Must-Visit National Parks in the U.S.

In the United States, we are blessed with 63 designated national parks that offer so much beauty. From the dry deserts down south to the mountainous landscapes up north and east, it can be hard to decide which ones to explore in your RV. While some RVers have months on the road where they can hit many national parks, or perhaps every national park in the country, most have limited time. If you want to start with the best ones, then be sure to check out one or more of the following national parks on this list.

Know Before You Go

Many national parks will require an entrance fee to enter the park during designated park hours. Be sure to do research on the national park you plan on visiting to find out if they charge a fee. If you arrive at the park before they officially open or after they officially close, then you can enter the park without a pass. If you plan on visiting multiple parks, then you can get an annual national park pass, which will save you money if you are visiting at least a few.

Before visiting a national park, you should do research on what the weather is like for the time of year you are visiting, which campgrounds are open or closed, and any road closures, especially for RVs.

1. Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park

One of the most popular places for road-trippers to go when exploring national parks is the wonderful state of Utah, which is home to five national parks, such as Zion. There’s nothing like standing among the park’s mighty cliffs and exploring its deep canyons that are like being in Mesozoic times when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Many people come here to hike popular trails, such as Angels Landing, rated one of the most dangerous hikes in America, or The Narrows in Zion Canyon. Visitors can also go on  Jeep tours, ride horses, climb through canyons, and much more.

2. Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park

If you’re already heading to Zion, then it’s worth adding Arches National Park to your list as well. Home to more than 2,000 sandstone arches and 700 plant and animal species, such as lizards and several wildflowers, there is something unique to see everywhere you turn. In addition to popular spots, such as Delicate Arch and Park Avenue Trail, the balanced rocks, pinnacles, and deep canyons add even more character to this unique environment covered in beautiful red rocks.

3. Yellowstone National Park, Montana 

Yellowstone National Park

If you live for the country lifestyle, then there’s nowhere like Yellowstone National Park in Montana. Hundreds of geysers exist in this park, such as Old Faithful Geyser, which you can watch erupt if you’re lucky, making it a special place to be. In addition, this park is home to the highest elevation lake in North America, Yellowstone Lake, as well as a variety of wildlife, such as bison, elk, and black bears. Plus, if you love the show Yellowstone, then you’ll really like it here.

4. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park

From visiting the family-friendly town of Estes Park to conquering incredible hikes, such as to the remote and rugged Sky Pond or the crystal-clear Emerald Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park is easily one of the best national parks in the state of Colorado. In addition to exploring scenic lakes and trails, you’ll get an up-close experience with the wildlife, such as mule deer and elk, enjoy a scenic drive or two down Trail Ridge Road, if it’s open when you go, and Bear Lake Road.

5. Great Smoky Mountain National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

There is an everlasting fog that lingers over the trees in the distance at Great Smoky Mountain National Park, one of the most popular national parks in the country. Not only that, the park is also home to many of America’s most ancient mountains, incredible waterfalls, such as Rainbow Falls and Laurel Falls, and iconic spots on the Appalachian Trail. Experience the best views of “the Smokies,” from the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower, which is the highest point in the park. If you’re short on time, then take a scenic drive down the 72-mile Foothills Parkway for some of the best views of the Great Smoky Mountains.

6. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park

If you want a perspective on how small we really are, then stand over the almighty Grand Canyon that’s 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and one foot deep. Grand Canyon National Park has four sections: the North Rim, South Rim, Grand Canyon West, and Grand Canyon East. The South Rim is a popular spot and is where the popular South Kaibab Trail to Cedar Ridge hike is located, which wraps around the canyon and offers stunning scenery. Head to the North Rim to experience the well-known Bright Angel Point Trail or Grand Canyon East to check out the famous Horseshoe Bend. The sandstone and mudstone rocks that make up the Grand Canyon make it a must-see park.

7. Isle Royale National Park, Michigan

Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park is a hidden gem in the midwest. It’s a place where you’ll get to see shipwrecks, old lighthouses, and some of the most starry skies on the planet. It’s only accessible by plane or boat, making it the most remote national park to explore. It’s on Lake Superior and includes 450 islands and several hiking trails, such as Rock Harbor to Daisy Farm. As for its species, it includes more than 40 fish species and several land animals, such as gray wolves and the American Beaver. If you truly want to feel off the grid, then Isle Royale is the place to go.

8. Denali National Park, Alaska

Denali National Park

When it comes to the state of Alaska, Denali National Park is well known. It’s home to the highest mountain in America, Denali, as well as stunning glaciers and wildlife. While here, you may spot a grizzly bear or two, several moose, and sled dogs in the park, which have been used here for more than a century. If you’re up for a hike, then head to the 4.9-mile Mount Healy Overlook Trail for some stunning views of snowy mountains and a walk through taiga forests.

No matter which region you plan to travel to in the country, there is sure to be an incredible park that is worth stopping at. These are easily some of the best ones on the list, but there are many more you can check out, such as ones for desert landscape lovers or in the southeast. Now it’s time to plan that amazing national park roadtrip you’ve always dreamed of.

See you on the road!

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