Top 10 National Parks Across The United States

We are fortunate to have a plethora of beautiful National Parks across the U.S. With so many different variations to choose from, you will never be at a loss of things to see and do. We listed the top 10 ranking National Parks along with some key information about each so you can start making travel plans ASAP!

*If you plan on visiting multiple parks, or even the same park several times this year, consider purchasing the annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. It is only $80 dollars and allows you unlimited entrance to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks that normally charge an entrance fee for an entire year! Also, U.S. National Park Service announced 4 fee free days in 2018 (Sorry, 1 day already passed in January!): The first day of National Park Week on April 21st, National Public Lands Day on September 22nd, and Veteran’s Day on November 11th.

https://travel.usnews.com/Grand_Teton_National_Park_WY/Pictures/

https://travel.usnews.com/Grand_Teton_National_Park_WY/Pictures/

#1 GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK

Located: Wyoming

Best Time To Visit: May through September

Best Things To Do/See: Jenny Lake, Teton Park Road, Grand Teton, Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center, Taggart Lake Trail, Boat Tours, Mormon Row Historic District, and Menors Ferry Historic District.

Entrance Fee: $30 which grants the driver and passengers admittance to the park for seven days.

Tips: *The park contains a large population of black bears and grizzly bears. During peak season, you can enroll in a 30-minute ranger-led bear safety course.

*During July and August, parking lots fill up quickly by midday. Start your day early to ensure you get a spot!


 

https://travel.usnews.com/Great_Smoky_Mountains_National_Park_TN/Pictures/

https://travel.usnews.com/Great_Smoky_Mountains_National_Park_TN/Pictures/

#2 GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

Located: Straddles North Carolina-Tennessee state line

Best Time To Visit: Mid-May through Mid-November

Best Things To Do/See: Roaring Fork Motor Trail, Newfound Gap Road, Sugarlands Visitor Center, Cades Cove, Clingmans Dome, Cades Cove Visitor Center, Abrams Falls Trail, Grotto Falls Trail, Laurel Falls, and Chimney Tops.

Entrance Fee: Free!

Tips: *Check for road and trail closures. Due to the devastating 2016 wildfire, several trails were destroyed and some remain closed for restoration.

*There are no restaurants in the park itself. The visitor centers feature snack and beverage vending machines and the Cades Cove Campground & Store has a snack bar and sells some grocery items.


 

https://travel.usnews.com/Grand_Canyon_AZ/Pictures/

https://travel.usnews.com/Grand_Canyon_AZ/Pictures/

#3 GRAND CANYON

Located: Arizona

Best Time To Visit: Mid-February through Mid-June and Mid-August through Mid-December

Best Things To Do/See: Grand Canyon Village, North Rim, Bright Angel Trail, Rim Trail, North Kaibab Trail, Havasu Falls, Colorado River Rafting, Grand Canyon Railway, and Grand Canyon Skywalk.

Entrance Fee: If you are driving your car, $30 which grants the driver and passengers admittance to the park for seven days. If you are using public transportation, $15 per person for admittance to the park for seven days (Individuals 15 years old and younger are admitted free of charge).

Tips: *Best way to get around is relying on public transportation. That way you don’t have to deal with winding roads and overcrowded parking lots.

*Even in summer, winds get chilly once the sun goes down. Bring a jacket!


 

https://www.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/hawaii-volcanoes-national-park

https://www.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/hawaii-volcanoes-national-park

#4 HAWAI’I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK

Located: Hawaii (The Big Island)

Best Time To Visit: April through Mid-June and Mid-September through October

Best Things To Do/See: Kilauea Iki Trail, Nahuku-Thurston Lava Tube, Holei Sea Arch, Kalapana, Sulphur Banks, Volcano Art Center.  Jaggar Museum, and Mauna Loa.

Entrance Fee: $25 which grants the driver and passengers admittance to the park for seven days.

Tips: *Star gaze! Nearly void of light pollution for miles around, star gazing is spectacular from anywhere within the park.


 

https://travel.usnews.com/Yellowstone_National_Park_WY/Pictures/

https://travel.usnews.com/Yellowstone_National_Park_WY/Pictures/

#5 YELLOWSTONE

Located: Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho

Best Time To Visit: Mid-March through Mid-June and Mid-August through Mid-December

Best Things To Do/See: Old Faithful, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Yellowstone Lake, Grand Prismatic Spring, Hayden Valley, Norris Geyser Basin, Mammoth Hot Springs, Lamar Valley, and Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center.

