National Parks Finder

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Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park's eroded buttes and spires cast amazing shades of red and yellow across the South Dakota prairie. In addition to scenery, it has some of the world’s richest mammal fossil beds.

See Our Guide
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • Rapid City, SD; Wall, SD; Pine Ridge, SD
  • Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP)
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Wildlife
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Scenic Drives
  • Bird-Watching

Active

Big Bend National Park

In a remote location, with the Rio Grande River along its southern border, Big Bend's limitless skies and ample space are two of its strongest selling points.

See Our Guide
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • Marathon, TX; Terlingua, TX
  • Midland International Air and Space Port (MAF)
  • Bird-Watching
  • Hiking
  • Boating
  • Scenic Drives
  • Rafting
  • Kayaking
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Wildlife
  • Wild flowers

Moderate

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

This steep and narrow river gorge in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park has sheer cliffs and a drop twice as high as the Empire State Building.

See Our Guide
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Montrose, CO; Crawford, CO
  • Durango-La Plata County Airport (DRO); Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • Fishing
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Geological Formations
  • Climbing
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Rafting
  • Scenic Drives
  • Bird-Watching
  • Winter Sports

Active

Canyonlands National Park

Biking on White Rim Road, white-water rafting in Cataract Canyon—plus spires, pinnacles, cliffs, and mesas as far as the eye can see are the top reasons to go.

See Our Guide
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Moab, UT; Monticello, UT
  • Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT); Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
  • Climbing
  • Day Trip
  • Geological Formations
  • Rafting
  • Hiking
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Boating
  • Biking
  • Archaeological Sites
  • Scenic Drives
  • Wild flowers
  • Bird-Watching
  • History

Moderate

Capitol Reef National Park

Seven times larger than nearby Bryce Canyon and much less crowded, Capitol Reef is known for its 100-mile-long Waterpocket Fold, a monocline (or “wrinkle” in the Earth’s crust). It has many options for day hikes as well as backcountry trips into slot canyons, arches, cliffs, domes, and slickrock.

See Our Guide
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Torrey, UT
  • Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
  • Family
  • Day Trip
  • Geological Formations
  • Hiking
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Archaeological Sites
  • Scenic Drives
  • Biking
  • Wildlife
  • Wild flowers

Moderate

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

The park’s 113 caves, bizarre underground rock formations, and 400,000 diving, dipping, sonar-blipping bats are the main draws.

See Our Guide
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • Carlsbad, NM; White's City, NM
  • Cavern City Air Terminal (CNM); El Paso International Airport (ELP)
  • Bird-Watching
  • Geological Formations
  • Wildlife
  • Hiking

Active

Channel Islands National Park

These five islands are home to 145 species of terrestrial plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth. You’re bound to see wildlife such as dolphins, sea lions, island foxes, and pelicans, and can kayak, dive, and go whale-watching.

See Our Guide
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • Oxnard, CA; Ventura, CA; Santa Barbara, CA
  • Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA); Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Kayaking
  • Boating
  • Beach
  • Wildlife
  • Family
  • Day Trip
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Bird-Watching

Moderate

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake is a geological marvel—the 21-square-mile sapphire-blue lake inside a caldera is the nation's deepest. The park itself includes about 90 miles of trails.

See Our Guide
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Klamath Falls, OR; Roseburg, OR; Ashland, OR
  • Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport (MFR); Portland International Airport (PDX)
  • Hiking
  • Scenic Drives
  • Biking
  • Boating
  • Wildlife
  • Family
  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Bird-Watching
  • Winter Sports

Moderate

Death Valley National Park

This is a vast, lonely, beautiful place with breathtaking vistas, searing heat, and mysterious moving rocks. The desert landscape is surrounded by majestic mountains, dry lakebeds, spring wildflowers, and Wild West ghost towns.

See Our Guide
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • Beatty, NV; Lone Pine, CA
  • McCarran International Airport (LAS); Bob Hope Airport (BUR)
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Wild flowers
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Bird-Watching
  • History

Active

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

Glacier Bay is home to the continent's largest collection of tidewater glaciers, which can be seen from a cruise ship or on a day boat tour. Migrating humpback whales and occasionally orcas can also be spotted here and it's an excellent place to sea kayak. The park's remote, undeveloped location ensures that travelers in search of quiet repose will not be disappointed.

See Our Guide
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • Gustavus, AK
  • Gustavus Airport (GST); Juneau International Airport (JNU)
  • Boating
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Wildlife
  • Fishing
  • Family
  • Bird-Watching
  • Day Trip
  • Kayaking
  • History
  • Beach
  • Hiking

Easy

Great Basin National Park

It may be one of the nation's least visited national parks (there isn’t even an entrance fee), but the stalactites, stalagmites, and popcorn in Lehman Caves and the solitude of backcountry treks are big draws.

