National Parks

Fodor's Choice

25 National Park
Experiences Not to Miss

Watch flowing lava at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

Our editors selected the very best experiences in the U.S. National Parks. Do you agree with our choices? Let us know by rating each one!

GO »

Best of the National Parks

  • 10 Best National Parks to Visit This Spring

    10 Best National Parks to Visit This Spring We’ve handpicked the 10 best national parks for springtime revelry, from Tennessee to Alaska to California. Now it’s your turn to start planning a trip.
    (more)

  • Fodor's Top 10 Stories of 2013

    Fodor's Top 10 Stories of 2013 At Fodor's, our goal is to write stories that stoke the travel passions of our readers. Based on traffic results, 2013 was a year to celebrate the natural beauty of the world around us.
    (more)

  • 10 Best National Parks to Visit This Winter

    10 Best National Parks to Visit This Winter Whether you’re wishing for a winter wonderland, or a winter escape, check out our picks for the 10 best national parks to visit this winter.
    (more)

  • National Take a Hike Day: 20 Great American Hikes

    National Take a Hike Day: 20 Great American Hikes November 17 is known as National Take a Hike day. While we're not sure if that refers to telling some to "get lost" or actually getting off the couch to explore our country, we're going with the latter.
    (more)

  • The World’s 20 Most Beautiful Lakes

    The World’s 20 Most Beautiful Lakes Lakes offer some of water's most alluring qualities, mesmerizing ripples, mirror-like reflections, and crstyalline clarity. The world has millions of them, from tiny grass-lined ponds to massive freshwater expanses easily mistaken for oceans, but some lakes simply stand out more than others. Here are 20 of the world's most beautiful lakes.
    (more)

  • 10 Best Fall Foliage Trips in the US

    10 Best Fall Foliage Trips in the US You don’t have to travel far to experience America’s awe-inspiring natural beauty. Check out our 10 picks for the best fall foliage destinations.
    (more)

  • What to Pack: Utah's National Parks

    What to Pack: Utah's National Parks Fall is one of the best times to go discover the immense natural beauty of Utah and its national parks. Hike the day away and find great eats by night, but pack these key stylish picks first.
    (more)

  • 10 Best National Parks for Fall Trips

    10 Best National Parks for Fall Trips Check out our picks for the 10 must-see National Parks in the fall, with tips on what makes these places so special this time of year, from wildlife activity to fewer crowds. Whether you prefer to drive through, or hike through, these parks will prove unforgettable.
    (more)

  • Where to Drink Wine at National Parks

    Where to Drink Wine at National Parks When planning a trip to one of the country's national parks, you might not have great wine lists at the top of your wishlist. Well, you're missing out.
    (more)

  • Step Into: Disney's The Lone Ranger

    Step Into: Disney's The Lone Ranger Much of the new Lone Ranger, just released this week, was shot on location in Utah, using landscapes like Monument Valley, Arches and Canyonlands, and more. Step into the film with this Lone Ranger-approved itinerary.
    (more)

  • 19 Natural and Cultural Wonders Named New World Heritage Sites

    19 Natural and Cultural Wonders Named New World Heritage Sites Some spectacular new sites earned coveted spots on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list last week, representing the best of what the world has to offer in natural and cultural beauty.
    (more)

  • Where to Go This Summer

    Where to Go This Summer Instead of going on the same ol' summertime trips, why not switch it up? From a US city making a major comeback to an iconic southeast African destination, here are our top summer getaway picks.
    (more)

  • Long Weekend in Utah's National Parks

    Long Weekend in Utah's National Parks The desert landscapes of Utah's five national parks are astounding. Overwhelming, even. So we're here to help you navigate this state's embarrassment of outdoor riches with a long weekend itinerary.
    (more)

  • Six National Parks to Visit in 2013

    Six National Parks to Visit in 2013 This week (April 20-28) is National Parks Week, meaning visitors can enjoy the great outdoors sans entry fee. Whether you go this week, or spread your trips out all summer-long, these are the six parks to hit this year.
    (more)

  • Guide to the Best of West Texas

    Guide to the Best of West Texas You could write your own Insider's Guide to Austin, we know. But there's plenty more Texas to discover, and we suggest starting with West Texas. Here's our guide to Big Bend, Marfa, and more.
    (more)

