The Best Checklist of National Parks Listed by State for 2021

Low hanging fog fills the valley along the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park.

The United States has one of the most diverse and photogenic landscapes in the world. You’ll find everything from skyscraping mountain ranges to arid deserts. And there’s no better place to see America’s beauty than in its national parks!

National parks have something for everyone: hiking, camping, backpacking, kayaking, and more! Visiting US national parks should be on your bucket list. That’s why I’ve put together this checklist of national parks listed by state!

This guide covers the all 63 national parks listed by state, plus:

  • Tips for planning a national park trip
  • The most and listed visit national parks
  • A map of all 63 national parks in the USA
  • And a free printable checklist of national parks!
Checklist of national parks by state Pinterest Pin
Checklist of national parks by state Pinterest Pin

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Looking for ways to document your national park bucket list? Check out these posts!

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Download the national park checklist and map here.

How many national parks are there?

As of 2021, there are 63 national parks. The most recent national park added to the system was New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia.

Beyond just the national parks, the National Park Service manages 423 areas covering more than 85 million acres. Each state has at least one park, or “unit”, plus parks in Washington D.C., American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands!

Tips for Planning a Trip With These National Parks Lists

Before diving into these amazing national park adventures, I want to share a few important tips with you.

  • Buy a national park pass. Some national parks are free of charge while others charge per vehicle entrance fees. If you plan on visiting more than one national park in a year, this is a great investment. You get unlimited entry to all 63 US national parks, plus hundreds more national monuments and historic sites! Click here to get your America the Beautiful national park pass for only $80.
  • Check for park closures when planning your trip. Anything from weather to road closures can affect your experience in a national park. Be sure to stay up to date on road closures, changes in shuttle operations, or visitation requirements. The best place to find this information is on the homepage of the national park you will be visiting.
  • Check trail status before you hike. Rain, snow, rockslides, and more can affect trail status. For the latest information, check the national park website before heading out for your hike.
  • Follow the Leave No Trace Principles. Leave No Trace helps reduce our impact on the outdoors when exploring. The Leave No Trace principles include staying on the trail and packing out any trash or food. These principles are crucial to keeping our national parks maintained for generations to come. To study up on how you can follow the Leave No Trace principles, check out my guide on Hiking for Beginners
  • Avoid crowds by visiting in the shoulder months. Most parks are busiest in the summer. To avoid crowds, visit in the spring or fall instead. You can also avoid crowds by starting your day early and hiking at sunrise.
  • Document your trip in a national park passport. The national parks offer free stamps at the visitor center. If you have a national park passport, you can stamp your passport at every park you visit. It’s the perfect minimalist souvenir! For more information on the national park passport program, read my full guide on finding the perfect national park passport.
Glacier National Park in Montana

Alphabetical US National Parks List (the 63 Parks)

The 63 national parks are:

  1. Acadia, Maine
  2. American Samoa
  3. Arches, Utah
  4. Badlands, South Dakota
  5. Big Bend, Texas
  6. Biscayne, Florida
  7. Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado
  8. Bryce Canyon, Utah
  9. Canyonlands, Utah
  10. Capitol Reef, Utah
  11. Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
  12. Channel Islands, California
  13. Congaree, South Carolina
  14. Crater Lake, Oregon
  15. Cuyahoga Valley, Ohio
  16. Death Valley, California
  17. Denali, Alaska
  18. Dry Tortugas, Florida
  19. Everglades, Florida
  20. Gates of the Arctic, Alaska
  21. Gateway Arch, Missouri
  22. Glacier, Montana
  23. Glacier Bay, Alaska
  24. Grand Canyon, Arizona
  25. Grand Teton, Wyoming
  26. Great Basin, Nevada
  27. Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
  28. Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
  29. Guadalupe Mountains, Texas
  30. Haleakala, Hawaii
  31. Hawai’i Volcanoes, Hawaii
  32. Hot Springs, Arkansas
  33. Indiana Dunes, Indiana
  34. Isle Royale, Michigan
  35. Joshua Tree, California
  36. Katmai, Alaska
  37. Kenai Fjords, Alaska
  38. Kings Canyon, California
  39. Kobuk Valley, Alaska
  40. Lake Clark, Alaska
  41. Lassen Volcanic, California
  42. Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
  43. Mesa Verde, Colorado
  44. Mount Rainier, Washington
  45. New River Gorge, West Virginia
  46. North Cascades, Washington
  47. Olympic, Washington
  48. Petrified Forest, Arizona
  49. Pinnacles, California
  50. Redwood, California
  51. Rocky Mountain, Colorado
  52. Saguaro, Arizona
  53. Sequoia, California
  54. Shenandoah, Virginia
  55. Theodore Roosevelt, North Dakota
  56. Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands
  57. Voyageurs, Minnesota
  58. White Sands, New Mexico
  59. Wind Cave, South Dakota
  60. Wrangell – St. Elias, Alaska
  61. Yellowstone, Wyoming
  62. Yosemite, California
  63. Zion, Utah

Want to check every national park off your bucket list? Download this free, printable national park checklist and map!

Mesa Arch at Sunrise in Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park in Utah

63 National Park List by State

Without further ado, it’s time to discover the best parks on this list of national parks by state. As always, I’ve provided practical advice to help you plan your trip, including the best time to visit and must-do activities in each national park!

This list of national parks by state is organized in Alphabetical order, first by state, then by park name. To read the entire list, just keep scrolling down! 

If you’re looking for parks in a specific state, simply select that state below to skip ahead!

Alaska | American Samoa | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Florida | Hawaii | Indiana | Kentucky | Maine | Michigan | Minnesota | Missouri | Montana | Nevada | New Mexico | North Dakota | Ohio | Oregon | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Virgin Islands | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wyoming

For the states that cross state lines I’ve grouped them under the state with the largest share of the park.  Here’s where you’ll find those multi-state parks:

  • Death Valley National Park is under California. A small part crosses into Nevada.
  • Gateway Arch National Park is under Missouri. It also has a small section in Illinois.
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park is under Tennessee. It also crosses into North Carolina.
  • Yellowstone National Park is under Wyoming. It also has sections in Idaho & Montana.

Alaska National Parks

Mount Denali looms in the distance across a grassy valley in Denali National Park
Denali National Park

Denali National Park

  • Year Established: 1917
  • Annual Visitors: 600,000
  • Best Time to Visit: June to August
  • Don’t Miss: See Mount Denali, Hike Mount Healy Overlook

Mount Denali (formerly known as Mount McKinley)  is the tallest mountain in North America. The elevation gain from base to peak is taller than Mount Everest! Much of Denali National Park is closed to vehicles, so the best way to explore the park is on a ranger-led shuttle with a few stops to explore the park’s hikes.

Gates of the Arctic National Park

  • Year Established: 1980
  • Annual Visitors: 10,000
  • Best Time to Visit: June to July
  • Don’t Miss: See the Gates of the Arctic, Take a flightseeing tour, Paddle the park’s rivers

Gates of the Arctic National Park is the second biggest national park, behind Wrangell-St. Elias National Park (also in Alaska). The entire park lies within the Arctic Circle! This incredibly remote national park is best seen by plane – the park has no roads! Even in the summer, this park is rugged and visitors should expect inclement weather.