See Our Guide
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Ely, NV; Baker, NV
  • Ely Airport (ELY); Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
  • Hiking
  • Bird-Watching
  • Winter Sports
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Wildlife
  • Scenic Drives

Active

Great Sand Dunes National Park

The 30 square miles of landlocked dune fields are an impressive sight. Aside from the dunes there are eight different life zones to explore, ranging from salty wetlands to alpine peaks.

See Our Guide
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Alamosa, CO
  • San Luis Valley International Airport (ALS); Colorado Springs Airport (COS)
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife
  • Scenic Drives
  • Fishing
  • Bird-Watching

Active

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

This remote park draws thousands of visitors every fall, when the hardwoods of McKittrick Canyon burst into flaming color. The park is home to the Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in the state.

See Our Guide
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Whites City, NM; Carlsbad, NM
  • El Paso International Airport (ELP)
  • Hiking
  • Leaf-Peeping
  • Climbing
  • Bird-Watching
  • Wildlife

Active

Jasper National Park

One of the largest protected mountain ecosystems in the world and the largest of the Canadian Rocky Mountain parks, Jasper woos visitors with its lakes, glaciers, waterfalls, and mountains.

See Our Guide
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Edmonton, Canada; Calgary, Canada; Hinton, Canada
  • Edmonton International Airport (YEG); Calgary International Airport (YYC)
  • Bird-Watching
  • Boating
  • Winter Sports
  • Wild flowers
  • Waterfalls
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Rafting
  • Family
  • Wildlife
  • Horseback Riding
  • Swimming
  • Climbing
  • Scenic Drives

Active

Kenai Fjords National Park

From hiking to canoeing, Kenai Fjords National Park has world-class recreation activities. Wildlife abounds in the icy waters and dense coastal forests, while glaciers meet the sea at the Harding Icefield.

See Our Guide
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • Seward, AK
  • Kenai Municipal Airport (ENA)
  • Kayaking
  • Boating
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Fishing
  • Family
  • Wildlife
  • Day Trip
  • Hiking
  • Bird-Watching

Easy

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Peak, a dormant plug dome volcano that last erupted in 1915, and every other type of known volcano (shield, cinder cone, and composite) are here, as well as roiling mud pots and hissing steam vents.

See Our Guide
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Red Bluff, CA; Redding, CA
  • Sacramento International Airport (SMF); Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO)
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Hiking
  • Scenic Drives
  • Biking
  • Winter Sports
  • Wild flowers
  • Fishing
  • Horseback Riding

Active

Mesa Verde National Park

Located in the Four Corners region—the junction of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona—this park houses an amazing collection of Ancestral Puebloan dwellings, some carved directly into cliff faces, and ancient artifacts.

See Our Guide
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Cortez, CO; Dolores, CO; Durango, CO
  • Durango-La Plata County Airport (DRO); Cortez Municipal Airport (CEZ)
  • History
  • Hiking
  • Archaeological Sites
  • Bird-Watching
  • Family
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Wildlife
  • Scenic Drives

Moderate

North Cascades National Park

Hiking on a real glacier is a memorable experience—especially if you add in marmots, golden eagles, and coyotes—and North Cascades is home to several hundred of them.

See Our Guide
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Newhalem, WA
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Wild flowers
  • Hiking
  • Rafting
  • Kayaking
  • Boating
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Winter Sports
  • History
  • Wildlife
  • Scenic Drives
  • Climbing
  • Day Trip
  • Bird-Watching
  • Horseback Riding
  • Biking

Active

Olympic National Park

Centered on Mt. Olympus and framed on three sides by water, this park is known for its temperate rain forests, rugged coastal expanses, Sol Duc hot springs, and hiking (or skiing) at Hurricane Ridge.

See Our Guide
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Port Angeles, WA
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA); Victoria International Airport (YYJ)
  • Hiking
  • Climbing
  • Fishing
  • Beach
  • Waterfalls
  • Rafting
  • Kayaking
  • Biking
  • Winter Sports
  • Wild flowers
  • Wildlife
  • Scenic Drives
  • Day Trip
  • Bird-Watching
  • Boating
  • Stunning Vistas

Active

Petrified Forest National Park

This park is known for fallen and fossilized trees, which look like they are made of colorful stone.

See Our Guide
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • Holbrook, AZ
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX); Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ)
  • Hiking
  • Archaeological Sites
  • History
  • Wild flowers
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Wildlife
  • Geological Formations
  • Scenic Drives
  • Bird-Watching

Moderate

Pinnacles National Park

Hiking among rugged volcanic spires is the most popular activity at Pinnacles, and the best chance you'll have at encountering one of the extremely rare California condors that make their home here.