  • 6 Non-Beach Spring Break Alternatives

    6 Non-Beach Spring Break Alternatives Tired of the same ol' tropical getaways? No, we're not either, but this year we're dying to shake up the classic spring break trips. From skiing to zip-lining, you really won't miss the beach (or the crowds).
    (more)

  • 5 Cool Things About Pinnacles, Our Newest National Park

    5 Cool Things About Pinnacles, Our Newest National Park Have you met our nation's new national park yet? Pinnacles got the honor just last month (it is California's ninth, putting the state in the lead), and offers the chance to spot a California condor.
    (more)

  • Beyond the Strip: Las Vegas by Day

    Beyond the Strip: Las Vegas by Day We want to tell you about fun things to do in Vegas that don't include booze, gambling, or other debauchery. Stick with us. They are daytime activities like a neon sign boneyard and ziplining.
    (more)

  • Best National Parks to Visit in Winter

    Best National Parks to Visit in Winter Think National Park visits come to an end when the mercury drops? Think again. These parks are fantastic winter getaways, complete with fewer crowds and unique experiences.
    (more)

  • Just Back From: Southwest Utah

    Just Back From: Southwest Utah If you think Utah is sprawling landscapes, luxury resorts, thrilling adventures, and a whole lotta sky...you're spot on. We trekked through Southwest Utah to get our Zen back, and then some.
    (more)

  • National Parks Free Over Veterans Day Weekend

    National Parks Free Over Veterans Day Weekend Want to get away before bulky sweater season starts? We've got just the thing—National Parks will all be free on Veterans' Day weekend. See you in the great outdoors!
    (more)

  • Tip of the Week: Hike Wyoming Backcountry with a Llama at your Side

    Tip of the Week: Hike Wyoming Backcountry with a Llama at your Side Hiking the stunning, scenic trails of Wyoming backcountry (Jackson Hole, Yellowstone) would be much more peaceful if there was an adorable, gentle animal helping to carry your wares. Cue the llamas.
    (more)

  • Today's Top Headlines: May 16, 2012

    Today's Top Headlines: May 16, 2012 From free entry into national parks for military families to finding the perfect Space Shuttle-inspired, food-focused investment, here are the headlines we're reading this morning.
    (more)

  • Best Family Camping Spots in the US

    Best Family Camping Spots in the US Now that warm weather is on the horizon, it's time to escape to the great outdoors with the family. Bond over daytime hikes and nighttime s'mores at these top family-friendly campsites.
    (more)

  • Early-Season Biking in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks

    Early-Season Biking in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks America's national parks are known for many things, but being bike friendly is not necessarily one of them. In spring and early summer in Glacier and Yellowstone, however, two-wheeled vehicles are practically the only ones on park roads.
    (more)

  • Patagonia's Hotel Salto Chico Reopens in Torres del Paine

    Patagonia's Hotel Salto Chico Reopens in Torres del Paine Just two months ago, a wildfire swept through the renowned Torres del Paine National Park, temporarily closing parts of the park and the iconic Hotel Salto Chico. While the park re-opened in early January, the luxury lodge will re-open its doors on February 23, just in time for the tail-end of the popular summer season in stunning southern Chile.
    (more)

  • Free National Parks Days for 2012

    Free National Parks Days for 2012 For 17 days in 2012, admission to more than 100 of the country's National Parks will be free. Popular parks on the list include Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone and Acadia.
    (more)

  • Easily locate nearby National Parks with the Oh, Ranger Parkfinder app

    Easily locate nearby National Parks with the Oh, Ranger Parkfinder app With the free Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder app locate National and State parks based on location and activity, such as picnicking or hiking. Search results display suitable public parks, as well as provide directions, weather forecasts, lodging options, and park maps. Perfect for spontaneous weekend outings or long-term vacation planning!
    (more)

  • Get the perfect shot of Maine's Bass Harbor Head Light

    Get the perfect shot of Maine's Bass Harbor Head Light The best place to take a picture of this small but beautiful lighthouse in Acadia National Park is from the rocks below—but watch your step; they can be slippery.
    (more)

  • What's New in the National Parks

    What's New in the National Parks From Arizona to Alaska, we've got the latest National Park Service news about Pee-Wee Rangers, the annual BioBlitz, Civil War Sesquicentennial events—plus fee-free days for savings.
    (more)

