Today, August 25th, is the National Park Service’s birthday – celebrating 101 years! Can you believe families have been traveling to America’s National Parks for vacation for over 100 years now? From visiting the National Parks as a child to now making memories with my children, it’s amazing to see the wonders in our country. This list of America’s Top 10 National Parks is a must-see.
These National Parks are ranked in order by popularity from visitors during the 2016 year.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
It is no surprise to me that this park is one of the most commonly visited. We love the Great Smoky Mountains. I grew up visiting the beautiful scenery my entire life. Now the town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee has grown drastically in tourism and offers many activities for all ages. It is a tradition when we visit the Great Smoky Mountains to stand in two states at one time on the highest peak between Tennessee and North Carolina.
Photo was taken in Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park in July 2016.
There are more than 800 miles of hiking trails available in the Great Smoky Mountains.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park received 11 million visitors during 2016.
Grand Canyon National Park
Our first visit to the Grand Canyon National Park was this summer. I’m still astonished by the vastness of this canyon. The views were breathtaking. It was a pretty popular place when we visited early June. Since the Grand Canyon National Park is located in a desert area it gets really hot during the summer. I highly suggest visiting during the fall or spring. Early June was manageable.
Photo was taken in Grand Canyon National Park in June 2017.
The Grand Canyon National Park is a must-visit for everyone. I cannot express how mesmerizing this place was. Even if you are not an avid hiker there are many views with paved pathways for easy strolling. You do not want to miss this National treasure.
The Grand Canyon spans 277 miles!
The Grand Canyon National Park received 5.9 million visitors during 2016.
Yosemite National Park
The Yosemite National Park was preserved in 1890. The Yosemite Valley is one mile-wide and seven miles long. The canyon was cut by a river and then widened and deepened by glacial action.
The California National Park was ranked as third most popular.
The Yosemite National Park received over 5 million visitors in 2016.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Whether you love to ski or go whitewater rafting, the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is your place to visit. This National Park welcomes visitors year-round with stunning views that change with each season.
I remember visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park as a young child with my parents and grandparents. We went during the winter months and traveled up the highest peak. Our hair was filled with static and standing out from the elevation. As an adult, I traveled back to the National Park in Colorado during the summer months when the views were green.
The Rocky Mountains National Park includes 150 lakes, 450 miles of streams, and ecosystems ranging from wetlands to alpine terrain.
The Rocky Mountains National Park received 4.5 million visitors in 2016.
Zion National Park
Utah is still on our travel list of places to see. Located less than five hours from the Grand Canyon National Park, Zion is ranked as the fifth most popular National Park in America.
The Zion National Park is known for its rock towers. The sandstone canyons and sharp cliffs are interesting to see and fun to photograph. The Virgin River carves its way through Zion Canyon to the desert below.
The Zion National Park received 4.2 million visitors in 2016.
Yellowstone National Park
As the world’s very first National Park, Yellowstone covers 2.2 million acres in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. It is well known for its explosive geysers.
Wildlife is in abundance to see. You will spot wolves, moose, bison, and bears which make this National Park a great educational visit for children.
The Yellowstone National Park received 4.2 million visitors in 2016.
Olympic National Park
During our visit to Seattle, Washington we took an extended trip to explore the Olympic National Park. The trees in the rain forest were astounding. The trunks on some were so wide you could not touch hands with a person standing on the other side. The moss and greenier stays lush due to all the rain they receive in Washington.
On the other side of the forest sits the rugged Pacific shore. In one visit to a National Park, you can see the ocean, wildflower meadow, and rain forest all in a day.
The Olympic National Park received over 3 million visitors in 2016.
Acadia National Park
Located on Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park is a must-visit in Maine. The sea butts up against the mountainside at this National Park. With seaside villages to explore and hiking offered, it will be enjoyed by all ages.
The Acadia National Park received 3 million visitors in 2016.
Grand Teton National Park
Located in Wyoming with an elevation of almost 7,000 feet, Grand Teton National Park is a sight to see. Beautiful lakes with glaciers and granite pinnacles. This view brings forth a relaxing visit.
The Grand Teton National Park received 3.2 million visitors in 2016.
Glacier National Park
Last but not least, the Glacier National Park is located in Montana and covers over a million acres. Montana has been on our family’s travel list for quite some time. We cannot get there fast enough! One of the world’s most popular and spectacular drives is the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which is located in the park.
The Glacier National Park received 2.9 million visitors in 2016.
How many of America’s National Parks have you visited? Which is your favorite?
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Calvin F. says
Amazing views in these parks. Nature is aesome.
paula peterson says
I wish I could take my daughter to one of these.
Sarah L says
I”ve been to most of these great parks. Lucky for me Rocky Mt. is only 2 hours away so I go there often.
Veronica Lee says
I’ve only been to Yosemite National Park. Gotta add the rest to my bucket list.