Entrance Fee: $30 which grants the driver and passengers admittance to the park for seven days.

Tips: *Some people experience can experience altitude sickness. Remember to drink lots of water, eat light meals, and stay away from caffeine and alcohol.

*Yellowstone is prime bear habitat and home to other wildlife like wolves. Make plenty of noise when hiking to avoid surprises!


 

https://travel.usnews.com/Sequoia_National_Park_CA/Pictures/

https://travel.usnews.com/Sequoia_National_Park_CA/Pictures/

#6 SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK

Located: California

Best Time To Visit: June through Mid-September

Best Things To Do/See: Giant Forest, Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, General Sherman Tree, Moro Rock, Crystal Cave, and Tunnel Log.

Entrance Fee: $30 which grants the driver and passengers admittance to the park for seven days.

Tips: *No gasoline is sold within the park, so make sure you have a full tank before exploring around.

*Cell service in many areas of the park is spotty. Plan to pick up paper maps because your GPS on your cell phone might not work!


 

https://travel.usnews.com/Rocky_Mountain_National_Park_CO/Pictures/

https://travel.usnews.com/Rocky_Mountain_National_Park_CO/Pictures/

#7 ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

Located: Colorado

Best Time To Visit: Mid-May through Mid-October

Best Things To Do/See: Trail Ridge Road, Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, Bear Lake, Downtown Estes Park, Emerald Lake Trail, Moraine Park Museum, and Stanley Hotel Tour.

Entrance Fee: $30 which grants the driver and passengers admittance to the park for seven days or $20 for a one day pass.

Tips: *Due to the high elevation, travelers can get hypothermia any time of year, including summer. Be prepared by wearing water-wicking layers.

*Check for ticks! They can be carriers for disease, so it is important to do tick checks after a day on the trails.


 

https://travel.usnews.com/Yosemite_CA/Pictures/

https://travel.usnews.com/Yosemite_CA/Pictures/

#8 YOSEMITE

Located: California

Best Time To Visit: Mid-February through Mid-June

Best Things To Do/See: Glacier Point, Half Dome, Tuolumne Meadows, Mist Trail & Vernal Fall, Ansel Adams Gallery, and Yosemite Village.

Entrance Fee: $30 which grants the driver and passengers admittance to the park for seven days.

Tips: *The best way to get around Yosemite is by shuttle, which is free and extremely reliable.

*There are more than 750 miles of trails. Ask a park ranger which he or she would recommend at the time of your visit.


 

https://travel.usnews.com/Mount_Rainier_National_Park_WA/Pictures/

https://travel.usnews.com/Mount_Rainier_National_Park_WA/Pictures/

# 9 MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK

Located: Washington

Best Time To Visit: July through August

Best Things To Do/See: Paradise, Sunrise, Grove of the Patriarchs Trail, Silver Falls Trail, Skyline Trail, and Longmire.

Entrance Fee: $25 which grants the driver and passengers admittance to the park for seven days.

Tips: *Weather is a huge factor when planning a visit. It can snow as early as September and continue until May. The park requires that all vehicles carry tire chains when traveling in the park from November 1st through May 1st.

* No gasoline is sold within the park, so make sure you have a full tank before exploring around.


 

https://travel.usnews.com/Zion_National_Park_UT/Pictures/

https://travel.usnews.com/Zion_National_Park_UT/Pictures/

#10 ZION NATIONAL PARK

Located: Utah

Best Time To Visit: Mid-April through Mid-December

Best Things To Do/See: The Narrows, Zion Canyon Visitor Center, Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, Canyon Overlook Trail, Observation Point, Watchman Trail, Pa’rus Trail, and Angels Landing.

Entrance Fee: If you are driving your car, $30 which grants the driver and passengers admittance to the park for seven days. If you are using public transportation, $15 per person for admittance to the park for seven days (Individuals 15 years old and younger are admitted free of charge).

Tips: *Check the weather. The canyon can fill with flash floods, making hiking trails slippery and dangerous. Also, temperatures can reach triple digits during peak season. Stay hydrated, bring snacks, and wear hats and sunscreen. It is recommended to carry one gallon of water per person.

*Use the park’s free shuttle, offered nine months out of the year (March through November).  

 

References: 

https://travel.usnews.com/rankings/best-national-parks-in-the-usa/

https://www.whentobewhere.com/travel-listing/hawaii-volcanoes-national-park

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g143034-Activities-Hawaii_Volcanoes_National_Park_Island_of_Hawaii_Hawaii.html

https://www.nps.gov/index.htm

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