educational opportunities for visitors to learn about the environment, geology, history, and culture of the region. They also serve as important research sites for scientists studying various aspects of wildlife, ecology, and climate change.
  5. Scenic Beauty: National parks are known for their stunning landscapes, including majestic mountains, pristine lakes, cascading waterfalls, and breathtaking vistas. They provide a chance for people to experience and appreciate the beauty of nature.
  6. Cultural and Historical Significance: Many national parks are home to significant cultural and historical sites, such as ancient ruins, archaeological sites, and indigenous communities. They offer a glimpse into the rich heritage and traditions of the area.
  7. Economic Benefits: National parks contribute to the local and national economy by attracting tourists, creating jobs, and supporting businesses in nearby communities, including hotels, restaurants, and outdoor recreation outfitters.
  8. Climate Regulation: These protected areas play a vital role in mitigating climate change by preserving carbon sinks, such as forests and wetlands, which absorb and store carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.
  9. Water Conservation: National parks help protect watersheds and ensure the availability of clean water for both wildlife and human communities downstream.
  10. Inspiration and Solitude: National parks provide a sanctuary for individuals seeking solitude, inspiration, and a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. They offer a peaceful retreat where people can reconnect with

21 Interesting Facts About The National Parks in the United States

Here are 10 interesting facts about the National Parts:

  1. The first national park in the United States was Yellowstone National Park, established in 1872.
  2. There are a total of 62 national parks in the United States.
  3. The largest national park in the United States is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska, which is over 13 million acres.
  4. The smallest national park in the United States is Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, which is just over 5,500 acres.
  5. The United States is home to some of the oldest national parks in the world, including Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Sequoia National Parks.
  6. The United States is also home to the highest peak in North America, Mount Denali (formerly known as Mount McKinley) in Denali National Park, Alaska.
  7. The United States is home to the world’s largest tree, the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park.
  8. The United States is home to the world’s largest geyser, Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park.
  9. The United States is home to the deepest canyon in the United States, the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
  10. The United States is home to the longest cave system in the world, Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky.
  11. The National Park Service manages over 400 sites, including national parks, monuments
  12. The most visited national park in the United States is Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with over 12 million visitors annually.
  13. The least visited national park is Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska, with only around 10,000 visitors per year.
  14. The largest national park in the United States is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska, covering over 13 million acres.
  15. The smallest national park is Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, covering just over 5,500 acres.
  16. The deepest lake in the United States is Crater Lake, located in Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, with a depth of 1,949 feet.
  17. The highest peak in the United States is Denali, located in Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska, reaching a height of 20,310 feet.
  18. The longest cave system in the world is Mammoth Cave, located in Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, with over 400 miles of explored passages.
  19. The oldest trees in the world can be found in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California, with some trees dating back over 3,000 years.
  20. The largest concentration of geysers in the world is in Yellowstone National Park, with over 500 geysers, including the famous Old Faithful.
  21. The most visited national monument is the Statue of Liberty National Monument in New York, with over 4 million visitors each year.

Yosemite National Park, California

Tips for Visiting a US National Park

Before heading out to the national park, it’s essential to research the park and determine the best time of year to visit and what activities are available. Whether you’re looking for a day trip or a more extended stay, be sure to plan ahead for safety.

Because there are so many acres of parks and wilderness areas to explore, a good place to start is by visiting the National Park Service website.

Some parks may have limited access and resources, so check any closures, restrictions, or other information before heading out.

Additionally, consider the amenities and services you need. This can help you save money and plan your trip more efficiently.

Finally, make sure to check the condition of the park and its amenities before booking a trip. This will help ensure a fun and safe experience while in the national park.

Benefits Of Visiting National Parks

Spending time outdoors in national parks can help reduce stress and anxiety levels. Spending time outdoors in natural settings can be a refreshing and invigorating experience, especially when you have access to your favorite resources. 