Glacier Bay National Park

  • Year Established: 1980
  • Annual Visitors: 670,000
  • Best Time to Visit: June to September
  • Don’t Miss: Take the Glacier Bay Lodge boat tour, Hike Bartlett River, Kayak Muir Inlet

Glacier Bay National Park is just north of Juneau, Alaska and is roughly 25% ice. The park is known for its 50 impressive glaciers, including tidewater glaciers that end in the sea! The best way to explore the waters and glaciers of Glacier Bay National Park is by boat. You can opt for a group boat tour from the Glacier Bay Lodge or explore on your own sea kayaking adventure.

Katmai National Park

  • Year Established: 1980
  • Annual Visitors: 84,000
  • Best Time to Visit: June to September
  • Don’t Miss: See brown bears at Brooks Falls, Backpack Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes

Katmai National Park is the best place in the United States to spot brown bears and sockeye salmon! The highlight of this national park is the bears feeding on migrating salmon at Brooks Falls in the summer. From platforms above the water, you can observe and photograph the natural phenomenon. The best time for viewing wildlife in Katmai National Park is July.

Kenai Fjords National Park

  • Year Established: 1980
  • Annual Visitors: 350,000
  • Best Time to Visit:  June to August
  • Don’t Miss: Hike Harding Icefield, Drive Exit Glacier Road

Kenai Fjords National Park is the smallest of the Alaskan parks, but still bigger than most of the contiguous US national parks. The famous Harding Icefield is the focal point of this national park, with a strenuous trail to explore it. Similar to Glacier Bay, one of the best ways to see the park’s wildlife and tidewater glaciers is on a boat tour.

Kobuk Valley National Park

  • Year Established: 1980
  • Annual Visitors: 16,000
  • Best Time to Visit: June to September
  • Don’t Miss: See the Kobuk Sand Dunes, Take a flightseeing tour

Like several of the other Alaskan national parks, Kobuk Valley National Park can’t be reached by car. This remote park is only accessible by foot, plane, or boat. Kobuk Valley is known for the unique Kobuk Sand Dunes, the largest Arctic dune field in North America. The best way to see the highlights of Kobuk Valley National Park is by air on a flightseeing tour.

Lake Clark National Park

  • Year Established:  1980
  • Annual Visitors: 17,000
  • Best Time to Visit:  June to September
  • Don’t Miss: Hike Tanalian Falls, Backpack Telaquana Trail, Canoe Lake Clark

Lake Clark National Park is one of the most difficult national parks to reach. It’s only accessible by plane! This national park is often referred to as a sampler of Alaska with forests, mountains, crystal clear lakes, and plenty of wildlife. The best way to see the park is on a long hike or canoe ride on the arctic lakes.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

  • Year Established: 1980
  • Annual Visitors: 75,000
  • Best Time to Visit:  June to September
  • Don’t Miss: Take a flightseeing Tour, See Kennecott Copper Mine, Drive McCarthy Road and Nabesna Road

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is the largest national park in the United States at over 13 million acres. From this park, you’re only a few hundred miles from the Arctic Circle! The best way to see this massive park is from above. On a flightseeing tour, you can capture the size of the massive mountains that cover the park.

Other Alaska National Park Service Units

  • Alagnak Wild River
  • Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve
  • Bering Land Bridge National Preserve
  • Cape Krusenstern National Monument
  • Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
  • Lake Clark National Preserve
  • Noatak National Preserve
  • Sitka National Historical Park
  • Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve

Return to the list of states.

Want to check every national park off your bucket list? Download this free, printable national park checklist and map!

American Samoa National Parks

Teal blue water surrounds the island of Pago Pago in National Park of American Samoa
National Park of American Samoa

National Park of American Samoa

  • Year Established: 1988
  • Annual Visitors: 60,000
  • Best Time to Visit: June to September
  • Don’t Miss: Hike Mount’Alava Trail, Snorkel Vatia Bay, Snorkel Ofu Beach

National Park of American Samoa is the furthest and least developed of the US national parks. This allows you to fully immerse yourself in the traditional Samoan culture. The national park is split up across 3 different islands, with a local flight required to travel between them.

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Arizona National Parks

A view above the expansive Grand Canyon in Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

  • Year Established: 1919
  • Annual Visitors: 6.0 million
  • Best Time to Visit: March to May, September to October
  • Don’t Miss: Hike South Kaibab, Hike Rim Trail, Hike Bright Angel, Drive Hermit Road

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular natural landmarks in the country and the second most popular national park! The Colorado River carved the canyon over millions of years. Today the park is split into 2 sections: the North Rim and the South Rim. The South Rim is where most visitors spend their time. It’s easiest to access and is home to the famous national park lodges along the canyon edge.

Petrified Forest National Park

  • Year Established: 1962
  • Annual Visitors: 640,000
  • Best Time to Visit: April to September
  • Don’t Miss: See the Painted Desert, Tour Puerco Pueblo, See Blue Mesa, Hike Agate House

Petrified Forest National Park is home to fossils, ruins, and petrified trees, all reminiscent of prior eras. This park is a history buff’s dream come true with fossil exhibits at Rainbow Forest Museum and petroglyphs at Puerco Pueblo. Explore the park’s history with a scenic drive, stopping at vistas and for short hikes.

Saguaro National Park

  • Year Established: 1994
  • Annual Visitors: 1.0 million
  • Best Time to Visit: November to March
  • Don’t Miss: Drive Scenic Bajada Loop and Cactus Forest Drive, Hike the Desert Ecology Trail, Hike King Canyon

When you think of a picturesque desert, you’re likely envisioning the landscape of Saguaro National Park. This park is filled with giant saguaro cactuses and surrounds the major city of Tucson. Visiting the park in the winter allows you to escape the extreme summer heat. The best way to explore the park is on a scenic drive or short hike to observe its signature desert ecosystem.

Other Arizona National Park Units

  • Canyon de Chelly National Monument
  • Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
  • Chiricahua National Monument
  • Coronado National Memorial
  • Fort Bowie National Historic Site
  • Hohokam Pima National Monument
  • Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site
  • Montezuma Castle National Monument
  • Navajo National Monument
  • Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
  • Pipe Spring National Monument
  • Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
  • Tonto National Monument
  • Tumacacori National Historical Park
  • Tuzigoot National Monument
  • Walnut Canyon National Monument
  • Wupatki National Monument

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Arkansas National Parks

Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs National Park

  • Year Established: 1921
  • Annual Visitors: 1.5 million
  • Best Time to Visit: September to November
  • Don’t Miss: Walk Bathhouse Row, Hike Hot Springs Mountain, Visit Quapaw or Buckstaff Bathhouse

Hot Springs National Park isn’t your typical national park. It is made up of a series of bathhouses in a historic Arkansas town. The best way to experience Hot Springs National Park is with a soak in the therapeutic hot springs and stroll along Bathhouse Row. Visit in the fall for the best chance of catching the spectacular colors of the changing leaves!

