Bloggers Top 15 U.S. National Park Service Destinations

Not that we need a reason to pay homage to the superb National Park Service in America, but what better time than its Centennial. On August 25th, 2016 the NPS turns the ripe old age of 100!

The National Park Service operates 409 areas covering more than 84 million acres. These areas include national parks, monuments, historical sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails. In our opinion, the best places to find tranquility, unparalleled beauty, and majestic lands of grandeur.

We asked travel bloggers from around the globe to tell us about their favorite experience with the National Park Service. Discover America’s exceptional natural beauty with us below.

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Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

— Tarah & Tip from Fit Two Travel

Our favorite national park is Crater Lake, mostly because it’s beautiful but also because it is the only national park in our home state of Oregon! Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the US. There is no shortage of beauty here between the lakes, the hiking trails and the wildlife. There are more than 90 miles of hiking trails in the park but the best part for us was having a picnic with our dog along the rim of the lake, soaking up the beauty.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

— Nancie from Aperture of My Soul

Bryce Canyon National Park is so full of wonder.  The hoodoos create such beautiful patterns across the landscape. In the winter, it has an enchanted feel.  One very vivid memory of my trip to Bryce is waking up to -17 degree temperatures!  This meant I did a lot of jumping out, shooting and jumping back in the warm car.  Bryce Canyon was a very cold and extremely memorable National Park.

Bryce Canyon - National Park Service

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

— Hannah & Adam from Getting Stamped

We just completed a US road trip and hit several of the best National Parks in the United States. We got the National Park pass so we took full advantage of that and visited every park on our route. Our favorite park was Theodore Roosevelt National Park, you’re probably scratching your head wondering “where in the heck is that?”


Theodore Roosevelt National Park is in North Dakota and is overlooked my most tourists. This is what makes it even more magical. There are very few tourists, you basically have the park to yourselves. We enjoyed going for a few short hikes within the park but loved our morning drives through the park. At 7am the wildlife was the most active and the sightings were amazing, some of best photos were bright and early. Make sure to add Theodore Roosevelt National Park to your US National Park bucket list.

Yosemite National Park, California

— Nadeen from The Sophisticated Life


Yosemite National Park has a very special meaning for me. I was going through a tough period in my life and decided to go on my first solo “Eat. Pray. Love” trip. Yosemite was the pray portion. I stayed in a cabin in the park which was more like “glamping” than camping. I went on several walks through the woods only hearing the birds chirping, the crackling of leaves under my feet and the wind blowing through my hair. I was able to clear my head and meditate on all the positive things in the world. What better place to do so than Yosemite National Park filled with natural beauty all around you.

I hiked up to the observatory to view the Half Dome and felt as if I was in the sky. The air was clean and fresh and literally breathed new life into me. The waterfalls are captivating as well. For anyone who wants to get away from it all while enjoying nature & adventure, plan a visit to Yosemite National Park.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

— Joe from Joe Baur

My favorite U.S. National Park is Cuyahoga National Park between Cleveland and Akron. It hits the top of my list for a variety of reasons. First, it’s right in my backyard, so I know it better than any other national park.

I wrote a hiking book called “Best Hikes Near Cleveland” for Falcon Guides that made it my job to spend a ton of time out in the park. It did not suck. My favorite hike in the book is the overnight hike that takes readers along the Buckeye Trail, which eventually cuts into Cuyahoga Valley National Park territory. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can add a few extra miles once you hit the camp site and see Brandywine Falls, which is easily the top attraction of all things nature in Northeast Ohio. At the end of the hike, you take the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad back to the start. It’s a diverse hike that gets you out into sweet nothingness and drops you off at Peninsula, Ohio, a cool little town right off the railroad.

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

— Paige from For the Love of Wanderlust

Canyonlands National Park is one of those parks that can stop you in your tracks and make you gasp at the amazing-ness that is nature. I love Utah’s landscapes filled with insane rock formations, vast canyons and arches that frame these landscapes. My favorite moments in Canyonlands are driving portions of Shafer Road in a jeep, hiking to the Upheaval Dome and sitting under Mesa Arch with my dad just taking it all in. It’s just a place that makes me feel wild and free.


Sequoia National Park, California

— Ghowneu from Ghowneu’s Adventure

Sequoia National Park is not too far from Bakersfield and Fresno. The trees are so huge that you can’t even wrap your arms around them! It’s one of my favorites, because as a kid, it was one of the first national parks I’d hiked. Ever since then I’m addicted to nature!

Glacier National Park, Montana

— Alex from The Wayfaring Voyager

My favorite national park is Glacier National Park. I grew up miles away from it and have fond childhood memories of swimming in Lake MacDonald, hiking through the Trail of the Cedars, and encountering various wildlife like moose or bear on my adventures.

What makes Glacier so special to the many who visit there isn’t solely the spectacular views or the opportunity to take advantage of the outdoors, but the overwhelming sense of the domination of nature. My best memory is scaling the rocky pathway from Hidden Lake and looking down on the crystal clear water, enraptured with the power that these scenes have to make visitors feel small and overshadowed.

