National Parks in America You Must Visit

Last year marked a momentous occasion for the National Park Service — it celebrated its centennial on August 25, 2016. President Woodrow Wilson signed the “Organic Act” on August 25, 1916, creating a tradition to secure, protect and maintain the country’s natural wonders and historical sites. Yellowstone was America’s first national park and the most recent addition to the 59 federally protected areas is Pinnacles National Park.

These sites preserve and highlight the stunning beauty to be found in America and are definitely bucket list material. See iconic Half Dome at Yosemite or witness the remaining remnants of Appalachian culture at Great Smoky Mountains. While each have their own unique draw, the locations in GAYOT’s list of Top 10 U.S. National Parks offer rich and varied natural experiences, unparalleled scenery and exciting activities.

Bryce Canyon National Park has vibrant red rock structures and spires that are hundreds of feet tall

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park 
St. George, UT

Bryce Canyon in Utah stands alone among natural phenomena with its vibrant red rock structures and spires that are hundreds of feet tall. Read more…

Carlsbad Caverns National Park has 119 absolutely marvelous caves formed by sulfuric acid that has eaten away at the limestone

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park 

Situated in the Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico, far away from city lights — or any lights, really — Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a great place to view the night sky in a whole new way. Read more…

Denali National Park is home to Denali (formerly Mount McKinley), the highest peak in North America

Denali National Park

George Parks Hwy. 
Denali Park, AK

For overachievers who always need to be at the top, Denali National Park is a choice destination.Read more…

Everglades National Park is the third largest national park in the United States

Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park 
Everglades City, FL

As the largest subtropical wilderness and the third largest national park in the United States, Everglades National Park is in a league of its own.Read more…

Glacier National Park was established in 1910

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park 
Whitefish, MT

Glacier National Park was established in 1910, with 1 million acres of land and 25 “active” glaciers that are constantly on the move due to thawing and melting.Read more…

The Great Smoky Mountains are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains and the park has made great efforts to protect its history

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park 
Nashville, TN

Bordering Tennessee and North Carolina and covering more than 800 square miles, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the nation’s most visited. Read more…

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to two active craters

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 
Volcano, HI

For a primordial experience, head to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, home of two active craters: Kilauea and Mauna Loa, the world’s largest. Read more…

Rocky Mountain National Park has more than 300 miles of trails

Rocky Mountain National Park

Trail Ridge Rd. 
Denver, CO

Hikers will rejoice over Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park with more than 300 miles of trails and the opportunity to gain some real altitude: the tallest of the 60 peaks tops out at 14,259 feet. Read more…

Yellowstone National Park features an impressive collection of lakes, mountain ranges, canyons and rivers

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park 
Jackson Hole, WY

Classic destinations always stand the test of time, and as the world’s first national park, Yellowstone certainly qualifies. Read more…

Yosemite National Park is a backpacker's paradise and a rock climber's mecca

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park 
Fresno, CA

The indelible images of Yosemite National Park made famous by the photographer Ansel Adams in the early 20th century still pale in comparison to the real thing. Read more…