Other Arkansas National Park Units

  • Arkansas Post National Memorial
  • Buffalo National River
  • Fort Smith National Historic Site
  • Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
  • Pea Ridge National Military Park
  • President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site

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California National Parks

Glacier Point Road sunrise in Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park

Channel Islands National Park

  • Year Established: 1980
  • Annual Visitors: 410,000
  • Best Time to Visit: June to October
  • Don’t Miss: Kayak Santa Cruz Island, Hike Inspiration Point, Hike Arch Rock

Channel Islands National Park is a group of islands off the coast of southern California, less than 25 miles from Santa Barbara. To reach this park, you’ll need to take a ferry and explore on foot or kayak once you arrive! A visit to Channel Islands National Park provides unique opportunities to spot marine wildlife. You’ll likely see dolphins, sea lions, and migrating whales.

Death Valley National Park

Note: Death Valley also crosses into Nevada.

  • Year Established: 1994
  • Annual Visitors: 1.7 million
  • Best Time to Visit: November to March
  • Don’t Miss: See Ubehebe Crater, Hike Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes at sunset, See Badwater Basin, See Zabriskie Point at sunrise

Death Valley National Park is the hottest, driest, and lowest place in the United States. Temperatures in the summer months are regularly 110 to 120 degrees. Most visitors choose to explore Death Valley in the winter when temperatures are milder. In the winter,  you can explore the park’s sand dunes, salt flats, and wildflowers. Death Valley hugs the California Nevada border, with a small part of the park crossing over into Nevada.

Joshua Tree National Park

  • Year Established: 1994
  • Annual Visitors: 3.0 million
  • Best Time to Visit: March to April, October to November
  • Don’t Miss: Sunrise at the Cholla Cactus Garden, Drive to Keys View, Hike Ryan Mountain

Two deserts converge in the middle of Joshua Tree National Park, providing a truly unique landscape. In the southern part of the park, you’ll find expansive deserts and short cholla cactus. In the northern part of the park, you’ll find the famous Joshua trees and enormous boulders. Joshua Tree National Park is a rock climbers paradise. Climbers will find endless opportunities to boulder the signature rock formations.

Read More: Best One Day Joshua Tree Itinerary

Kings Canyon National Park

  • Year Established: 1940
  • Annual Visitors: 630,000
  • Best Time to Visit: June to October
  • Don’t Miss: Backpack Rae Lakes Loop, Drive Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, Hike Zumwalt Meadows

Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park often come as a package deal. In fact, in many national park guide books, you’ll find them co-listed as Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park! Kings Canyon is a less crowded alternative to Yosemite National Park, with equally stunning views. The best way to explore the beauty of Kings Canyon is on a scenic drive or a multi-day backpacking adventure.

Want to check every national park off your bucket list? Download this free, printable national park checklist and map!

Lassen Volcanic National Park

  • Year Established: 1916
  • Annual Visitors: 517,000
  • Best Time to Visit: June to October
  • Don’t Miss: Drive Main Park Road, Hike Lassen Peak, Hike Bumpass Hell, See Manzanita Lake

Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to an active volcano (although it hasn’t erupted in over 100 years). The volcanic activity is to thank for the geothermal hot springs you find here. You’ll find stunning scenic drives, beautiful hikes to alpine lakes, and part of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Pinnacles National Park

  • Year Established: 2013
  • Annual Visitors: 175,000
  • Best Time to Visit: March to May, September to November
  • Don’t Miss: Hike Moses Spring, Hike High Peaks Trail, Hike Bear Gulch

One of the newer national parks, Pinnacles National Park was established less than a decade ago. Tucked inland from California’s famous Big Sur region, Pinnacles gets significantly fewer visitors a year. The park is split into two sections, only connected by hiking trails. The best way to explore the park is by taking a hike to scenic vantage points.

Looking up at tall redwood trees and a blue sky in Humboldt Redwoods State Park in California
Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park

  • Year Established: 1968
  • Annual Visitors: 500,000
  • Best Time to Visit: March to November
  • Don’t Miss: Hike Boy Scout Tree Trail, Hike Tall Trees Grove, See Stout Grove, Hike Fern Canyon

Redwood National Park takes you back a millennium with towering redwood trees and ancient ferns. Redwood National Park is home to the world’s tallest tree, but its exact location is kept secret. But Redwood National Park has more than just redwoods. You can also explore the rugged California coastline on an unforgettable, remote California road trip up the Lost Coast.

Looking for more posts to plan your trip to Redwood National Park? Check out these guides:

Sequoia National Park

  • Year Established: 1890
  • Annual Visitors: 1.3 million
  • Best Time to Visit: June to October
  • Don’t Miss: Hike Big Trees Trail, Drive under Tunnel Log, See the General Sherman tree, Hike Moro Rock

Just south of its sister park, Kings Canyon, Sequoia National Park is famous for its sequoia redwood forests. It’s also home to the tallest point in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney. Here you can find the world’s largest tree (not to be confused with the tallest tree in Redwood) and the photo-worthy drive-thru Tunnel Log. For the ultimate experience, don’t miss camping in the heart of the park.

Read More: Ultimate Guide to Camping in Sequoia National Park

Yosemite National Park

  • Year Established: 1890
  • Annual Visitors: 4.4 million
  • Best Time to Visit: June to October
  • Don’t Miss: Hike Yosemite Falls, Hike Half Dome, Sunset at Taft Point, Explore Yosemite Valley, Photograph Yosemite at Sunset

Yosemite National Park is the most popular of California’s national parks. Tunnel View is considered one of the best views in the United States, with El Capitan and Half Dome towering above the valley floor. Yosemite National Park has something for everyone – scenic drives, hikes of all levels, and multi-day backcountry trips.

Read More: How to Spend One Day in Yosemite National Park

Other California National Park Units

  • Cabrillo National Monument
  • Castle Mountains National Monument
  • César E. Chávez National Monument
  • Devils Postpile National Monument
  • Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site
  • Fort Point National Historic Site
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area
  • John Muir National Historic Site
  • Lava Beds National Monument
  • Manzanar National Historic Site
  • Mojave National Preserve
  • Muir Woods National Monument
  • Point Reyes National Seashore
  • Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial
  • Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park
  • San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
  • Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
  • Tule Lake National Monument
  • Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area

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Colorado National Parks

Green grass and pine trees cover the valley in front of the Rocky Mountains in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park

Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park

  • Year Established: 1999
  • Annual Visitors: 430,000
  • Best Time to Visit: May to October
  • Don’t Miss: Hike Warner Point, See Gunnison Point, Drive East Portal Road

Like the Grand Canyon, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is split into two sections: the North Rim and the South Rim. And one of the only ways to get to the bottom of the canyon along the Gunnison River is to hike down into the canyon. Most visitors choose to explore the vantage points and hikes from the park’s scenic drive atop the canyon.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

  • Year Established: 2004
  • Annual Visitors: 530,000
  • Best Time to Visit: March to May, September to November
  • Don’t Miss: Hike Dunes Overlook, Hike High Dune, Hike Star Dune

Great Sand Dunes National Park is home to the tallest dunes in North America! The massive amounts of sand were left behind after an ancient lake receded from the region. The best way to explore the park is on a series of short hikes to the dunes and overlooks. Plus, adventurous travelers can rent sleds and sandboard down the dunes!