  • Find your ideal National Park and plan a unforgettable summer trip

    Find your ideal National Park and plan a unforgettable summer trip One of the best ways to see this country is by touring the National Parks. Our editors selected the very best Park experiences. Check out our slideshow and tell us if you agree with our choices.
    (more)

  • Best Hotels In and Near Yosemite National Park

    Best Hotels In and Near Yosemite National Park At 1,500 square miles, Yosemite is so large that where you stay greatly affects your plan to explore the park. From grand lodges to romantic inns, we've got the best lodging recommendations, with just the right blend of rustic charm and modern comforts.
    (more)

  • Planning multiple National Parks visits for this summer? Save with a parks pass.

    Planning multiple National Parks visits for this summer? Save with a parks pass. Some park entry fees can be as high as $20. Each pass admits the card holder as well as all other persons in your vehicle (or up to three others at places that charge per person rather than per vehicle) to any national park and other designated federal recreational lands, such as U.S. Forests.
    (more)

  • Free Admission to National Parks: April 16–24

    Free Admission to National Parks: April 16–24 Celebrate "America's Best Idea" with free admission to all the U.S. national parks from Saturday, April 16 to Sunday, April 22 as part of National Park Week.
    (more)

  • National Park Lodge Basics & Reservation Realities

    National Park Lodge Basics & Reservation Realities Railroad companies laid track in the early 1900s to lure wealthy Easterners westward—and built luxury hotels at the end of the line. Today, the rails don’t drive tourism to the parks all that much. But the lodges still do. And you don’t have to be wealthy to stay in one.
    (more)

  • Best Family Experiences at 5 Top National Parks

    Best Family Experiences at 5 Top National Parks

    Planning a family National Park trip this summer? Remember that even the most beautiful scenery can quickly become boring for little ones with short attention spans. Here are some of our top family experiences, from cowboy cookouts to animal encounters, at the most popular national parks.


    (more)

  • Trip of a Lifetime: Rafting the Grand Canyon

    Trip of a Lifetime: Rafting the Grand Canyon

    Most visitors to the Grand Canyon are lucky if they even get to glimpse a sliver of the Colorado River below during their whirlwind three-hour tour of the South Rim. However, putting yourself at the mercy of the river and exploring the depths of the canyon from aboard a raft is an entirely different, and otherworldly, experience. No other rafting trip combines so many days of staggering scenery, whitewater thrills, and magical hikes.


    (more)

  • 15 Top Scenic Drives in the National Parks

    15 Top Scenic Drives in the National Parks

    It's amazing how much you can see from your car. Whether you're in Maine, where you can be at the top of Cadillac Mountain when the sun's rays first hit the United States, or driving along the world's highest continuously-paved highway in the Rocky Mountains, the incredible accessibility of the American wilderness will blow you away. Here are some of our favorite U.S. national park drives.


    (more)

  • 4 Easy Green Tips for Eco-Friendly National Park Visits

    4 Easy Green Tips for Eco-Friendly National Park Visits

    National Parks are green travel and eco-tourism hotspots. Just by paying your entrance fee, you're supporting the park system and helping to preserve it for future visitors. But some parks are doing even more in the name of sustainability. Here are some eco-tips to help make your next national park visit even more green.


    (more)

  • National Parks in a Day: 5 Top Parks, 5 Single-Day Tours

    National Parks in a Day: 5 Top Parks, 5 Single-Day Tours

    Road-tripping through California? Considering a jaunt out to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas? If you're like many travelers, you love the National Parks but you don't have more than a day to devote to each one. Time is of the essence. So, without further ado, here's how we recommend visiting five of the west coast's top national parks—each in a single day.


    (more)

  • 5 Best National Parks for a Sunny Winter Escape

    5 Best National Parks for a Sunny Winter Escape

    You don't have to wait until summer vacation for your National Park getaway. If you start planning a winter trip to the right one now you'll be packing your bathing suit, not your hat and gloves. Indeed, some locations can be too hot to visit in the summer months—so now is the perfect time to go.


    (more)

  • Arizona's Other National Parks: Beyond the Grand Canyon

    Arizona's Other National Parks: Beyond the Grand Canyon

    With so many natural wonders in one state, it's easy to overlook some of the smaller parks with lesser designations. In short: go beyond the Grand Canyon!