See Our Guide
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • Soledad, CA; Hollister, CA
  • Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC), San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • Hiking
  • Bird-Watching
  • Wild flowers
  • Climbing
  • Day Trip

Moderate

Saguaro National Park

The park takes its name from the towering saguaro cactus, the largest of its kind in the United States. The park is split into two districts, each about 30 miles apart; the better collection of cacti is found in the west district.

See Our Guide
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Tuscon International Airport (TUS)
  • Hiking
  • Day Trip
  • Scenic Drives
  • Bird-Watching
  • Wild flowers
  • Archaeological Sites
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Biking
  • Wildlife
  • Family

Moderate

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt is known for chunks of badlands on the Little Missouri River and the 26th president’s beloved Elkhorn Ranch. This is one of the most isolated parks in the country.

See Our Guide
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Medora, ND; Dickinson, ND
  • Bismarck Municipal Airport (BIS)
  • Wildlife
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • History
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Fishing
  • Scenic Drives

Moderate

Waterton Lakes National Park

This Canadian national park is the meeting of two worlds: the flatlands of the prairie and the abrupt upthrust of the mountains.

See Our Guide
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Cardston, Canada
  • Calgary International Airport (YYC)
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife
  • Boating
  • Scenic Drives
  • Swimming
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Biking
  • Bird-Watching
  • Climbing

Active

Wind Cave National Park

One of the largest caves in the world, with beautiful cave formations including boxwork (3-D calcite honeycomb patterns on cave walls and ceilings), Wind Cave is the place to go spelunking.

See Our Guide
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • Hot Springs, SD; Rapid City, SD
  • Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP)
  • Geological Formations
  • Wildlife
  • Hiking
  • Scenic Drives
  • Bird-Watching

Active

Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island

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Acadia National Park holds some of the most spectacular scenery on the Eastern Seaboard: a rugged coastline of surf-pounded granite and an interior graced by sculpted mountains, serene ponds, and lush deciduous forests.

    Best For:
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Family
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Leaf-Peeping
  • Scenic Drives
  • Horseback Riding
  • Bird-Watching
  • Wild flowers
  • Winter Sports
  • Boating
  • Climbing
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Wildlife
  • Biking
    When:
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Bar Harbor, ME
  • Airport:
    Bangor International Airport (BGR)

Activity Level:
Moderate

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Arches National Park

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Four hours (235 miles) from Salt Lake City, this park has the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches, including that most-famous symbol of Utah, Delicate Arch. Nearby is Moab, an adventure hotspot, with world-class white-water rafting on the Colorado River, rock climbing, four-wheeling, and mountain biking.

    Best For:
  • Family
  • Day Trip
  • Geological Formations
  • Hiking
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Biking
  • Scenic Drives
  • Wild flowers
  • Climbing
  • Wildlife
  • Winter Sports
    When:
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Moab, UT; Green River, UT
  • Airport:
    Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT); Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)

Activity Level:
Easy

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Badlands National Park

See Details

Badlands National Park's eroded buttes and spires cast amazing shades of red and yellow across the South Dakota prairie. In addition to scenery, it has some of the world’s richest mammal fossil beds.

    Best For:
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Wildlife
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Scenic Drives
  • Bird-Watching
    When:
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • Base Town:
    Rapid City, SD; Wall, SD; Pine Ridge, SD
  • Airport:
    Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP)

Activity Level:
Active

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Banff National Park

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The Canadian Rockies are one of the most beautiful ranges on Earth, and Canada's first national park is nestled among these mountains, glaciers, and forests. It also has some of the world's best skiing.

    Best For:
  • Scenic Drives
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Biking
  • Winter Sports
  • Wild flowers
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Fishing
  • Family
  • Wildlife
  • Bird-Watching
  • Boating
  • Waterfalls
  • Rafting
    When:
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • Base Town:
    Canmore, Canada
  • Airport:
    Edmonton International Airport (YEG); Calgary International Airport (YYC)

Activity Level:
Moderate

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Big Bend National Park

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In a remote location, with the Rio Grande River along its southern border, Big Bend's limitless skies and ample space are two of its strongest selling points.

    Best For:
  • Bird-Watching
  • Hiking
  • Boating
  • Scenic Drives
  • Rafting
  • Kayaking
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Wildlife
  • Wild flowers
    When:
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • Base Town:
    Marathon, TX; Terlingua, TX
  • Airport:
    Midland International Air and Space Port (MAF)

Activity Level:
Moderate

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Biscayne National Park

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Occupying 172,000 acres along the southern portion of Biscayne Bay, south of Miami, Biscayne National Park is 95% submerged, with coral reefs and coastal mangrove forests.