Mesa Verde National Park

  • Year Established: 1906
  • Annual Visitors: 550,000
  • Best Time to Visit: June to September
  • Don’t Miss: Tour Cliff Palace, Tour Balcony House, Hike Petroglyph Point

Mesa Verde National Park is one of the most history-rich parks in the national park system. The park’s signature landmark is Cliff Palace, built by the Puebloans over 1,000 ago. The best way to explore Mesa Verde is on ranger-led tours of the ancestral Puebloan homes. The national park also has an archaeological museum to dive into the area’s important cultural significance.

Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Year Established: 1915
  • Annual Visitors: 4.7 million
  • Best Time to Visit: June to September
  • Don’t Miss: Hike Emerald Lake, Hike Sprague Lake, Hike Sky Pond Lake, Drive Trail Ridge Road

Rocky Mountain National Park is the 3rd most visited national park in the United States. This national park is home to the impressive, snow-covered Rockies. The Continental Divide splits the park into sections along the mountain ridgeline. The best way to see the park’s stunning mountains and vibrant wildlife is on a scenic drive or hike along the 355 miles of trails in the park.

Other Colorado National Park Units Include

  • Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site
  • Colorado National Monument
  • Curecanti National Recreation Area
  • Dinosaur National Monument
  • Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
  • Hovenweep National Monument
  • Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site
  • Yucca House National Monument

Return to the list of states.

Want to check every national park off your bucket list? Download this free, printable national park checklist and map!

Florida National Parks

A long concrete and brick boardwalk runs next to Fort Jefferson along the ocean in Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida
Dry Tortugas National Park

Biscayne National Park

  • Year Established: 1980
  • Annual Visitors: 710,000
  • Best Time to Visit: December to February
  • Don’t Miss: Hike Elliot Key, Take a boat tour to Boca Chita Key, Snorkel the barrier reef

Biscayne National Park is one of the more unique national parks – nearly 95% of the park is underwater! The absolute best way to see this park is by boat or swimming! Some of the most popular activities include scuba diving and snorkeling to see the hidden reefs and marine wildlife. Biscayne National Park is the perfect park to visit in the Winter and escape cold temperatures in other parts of the USA.

Dry Tortugas National Park

  • Year Established: 1992
  • Annual Visitors: 80,000
  • Best Time to Visit: December to February, April to May
  • Don’t Miss: Tour Fort Jefferson, Snorkel Garden Key

Dry Tortugas National Park centers around Fort Jefferson at the southern tip of Florida. It’s the only park that beats out Biscayne National Park for being the most water-filled. 99% of Dry Tortugas National Park is made up of water! Explore the historical walls of Fort Jefferson before diving in to explore the crystal blue waters in this park’s keys. The most popular water activities include scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

Everglades National Park

  • Year Established: 1934
  • Annual Visitors: 1.1 million
  • Best Time to Visit: December to February
  • Don’t Miss: See Shark Valley, Hike Anhinga Trail

Everglades National Park is exactly what you’d expect from a Florida national park: swamps and alligators! The best way to see the expansive water-filled park is to get out on (or above!) the water. Everglades has viewing platforms and overlooks across the park to give you a closer look at the park’s wildlife. Like other Florida national parks, much of the year is hot, muggy, and hurricane-prone. To enjoy cooler, bug-free weather, visit the Everglades in the Winter!

Other Florida National Park Units

  • Big Cypress National Preserve
  • Canaveral National Seashore
  • Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
  • De Soto National Memorial
  • Fort Caroline National Memorial
  • Fort Matanzas National Monument
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore
  • Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

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Hawaii National Parks

Bright red lava and steam releases from the crater in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Haleakalā National Park

  • Year Established: 1961
  • Annual Visitors: 995,000
  • Best Time to Visit: December to April
  • Don’t Miss: See Haleakalā Summit at sunrise, Hike Pīpīwai Trail, Drive the nearby Road to Hāna

Haleakalā National Park is split into two regions: tropical rainforests and mount summits. Located on the island of Maui, Haleakalā is a nature lovers dream. Most of the park is only accessible on foot, so leave the famed Road to Hāna behind and explore the park’s hiking trails and stunning views.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

  • Year Established: 1916
  • Annual Visitors: 1.4 million
  • Best Time to Visit: All year
  • Don’t Miss: Hike Thurston Lava Tube Trail, Drive Crater Rim and Chain of Craters Road, View lava at Halema’uma’u Crater

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is home to… you guessed it… two active volcanoes! This national park is located on the island of Hawai’i, often referred to as ‘The Big Island’. When conditions allow, you can view active lava flows and vents along the volcanic crater.

Other Hawaii National Park Units

  • Honouliuli National Historic Site
  • Kalaupapa National Historical Park
  • Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park
  • Pearl Harbor National Memorial
  • Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park
  • Pu’ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site

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Indiana National Parks

Small waves crash on the sandy beach shore at Indiana Dunes National Park in Indiana
Indiana Dunes National Park

Indiana Dunes National Park

  • Year Established: 2019
  • Annual Visitors: 2.1 million
  • Best Time to Visit: March to May, September to November
  • Don’t Miss: Hike West Beach, Swim in Lake Michigan, Tour Mount Baldy

Indiana Dunes National Park is one of the newest national parks, only established in 2019. Here you can explore 15 miles of beaches and sand dunes along the shores of Lake Michigan. Only a short distance from Chicago, this national park is the perfect day trip escape from the city.

Other Indiana National Park Units

  • George Rogers Clark National Historical Park
  • Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial

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Kentucky National Parks

Stalactites hang from the ceiling in the caves below Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky
Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park

  • Year Established: 1941
  • Annual Visitors: 550,000
  • Best Time to Visit: March to April, October to November
  • Don’t Miss: Take a guided cave tour, Hike River Styx Spring Trail

Mammoth Cave National Park is home to the largest cave system in the entire world! The underground caves remain the same comfortable temperature all year long, making it the perfect park to visit in the offseason. The best way to experience this national park is on a cave tour, often requiring reservations in the summer.

Other Kentucky National Park Units

  • Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park
  • Camp Nelson National Monument
  • Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
  • Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument

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Maine National Parks

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

  • Year Established: 1919
  • Annual Visitors: 3.4 million
  • Best Time to Visit: September to October
  • Don’t Miss: Drive Park Loop Road, See Cadillac Mountain, Hike the Precipice Trail, See Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

Acadia National Park is one of the few national parks on the East Coast. Here you’ll find the highest point on the eastern coast, Cadillac Mountain. The beauty of the fall in Acadia National Park is a must-see. The leaves in the park turn bright orange, providing a whole new level of beauty from the park’s summer greenery.

