Rock formations in one of the US national parks, Arches National Park. Rock formations in one of the US national parks, Arches National Park.

A Tour of 9 Iconic US National Parks

If you are looking for an amazing, adventurous trip to plan, this article will throw light on incredible US national parks that you can visit.

National parks are a great place to have a weekend adventure with family, for an educational experience, and to get inspiration, and the list of reasons to explore these is endless.

After going through the list of US national parks, you can decide which one to visit first. So, delve in!

List of 9 Mesmerizing US National Parks

1. Bryce Canyon National Park

The first national park on the list of US national parks is Bryce Canyon, a National Park located in southwestern Utah.

Despite its name, it is not a canyon; this national park is a collection of giant natural amphitheaters. It also harbors the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau.

many stone sculptures at the edge of a cliff and many mountains in the mountains.
By seventh/Shutterstock, Copyright 2021.

Things to Do:

  1. You can’t miss how the sun illuminates the famous “Hoodoos” from the classic Sunrise Point.
  2.  You can go on short hikes like the “Navajo Loop” or the “Queens Garden Trail.”
  3. You can visit the most famous rock formation in the park, “Thors Hammer.”
  4. You can visit the well-known natural karstic bridges, “Two Bridges.”
  5. You can enjoy one of the best night skies in North America from any Bryce viewpoint.

 2. American Samoa National Park

In the list of US national parks, American Samoa is one of the best choices to experience coral reefs; it is located in the US territory of American Samoa.

A beach view with palm trees and green grassland and mountains.
By Danita Delimont/ Shutterstock, Copyright 2021.

This national park is distributed across three islands: Tutuila, Ofu, and Tau. This park is home to coral reefs, tropical rainforests, fruit bats, and the Samoan culture.

Things to Do:

  1. You can learn to dive in the Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
  2. Make a pilgrimage to Ta’u Island, which is considered the birthplace of the Polynesian people.
  3. Go on a cruise ride and stay overnight in a local Fale.
  4. Visit the Tula village, which consists of white sandy beaches. You can see the reefs which are exposed here at low tides.
  5. Indulge in the legendary Samoan feast.

3. Dry Tortugas National Park

Surrounded by water, this park is perfect for getting an educational experience about history among the list of US national parks. It is located almost 113 km west of Key West.

This national park is mostly open water, consisting of seven small islands; it can only be accessed by boat or seaplane.

A sea with a small island in the middle.
By Mia2you/ Shutterstock, Copyright 2021.

Dry Tortugas is famous for being the home of the magnificent Fort Jefferson, blue waters, and superlative coral reefs.

Things to Do:

  1. You can try snorkeling and skin diving in the shallow waters of Dry Tortugas.
  2. Camping under the stars with the warm tropical breeze and the sound of the ocean waves on an island.
  3. You can tour Fort Jefferson and have a mini picnic outside the fort.
  4. Enjoying the beaches, whether swimming, sunbathing, or just strolling.
  5. You can enjoy bird watching and see amazing species of birds at all times of the year.

4. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

reflections of mountains in the water body.
By Maridav/ Shutterstock, Copyright 2021.

In the list of US national parks, this is the best option if you want a getaway from stressful daily life. It is located in Alaska and is a World Heritage Site.

The glaciers, mountains, wildlife, history, homeland, adventure, and wilderness all make Glacier Bay special.

Things to Do:

  1. You can try your luck at catching a famous Alaskan halibut.
  2. You can go on a hike along the gorgeous Bartlett River Trail. It is also a great place to see otters, moose, seals, and eagles. It would be best if you were careful since bears frequent the area.
  3. Visit the intertidal zone of Bartlett Cove and discover some of the marine creatures of Glacier Bay.
  4. Visit the Forest Loop Trail. Experience the rainforest of Glacier Bay and the unique landscape left behind after a glacier retreat.
  5.  You can try ocean kayaking at Bartlett Cove and appreciate the beauty of marine life and landscape.

5. Mammoth Cave National Park

A path going towards a den.
By rukawajung/ Shutterstock, Copyright 2021.

This park has a unique eerie beauty in US national parks, making it a popular site; it is located in west-central Kentucky.

Among US national parks, only this National Park has the longest cave system known worldwide. Mammoth Cave is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Things to Do:

  1. Explore the Hades’ Realm on a cave tour.
  2. You can join the Domes and Dripstones Tour to see the cave’s best formations. The tour requires three-quarters of a mile of walking and includes 500 stairs, starting with 280 at the beginning.
  3. Take the tour to the Great Onyx Cave. It is not connected to Mammoth, but the park offers a one-mile lantern tour there.
  4. Explore Demeter’s Realm on the surface.
  5. You can go on the Mammoth Cave Railroad hike and Bike trail.
  6. Experience local culture at historic churches and cemeteries.

