10 Best East Coast National Parks

10 mins read
By: Zack Frank on Shutterstock



Why should you explore the east coast national parks?

When you think about the National Parks in the US, the first thing to mind is the west coast national parks. “Yosemite, “The Grand Canyon, “and “Yellowstone as such National parks.

While it’s hard for anyone to escape the beauty of these parks, there’s a lot of beauty worth watching and terrain that could be explored in the east coast national parks too. At the same time, it’s obvious that most of the National parks are located in the western USA.

But you shouldn’t underestimate the east coast national parks as such, and these east coast national parks have some of the best coral reefs, marshy wetlands, and mountain tops.

Although there are fewer National parks on the east coast than on the west coast, these National parks on the seat side have diverse topography.

The less no of National parks on the east coast still has a number of national monuments, national seashores, and national historical sites, which you could explore.

This article provides you with a complete list of the best east coast national parks. So, you can explore these national parks at ease. Let’s Get started.

10 Popular and top East Cost National parks

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

East Coast National Parks
Photo by RD McClenaghan on /Unsplash

This National Park is located in Tennessee, North Carolina. As the name suggests, these mountains are often covered with smoke.

From a distance, this fog appears to have a blue tint. Covered with vegetation and fog that hovers these mountains, it creates a perfect scenery that can relax your mind.

This National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the US. Apart from being the most visited, this national park overflows with a wide variety of biodiversity. This park has no admission fees, so that you can see the majestic beauties free of cost.

With more than eight hundred miles of hiking trail, it’s not hard to get lost within this national park, so keep an eye out for the path you take. October is the best time to travel and visit the park.

With unique biodiversity, a wide variety of wildlife can be sighted, and while you hike, you could bump and get a sighting of bears, turkeys, elks, and many more. Hikers will have a pick of easy to hard trails and test their hiking abilities.

The famous hike places in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park are Rainbow Falls and Alum Cave hike. These spots are filled with challenges and can test one’s hiking abilities.

2. Acadia National Park

East Coast National Parks
Photo by Trevor Hayes/ Unsplash

This East coast national park is one of the popular national parks located on the coast of Maine, Situated on Mount Desert Island.

Cadillac Mountain is the highest point in the park. Cadillac mountain spot gets the opportunity to catch the first sun rays of the rising sun before any other mountain spot in the US.

This East coast National Park is spread across 47000 acres. This Park includes a 27-mile drive on the park loop road. This road is the main passage, from which you can get to the major sights.

The Sand beach can help you relax your feet in its ice-cold water and waves that slide along. You can also try short hikes from the beach.

Apart from the hike and the beach, this park offers a spot where you can hear thundering voices and the rustling sound of ocean waves in the cave system. This spot in the park is called the Thunder hole.

The best time to visit this park is around September and the months of mid-October. Biking and exploring the cave system is the most popular time-killing thing one can do in the national park.

You can take a week’s holiday and plan your trip. It requires 3 days to see the major highlights and visit Acadia National Park.

3. Shenandoah National Park

East Coast National Parks
By Matthew Benson/ Flickr.

This east coast national park is located in Virginia. At Shenandoah National Park, watch out for some black bears while traveling to this national park. The Shenandoah National Park is the most densely populated home to black bears.

You might want to take the 105-mile drive in your car on Skyline Drive. It just takes about 3 hours to complete the drive and watch around 75 scenic beauties on the way.

If you wish to look at the scenic beauty in Shenandoah National Park a little longer, then you can stop on the way and enjoy the view.

It just requires 3 days to see all the highlights of Shenandoah National Park. If you have holidays for a couple of days more, you can visit Shenandoah Valley and explore the award-winning scenic beauties with your own eyes.

The Fall at Shenandoah National Park is the best time to visit the national park as you can get the amazing view with the added benefit of lesser crowds. Visit Shenandoah National Park and mesmerize yourself.

4. New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

East Coast National Parks
By David Smith /Flickr.

