Culture
2.9k voters

The Best National Parks in the USA

Updated August 10, 2020 17.1k votes 2.9k voters 172.9k views63 items

List RulesOfficially protected U.S. National Parks only

List of the best national parks in the USA, ranked by travelers, hikers, campers, climbers, sightseers, and people like you. This list of the most beautiful US national parks includes federally protected lands like Yosemite National Park, Glacier National Park, Redwood National Park as well as a few monuments like Rocky Mountain National Park, and administrative units governed by the US National Park Service. From the swampland of the Everglades National Park to the dry dessert land of Death Valley National Park, this list truly shows the diverse nature of America's environment and climate. There is a U.S. national park for everyone. Those interested in camping may want to check out national parks in California, as they offer rugged coastline, waterfalls, and redwood trees. Whereas travelers interested in rock climbing can visit places like the Utah National Parks that offer red rock formations and geological features. 

The NPS maintains the unspoiled nature of US National Parks, ensuring that American holidays spent in the parks are the same for travelers now as they were fifty years ago.  Those planning USA holidays can spend a long period of time in one American national park or pick up a national park pass and visit several different campgrounds in parks. Vote for your favorite U.S. national parks here. Is it Yellowstone? Zion? Sequoia? Consider the best parks for camping and best national parks for spotting wildlife and vote for them to move them to the top of the list.
Photo:
...more
  • 1
    581
    110
    The park contains 26 glaciers, 130 named lakes, and has some of the best sedimentary fossils in the world.
  • 2
    722
    229

    Yellowstone National Park

    United States of America

    Area (km sq.)8983.0

    The first national park in the world, Yellowstone is best known for the Old faithful geyser as well as some 60 mammal species that live in the park including the gray wolf, bison, elk, and grizzly bears.
  • 3
    608
    178
    Wilderness and adventure enthusiasts are drawn to Zion for its rock towers, natural arches, and high plateaus. 
  • 4
    720
    236

    Yosemite National Park

    California, USA

    Area (km sq.)3081.0

    Home of Half Dome and El Capitan, the California park rests in the middle of the glacier-formed Yosemite Valley and boasts the tallest waterfall in North America (Yosemite Falls).

    More Yosemite National Park 

    #105 of 115 The Top Travel Destinations in the World#87 of 171 The Most Beautiful Natural Wonders In The World

  • 5
    545
    186

    Area (km sq.)4926.0

    The name says it all: Grand Canyon National Park is home to the 277 miles long canyon.
  • 6
    472
    133
    Home to the Jackson Hole valley, the park is best known for its glacial, sage-covered valley.
  • 7
    421
    110
    The park is named for its most recognizable geologic formations, the great sandstone arches. 
  • 8
    The area in Utah, settled by American Indians and later Mormon pioneers, has a giant natural amphitheatre and hundreds of hoodoos.
  • 9
    370
    109
    Longs Peak and Bear Lake are among the popular spots to visit in Rocky Mountain National Park, which is also inhabited by cougars, black bears, and bighorn sheep.
  • 10
    302
    80

    Area (km sq.)5.51

    Mount Rainier, an active volcano, is the big attraction of the park which is also home to the largest glacier in the US.
  • 11
    316
    84

    Olympic National Park

    Washington, USA

    Area (km sq.)3734.0

    The park has a variety of attractions like tide pools and glaciated mountains and overlooks the wettest area of the continental US.
  • 12
    Mount McKinly, the tallest mountain in North America, can be found in Denali State Park.
  • 13
    291
    85
    Encompassing many coastal islands, the park is home to the tallest mountain on the Atlantic coast.
  • 14

    Area (km sq.)741.48

    The deepest lake in the US was formed by an eruption that created a lake of deep blue color and extreme water clarity.
  • 15
    The Colorado and Green Rivers eroded the areas of Canyonlands into buttes, mesas, and canyons.
  • 16
    Located on the big island, the park has two of the world's most active volcanoes (Kilauea and Mauna Loa).
  • 17
    288
    132

    Sequoia National Park

    California, USA
    General Sherman, the world's largest tree, can be found in the Giant Forest found at Sequoia National Park in California. The park also has 240 caves and boasts the highest point in the continental US, Mount Whitney.
  • 18
    184
    60
    Hiking and climbing areas are the chief attractions of this park which also contains several glaciers.
  • 19
    214
    96

    Badlands National Park

    South Dakota, USA
    Rich fossil beds, pinnacles, spires, and buttes define this park.
  • 20
    Almost half of all surviving Coastal Redwoods can be found in this park.
  • 21
    The Great Smoky Mountains Park has over 800 miles of hiking trails as well as myriad wildlife species and 80 historic structures.
  • 22

    Area (km sq.)978.95

    The main attraction of the park is a 100 mile monocline that shows the Earth's geologic layers.
  • 23
    180
    81

    Area (km sq.)3196.0

    Sand dunes, dry lakes, rugged mountains, and granite monoliths define this park named for a species of tree native to the area.
  • 24
    211
    108

    Death Valley National Park

    Western United States, USA

    Area (km sq.)13518.16

    With daytime temperatures that can top 130 degrees Fahrenheit, it's no surprise that Death valley is the hottest, driest place in the US. The park also contains salt flats, springs, sand dunes, and badlands.
  • 25
    160
    74
    The park is home to the second largest tree in the world, a giant sequoia called the General Grant Tree, and has several giant sequoia groves.