Visiting national parks is a great way to do that. Some national parks offer a variety of activities, such as hiking, camping, bird watching, and more. These activities help visitors get closer to the natural world and experience its stunning beauty.

Visiting national parks is also an educational experience. They provide insights into the natural environment and wildlife. 

National parks allow people to enjoy the great outdoors without being distracted by technology or developed areas. This offers a unique opportunity to appreciate the natural world and its diversity.

Tourists can and should enjoy the great outdoors without damaging it or creating litter. The experience also helps them develop an awareness and respect for the environment.

How to Plan For Your Trip to a National Park

Before planning a national park trip, you must consider the various factors that can influence your decision. This includes the park’s location, climate, and available activities. 

Different national parks offer a variety of experiences for visitors, and it’s essential to choose the one that best suits your interests and the type of trip you’re planning.

Start with deciding which national park you’d like to visit. Then, research the best time of year to visit and make a reservation if required. This will help you drive to popular parks and avoid missed opportunities due to inclement weather or crowds at the end.

Also, consider the climate and pack appropriately for the conditions. Pay attention to potential dangers such as hot temperatures or harsh sunlight.

Finally, when exploring national parks, it is important to be aware of park-specific regulations and safety tips to stay safe while checking off your national parks checklist.

General Information on National Parks in the United States of America

US national parks are a world-renowned, iconic part of the country’s geography and heritage. They are protected areas that allow people access to natural, untouched environments. Different national parks have various types of entry fees and opening hours.

These can vary from park to park depending on the policies and regulations set for them. Some have limited services and facilities such as toilets, food stalls, etc. In contrast, others offer a complete experience with various activities such as fishing, backpacking, hiking, camping, etc.

Safety tips for national parks include following the safety guidelines issued by the park authorities. When you come across wildlife in a national park, follow the safety guidelines mentioned in National Parks Safety Manual provided by National Parks Corporation (NPC). You must obey all instructions from the rangers or staff at the park entrance.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

America’s National Park System: History, Permits, and Reservations

America’s National Park System has a rich and extensive history that dates back to the establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872. This groundbreaking move made Yellowstone the first national park in the world, setting a precedent for the preservation and protection of natural landscapes for future generations.

Over the years, the national park system has grown to include iconic parks such as Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Great Smoky Mountains, among many others.

To fully experience the wonders of America’s national parks, it is important to be aware of the permits that may be required. One of the most common permits is the entrance fee, which grants access to the park for a specified period. This fee helps fund the maintenance and conservation efforts of the park.

Additionally, some parks may require special permits for activities such as camping, fishing, or backcountry hiking. These permits ensure the safety of visitors and the preservation of the park’s delicate ecosystems.

When it comes to making reservations for national parks, there are several options available. The most common method is to book reservations online through the official National Park Service website. This allows visitors to select their desired dates, campsites, or accommodations in advance.

It is important to note that popular parks and peak seasons may have limited availability, so it is advisable to make reservations well in advance.

Another way to secure a reservation is by contacting the park directly via phone. Park rangers can provide information on availability and assist in making a reservation over the phone. This personalized approach is a great feature for individuals who have specific questions or concerns and prefer a more tailored method.

For those who prefer spontaneity or have missed out on making reservations in advance, some national parks offer a limited number of first-come, first-served campsites or accommodations.

These are available on a daily basis and can be claimed upon arrival at the park. However, it is important to note that these sites tend to fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons, so it is advisable to arrive early to secure a spot.

Newest U.S. National Parks and Must-Visit Destinations in New Mexico and West Virginia

The newest U.S. national parks and must-visit destinations in New Mexico and West Virginia offer a wealth of natural beauty and cultural attractions.

New Mexico

In New Mexico, one must-visit destination is White Sands National Park. Known for its stunning white gypsum sand dunes, this park provides a unique and otherworldly experience. Visitors can hike, picnic, and even sled down the dunes.

