top of page
  • Zac Andrus

Best National Parks In the US: America's Greatest

Updated: May 24, 2022

Looking for the best National Parks in the US? You’ve found the right place! In this article, we break down our favorite parks in America. As avid travelers and explorers, we love the US for its natural landscapes and diversity. You don’t need to cross international borders to explore mountain scenes, beaches, deserts, and meadows in some of the best national parks in the world.

Best US National Parks
Grand Canyon National Park

I grew up in Washington State and have visited a large number of these US National Parks myself. For the ones I haven’t visited, I’ve pulled expert analysis from fellow travelers who have had the privilege to see these wonderful parks.

If you're looking for more US destinations and travel inspiration, download our FREE 100 bucket list destinations and check off the destinations as you go!

Top 20 Best National Parks In The US

US National Parks are some of the best on the planet. With world-class amenities and great infrastructure, US National Parks are the gem of America. They bring joy to anyone who visits them (including us). When you see these majestic landscapes for yourself, you open yourself up for life-changing moments that you will remember forever. Without further ado, let's count down our top 20!

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone is the best US National Park

Yellowstone is our #1 US National Park due to its sheer uniqueness and otherworldly beauty. The colors and magic that comes from visiting this pristine park are second to none. Geysers shoot up out of the ground like clockwork, surrounding the air with steam. I remember visiting the park as a child and being in awe at the natural beauty. I also learned that Yellowstone was the first national park ever to be founded in the US. Many believe it to even be the first official national park in the world. What a world wonder!

>>> Get Your YellowstonePocket Guide

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Mount Rainier US National Park

This is one of the most spectacular US National parks around. Centered around the famous Mount Rainier volcano, the park features stunning mountain views, alpine meadows, camping, and fantastic hiking trails. At over 14,000 feet (4,260m), Mount Rainier towers above the Washington landscape and stands as an icon that can be viewed clearly from the city of Seattle. John Muir, one of America’s great “mountain men” had endless adventures in this national park and fought to preserve it for many years. His trips inspired some of our favorite adventure quotes. My dad has ventured on many climbs up Mount Rainier and I’ve had the privilege to hike alongside him and my mom in some of the less extreme day hiking areas. My favorite day hike is Wonderland Trail to Camp Summerland and the lake above it. Nisqually Vista Trail is also a great short route for beginner hikers.

>>> Get Your Mount Rainier Pocket Guide

Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite is one of the most popular National Parks in the entire US with over 4 million people visiting on average each year. People love this park due to its amazing waterfall views and tall valleys. The rock formations are truly unique and home to some of the best rock climbing in the world. One of my favorite movies, Free Solo, was filmed here. The wilderness area is vast within this national park and accessibility is world-class. There’s something for everyone at Yosemite and any visit is sure to leave an impression for a lifetime. It’s recommended to visit the park in April / May or September / October. This is because the weather is milder and there are fewer people in the park in general. There will be more space to enjoy the truly unique landscape all around you away from the crowds.

>>> Get Your Yosemite Pocket Guide

Arches National Park, Utah

Top US National Park in Utah

Sitting next to the Columbia River, Arches National Park has some of the most stunning natural land formations on the planet. Sandstone has been shaped over millennia into giant archways and smooth, flowing rock. The wind and elements have cut these formations into structures found nowhere else. Being in a high desert region, the park itself is home to over 2,000 natural arch formations. You can also ride your bike on any of the paved or unpaved roads within the park for an exhilarating adventure! Since the rock formations flow so smoothly, it can make for one of the best rides of your life.

>>> Get Your Arches Pocket Guide

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Best National Park in Hawaii US

This is one of my most memorable US National Park experiences of my life so far. Nestled on the rim of (and within) an active volcano, I had the unique experience of seeing the volcano erupting right before my eyes. There are many hiking trails around the rim of the volcano where you can step inside old lava tubes, feel the steam coming up from the openings below, and really immerse yourself in the power of Hawaii’s wondrous nature. I recommend hiking during the afternoon and then gazing at the volcano opening when the stars come out. That’s when you can really see the lava at its full brightness. This National Park can be dangerous due to the varying weather conditions and potential for volcanic activity. For the most up-to-date information, check out the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park website.

Best US National Park Adventure Guide Book

Shop this item:

National Park Adventure Guide Book

Made by AndersonDesignGroup

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Best US National Park for hiking

This US National Park is a hikers' paradise. With over 350 miles (563km) of hiking trails, giant snow-capped mountains, and icy lakes that shine in the summer sun, it’s no wonder this park draws people from around the world. Since the Rocky Mountain National Park has such a high elevation, it’s definitely best to visit between July-September if you want to enjoy the unfrozen lake views. Pack your best mountain gear and be prepared for long day-hikes full of wildflowers and some of the best views in all of the US. Once you’re finished hiking, go for a soak in one of the nearby hot springs and relax those muscles after a great day of adventuring.

>>> Get Your Rocky Mountain Pocket Guide

Sequoia National Park, California

Tallest trees in US National Park

Two years ago, I was lucky enough to visit this National Park on a road trip. After driving along the highway for many miles and then finally pulling up to the park entrance, I was shocked by how tall these trees were! Standing next to them I felt like a boy among giants. The Sequoia trees are some of the tallest in the world’s biggest trees in the world by volume. The largest one is “General Sherman” at 52,508 cubic feet (1,487 cubic meters). Do yourself a favor and go for a quiet walk amongst these gentle giants. Immerse yourself in the wonder and vastness of these unique trees. It’s a once in a lifetime experience!

>>> Get Your Sequoia Pocket Guide

Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park best rainforest

Olympic National Park is another one of the all-time best parks in the US. I may be biased because the park is located in my home state of Washington, but I truly believe it’s one of the most beautiful and diverse parks in the country. At 2,320 square miles (3,734 square km), it is host to a vast array of wildlife and plant species. One of my favorite spots in the whole park is the Hoh Rainforest. Stepping out of the car, you are instantly immersed in shades of green, brown, and blue. With the Hoh river cascading down from Mount Olympus and the ferns dripping dew from the morning rain, you can’t help but feel a part of nature here. The name “Hoh” comes from the Native American language and although it can’t be confirmed what the name means, I definitely feel an air of respect for the woods when I enter this park.

>>> Get Your Olympic National Park Pocket Guide

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park

Located in northwestern Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park is filled with unique mountain shapes that will leave you speechless. Another outdoor adventurer's haven, this park has something for everyone. From wildlife spotting to kayaking, photography, hiking, biking, and fishing, Grand Teton National Park has it all. It’s also one of the best parks for visiting at any time of the year. In the spring, you can witness the wildlife migration where bison, moose, and deer start moving to their summer feeding areas. In the summer you can hike for days on end. Fall brings splendid orange and red colors to the trees and Winter hosts a plethora of snowshoe routes and cross-country skiing options!

>>> Get Your Grand Tetons Pocket Guide

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Most unique National Park in US

This is one of the most unique National Parks in the US due to the fact that it is located on the rim of an old volcano that blew up about 7,700 years ago. Besides its sheer beauty with an island located in the center of the lake-filled volcano, there are so many wild facts about this place. First, it hosts the deepest lake in the US at 1,943 feet (592 meters). Second, it usually gets over 40 feet of snow per year, making it one of the snowiest areas in America. Third, there are 30 viewpoints along the road up to the top. Make sure to visit Crater Lake during the summer so you can ensure there is no snow getting in the way of your drive to the top viewpoints!

>>> Get Your Crater Lake Pocket Guide