Glacier - National Park Service

Zion National Park, Utah

— Nigel & Martha from Bay Breezin

After years of talking about doing a US road trip we finally headed across ‘the pond’ in 2013 for a 3 week, 9 stop tour of the Southwest during which we took in some amazing scenery including the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. One of our favourite trips, however, turned out to be to Zion National Park in Southern Utah.

Zion is perhaps overshadowed by the larger and more famous Yosemite and Yellowstone parks yet that is what we liked about it as Zion is perhaps like a miniature Yosemite but without the vast numbers of visitors so there were times when we felt like we had the Park to ourselves and on a very hot late September day we were able to explore various hiking trails at our leisure and soak up the beauty and tranquility of Zion Canyon and the Virgin River which runs through it.

We chose not to undertake a more challenging hike to the famous Angels Landing, which looks like a truly amazing viewpoint, primarily due to the high temperature, about 34 degrees C, and the length of time which it would take as we only had the one full day to explore Zion but would love to return in the future in the Spring perhaps to see it for ourselves.

Our abiding memory of Zion National Park was being able to walk barefoot along its soft sandy trails and stopping at clear mountain streams, ponds and waterfalls to cool off and take in the spectacular surroundings in total solitude.

We stayed at the nearby town of St George in Utah which has a wide range of good, affordable accommodation. Accommodation is also available in Springdale just outside the entrance to the Park though it will cost more obviously.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan

— Brianna from Archives of Adventure

My favorite national site is Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Named “The Most Beautiful Place in America” in 2011 by Good Morning America, this National Lakeshore will make you wish you’d brought another SD card! From thick, lush forests to the stunning blues of Lake Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will not disappoint.

This park is my favorite because it holds so many memories. I grew up fairly close to the park, so my family would visit often. I have vivid memories of climbing up the gigantic Dune Climb, only to turn around and race back down. I remember having picnics on the dunes, and hiking through the woods with my high school choir members.

But the most special memory that stands out is when my boyfriend and I went to the famed Pyramid Point to watch the sunset, which ended with him proposing to me!

Fort Matanzas National Monument, Florida

— Rob & Chris from 2 Travel Dads


When you think of a National Park experience in Florida, I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind is the Everglades.  Or maybe even Dry Tortugas in the Keys.  We have a different favorite though:  Fort Matanzas.  It was built in 1742 to protect the Spanish from the British but switched hands a few times.  This was actually the first structure in the US to get federal funds for its historic preservation.


The fort experience itself is really cool.  You park and then wander through Spanish moss-covered trees and then you must take a pontoon boat across a river.  When you’re finally at the fort, you have to climb it… and then to get the best view you have to climb again.  We loved the history of it, the experience of trekking across the Florida Inner-coastal Waterway, and the beauty of the marsh, river and wildlife.  We got to watch pelicans dive-bomb fishing and egrets wading on the river banks.  Sometimes, manatees hang out by the fort, but we didn’t get to see them.  It’s such a different National Park experience than we’ve had anywhere else.

Fort Matanzas National Monument St Augustine FL 6

Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington

— Penny from The Travel Writers

As an international visitor to the Seattle area from Australia, I was in awe of Mt. Rainier National Park during my short trip last year.

I am not familiar with vistas of meadow flowers, snow-topped mountains and occasional sightings of bears. I am used to a sunburnt country – a land of droughts, kangaroos and flooding rains.
I will never forget the perfume from the blue lupines at sunrise as I watched the sun’s rays touch the snowy peaks of Mt Rainier. While I listened to the chatter of small birds, heralding a new day, I was touched by the magic of being ‘one with nature’. It was then I understood why my friends from the Pacific North West are proud to call this place, “home.”

Redwoods National Park, California

— Jamie from The Daily Adventures of Me

I love the Redwoods National Park in California for its easy mountain hikes through immensely tall, 2000 year-old trees.  When you reach the peak of the hiking trails you will be rewarded with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and you are only an hour away from my favorite US city, San Francisco.

Redwoods - National Park Service

Grand Canyon, Arizona

— Anisa from Two Traveling Texans

If the Grand Canyon is not on your bucket list, you really should think about adding it. I know there are so many ‘must sees’ but this is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Unfortunately the Grand Canyon is not conveniently located. There is no airport close by, so when I was in Las Vegas, I decided to splurge and take a helicopter tour. It is definitely an experience I will never forget!

It is a short but scenic flight from Las Vegas. We flew over Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam, and the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge and then landed on the floor of the Grand Canyon. We were in awe of its monumental scale, and its peaceful beauty. We took a few pictures and just soaked up the dramatic view. It lives up to its reputation, I wasn’t ready to leave.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t time to go hiking or white water rafting. It would also be nice to visit the Skywalk, a transparent horseshoe shaped bridge that extends over the edge of the canyon. You can walk on it and look down into the Grand Canyon, definitely not for those afraid of heights. I know you can also ride a mule in and out of the canyon, but not sure that is for me. Also, I am a big fan of sunset and sunrises, and I can only imagine how spectacular that would be in the Grand Canyon.