This East Coast National Park is located in West Virginia. The name of the National Park is an exemption. The New River, which flows through the National Park, is one of the Oldest Rivers in West Virginia.

This River is estimated to be around 360 million years old. Ahh, Numbers don’t lie. This beautiful piece of land is now a part of the National Park system. This River was a hotspot for outdoor recreational activities. Fortunately, this river is now a protected place.

At this National Park, White River rafting is a must to do. The river is divided into 5 sections. If you are the calmer type of traveler interested in the calmer side of the water, then the starting sections are for you.

If you wish to have more thrills while you paddle your boat down, then the lower section of the river is the best for you.

For the hikers and those who would like to remain dry, this National Park has the opportunity of a 2.4-mile Endless Walk Trail. The Endless Walk Trail runs through the forest and along the cliffside, giving you the best scenic beauties.

Apart from this trail, this park offers another trail. A 12-mile hike also known as the Glade Creek Hike For. This Hike begins from the River Gorge Visitor Centre. It is a short and beautiful hike.

For all rock-climbing experts and lovers, this National Park offers you the opportunity to rock climb and experience your skills. You need just 3 days to complete all the major highlights.

The best Month to visit is the Month of Summer; the Month of summer brings the perfect weather for swimming and river rafting. Book your tickets now.

5. Everglades National Park

East Coast National Parks
Photo by Jametlene Reskp / Unsplash

This East coast National Park is located in Florida. This Everglades National Park stretches over 1.5 million acres. Rich with Biodiversity, this National Park is unique in its way.

Everglades National Park is a wetland. Home to various creatures such as manatees, alligators, crocodiles, flamingos, panthers, and different birds that nest here.

Florida is well known for its wetlands and its alligators. This National Park is mostly swamped and water. The Best way to explore this land is through a kayak and a boat.

If you are an avid bird watcher, you should visit Cape Sable and Florida Bay which are great places to look out for Seagulls, Shorebirds, and pelicans. Visiting the Mangroves is a must-do activity at Everglades.

Apart from the water trails, there are places in Everglades National Park where you can scuba dive and bike rides. You can take short walks through the park. Here people love spotting alligators in the water, of course!

The Everglades National Park is a truly unique beauty of its own. Its wild beauty can leave an impression on your soul. Watch out for that. The best Month to visit the Everglades National Park is from December to April.

Don’t forget a bug’s cream if you are visiting, As the temperature around these months is an attraction for bugs such as mosquitos. Look out for their bite.

6. Dry Tortugas National Park

East Coast National Parks
Photo by Christopher Osten /Unsplash

This East Coast National Park is known for its turtles and is one of the most unique national parks. The Parks name comes from the Spanish name for a Turtle, “Tortugas.” The Dry Tortugas National Park is home to 5 species of Turtles that inhabit this land.

If you love beaches and turtles, you should pay a visit to this island. Exploring this island can be fun and exciting.

This National Park is in Florida. The Tortugas National Park is located 70 miles west of key west. This National Park is a cluster of 7 islands surrounded by water. The National Park can only be accessed by a Ferry, sea boat, or charted plane.

The most popular sight you can visit at this National Park is Fort Jefferson. This Fortress was built in the 18 th century. This fort was built with 16 million bricks in total. Take a tour around the fort and explore the history that sticks with the fort.

This National Park is one of the most remote national parks you could visit. If you are visiting this national park, you should carry water and other amenities to the island.

This trip can be worth your time. If you travel in September, you can also see turtles on the island and see them laying eggs. Ensure you see the wonderful event as it is a lifetime opportunity to experience.

7. Biscayne National Park

East Coast National Parks
By NPCA Photos / Flickr

This East Coast National Park is located in Florida. This National Park holds different types of ecosystems. All balancing on each other. The four main ecosystems are the mangroves, the islands, the third world’s largest coral reefs, and Biscayne Bay, where the Park is situated.

If you plan to visit this national park, remember this national park is the hardest to visit and explore. But this isn’t stopping you. This national park is hard to access because of its 95 percent water. There are no public ferries that take you to the park.