    Best For:
  • Wildlife
  • Boating
  • Kayaking
  • Day Trip
  • Fishing
  • Family
    When:
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • Base Town:
    Miami, FL
  • Airport:
    Miami International Airport (MIA)

Activity Level:
Moderate

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Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

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This steep and narrow river gorge in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park has sheer cliffs and a drop twice as high as the Empire State Building.

    Best For:
  • Fishing
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Geological Formations
  • Climbing
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Rafting
  • Scenic Drives
  • Bird-Watching
  • Winter Sports
    When:
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Montrose, CO; Crawford, CO
  • Airport:
    Durango-La Plata County Airport (DRO); Denver International Airport (DEN)

Activity Level:
Active

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Bryce Canyon National Park

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Exploring the hoodoos (spectacular columns of rock) at this park is like wandering through a giant maze. Bryce is within a few hours of Utah's other national parks and near Kodachrome Basin State Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

    Best For:
  • Geological Formations
  • Archaeological Sites
  • Family
  • Hiking
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Scenic Drives
  • Horseback Riding
  • Bird-Watching
  • Winter Sports
  • History
  • Day Trip
    When:
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Panguitch, UT; Escalante, UT; Cedar City, UT
  • Airport:
    Cedar City Regional Airport (CDC); McCarran International Airport (LAS)

Activity Level:
Moderate

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Canyonlands National Park

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Biking on White Rim Road, white-water rafting in Cataract Canyon—plus spires, pinnacles, cliffs, and mesas as far as the eye can see are the top reasons to go.

    Best For:
  • Climbing
  • Day Trip
  • Geological Formations
  • Rafting
  • Hiking
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Boating
  • Biking
  • Archaeological Sites
  • Scenic Drives
  • Wild flowers
  • Bird-Watching
  • History
    When:
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Moab, UT; Monticello, UT
  • Airport:
    Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT); Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)

Activity Level:
Moderate

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Capitol Reef National Park

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Seven times larger than nearby Bryce Canyon and much less crowded, Capitol Reef is known for its 100-mile-long Waterpocket Fold, a monocline (or “wrinkle” in the Earth’s crust). It has many options for day hikes as well as backcountry trips into slot canyons, arches, cliffs, domes, and slickrock.

    Best For:
  • Family
  • Day Trip
  • Geological Formations
  • Hiking
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Archaeological Sites
  • Scenic Drives
  • Biking
  • Wildlife
  • Wild flowers
    When:
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Torrey, UT
  • Airport:
    Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)

Activity Level:
Moderate

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park

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The park’s 113 caves, bizarre underground rock formations, and 400,000 diving, dipping, sonar-blipping bats are the main draws.

    Best For:
  • Bird-Watching
  • Geological Formations
  • Wildlife
  • Hiking
    When:
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • Base Town:
    Carlsbad, NM; White's City, NM
  • Airport:
    Cavern City Air Terminal (CNM); El Paso International Airport (ELP)

Activity Level:
Active

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Channel Islands National Park

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These five islands are home to 145 species of terrestrial plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth. You’re bound to see wildlife such as dolphins, sea lions, island foxes, and pelicans, and can kayak, dive, and go whale-watching.

    Best For:
  • Kayaking
  • Boating
  • Beach
  • Wildlife
  • Family
  • Day Trip
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Bird-Watching
    When:
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • Base Town:
    Oxnard, CA; Ventura, CA; Santa Barbara, CA
  • Airport:
    Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA); Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Activity Level:
Moderate

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Crater Lake National Park

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Crater Lake is a geological marvel—the 21-square-mile sapphire-blue lake inside a caldera is the nation's deepest. The park itself includes about 90 miles of trails.

    Best For:
  • Hiking
  • Scenic Drives
  • Biking
  • Boating
  • Wildlife
  • Family
  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Bird-Watching
  • Winter Sports
    When:
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Klamath Falls, OR; Roseburg, OR; Ashland, OR
  • Airport:
    Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport (MFR); Portland International Airport (PDX)

Activity Level:
Moderate

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Death Valley National Park

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This is a vast, lonely, beautiful place with breathtaking vistas, searing heat, and mysterious moving rocks. The desert landscape is surrounded by majestic mountains, dry lakebeds, spring wildflowers, and Wild West ghost towns.

    Best For:
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Wild flowers
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Bird-Watching
  • History
    When:
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • Base Town:
    Beatty, NV; Lone Pine, CA
  • Airport:
    McCarran International Airport (LAS); Bob Hope Airport (BUR)

Activity Level:
Active

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Denali National Park and Preserve

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Home to Mt. McKinley—the highest peak in North America—Denali National Park and Preserve comprises 6 million acres of Alaska's best wildlife, scenery, and adventures.