Other Maine National Park Units

  • Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
  • Saint Croix Island International Historic Site

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Want to check every national park off your bucket list? Download this free, printable national park checklist and map!

Michigan National Parks

Pine trees sit along the rocky shore lines of the lake island at Isle Royale National Park in Michigan
Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park

  • Year Established: 1940
  • Annual Visitors: 25,000
  • Best Time to Visit: July to August
  • Don’t Miss: Hike Stoll Trail, Go backcountry camping

Isle Royale National Park was formed by lava millions of years ago. Today, it takes the shape of an island in Lake Superior, just miles from the United States & Canada border. Isle Royale is only reachable by ferry or seaplane. Once arriving in Isle Royale, the best way to get around is on foot or in a kayak. Explore the island’s coastal campsites or trek Greenstone Ridge on a multi-day backpacking trip.

Other Michigan National Park Units

  • Keweenaw National Historical Park
  • Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
  • River Raisin National Battlefield Park
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

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Minnesota National Parks

Voyageurs National Park

Voyageurs National Park

  • Year Established: 1975
  • Annual Visitors: 230,000
  • Best Time to Visit: June to September
  • Don’t Miss: Hike Cruiser Lake Trail, Canoe the North Canoe Voyage

Voyageurs National Park is covered in lakes, as is expected from a national park in Minnesota, the land of 1,000 lakes! Like some other national parks, the best way to see the hidden gems of Voyageurs is by kayak or canoe. In fact, most of the park is only accessible by boat or seaplane! Bring your own boat or rent one at the lakeside campgrounds.

Other Minnesota National Park Units

  • Grand Portage National Monument
  • Mississippi National River and Recreation Areas
  • Pipestone National Monument

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Missouri National Parks

Gateway Arch National Park

Gateway Arch National Park

Note: Gateway Arch crosses into Illinois too.

  • Year Established: 2018
  • Annual Visitors: 2.1 million
  • Best Time to Visit: May to October
  • Don’t Miss: Go to the top of the Arch, Visit the Old Courthouse to learn about the Dred and Harriet Scott case

Shared between Missouri and Illinois, Gateway Arch National Park protects the Gateway Arch in St Louis. The smallest national park is only a few hundred acres and sits along the Mississippi River. In the park museums, you’ll find exhibits remembering the United States’ westward expansion and the Dred Scott freedom case.

Other Missouri National Park Units

  • George Washington Carver National Monument
  • Harry S Truman National Historic Site
  • Ozark National Scenic Riverways
  • Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park
  • Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site
  • Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield

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Montana National Parks

Highline Trail hike in Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is often referred to as the “crown of the continent”. It has epic views of the Rocky Mountains, world-class scenic drives, and endless hikes. This national park belongs at the very top of your bucket list. Once home to over 100 glaciers, there are now only 20 glaciers left in the park. The best way to explore Glacier National Park is on a scenic drive across the park’s famous Going-to-the-Sun Road or on hikes to mountain views.

Ready to start planning your trip to Glacier? Check out these helpful resources:

Other Montana National Park Units

  • Big Hole National Battlefield
  • Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
  • Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
  • Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

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Nevada National Parks

Bristlecone pine trees surround an alpine lake at sunset in Great Basin National Park in Nevada
Great Basin National Park

Great Basin National Park

  • Year Established: 1986
  • Annual Visitors: 130,000
  • Best Time to Visit: April to October
  • Don’t Miss: Hike Bristlecone Trail, Drive Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, Tour Lehman Caves

Great Basin National Park is in a remote part of Nevada few choose to venture to. Here you can explore both above ground and below ground. The park is famous for its Bristlecone pine trees, the oldest living organisms in the world! Below ground, you can explore extensive cave networks on ranger-led tours.

Other Nevada National Park Units

  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area
  • Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument

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New Mexico National Parks

White Sands National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

  • Year Established: 1930
  • Annual Visitors: 440,000
  • Best Time to Visit: All Year
  • Don’t Miss: Ranger-led tour of King’s Palace Cave, Self-guided tour of Big Room

Carlsbad Caverns is home to an underground cave network only miles from Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The caverns were formed by ancient reefs – the area used to be covered by a sea! The best way to explore the caves is on a guided tour. The caves stay the same temperature all year, so this national park can be visited in any season!

White Sands National Park

  • Year Established: 2019
  • Annual Visitors: 610,000
  • Best Time to Visit: October to November
  • Don’t Miss: Drive Dunes Drive, Hike Interdune Boardwalk, Sled the dunes

White Sands National Park is characterized by large, rolling white sand dunes, as the name might give away. Here you can explore the sand dunes by renting sleds and sliding down them. You can also explore the park on the main road through the park, Dunes Drive.

Want to check every national park off your bucket list? Download this free, printable national park checklist and map!

Other New Mexico National Park Units

  • Aztec Ruins National Monument
  • Bandelier National Monument
  • Capulin Volcano National Monument
  • Chaco Culture National Historical Park
  • El Malpais National Monument
  • El Morro National Monument
  • Fort Union National Monument
  • Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • Manhattan Project National Historical Park
  • Pecos National Historical Park
  • Petroglyph National Monument
  • Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument
  • Valles Caldera National Preserve

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North Dakota National Parks

A bright pink and orange sunset over the grassy green plains of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota
Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

  • Year Established: 1978
  • Annual Visitors: 690,000
  • Best Time to Visit: May to September
  • Don’t Miss: Drive Scenic Loop, Hike Painted Canyon, See Oxbow Bend Overlook

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is named after the president who protected 230 million acres of United States land. This national park is unique in that it’s made up of 3 separate, unconnected areas, or “units” as they are called. The most popular activity in the park is driving! Scenic Loop Drive takes you around the park to stunning viewpoints of the South Unit while a separate Scenic Drive allows you to tour the North Unit.

Other North Dakota National Park Units

  • Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site
  • Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site

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Ohio National Parks

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

  • Year Established: 2000
  • Annual Visitors: 2.2 million
  • Best Time to Visit: April to May, September-October
  • Don’t Miss: Hike Brandywine Falls, Hike The Ledges, Take the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of only a few midwestern national parks. The lush green landscape and rocky mountains aren’t what you’d expect to find in Ohio. Don’t miss the spring wildflowers and fall foliage in this national park. Unique to this national park, you can explore the beauty on a scenic train ride around the park!

Other Ohio National Park Units

  • Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
  • Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park
  • First Ladies National Historic Site
  • Hopewell Culture National Historical Park
  • James A. Garfield National Historic Site
  • Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial
  • William Howard Taft National Historic Site

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Oregon National Parks

A lone island sits in the middle of the dark blue Crater Lake in Oregon.
Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

  • Year Established: 1902
  • Annual Visitors: 705,000
  • Best Time to Visit: July to September
  • Don’t Miss: Drive Rim Drive, Hike Mount Scott, Hike Watchman Peak

Crater Lake National Park was formed after a massive volcanic eruption caused the mountain to collapse upon itself. The lake is the deepest in the country, over 1,100 feet deep! The best way to see the park is to take a drive on the scenic Rim Drive that surrounds Crater Lake.