6. Arches National Park

A view of a stunning large red stone mountain and the sun rays falling on it.
By Anne Richard/ Shutterstock, Copyright 2021.

This national park is located in the state of Utah. In the list of US national parks, this national park offers the most scenic views and adventure.

Arches National Park is known for having more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches. It is popular among visitors for its colossal sandstone fins, massive balanced rocks, soaring pinnacles, and dwarf spires.

Things to Do:

  1. You can go on a scenic drive from Highway 191 to the Devil’s Garden.
  2. You can hike past massive rock formations such as the Three Gossips and the Courthouse Towers.
  3. Enjoy the La Sal Mountains viewpoint.
  4. Enjoy the view of the Balanced Rock.
  5. You can go on a short hike to the North Window, South Window, and Turret Arch.
  6. Visit the Double Arch, which is the tallest arch in the arch. You can climb on the rocks under the arch here.
  7. Visit the Garden of Eden and enjoy the view of the knobby hoodoos and sandstone rock formations.
  8. Hike to Delicate Arch. It is the main attraction of the park.

7. Grand Canyon National Park

This National Park is located in Arizona; this park is popular for its geological diversity.

It is a river valley in the Colorado Plateau. Among the US national parks, this is one of the oldest National Parks in the United States.

It is home to the Grand Canyon, a one-mile-deep gorge carved by the Colorado River. Visitors come here to see the geological colors and erosion forms.

Things to Do:

  1. Go on a scenic walk on the Rim Trail.
  2. You can visit the Geological Museum.
  3. Go on a scenic drive along Hermit Road Drive; this is the most popular route in the park.
  4. You can go on a scenic drive on Desert View Drive. To view the Colorado River snaking through the canyon.
  5. You can visit the Lookout Studio and The Kolb Gallery. The studio sells souvenirs and also has two outdoor viewing decks.
  6. You can take a 25-minute Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour to appreciate the Grand Canyon view fully.

8. Hot Springs Natural Park

A woman sitting in a waterbody among the rocks in a Hot spring.
By Tom Ha/ Shutterstock, Copyright 2021.

This national park is located in central Garland County, Arkansas. In the list of US national parks, this park is best known for its healing and relaxing experiences.

This park is unique in the US national parks. It has numerous ancient thermal springs, mountain views, incredible geology, forest hikes, and abundant creeks.

Things to Do:

  1. Enjoy the beauty of the bonsai garden, which has over 40 plants displayed on large rocky shelves.
  2. Visit the Bathhouse Row and the historic Fordyce Bathhouse, which is a four-story museum.
  3. You can try camping, swimming, hiking, or enjoying a stay at a cabin surrounded by hills and trees and Lake Catherine.
  4. You can enjoy the view from the Hot Spring Mountain Tower.
  5. If you are interested in horse racing and casino, you need to visit Oaklawn Racing and Gaming. They have a variety of events and live racing.
  6. You can try mountain biking, hiking, fishing, and boating in the Ouachita Mountains range.
  7. Visit the Arkansas Alligator Farm. You can hold baby alligators, and they also have a petting zoo where you can pet emus, goats, sheep, and more.

9. Virgin Islands National Park

A scenic view of a beach with clear clouds and turquoise waterbody with seashore.
By Fotoluminate LLC/ Shutterstock, Copyright 2021.

It includes about 60% of the land on the island of St. John. This is the best option on the list of US national parks if you want to go for a weekend vacation.

This national park features breathtaking beaches with blue-green waters teeming with coral reef life in the list of US national parks. It has tropical forests habituating over 800 species of plants and relics from the island’s history.

Things to Do:

  1. Visit Trunk Bay, which is often referred to as the most beautiful beach in the world.
  2. You can explore Maho Bay and go snorkeling or kayaking there. You can also swim among massive fishes in Salt Pond Bay.
  3. Hike Reef Bay Trail is the most popular hiking trail in the Virgin Islands.
  4. If you want to enjoy the 360-degree views of Saint John, then hike the Ram Head Trail.
  5. Visit the Catherineberg Sugar Mill Ruins, which is the most intact ruin site on the island.
  6. Explore the Annaberg Plantation Ruins and learn about sugar production in the 18th and 19th centuries.
  7. Visit the Waterlemon Cay and Wind Hill Ruins.
  8. Go kayaking to Whistling Cay and explore the abandoned structure up close

End Note

In this article, USA Tales has provided a list of US national parks famous among tourists, along with the top things one should do while visiting each of the national parks.

Each park mentioned in the list offers a unique experience, so go and explore them all!

Last Updated on December 23, 2023 by ayeshayusuf

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