Another must-visit destination in New Mexico is Carlsbad Caverns National Park. This park features a vast underground cave system that is home to incredible rock formations and a large bat population. Visitors can explore the caves on guided tours and witness the breathtaking beauty of this underground world.

West Virginia

In West Virginia, one must-visit destination is New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. Designated as a national park in 2020, this area is known for its rugged cliffs, scenic overlooks, and the New River, which offers opportunities for whitewater rafting and fishing. Visitors can also hike along the park’s numerous trails and take in the stunning views of the gorge.

Another must-visit destination in West Virginia is Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, this park is rich in history and offers a glimpse into the past. Visitors can explore the historic town, visit museums, and hike the trails that overlook the rivers and surrounding countryside.

Whether you’re looking for unique natural landscapes or a dose of history and culture, the newest U.S. national parks and must-visit destinations in New Mexico and West Virginia have something for everyone. Plan your trip to these incredible locations and experience the beauty and wonder they have to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What factors should I consider when deciding which national park to visit?

When it comes to planning a visit to a national park in America, there are a few factors that should be taken into consideration.

First, you’ll want to look at the park’s location in relation to your home. You’ll need to consider the cost of transportation if you’re driving or flying, as well as the estimated travel time.

Next, you’ll want to research the climate and weather conditions during your visit. This can help you decide what activities would be best for that time of year and any temperature restrictions for certain activities.

Then, look at the activities available in the park to see which aligns with your interests. This can help narrow down your options when deciding which park to visit.

Lastly, consider the cost of visiting the park – admission fees, camping permits, and lodging. Knowing the cost upfront can help you make a more informed decision when selecting which national park to explore.

Can I go on an organized tour or guided hike in a national park (with professional guides)? If yes, which ones have these tours, and how much does it cost per person/group?

Yes, it is possible to go on an organized tour or guided hike in a national park with professional guides. Several national parks, such as Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Denali National Park, offer tours and hikes led by experienced guides. These guides can provide valuable information about the area.

The cost per person or group will vary depending on the park and the tour package. Prices can range from $50 per person for a day hike to a few hundred dollars for a multi-day hiking trip. You can find more information about the different packages available on each park’s website.

You should also note that since the parks are landmarks of outstanding natural beauty, it is essential to respect the environment. You must also ensure that only those with a permit can access the park during the organized tours and hikes.

The United States is home to some of the world’s most stunning national parks, including the most popular ones, including Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Zion, and the Great Smoky Mountains. These national parks are renowned for their majestic landscapes, unique wildlife, cultural history, and historic sites.

Other notable national parks in the country include Acadia, Glacier, Arches, Rocky Mountain, and Everglades. Each park offers a different experience and activities that make it unique. 

Before deciding on a park to visit, it is crucial to research and understand which park best suits your needs. A trip to any of these parks will surely be a memorable one!

Which national park has the most diverse ecosystem?

For an incredibly diverse ecosystem, Yellowstone National Park tops the list. It has many habitats, from rivers, forests, and grasslands to hot springs. The park is also home to many wildlife, such as bison, elk, grizzly bears, and wolves.

In addition to Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park is an excellent option for exploring a diverse ecosystem. Yosemite has something to offer everyone, from alpine meadows to towering sequoias and crystal-clear lakes. Both parks are great opportunities to get up close and explore a truly unique ecosystem in the United States.

How can I get the most out of my visit to a national park?

Visiting a national park is a great way to connect with nature and explore the beauty of our planet. To make the most out of your visit, here are a few tips you can follow:

1. Research the national park before you go. This can help you get an idea of what activities and attractions the park offers so that you can plan accordingly for your day trip.

2. Have a plan for the day. This will help you make sure that you see all the attractions you want to experience and make the most of your time there.

3. Wear appropriate clothing and bring sun protection, water, and snacks. This will ensure you’re comfortable on your outdoor adventure.

