This year it’s all about staying away from other people and going outdoors. That’s why national parks, America’s best idea, are the ideal vacation spot. No matter where you live, there’s at least one within driving distance. National parks offer an opportunity to get away from other people and reconnect with something larger than yourself. If you’re sick of wandering from kitchen to bedroom to the couch, pack a tent and explore the 25 most beautiful national parks in America.
Make the many lakes of Glacier National Park the focus of your visit. Take a cruise to a trailhead, or enjoy a guided tour across the water. For the adventurous, they offer boat rentals at the bigger lakes.
Explore the giant sequoias of Yosemite in the Crane Flat Area. There are two dogwood-lined moderate hikes at this national park in America. The hikes are both under three miles through groves of the ancient trees.
Avoid peak season in the summer to stay away from crowds, but put Acadia’s backcountry camping on the North Atlantic coast on your national park bucket list.
Along with giant trees, you’ll find great rock climbing in Sequoia and Kings Canyon. This national park in America features, Angel Wings, offers 2,000 feet of vertical climbing.
The mountains of imagination are home to plenty of waterways, perfect for boating or floating. Rent a kayak, canoe, or inflate an inner-tube to experience inner peace on the water.
Staying in your car is one of the best ways to maintain social distance. Redwood National Park offers plenty of scenic drives, like the 45-minute Howland Hill Road through the redwoods.
Reserve one of the three rustic cabins in the national park for a unique way of experiencing the national park. They’re a four-mile hike into the park, with limited resources but incredible views.
The self-guided Rim Village Walking Tour gives you the park’s history at your own, socially distanced, pace.
For experienced mountaineers, the Olympic range at this national park in America offers three challenging peaks. For more moderate outdoors people, explore the coastal hiking routes instead.
Are you craving some proper adventure? Petrified Forest encourages you to get off the beaten path and explore unmarked routes on your own for a day, or backpacking for the night.
Nestled among aspen groves and evergreen-covered peaks, you’ll find the tallest dunes in North America. Try a night hike or fat biking, but don’t miss sand-sledding down the hills.
A must-visit for climbers and boulderers, Joshua Tree, is also an excellent place for birdwatching and stargazing.
Experience the longest glacier in Kenai Fjords, Bear Glacier, by paddling around the icebergs in the lagoon. Take a guided tour by kayak and camp in the ultimate Alaskan experience.
The largest concentration of hoodoos (those strange rock formations) on Earth is right in Bryce Canyon. There’s plenty to explore at this national park in America, both on the ground and in the dark skies above.
United States Virgin Islands
Most people don’t think about camping while they’re in the Virgin Islands, but to get paradise and seclusion, you can’t beat it.
Difficult to get to, but well worth the effort. There are limited campsites on the string of islands off the coast of Florida, but you can fall asleep on the beach to the lapping of waves.
It’s the one thing you’ll experience in life that lives up to the hype.
Old Faithful is just one of 500 geysers in Yellowstone and among 10,000 hydrothermal features. The most fascinating are mud pots, stinky, colorful, and bubbling.
You can hike along the Continental Divide within the park, summit three different peaks, or explore a half dozen waterfalls.
Wooded groves, waterfalls, and wildflowers all await you. There are over 500 miles of trails to hike, including part of the Appalachian Trail.
Visitors to Zion must practice observing without impacting. Try bringing the spirit of the
Zion Pledge to the rest of your life.
Want to be bad? Hike the Badlands and marvel at the paleontology and geology of the buttes–they contain a million years of history.
Aspiring Everest summiteers come to this brutal mountain to train. Hiking to the peak isn’t for the faint of heart, but there are plenty more moderate hikes and scenic vistas within the park.
Find the Best Places for Stargazing
Are you looking to catch the stars? View our list the best places for stargazing.
Take the Crater Rim Drive for scenic overlooks and the Thurston Lava Tube. It’s a half-mile walk through a cave-like structure built by lava.
Hot and dry, Death Valley is 3.4 million acres of wild desert waiting for exploration. Whatever you do, spend the night to experience the best dark skies of your life.
Featured Image Credit: Aniket Deole Unsplash