    (more)

  • Interview: Ken Burns Shares His National Park Experiences

    Interview: Ken Burns Shares His National Park Experiences

    Fodor's recently spoke with Ken Burns about the new National Parks documentary. Here, he shares his most treasured hiking experience, his pick for must-see park, and more.


    (more)

  • National Parks: Fall Road Trip to the Southwest's Four Corners Region

    National Parks: Fall Road Trip to the Southwest's Four Corners Region

    There are so many great parks in the Southwest—Zion, Bryce, Arches, Mesa Verde, and the Grand Canyon are the most popular—it can be hard to choose which one(s) to visit. Luckily, now is the perfect time to go—and you can probably see them all, by focusing your road trip on the Four Corners region.


    (more)

  • Find Your Perfect National Park for Fall: Foliage Spotlight

    Find Your Perfect National Park for Fall: Foliage Spotlight

    Vibrant red and yellows combined with cooler temperatures make Fall the perfect time to visit many National Parks. While the Eastern parks have the advantage here, golden aspens also attract leaf peepers to western parks too. Here's the breakdown on some of the best National Parks for autumn visits.


    (more)

  • National Park Spotlight: Hike-In Lodging

    National Park Spotlight: Hike-In Lodging

    Some National Parks have unique backcountry lodging options: ranches, camps, and even chalets. Staying in one is somewhere between staying in a campground and staying in a great lodge. After a rewarding—and often challenging—trail, you'll leave the crowds behind and get closer to nature while still having a bed to sleep in.


    (more)

  • Take Advantage of Free Admission to National Parks This Weekend

    Take Advantage of Free Admission to National Parks This Weekend

    Sure, the mega-parks like Grand Canyon and Yellowstone are must-sees, but did you know there's still time to plan a summer visit to one of the National Park Service's almost 400 other sites? With gas prices lower than last summer, now's the perfect time to explore your local National Parks. Some parks are always free, but this weekend, August 15th-16th, the NPS is offering free admission to all.


    (more)

  • National Parks Photo Tips: How to Shoot Landscapes Like a Pro

    National Parks Photo Tips: How to Shoot Landscapes Like a Pro

    Use these tips to take advantage of the hundreds of amazing photo opportunities these parks have to offer.


    (more)

  • The Top 6 Experiences in Florida's Everglades

    The Top 6 Experiences in Florida's Everglades

    To truly experience the diversity of flora and fauna that call the Everglades home—from roseate spoonbills to american crocodiles—you've got to get your feet wet. Here are the best ways to spend your time.


    (more)

  • 5 Essential Family Stops on Washington State's Olympic Peninsula

    5 Essential Family Stops on Washington State's Olympic Peninsula

    Why the Olympic Peninsula? There are two good reasons. First and foremost is the relatively under-the-radar Olympic National Park. Second, you're right around the corner from Forks, star of Stephanie Meyers' Twilight Series. But more on that in a minute.


    (more)

  • The 7 Most Inspiring Sights in the American Southwest

    The 7 Most Inspiring Sights in the American Southwest

    From blazing sunsets to gigantic caverns full of bats, here's where to find the magic of the Southwest.


    (more)

  • 10 National Parks Every Kid Should See

    10 National Parks Every Kid Should See

    Want to take your own kids on the road this summer? Here are ten U.S. National Parks that won't disappoint.


    (more)

  • U.S. Hot Spots: Highlights & Hikes of Arizona

    U.S. Hot Spots: Highlights & Hikes of Arizona

    Arizona is full of history, culture, and awe-inspiring natural landmarks. Here are some suggestions for mixing a road trip with some of the state's phenomenal hiking opportunities. Start or end with a few days in Phoenix.


    (more)

  • Avoiding the Masses at 4 Great National Parks

    Avoiding the Masses at 4 Great National Parks

    What could be better than a summer vacation spent communing with nature in one of our national parks? Unfortunately millions of others will be doing the same thing. But that doesn't mean your holiday has to be spent dodging video cameras and screeching kids. Follow our tips to escape the hordes and make the most of your time in the park.


    (more)

  • Great Lodges of the West

    Great Lodges of the West

    Some of the best lodgings in the National Parks were built by railroad companies to lure wealthy Easterners westward. Many of these opulent lodges are still around--here are the best of the lot.


    (more)

Most Popular Parks Inspirations

Advertisement