    Best For:
  • Hiking
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Wildlife
  • Scenic Drives
  • Wild flowers
  • Climbing
  • Rafting
  • Biking
  • Winter Sports
  • Bird-Watching
  • History
  • Family
    When:
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • Base Town:
    Healy, AK
  • Airport:
    Fairbanks International Airport (FAI); Anchorage International Airport (ANC)

Activity Level:
Moderate

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Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

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Glacier Bay is home to the continent's largest collection of tidewater glaciers, which can be seen from a cruise ship or on a day boat tour. Migrating humpback whales and occasionally orcas can also be spotted here and it's an excellent place to sea kayak. The park's remote, undeveloped location ensures that travelers in search of quiet repose will not be disappointed.

    Best For:
  • Boating
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Wildlife
  • Fishing
  • Family
  • Bird-Watching
  • Day Trip
  • Kayaking
  • History
  • Beach
  • Hiking
    When:
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • Base Town:
    Gustavus, AK
  • Airport:
    Gustavus Airport (GST); Juneau International Airport (JNU)

Activity Level:
Easy

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Glacier National Park

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The rugged mountains that weave their way through the Continental Divide in northwest Montana are the backbone of Glacier National Park. The park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road is a spectacular drive that crosses the crest of the Continental Divide.

    Best For:
  • Rafting
  • Winter Sports
  • Boating
  • Hiking
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Fishing
  • Scenic Drives
  • Wildlife
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Family
  • Climbing
    When:
  • January
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • December
  • Base Town:
    Bigfork, MT; Whitefish, MT; Columbia Falls, MT
  • Airport:
    Glacier Park International Airport (FCA); Missoula International Airport (MSO)

Activity Level:
Active

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Grand Canyon National Park

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The Grand Canyon exalts and humbles the human spirit. You can view the spectacle from the South Rim, the North Rim, or hike or take a mule ride into the canyon for a richer experience. Rafting the Colorado River through the canyon can't be beat.

    Best For:
  • Geological Formations
  • Rafting
  • Family
  • Hiking
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Scenic Drives
  • Wild flowers
  • Wildlife
    When:
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • Base Town:
    Tusayan, AZ; Williams, AZ; Fredonia, AZ
  • Airport:
    North Las Vegas Airport (VGT); Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)

Activity Level:
Active

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Grand Teton National Park

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With no foothills, the unimpeded view of the Teton Range rising out of Jackson Hole is stunning. Wildlife from short-tailed weasels to grizzly bears abound.

    Best For:
  • Scenic Drives
  • Wildlife
  • Biking
  • Bird-Watching
  • Family
  • Boating
  • Climbing
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wild flowers
  • Winter Sports
  • History
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Leaf-Peeping
    When:
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • Base Town:
    Jackson, WY
  • Airport:
    Jackson Hole Airport (JAC)

Activity Level:
Active

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Great Basin National Park

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It may be one of the nation's least visited national parks (there isn’t even an entrance fee), but the stalactites, stalagmites, and popcorn in Lehman Caves and the solitude of backcountry treks are big draws.

    Best For:
  • Hiking
  • Bird-Watching
  • Winter Sports
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Wildlife
  • Scenic Drives
    When:
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Ely, NV; Baker, NV
  • Airport:
    Ely Airport (ELY); Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)

Activity Level:
Active

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Great Sand Dunes National Park

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The 30 square miles of landlocked dune fields are an impressive sight. Aside from the dunes there are eight different life zones to explore, ranging from salty wetlands to alpine peaks.

    Best For:
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife
  • Scenic Drives
  • Fishing
  • Bird-Watching
    When:
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Alamosa, CO
  • Airport:
    San Luis Valley International Airport (ALS); Colorado Springs Airport (COS)

Activity Level:
Active

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Great Smoky Mtns. National Park

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The Great Smoky Mountains is one of the great wild areas of the eastern United States, with many of the region's tallest mountains. Within the park you'll find excellent hiking, fishing, and lookouts to marvel at the scenery.

    Best For:
  • Scenic Drives
  • Wild flowers
  • Family
  • History
  • Day Trip
  • Hiking
  • Leaf-Peeping
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Fishing
  • Wildlife
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Bird-Watching
  • Rafting
  • Waterfalls
  • Winter Sports
    When:
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • Base Town:
    Knoxville, TN; Asheville, NC; Gatlinburg, TN
  • Airport:
    McGhee-Tyson Airport (TYS); Asheville Regional Airport (AVL)

Activity Level:
Easy

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Guadalupe Mountains National Park

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This remote park draws thousands of visitors every fall, when the hardwoods of McKittrick Canyon burst into flaming color. The park is home to the Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in the state.