Other Oregon National Park Units

  • John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
  • Lewis and Clark National Historical Park
  • Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve

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South Carolina National Parks

A bench sits on a boardwalked path through tall tree in Congaree National Park in South Carolina
Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park

  • Year Established: 2003
  • Annual Visitors: 160,000
  • Best Time to Visit: March-June, October-November
  • Don’t Miss: Hike the Boardwalk Trails

Congaree National Park is home to some of the largest trees on the east coast. If you happen to be in the park around mid-June, stay after dark to catch the rare synchronous fireflies flash in the dark. Explore this park’s greenery on elevated boardwalks through the massive trees!

Other South Carolina National Park Units

  • Charles Pinckney National Historic Site
  • Cowpens National Battlefield
  • Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park
  • Kings Mountain National Military Park
  • Ninety Six National Historic Site
  • Reconstruction Era National Historical Park

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South Dakota National Parks

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

  • Year Established: 1978
  • Annual Visitors: 970,000
  • Best Time to Visit: April to May, September to October
  • Don’t Miss: Hike Notch Trail, Hike Saddle Pass Trail, Drive Badlands Loop Road

The arid, harsh environment of Badlands National Park wasn’t always this way. In fact, it used to be underwater! Today, Badlands looks like another planet and is the perfect place to explore fossils and history. Badlands National Park is also an exceptional place for stargazing and astrophotography.

Wind Cave National Park

  • Year Established: 1903
  • Annual Visitors: 615,000
  • Best Time to Visit: March to September
  • Don’t Miss: Tour Wild Cave, Hike Rankin Ridge

Wind Cave National Park can be explored both above and below ground. Here you’ll find famous, unique cave formations underneath the rolling prairies. Above ground, you’ll find one of only four herds of free-roaming bison. If you’re adventurous, squeeze and scramble through Wild Cave on a guided tour to isolated parts of the cave network. And while you’re in this area of South Dakota, make a stop at the nearby Mount Rushmore and Devils Tower monuments!

Other South Dakota National Park Units

  • Jewel Cave National Monument
  • Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
  • Missouri National Recreational River
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial

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Tennessee National Parks

Layers of the hazy blue mountains roll into the distance in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina
Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Note: Part of Great Smoky Mountains crosses into North Carolina.

  • Year Established: 1934
  • Annual Visitors: 12.5 million
  • Best Time to Visit: June to November
  • Don’t Miss: See Cades Cove, Hike Clingmans Dome, Hike Alum Cave Trail

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited of America’s national parks. The park spreads across Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina. Great Smoky Mountains is a popular summer hiking destination and the premier place for national park fall colors. To avoid crowds, start your day early or head out on a sunset hike. If you happen to be in the park around mid-June, stay after dark to catch the rare synchronous fireflies flash in the dark.

Want to check every national park off your bucket list? Download this free, printable national park checklist and map!

Other Tennessee National Park Units

  • Andrew Johnson National Historic Site
  • Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
  • Fort Donelson National Battlefield
  • Obed Wild and Scenic River
  • Shiloh National Military Park
  • Stones River National Battlefield

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Texas National Parks

The canyon walls tower over the Rio Grande River in Big Bend National Park in Texas
Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

  • Year Established: 1944
  • Annual Visitors: 460,000
  • Best Time to Visit: October to April
  • Don’t Miss: Float the Rio Grande, Hike Lost Mine, See The Window at sunset, Hike Santa Elena Canyon, Hike Boquillas Canyon 

Big Bend National Park is tucked away in the far corner of Texas, along the United States-Mexico border. You won’t reach this park by accident and you’ll be rewarded with solitude when you do. The Rio Grande River runs through the park, with towering canyon walls on either side. Explore Big Bend by floating down the Rio Grande, hiking, or taking a scenic drive.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

  • Year Established: 1966
  • Annual Visitors: 190,000
  • Best Time to Visit: March to May, September to November
  • Don’t Miss: Summit Guadalupe Peak, Hike The Bowl, See Gypsum Dunes at sunset

The sand dunes and mountains of Guadalupe Mountains National Park are incredibly dry and rugged. The best time to visit this national park is in the cooler shoulder months. Less than 40 miles from Carlsbad Caverns National Park, both parks were part of an ancient underwater reef. The best way to explore the Guadalupe Mountains is on a hike around sunset.

Other Texas National Park Units

  • Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument
  • Amistad National Recreation Area
  • Big Thicket National Preserve
  • Chamizal National Memorial
  • Fort Davis National Historic Site
  • Lake Meredith National Recreation Area
  • Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
  • Padre Island National Seashore
  • Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park
  • Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River
  • San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
  • Waco Mammoth National Monument

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Utah National Parks

Arches National Park arch
Arches National Park

Read More: Ultimate 8-Day Utah National Parks Road Trip

Arches National Park

  • Year Established: 1971
  • Annual Visitors: 1.7 million
  • Best Time to Visit: March to May, September to November
  • Don’t Miss: Hike Delicate Arch at sunset, Hike the Windows Loop, Hike Double Arch

Arches National Park is home to over 2,000 natural arches, most hundreds of millions of years in the making. The best way to see the park’s famous arches is on short hikes off the park’s main scenic drive. Don’t miss the sunset in Arches National Park to observe the magnificent orange, pinks, and reds of the sandstone reflect the last light of the day.

Bryce Canyon National Park

  • Year Established: 1928
  • Annual Visitors: 2.6 million
  • Best Time to Visit: April to October
  • Don’t Miss: Drive the Scenic Drive and viewpoints, Hike Navajo and Queen’s Garden Loop, See sunrise along the Rim Trail

Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the most unique landscapes in the United States. It’s famous for its erosion-carved spires called hoodoos. In fact, Bryce Canyon National Park has the largest concentration of hoodoos in the world. The best way to explore Bryce Canyon is on a scenic drive to 14 viewpoints atop the canyon.

Read More: 12 Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon & Ultimate Guide to Bryce Canyon National Park

Canyonlands National Park

  • Year Established:1964
  • Annual Visitors: 735,000
  • Best Time to Visit: March to May, September to November
  • Don’t Miss: Hike Mesa Arch for sunrise, Hike Grand Viewpoint Overlook, See Green River Overlook and Shafer Point Overlook

Only a short distance from Arches National Park, Canyonlands is much less crowded. Canyonlands National Park is made up of deeply carved canyons and is reminiscent of the Grand Canyon. The park is split into 4 sections. Most visitors choose to visit the most accessible district, Island in the Sky.

Capitol Reef National Park

  • Year Established: 1971
  • Annual Visitors: 1.2 million
  • Best Time to Visit: March to May, September to November
  • Don’t Miss: Pick fruit at Fruita Orchard in fall, Hike Cohab Canyon, Drive Capitol Gorge Road

Capitol Reef National Park is characterized by the Waterpocket Fold. This formation made the region impassible to many early settlers. Much of the park is only accessible on rugged 4WD roads, so most visitors only visit the Fruita district. The Fruita District is home to an orchard, schoolhouse, and shops from the Morman settlement that occupied the area.