4. Respect the park and its wildlife by not littering or disturbing animals. Remember to stay on designated trails and enjoy the scenery without disturbing nature’s balance.

5. Bring a camera to capture the park’s beauty and preserve your memories. Photos taken at national parks can be a great way to share the beauty of nature with friends and family back home.

Following these tips ensures your national park adventure is safe, enjoyable, and truly unforgettable!

What activities and attractions can be found at national parks?

National parks in the USA offer various activities and attractions that visitors can enjoy all year round. These include activities such as hiking, camping, and educational tours. There are also usually scenic drives, bike trails, and wildlife-viewing areas.

Furthermore, national parks may also have boat rides and swimming beaches available for visitors. Many national parks also have museums, visitor centers, and other historical sites that are interesting to explore. 

Some national parks even offer evening programs with talks and stories about the park’s history. All these activities and attractions make national parks the perfect destination for a fun-filled day trip or family holiday!

Can I camp in a national park? If yes, which ones have camping sites, and what is the capacity for each one?

Yes, you can camp in many national parks within the United States! Some of the most popular national parks for camping include Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Acadia. Each park has different capacity limits for camping sites, so checking the park’s website before you arrive is essential.

For example, Yellowstone National Park offers eight campsites with a maximum capacity of 12 people. On the other hand, some parks, like Acadia National Park, offer backcountry camping with no capacity limits. 

No matter what national park you choose, research beforehand to find out about their camping sites and capacity limits.

Are there any safety measures I should take when visiting a national park?

Yes, taking safety measures when visiting a national park is essential. Here are a few tips for you:

1. Always check the weather forecast for your destination and plan accordingly. You want to avoid being caught off guard by unexpected rains or snowfall.

2. Wear appropriate clothing and gear for the climate and terrain of your destination. Depending on the location, you may have to bring extra layers, waterproof jackets, hiking boots, etc.

3. Bring adequate food, water, and first aid supplies. This will help you stay nourished and hydrated during your visit and provide medical assistance in an emergency.

4. Stay on marked trails and take caution when around wildlife. Please don’t feed or touch the animals without permission; stick to designated paths and follow all park regulations related to wildlife encounters.

5. Familiarize yourself with park regulations before visiting. Ensure you understand laws such as campfire restrictions, pet policies, and any fees associated with entering the park. This way, you can enjoy a safe and responsible visitation to the national park.

Are there any regulations or restrictions to know before visiting a national park?

Yes, there are a few regulations and restrictions to be aware of before visiting a national park. 

First, depending on the park, you may need to obtain a permit before engaging in activities such as camping or fishing. 

Additionally, pets are typically not allowed inside the park, so make sure to find out if they are permitted before bringing them. 

It is also essential to check with the park to determine any fire restrictions or other safety regulations that may be in place. 

Finally, be aware that some parks may have entrance fees or other charges associated with visiting.

Therefore, it is always a good idea to read up on national park regulations and know what to expect and what to bring before visiting a national park.

Are there 62 or 63 national parks?

As of 2021, there are 63 national parks in the United States. These parks are managed and protected by the National Park Service, which is part of the Department of Interior. 

What is the only state without a national park?

The state of Delaware is the only one in the US without a national park. However, outdoor lovers will find fun things to do there. 

Delaware has three National Wildlife Refuges: Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, and Great Cypress Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. It also houses the First State National Historic Site.

There are still many great options for those looking for a national park experience in the United States. Consider your location, size, accessibility, and activities available when choosing your perfect destination. 

You can often find parks near significant cities or tucked away in the mountains for a secluded adventure. There are parks of all sizes, suitable for both short-day trips and extended vacation stays.


Visiting national parks is a great way to get an up-close look at the natural beauty of the United States. They’re also a great way to learn about the country’s history. 

With 63 national parks in the United States, it can be a great way to get out and enjoy the great outdoors while learning more about American culture and heritage.

National Park Service Website