You need to join a tour or get into a chartered boat to access this national park. This national park is a treasure that you can cherish for a lifetime.

Before you leave for this national park, pack snorkeling gear with you. Snorkeling is the best and most popular activity to do here.

You can snorkel on the Maritime Heritage Trail. This trail has debris of old sunken ships and lots of sea life. Kayaking and paddle boating are the best time killers.

The park has a short nature trip, a trip where you can walk around. This Path can lead you to a bird sanctuary and the mangroves.

One day is enough to have a guided ranger tour. If you have a weekend-long holiday, you can enjoy the national park to its fullest and the water activities.

8. Mammoth Cave National Park

East Coast National Park
By John St. John/ Flickr.

This East Coast National Park is located in Kentucky. This Mammoth Cave National Park is one of the natural sites honored as a UNSECO world heritage site.

This site was first discovered in the late 1790s by white pioneers. This Mammoth Cave National Park is home to various birds and reptiles. These animals survive in cave systems and lush forests.

The Mammoth Cave National Park is one of the 13 natural sites in the US. This National Park is the longest cave system that extends up to 1000 miles. This national park can only be explored with a guided tour.

You would defiantly be astonished by the bright and wonderful view of the limestone labyrinth. This Cave system is only explored for 400 miles. Another 600 miles are yet to be explored.

This cave system has grand caves, tight passageways, and canyons that you should be looking out for.

Serval different tours are available for you to choose from. These tours change from season to season.

Apart from seeing the caves, you can also go hiking as there are hiking trails available through the different habitats of the area. You can also fish, kayak, and go horseback riding.

It would just take two days to explore the outer areas of the cave. The best months to visit the cave are from November to February.

9. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

East Coast National Park
Photo by Ally Griffin /Unsplash

This National Park is located in Ohio. This National Park is spread over 51 Square miles. This river is claimed to be the longest river between Akron and Cleveland.

 This National Park gets its name from the Cuyahoga River that flows through this national park. The Name Cuyahoga is derived from the word “Crooked.”

This River was once used for dumping toxic waste, but soon after, the locals protested. The Clean water act was established, and this river is now protected.

This Park offers a hiking trail of 125 miles long. This trail is filled with giant limestones and sandstone ledges. Travelers visit the Virginia Kendell Hedges hike, and it is considered to be a must-do activity.

You are bound to get fantastic views of the vast valley. There are a few waterfalls that you can have a look at. Some of these waterfalls are the Blue Hen, Buttermilk Falls, and Brandywine Falls.

The park also offers a bike ride. The towpath trail is now used for walking and biking activities. If you are restricted with your mobility, you can always hop on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

A one-way train takes you through the park and checks out the best scenic beauties along the way.

The Month of autumn is the Best Month to explore this park as in the autumn month you see leaves shedding and have the best scene to feat with your eyes.

10. Congaree National Park

East Coast National Parks
Photo by Leslie Cross/ Unsplash

This East Coast National Park is located in South Carolina. The National Park is known for its glowing fungi and the distinct calls of a one-horned owl.

With a number of famous national parks, this park is the most underrated national park. This park is filled with big trees. The big trees are referred to as the champion trees.

These champion trees require perfect nutrients and a balanced temperature. This National Park provides the correct set of nutrients and balanced temperatures that help these trees to flourish.

Here you can explore the swamplands. These Swamplands can be explored on a kayak or a canoe. The well-known trail happens to be The Cedar Creek Canoe trail which runs 15 miles through the forest of Congaree. You have to keep your eyes open for turtles, alligators, and otters.

A day is enough to explore the park. The best month to visit the national park is in the summer month. Fun fact: This east coast national park is accessible throughout the year.

Start Now: Visit East Coast National Parks

Got all the reasons and names of the east coast national parks to visit? All you need to do is pick up a date and book your tickets.

Your time and money would all be worth it.

Seeing the beauty and the mesmerizing scenery would retake you for another trip to these east coast national parks.

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