    Best For:
  • Hiking
  • Leaf-Peeping
  • Climbing
  • Bird-Watching
  • Wildlife
    When:
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Whites City, NM; Carlsbad, NM
  • Airport:
    El Paso International Airport (ELP)

Activity Level:
Active

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Haleakala National Park

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Established in 1916, Haleakala National Park covers an astonishing 33,222 acres, with the Haleakala Crater as its centerpiece. There's tremendous hiking, otherworldly landscapes, and spots to view gorgeous sunrises.

    Best For:
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Hiking
  • Family
  • Day Trip
  • Climbing
  • Scenic Drives
  • Horseback Riding
    When:
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • Base Town:
    Lahaina, HI; Wailea, HI
  • Airport:
    Kahului Airport (OGG)

Activity Level:
Active

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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

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Exploring the surface of the world's most active volcano—from the moonscape craters at the summit to the red-hot lava flows on the coast to the kipuka, pockets of vegetation left untouched—is the ultimate ecotour.

    Best For:
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Hiking
  • Family
  • Scenic Drives
  • Day Trip
  • Biking
    When:
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • Base Town:
    Hilo, HI; Volcano Village, HI
  • Airport:
    Hilo International Airport (ITO); Kona International Airport (KOA)

Activity Level:
Active

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Jasper National Park

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One of the largest protected mountain ecosystems in the world and the largest of the Canadian Rocky Mountain parks, Jasper woos visitors with its lakes, glaciers, waterfalls, and mountains.

    Best For:
  • Bird-Watching
  • Boating
  • Winter Sports
  • Wild flowers
  • Waterfalls
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Rafting
  • Family
  • Wildlife
  • Horseback Riding
  • Swimming
  • Climbing
  • Scenic Drives
    When:
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Edmonton, Canada; Calgary, Canada; Hinton, Canada
  • Airport:
    Edmonton International Airport (YEG); Calgary International Airport (YYC)

Activity Level:
Active

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Joshua Tree National Park

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Large stands of Joshua trees gave the park its name, but it’s also a great spot for rock climbing. Brilliant wildflower displays and starry nights add to the draw.

    Best For:
  • Day Trip
  • Hiking
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Scenic Drives
  • Wild flowers
  • Climbing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Bird-Watching
  • History
    When:
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • Base Town:
    Palm Springs, CA; Joshua Tree, CA; Twentynine Palms, CA
  • Airport:
    Palm Springs International Airport (PSP)

Activity Level:
Active

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Kenai Fjords National Park

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From hiking to canoeing, Kenai Fjords National Park has world-class recreation activities. Wildlife abounds in the icy waters and dense coastal forests, while glaciers meet the sea at the Harding Icefield.

    Best For:
  • Kayaking
  • Boating
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Fishing
  • Family
  • Wildlife
  • Day Trip
  • Hiking
  • Bird-Watching
    When:
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • Base Town:
    Seward, AK
  • Airport:
    Kenai Municipal Airport (ENA)

Activity Level:
Easy

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Lassen Volcanic National Park

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Lassen Peak, a dormant plug dome volcano that last erupted in 1915, and every other type of known volcano (shield, cinder cone, and composite) are here, as well as roiling mud pots and hissing steam vents.

    Best For:
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Hiking
  • Scenic Drives
  • Biking
  • Winter Sports
  • Wild flowers
  • Fishing
  • Horseback Riding
    When:
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Red Bluff, CA; Redding, CA
  • Airport:
    Sacramento International Airport (SMF); Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO)

Activity Level:
Active

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Mesa Verde National Park

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Located in the Four Corners region—the junction of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona—this park houses an amazing collection of Ancestral Puebloan dwellings, some carved directly into cliff faces, and ancient artifacts.

    Best For:
  • History
  • Hiking
  • Archaeological Sites
  • Bird-Watching
  • Family
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Wildlife
  • Scenic Drives
    When:
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Cortez, CO; Dolores, CO; Durango, CO
  • Airport:
    Durango-La Plata County Airport (DRO); Cortez Municipal Airport (CEZ)

Activity Level:
Moderate

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Mount Rainier National Park

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The fifth-highest mountain in the Lower 48, Mt. Rainier is so massive that the summit is rarely visible, but when conditions are right, the image of the entire mountain is unforgettable. Hikes cover temperate rainforest, old-growth forests of hemlock and fir, high meadows, and tundra—not to mention hot springs, glaciers, lakes, and waterfalls.