Someday I will return and complete the rest of my Grand Canyon to-do list.

Olympic National Park, Washington

— Dave & Angela from Dang Travelers

Olympic is the most diverse park in America. The west coast wonderland possesses temperate rainforests, dense alpine woods, snow capped mountains, and rugged coastline.

In one day, you can surf the wild waves of the Pacific, look like a munchkin standing next to the world’s tallest spruce tree, and gaze at the Blue Glacier on Mount Olympus. Exploring Olympic National Park is a magical adventure.

What is your favorite National Park Service destination?

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National Park Service Destinations

26 Responses

    • Dang Travelers

      Us too! We are so excited to be hitting some of these on our 3 month road trip this summer!! Thanks for your input Brianna.

  1. Chris Travels

    That was interesting to read about a few new national parks I never knew about! I’m confident they are each very special in their own way to qualify for the honor of being a National Park…adding them to my bucket list!

    • Dang Travelers

      There are so many amazing places and too little time. We cannot wait to see some of these magnificent places in the future.

    • Dang Travelers

      Thank you Nancie. We loved your gorgeous photos of Bryce Canyon. Never thought to plan a trip there in the winter. We always had it in our heads most of the US national parks should be visited in the summer, but obviously that’s not the case!

  2. Charles McCool

    White Sands is my favorite National Park property. My favorite actual park is probably Everglades or Virgin Islands (yes, it is a National Park!).

    • Dang Travelers

      I haven’t been to New Mexico yet (Dave has been when he was much younger). We will put White Sands on the list of sights to see! We did adventure through the Everglades last year and really enjoyed it. We were surprised at how beautiful marshland and sawgrass is!

  3. Neil | Joyful Journeying

    Thank you for this nice roundup of National Parks. I was interested to see that we have visited most of them at one time or another. I was trying to decide which was my favorite, and gave up. Each one is outstanding in many different ways. I do agree with Charles McCool also, White Sands is especially unique and a must see.

    • Dang Travelers

      You are welcome Neil! We will definitely try to get out to White Sands soon. We have a 3 month road trip this summer planned to visit 11 national parks, but we are not making it down to New Mexico unfortunately. But when we do, it is now on the list!

  4. Ellie - Flash and Frugal

    Ah – such a good backpacker holiday would be to go to all of these!

  5. Reni

    Thanks for sharing. Wow! There are so many amazing National Parks in the US to visit. Hope to get there soon and we definitely to plan at least a year or two to road trip around the US.

    Thanks for the travel inspiration. Will safe the link for our travel planning.

    Happy travels,

    • Dang Travelers

      So many parks, so little time! A year or two in the US would be great. There’s so much to experience here. Thanks for reading!

  6. Bigfatheadz

    We purchased an America the Beautiful pass last summer and took full advantage of it. Really impressed with the national park service.

    We really enjoyed driving the going to the sun road in Glacier and visiting the pueblo ruins at Mega Verde but our favourite Park this trip was Yellowstone because of seeing bears. One of our most enjoyable trips was when we went to Acadia in Maine a few years ago which is small enough to be rally accessible.

    • Dang Travelers

      Sounds like an amazing summer! We are heading off on a 3-month road trip this summer to 11 National Parks throughout the US and Canada. Yellowstone is on the list so I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it. We would love to get back to Acadia. We had a stop over so we went for a day, but had a lot of fog and misty weather. It looked nothing like the pictures I had seen when I was researching what to do there!

  7. Dean

    There seems to be an endless supply of National Parks with incredible scenery in the USA. Thank you for getting these bloggers to help you compile this list.

    • Dang Travelers

      You are welcome Dean! The USA does have an array beautiful parks and stunning scenery.

  8. solosophie

    All of these parks look AMAZING! I especially want to visit Yosemite National Park: the scenery is absolutely breathtaking!

    • Dang Travelers

      I haven’t been either (Dave has) but it is high on my list. Everyone has such great things to say and the pictures are stunning!

  9. BonBon

    I can’t wait to start going to National parks when the kids are a bit bigger:) Awesome list you’ve got. Thanks for sharing…

    • Dang Travelers

      Thanks. Visiting the parks with the kids will be such a great memory for them! Start planning now 🙂 we are working on the details of our road trip this summer and it entails a lot of planning because the parks get so busy.

  10. Corinne

    National parks are the absolute best thing about traveling, living, camping, being in the US. When I retire, I’m hoping to live as much of the year as I can in them! Great post. Love all these parks.

    • Dang Travelers

      Thanks Corinne. We think the parks are the best America has to offer! We are heading out on a three month road trip this summer and can’t wait to explore eleven parks (9 in the US). Each one is so unique.

  11. Marc

    Great article and love to see those national parks. I have been to almost all of them but your post inspires me to go visit them again. thanks

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