Each year, millions of tourists travel to the 63 national parks in the United States. From staggering mountain peaks, to impressive waterfalls, to sandstone monuments, there are endless sights to be seen. With millions of acres of beauty to explore, how do you choose which park to visit?
We have compiled a list of the best national parks to visit in the United States, along with the best times of year to visit them.
Yellowstone National Park
As the world’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park is a fantastic place to visit for diverse geography and many unique attractions. The national park is located across three states – Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. While open year round, we recommend visiting in the warmer months (June – September) to make the most of the myriad of outdoor activities offered. During these months, you will see the wildflowers bloom and see an abundance of wildlife including bald eagles, grizzly and black bears, deer and elk.
Yellowstone National Park is a great family-friendly destination with easy hikes, comfortable wildlife safaris and divine spa treatments at luxury resorts. Or, if you’re looking for an adventurous getaway, set out on a thrilling hike, mountain bike ride, or rock climbing expedition.
Located in California, Yosemite features many impressive waterfalls such as Vernal Fall, as well as massive granite rock formations like the infamous Half Dome and El Capitan. Whether you are looking for a gentle, scenic hike, or multi-day adventure, you will find it at Yosemite. With over 4 million visitors per year, be sure to start your day early and beat the crowds as you explore the many natural wonders of this serene national park.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is often called the “Crown of the Continent” due to its “dizzying arrow of natural beauty”. Located at the border of Canada and Montana, it is a popular spot for hikers of all skill levels with its multitude of trails. Glacier is also home to over 700 lakes, many waterfalls, and two mountain ranges.
While the park is open year round, peak season is in July and August when temperatures are in the low 80s.
The natural wonder of the Grand Canyon has attracted tourists from around the world for good reason. One of the most magnificent sites in the United States, the Grand Canyon measures approximately 277 river miles in length and stretches up to 18 miles in width and a mile deep.
If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, head up to the North Rim, where you’ll have the opportunity for backwoods camping and more intense hiking. If you’re looking for a more relaxing getaway, take a look at the region’s luxury resorts, like the secluded Amangiri Resort.
Zion National Park
Situated in southwest Utah, Zion has quickly become one of the most visited parks in the country. Full of breathtaking views and many opportunities for adventure, there is much reason for its popularity. Explore the park’s apricot-colored Zion Canyon, wade through the Virgin River, or climb Angels Landing for incredible views.
While the park can be visited year round, most explorers will find late spring or early fall to be the best time to visit Zion National Park.