    Best For:
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Wild flowers
  • Hiking
  • Climbing
  • Day Trip
  • Winter Sports
  • Wildlife
  • Family
  • Scenic Drives
  • Waterfalls
  • Bird-Watching
    When:
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Ashford, WA
  • Airport:
    Seattle-Tacoma Intl Airport (SEA)

Activity Level:
Active

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North Cascades National Park

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Hiking on a real glacier is a memorable experience—especially if you add in marmots, golden eagles, and coyotes—and North Cascades is home to several hundred of them.

    Best For:
  • Wild flowers
  • Hiking
  • Rafting
  • Kayaking
  • Boating
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Winter Sports
  • History
  • Wildlife
  • Scenic Drives
  • Climbing
  • Day Trip
  • Bird-Watching
  • Horseback Riding
  • Biking
    When:
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Newhalem, WA
  • Airport:
    Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)

Activity Level:
Active

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Olympic National Park

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Centered on Mt. Olympus and framed on three sides by water, this park is known for its temperate rain forests, rugged coastal expanses, Sol Duc hot springs, and hiking (or skiing) at Hurricane Ridge.

    Best For:
  • Hiking
  • Climbing
  • Fishing
  • Beach
  • Waterfalls
  • Rafting
  • Kayaking
  • Biking
  • Winter Sports
  • Wild flowers
  • Wildlife
  • Scenic Drives
  • Day Trip
  • Bird-Watching
  • Boating
  • Stunning Vistas
    When:
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Port Angeles, WA
  • Airport:
    Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA); Victoria International Airport (YYJ)

Activity Level:
Active

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Petrified Forest National Park

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This park is known for fallen and fossilized trees, which look like they are made of colorful stone.

    Best For:
  • Hiking
  • Archaeological Sites
  • History
  • Wild flowers
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Wildlife
  • Geological Formations
  • Scenic Drives
  • Bird-Watching
    When:
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • Base Town:
    Holbrook, AZ
  • Airport:
    Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX); Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ)

Activity Level:
Moderate

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Pinnacles National Park

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Hiking among rugged volcanic spires is the most popular activity at Pinnacles, and the best chance you'll have at encountering one of the extremely rare California condors that make their home here.

    Best For:
  • Hiking
  • Bird-Watching
  • Wild flowers
  • Climbing
  • Day Trip
    When:
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • Base Town:
    Soledad, CA; Hollister, CA
  • Airport:
    Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC), San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Activity Level:
Moderate

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Redwood National Park

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Redwood is home to the world’s tallest trees: giant coast redwoods, which grow to more than 300 feet tall.

    Best For:
  • Biking
  • Family
  • Hiking
  • Scenic Drives
  • Kayaking
  • Fishing
  • Wildlife
  • Bird-Watching
    When:
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Crescent City, CA; Klamath, CA; Trinidad, CA
  • Airport:
    Arcata-Eureka Airport (ACV)

Activity Level:
Easy

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Rocky Mountain National Park

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Alpine lakes, mountain peaks, and wildlife such as elk and bighorn sheep draw visitors to the park. There are also 355 miles of trails leading to meadows filled with wildflowers and crystal lakes and 14,259-foot Long's Peak to summit.

    Best For:
  • Wildlife
  • Scenic Drives
  • Climbing
  • Family
  • Hiking
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Fishing
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Bird-Watching
  • Wild flowers
  • Winter Sports
  • Day Trip
    When:
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Estes Park, CO; Grand Lake, CO
  • Airport:
    Denver International Airport (DEN)

Activity Level:
Active

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Saguaro National Park

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The park takes its name from the towering saguaro cactus, the largest of its kind in the United States. The park is split into two districts, each about 30 miles apart; the better collection of cacti is found in the west district.

    Best For:
  • Hiking
  • Day Trip
  • Scenic Drives
  • Bird-Watching
  • Wild flowers
  • Archaeological Sites
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Biking
  • Wildlife
  • Family
    When:
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • Base Town:
    Tucson, AZ
  • Airport:
    Tuscon International Airport (TUS)

Activity Level:
Moderate

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Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

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Sequoias are the big trees here, which have monstrously thick trunks and branches. The Generals Highway, which connects the two parks, features many of these natural marvels. The Kings Canyon Scenic Byway offers views into a canyon deeper than the Grand Canyon.

    Best For:
  • Leaf-Peeping
  • Hiking
  • Family
  • Scenic Drives
  • Biking
  • Winter Sports
  • Swimming
  • Wildlife
  • Fishing
  • Bird-Watching
  • Horseback Riding
    When:
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Three Rivers, CA; Visalia, CA; Fresno, CA
  • Airport:
    Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT)

Activity Level:
Moderate

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Shenandoah National Park

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From the open vistas and forest-hemmed stretches of Skyline Drive to the beautiful terrain on the park's 500 miles of trails, Shenandoah National Park is stunning.