Read More: 3 Day Road Trip from Zion to Bryce Canyon

Zion National Park

  • Year Established: 1919
  • Annual Visitors: 4.5 million
  • Best Time to Visit: April to October
  • Don’t Miss: Hike The Narrows, Hike Angels Landing, Hike Observation Point, Drive Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

Zion National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the country and different from other Utah national parks. Unlike other Utah national parks, Zion is filled with greenery! Zion is a haven for adventurous hikers, with some of the most popular hikes in the United States, like The Narrows and Angels Landing.

Ready to start planning your trip to Zion? Check out these helpful posts:

Other Utah National Park Units

  • Cedar Breaks National Monument
  • Golden Spike National Historical Park
  • Natural Bridges National Monument
  • Rainbow Bridge National Monument
  • Timpanogos Cave National Monument

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Virgin Islands National Parks

Bright teal blue water surrounds the island of St. John in Virgin Islands National Park
Virgin Islands National Park

Virgin Islands National Park

  • Year Established: 1956
  • Annual Visitors: 130,000
  • Best Time to Visit: December to April
  • Don’t Miss: Snorkel the Underwater trail in Trunk Bay, Snorkel Waterlemon Cay, See Cinnamon Bay

Virgin Islands National Park is the perfect tropical escape in the U.S. Virgin Islands. To get here, you’ll actually need to fly to another country first… the British Virgin Islands! The ferry from St. Thomas will take you to the tiny, US island of St. John. Virgin Islands National Park is famous for its underwater snorkeling trail along the reefs.

Other Virgin Islands National Park Units

  • Buck Island Reef National Monument
  • Christiansted National Historic Site
  • Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve
  • Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument

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Virginia National Parks

Trees with orange and red leaves hover over Skyline Drive in the fall in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia
Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park

  • Year Established: 1935
  • Annual Visitors: 1.4 million
  • Best Time to Visit: September to November
  • Don’t Miss: Drive Skyline Drive, Hike Old Rag Trail

Shenandoah National Park passes through a stretch of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. The absolute best way to see the park is on its long, scenic drive. Skyline Drive passes through the entirety of the park, running along the mountain top for 105 miles.  Shenandoah National Park is one of the best places for catching glimpses of fall colors.

Want to check every national park off your bucket list? Download this free, printable national park checklist and map!

Other Virginia National Park Units

  • Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
  • Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
  • Booker T. Washington National Monument
  • Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park
  • Colonial National Historical Park
  • Fort Monroe National Monument
  • Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial National Military Park
  • George Washington Birthplace National Monument
  • George Washington Memorial Parkway
  • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
  • Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site
  • Manassas National Battlefield Park
  • Petersburg National Battlefield
  • Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
  • Prince William Forest Park
  • Richmond National Battlefield Park
  • Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

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Washington National Parks

The sun sets behind a snow covered Mount Rainier in the distance in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington
Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park

  • Year Established: 1899
  • Annual Visitors: 1.5 million
  • Best Time to Visit: July to September
  • Don’t Miss: Hike the Skyline Trail, Hike Fremont Lookout, Hike Tolmie Peak

Mount Rainier National Park is one of the best national parks for hiking, with 300 miles of hiking trails. Hikers can explore the park’s bucket list day hiking and backpacking trails. Some of the most scenic hikes in the park take you far above the clouds to scenic fire lookout stations, like Mount Fremont Lookout.

North Cascades National Park

  • Year Established: 1968
  • Annual Visitors: 38,000
  • Best Time to Visit: June to October
  • Don’t Miss: Drive North Cascades Scenic Highway, Hike Trappers Peak, Hike Cascade Pass

North Cascades National Park is one of the least visited parks in the country. Its mountains, forests, alpine lakes, and glaciers should put it on your radar. In fact, North Cascades has more glaciers than Glacier National Park! The best way to explore North Cascades is on a scenic drive on the North Cascades Scenic Highway and hiking some of the park’s many trails.

Olympic National Park

  • Year Established:1938
  • Annual Visitors: 3.2 million
  • Best Time to Visit: June to September
  • Don’t Miss: See Ruby Beach, Hike Hoh Rain Forest, Hike Shi Shi Beach

Olympic National Park gets its name from its highest peak, Mount Olympus, named after Greek mythology. The diverse landscape takes you through mountains, rainforests, and beaches. Explore the unique coastal national park by hiking and camping in the park’s various regions.

Other Washington National Park Units

  • Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve
  • Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
  • Lake Chelan National Recreation Area
  • Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area
  • Ross Lake National Recreation Area
  • San Juan Island National Historical Park
  • Whitman Mission National Historic Site

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West Virginia National Parks

A river runs through lush green trees in New River Gorge National Park
New River Gorge National Park

New River Gorge National Park

  • Year Established: 2020
  • Annual Visitors: 1.4 million
  • Best Time to Visit: April to October
  • Don’t Miss: Whitewater rafting, Rock climbing, Hike Endless Wall Trail, Bike Arrowhead Trails

New River Gorge is the newest national park, only established in 2020. It protects the rugged New River, one of the oldest rivers in North America. The most popular activity in the park is whitewater rafting, with plenty of Class IV and V rapids.

Other West Virginia National Park Units

  • Bluestone National Scenic River
  • Gauley River National Recreation Area
  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

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Wyoming National Parks

Grand Prismatic Spring shows off its red, yellow, green, and blue rings in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park

Grand Teton National Park

  • Year Established: 1929
  • Annual Visitors: 3.4 million
  • Best Time to Visit: June to September
  • Don’t Miss: Hike Inspiration Trail, Backpack to Lake Solitude, See sunrise at Schwabacher’s Landing, Photograph John Moulton Barn

Grand Teton National Park is often overshadowed by its neighbor, Yellowstone National Park. But Grand Teton should be at the top of your national park bucket list! From stunning views of the Rocky Mountains to some of the best backpacking treks, this national park has something for everyone.  The best way to explore Grand Teton National Park is on a hike or even a multi-day backpacking trip!

Yellowstone National Park

Note: Most of Yellowstone is in Wyoming, but small parts cross into Idaho and Montana.

  • Year Established: 1872
  • Annual Visitors: 4.0 million
  • Best Time to Visit: July to October
  • Don’t Miss: Drive Grand Loop Road, See Grand Prismatic Spring, See Old Faithful, Hike Mount Washburn

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the United States with over 4 million visitors per year. Yellowstone straddles 3 states: Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, although most of the park is in Wyoming. You’ve probably heard of Yellowstone’s most well-known landmark, the Old Faithful geyser. The best way to explore the park’s popular geysers is on a scenic drive, stopping at the viewpoints along the way.

Other Wyoming National Park Units

  • Devils Tower National Monument
  • Fort Laramie National Historic Site
  • Fossil Butte National Monument
  • John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway

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Want to check every national park off your bucket list? Download this free, printable national park checklist and map!

