Top National Parks in the US to Visit Before Summer Ends

Colorado River running through the Grand Canyon National Park.

Looking for adventure this summer? How about exploring United States National Parks? Our National Park System has 424 national park sites, including 63 sites that include “National Park” as part of their names. With jaw-dropping landscapes, historical narratives, cultural significance and recreational opportunities, there’s something for everyone!

In celebration of Park and Recreation Month in July, check out one or more of these five top national parks to visit before summer ends.

1. Acadia National Park

The Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast, Acadia National Park encompasses nearly 50,000 acres along the Atlantic Coastline of Maine, including Mount Desert Island, Schoodic Peninsula and Isle au Haute. When you explore Acadia National Park, you can expect to see rugged lands, crashing waves, evergreen forests and granite mountaintops. While you’re hiking, biking, horseback riding or rock climbing, be on the lookout for peregrine falcons, harbor seals, moose and other wildlife that call the park home.

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2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Spanning both Tennessee and North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park features 522,427 acres of untouched wildlife. Enjoy scenic drives to Cades Cove or along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, and then partake in outdoor activities like hiking, biking and fishing. Explore the historic gristmill and Cable Mill at the Cades Cove Visitor Center, or check out the wildlife exhibits at the Sugarlands Visitor Center. As an added bonus, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the few FREE national parks!

3. Arches National Park

Featuring over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, you may feel like you’re visiting another planet when you go to Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. The park has 26 miles of scenic roadway and hiking trails that accommodate every fitness level. Take a quick 20-minute walk to Balanced Rock and the Double Arch, or embark on a more challenging hike through the Fiery Furnace up to Delicate Arch. Get your camera ready to capture the red-rock colors, towering landforms, fabulous sunsets and the spectacular night sky.

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4. Yellowstone National Park

The world’s first national park, Yellowstone is a 2.2-million-acre park stretching across Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. There’s no shortage of nature to explore at Yellowstone, with dramatic mountain peaks, pristine lakes, hot springs, active geysers and bison-filled meadows. Be sure to carve out time for both the well-known attractions, such as Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake and Mammoth Hot Springs, as well as the lesser-known regions, like the West Thumb Geyser Basin and Lewis River Channel/Dogshead Trail.

5. Grand Canyon National Park

Measuring about 277 river miles in length, up to 18 miles in width and a mile deep, the Grand Canyon is a massive chasm in northern Arizona. People from all over the world travel to take in the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, making it not only a national park, but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The popular South Rim is home to the Grand Canyon Village and the Bright Angel Trail. These areas can be quite crowded, so for some less well-worn trails, head to the North Rim.

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What Are You Waiting for?

Book your reservations and start exploring these great United States National Parks! If you plan on visiting multiple parks this summer, be sure to check out the National Park Service Interagency Passes, which could save you money!

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