    Best For:
  • Leaf-Peeping
  • Wild flowers
  • Hiking
  • Family
  • Fishing
  • Scenic Drives
  • Day Trip
  • Biking
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Wildlife
  • Waterfalls
  • Bird-Watching
  • Horseback Riding
    When:
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Charlottesville, VA
  • Airport:
    Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport (CHO); Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (ROA); Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)

Activity Level:
Moderate

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The Everglades

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Covering more than 1.5 million acres, the fabled "River of Grass" is the state's greatest natural treasure. Alligators, Florida panthers, black bears, manatees, dolphins, bald eagles, and roseate spoonbills call this vast habitat home.

    Best For:
  • Bird-Watching
  • Family
  • Boating
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Fishing
  • Wildlife
    When:
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • Base Town:
    Everglades City, FL
  • Airport:
    Miami International Airport (MIA)

Activity Level:
Active

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Theodore Roosevelt National Park

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Theodore Roosevelt is known for chunks of badlands on the Little Missouri River and the 26th president’s beloved Elkhorn Ranch. This is one of the most isolated parks in the country.

    Best For:
  • Wildlife
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • History
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Fishing
  • Scenic Drives
    When:
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Medora, ND; Dickinson, ND
  • Airport:
    Bismarck Municipal Airport (BIS)

Activity Level:
Moderate

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Waterton Lakes National Park

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This Canadian national park is the meeting of two worlds: the flatlands of the prairie and the abrupt upthrust of the mountains.

    Best For:
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife
  • Boating
  • Scenic Drives
  • Swimming
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Biking
  • Bird-Watching
  • Climbing
    When:
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Base Town:
    Cardston, Canada
  • Airport:
    Calgary International Airport (YYC)

Activity Level:
Active

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Wind Cave National Park

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One of the largest caves in the world, with beautiful cave formations including boxwork (3-D calcite honeycomb patterns on cave walls and ceilings), Wind Cave is the place to go spelunking.

    Best For:
  • Geological Formations
  • Wildlife
  • Hiking
  • Scenic Drives
  • Bird-Watching
    When:
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • Base Town:
    Hot Springs, SD; Rapid City, SD
  • Airport:
    Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP)

Activity Level:
Active

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Yellowstone National Park

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Best known for Old Faithful, the world's most famous geyser, flowing hot springs, and mudspots, Yellowstone is the oldest national park in the world. Spotting the abundant wildlife, like bison, elk, moose, and bears, is the other main draw.

    Best For:
  • Geological Formations
  • Winter Sports
  • Waterfalls
  • Family
  • Hiking
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Scenic Drives
  • Wildlife
  • Wild flowers
  • Boating
  • History
  • Fishing
  • Horseback Riding
    When:
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • Base Town:
    Cody, WY; Jackson, WY; West Yellowstone, MT
  • Airport:
    Yellowstone Regional Airport (YRA); Jackson Hole Airport (JAC)

Activity Level:
Active

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Yosemite National Park

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Dozens of famed features, from the soaring granite monoliths of Half Dome and El Capitan, to shimmering waterfalls like Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Fall, like within reach in the Yosemite Valley.

    Best For:
  • Family
  • Winter Sports
  • Waterfalls
  • Hiking
  • Climbing
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Wildlife
  • Wild flowers
  • Rafting
  • History
  • Scenic Drives
  • Horseback Riding
  • Biking
  • Bird-Watching
  • Swimming
    When:
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • Base Town:
    Mariposa, CA; Lee Vining, CA; Oakhurst, CA
  • Airport:
    Fresno-Yosemite International (FAT); San Francisco Airport (SFO)

Activity Level:
Moderate

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Zion National Park

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Sheer 2,000-foot cliffs and river-carved canyons are what Zion is all about, and hiking the Narrows and the Subway are on many an adventurer’s bucket-list. Zion is right next to hospitable Springdale, which is full of amenities and charm.

    Best For:
  • Stunning Vistas
  • Geological Formations
  • Climbing
  • Family
  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Wildlife
  • Scenic Drives
  • Biking
  • Waterfalls
  • Bird-Watching
  • Winter Sports
    When:
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • Base Town:
    Springdale, UT; St. George, UT
  • Airport:
    Saint George Municipal Airport (SGU); UT McCarran International Airport (LAS)

Activity Level:
Moderate

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ACTIVITY LEVEL

Easy

Park can be experienced with drives and scenic stops.

Moderate

Park requires hiking or other outdoor activities.

Active

Park requires rigorous outdoor activities and/or exposure to adverse weather conditions.

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