States Without National Parks (But Other Types of National Park Service Units)

Alabama

  • Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument
  • Freedom Riders National Monument
  • Horseshoe Bend National Military Park
  • Little River Canyon National Preserve
  • Russell Cave National Monument
  • Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
  • Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site

Connecticut

  • Weir Farm National Historical Park

Delaware

  • First State National Historical Park

District of Columbia

  • Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument
  • Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site
  • Constitution Gardens
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial
  • Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
  • Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
  • Korean War Veterans Memorial
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove on the Potomac
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
  • Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site
  • National Capital Parks – East
  • National Mall and Memorial Parks
  • Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site
  • Rock Creek Park
  • Theodore Roosevelt Island
  • Thomas Jefferson Memorial
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • Washington Monument
  • White House
  • World War I Memorial
  • World War II Memorial

Georgia

  • Andersonville National Historic Site
  • Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
  • Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park
  • Cumberland Island National Seashore
  • Fort Frederica National Monument
  • Fort Pulaski National Monument
  • Jimmy Carter National Historical Park
  • Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park
  • Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park

Guam

  • War in the Pacific National Historical Park

Idaho

Idaho has a tiny part of Yellowstone National Park, but most of the park lies in Wyoming.

  • City of Rocks National Reserve
  • Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve
  • Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument
  • Minidoka National Historic Site
  • Nez Perce National Historical Park

Illinois

While Illinois has a small part of Gateway Arch National Park, most of the park sits in Missouri.

  • Lincoln Home National Historic Site
  • Pullman National Monument

Iowa

  • Effigy Mounds National Monument
  • Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

Kansas

  • Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site
  • Fort Larned National Historic Site
  • Fort Scott National Historic Site
  • Nicodemus National Historic Site
  • Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Louisiana

  • Cane River Creole National Historical Park
  • Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
  • New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
  • Poverty Point National Monument

Maryland

  • Antietam National Battlefield
  • Assateague Island National Seashore
  • Catoctin Mountain Park
  • Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
  • Clara Barton National Historic Site
  • Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
  • Fort Washington Park
  • Greenbelt Park
  • Hampton National Historic Site
  • Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park
  • Monocacy National Battlefield
  • Piscataway Park
  • Thomas Stone National Historic Site

Massachusetts

  • Adams National Historical Park
  • Boston African American National Historic Site
  • Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area
  • Boston National Historical Park
  • Cape Cod National Seashore
  • Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site
  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site
  • Longfellow – Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site
  • Lowell National Historical Park
  • Minute Man National Historical Park
  • New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park
  • Salem Maritime National Historic Site
  • Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site
  • Springfield Armory National Historic Site

Mississippi

  • Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site
  • Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument
  • Natchez National Historical Park
  • Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail
  • Natchez Trace Parkway
  • Tupelo National Battlefield
  • Vicksburg National Military Park

Nebraska

  • Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
  • Homestead National Historical Park
  • Niobrara National Scenic River
  • Scotts Bluff National Monument

New Hampshire

  • Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park

New Jersey

  • Great Egg Harbor National Scenic and Recreational River
  • Morristown National Historical Park
  • Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
  • Thomas Edison National Historical Park

New York

  • African Burial Ground National Monument
  • Castle Clinton National Monument
  • Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site
  • Federal Hall National Memorial
  • Fire Island National Seashore
  • Fort Stanwix National Monument
  • Gateway National Recreation Area
  • General Grant National Memorial
  • Governors Island National Monument
  • Hamilton Grange National Memorial
  • Harriet Tubman National Historical Park
  • Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site
  • Martin Van Buren National Historic Site
  • Sagamore Hill National Historic Site
  • Saint Paul’s Church National Historic Site
  • Saratoga National Historical Park
  • Statue of Liberty National Monument
  • Stonewall National Monument
  • Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
  • Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
  • Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site
  • Women’s Rights National Historical Park

North Carolina

North Carolina has part of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but most of the park lies in Tennessee.

  • Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore
  • Cape Lookout National Seashore
  • Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site
  • Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
  • Guilford Courthouse National Military Park
  • Moores Creek National Battlefield
  • Wright Brothers National Memorial

Oklahoma

  • Chickasaw National Recreation Area
  • Washita Battlefield National Historic Site

Pennsylvania

  • Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site
  • Delaware National Scenic River
  • Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
  • Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
  • Eisenhower National Historic Site
  • Flight 93 National Memorial
  • Fort Necessity National Battlefield
  • Friendship Hill National Historic Site
  • Gettysburg National Military Park
  • Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
  • Independence National Historical Park
  • Johnstown Flood National Memorial
  • Steamtown National Historic Site
  • Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial
  • Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River
  • Valley Forge National Historical Park

Puerto Rico

  • San Juan National Historic Site

Rhode Island

  • Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park
  • Roger Williams National Memorial

Vermont

  • Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park

Wisconsin

  • Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
  • Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway

Appalachian National Scenic Trail

This famous park covers 14 states, stretching from Georgia to Maine.

Zion National Park The Watchman
Zion National Park

Most Visited National Parks

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (12.5 million visitors)
  2. Grand Canyon National Park (6.0 million visitors)
  3. Rocky Mountain National Park (4.7 million visitors)
  4. Zion National Park (4.5 million visitors)
  5. Yosemite National Park (4.4 million visitors)
Lake Clark National Park in Alaska
Lake Clark National Park

Least Visited National Parks

  1. Gates of the Arctic National Park (11,000 visitors)
  2. Kobuk Valley National Park (16,000 visitors)
  3. Lake Clark National Park (17,000 visitors)
  4. Isle Royale National Park (26,000 visitors)
  5. North Cascades National Park, Washington (38,000 visitors)

List of US National Parks by State Map

The national parks map below covers all national parks in the USA. Simply scroll and zoom to locate each park.

Download Your Printable National Park Checklist

Don’t miss your free national park checklist to help you check everyone off your bucket list! Click here to download your free printable checklist.

Frequently Asked Questions About This US National Park Checklist

What is the largest national park in the US?How many national parks are there in 2021?

As of January 2021, there are 63 United States national parks. The latest park to be added to the national park system is New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia.

What states have no national parks?

The states with no national parks are Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Which state has the most national parks? 

California has the most national parks of any state at 9 national parks. Alaska has the second most national parks of any state with 8 national parks.

Which national park is most visited?

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States, with over 12 million visitors per year.

What is the largest national park in the US?

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is the largest national park in the United States at 8.3 million acres. That’s bigger than 9 US states, including most of the New England states and Hawaii.

What is the smallest national park in the US?

The smallest US national park is Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, Missouri. The park only totals 193 acres, less than 25% the size of Central Park in New York City.

Final Thoughts on the Checklist of National Parks Listed by State

There’s 423 national park units in the United States, including the 63 national parks. I hope this guide has inspired you to check the national parks off your bucket list!

Want to check every national park off your bucket list? Download this free, printable national park checklist and map!

Looking for ways to document your national park bucket list? Check out these posts!

Want to share your thoughts, tips, and advice with me and other readers? Have questions about your trip? Head down to the comments section below!

This post may include some affiliate links, where I earn a small commission if you choose to make a purchase, all at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products or brands that I use. Any income helps me continue sharing national park tips and itineraries for free.

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