It’s no wonder that almost two-thirds of Americans don’t own a passport, there really is so much to do on our own soil. The stunning national parks up and down the country provide the perfect natural sanctuary to explore and appreciate the natural beauty of different areas. If you’re looking to get outdoors more in the new year, here are just a few of the national parks to consider visiting.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee
Go to see mountains, forests, creeks and rivers,
Great Smoky Mountains National Parks is America’s most visited national park. And for good reason, many of the visitors can actually trace their ancestry roots back to the early settlers that helped create it. Part of the park, Cades Cove allows you to explore the old cabins and churches that existed before the area became a national park. There’s a lot more to do than some of the other parks, and contains everything from wilderness to a luxury spa and resort meaning there’s something for everyone.
Big Bend National Park in Texas
Go to see fossil beds, mountains, rivers, deserts and volcanic dikes
Visit Big Bend National Park for tons of outdoor activities including hiking, biking and bird watching. You can go on vehicle and air tours to view the gorgeous scenery and wildlife. This park also has shops and spas, so it doesn’t have to all be total wilderness- unless you want it to be!
Yosemite National Park in California
Go to see waterfalls, valleys, meadows and woodland
Yosemite National Park is just the place for adventure. It offers hiking, fishing, horseback riding and rock climbing amongst other things. You could choose to stay in a deluxe lodge, go camping in an RV or simply take a tent.
Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado
Go to see mountains, woods, lakes
Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park will make you feel like you are on top of the world. The spectacular mountain environment gives you plenty of opportunities to overlook alpine forests and other breathtaking views. You can go on wildlife viewing tours and ranger-led activities. Spend your trip hiking, biking and having picnics. At night, get back to nature and camp under the stars.
Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona
Go to see incredible geological formations, desert, and rivers
In Grand Canyon National Park you can take guided tours, see art exhibits and even participate in fitness opportunities. And of course, see the grand canyon which is one of the seven wonders of the natural world. Ninety percent of tourists access the canyon from the ‘South Rim’ which open all year. It’s easier to get to since it has excellent transport links such as shuttle buses nearby. The North Rim is only open for a short season; it’s more secluded and wilder making it harder to access. It can only be reached on foot, but if you’re up for a hike and want to see stunning views of the canyon from this direction, then it’s well worth the effort.