20 Breathtaking National Parks You Can’t Miss

The United States is blessed with some of the world’s most breathtaking natural wonders. Our country is home to stunning natural spaces where plants and animals thrive, untouched by human development. These places offer the perfect escape to explore, hike, and marvel at the beauty of Mother Nature. You can find fossils, take amazing photos, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the wilderness. Here are some of the best National Parks in the US that showcase the diverse beauty of our nation’s landscapes.

1. New River Gorge National Park, West Virginia

New River Gorge National Park, West Virginia
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You can experience rock climbing challenges in New River Gorge, the newest National Park. It wasn’t designated as protected lands until 2020, and it’s now one of the most popular rock climbing areas in the country, with a huge 1,400 designated rock climbs..

This tranquil Appalachian region in Lansing, West Virginia, offers you breathtaking sunrise spectacles at the New River Gorge Bridge, loads of hiking trails, and river rafting adventures.

2. Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Canyonlands National Park, Utah
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As you wander through Canyonlands National Park, the sheer magnitude of Utah’s largest national park unfolds before you.

Marvel at the expansive, deeply etched canyons shaped by the Colorado and Green rivers. Venture to the Needles with its towering rock spires, or find yourself atop the Island in the Sky, a vast mesa offering sweeping, panoramic vistas that stretch beyond the horizon.

3. North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park
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Within the mountainous expanse of North Cascades National Park, there’s something for everyone.

Whether you prefer the calm of birdwatching or fishing in scenic lakes, or the thrill of navigating challenging hiking trails, this Washington state treasure accommodates both tranquil and adventurous spirits.

For the backpacking enthusiasts, the park’s rugged terrain provides a rewarding challenge amid glaciers and dense forests.

4. Saguaro National Park, Arizona

Saguaro National Park, Arizona
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Explore Saguaro National Park in Arizona—a landscape rich with the nation’s most imposing cacti.

Discover the essence of the American West here, in this stunning 92,000-acre park. This park is a haven for 325 species of invertebrates, including 70 mammals, 200 birds, and 50 reptiles.

5. Channel Islands National Park, California

Channel Islands National Park, California
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Nestled off Ventura’s shores, Channel Islands National Park invites you to witness its unique ecosystem.

Your visit might include spotting majestic whales and observing many species of seabirds.

Remarkably, the park shelters 145 endemic species, flourishing nowhere else on Earth—making it a sanctuary of unparalleled natural wonder in California.

6. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
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Experience the beauty of Voyageurs National Park where you can indulge in a variety of outdoor activities.

Your time spent under the stars at this park might reward you with a glimpse of the aurora borealis.

If you’re into angling, the plentiful lakes offer excellent fishing opportunities, and regular visitors love to fish for walleye.

Those who prefer a more rugged experience can set up camp in the heart of nature, making the most of the park’s serene environment.

Just a stone’s throw from the Canadian frontier, this location is a natural wonder throughout the year.

7. Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Congaree National Park, South Carolina
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Stroll through the towering old-growth forests in Congaree National Park and encounter rich biodiversity.

Here, you’ll observe an impressive collection of tall trees unique to the Eastern United States, inviting a serene wilderness experience and wildlife viewing opportunities close to the heart of South Carolina’s capital.

It’s got 25 miles of hiking trails and 2.4 miles of boardwalk, and you can kayak through the waterways, too. There’s plenty of wildlife here, ranging from bobcats to river otters.

8. Big Bend National Park, Texas

Big Bend National Park, Texas
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Spanning over a million acres, Big Bend National Park houses the Chisos Mountains and remnants of historical settlements.

You can explore natural hot springs or embark on scenic drives amidst the striking red rock landscapes. With over 150 miles of trails to explore through mountain and desert terrain, Big Bend is a hiker’s paradise. You may also find dinosaur and sea fossils here, as well as interesting wildlife and fascinating ecosystems.

9. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
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Explore the depths of Carlsbad Caverns National Park where over a hundred subterranean chambers await.

Your gaze will meet the dangling stalactites and the vast Big Room underground.

Should the caverns’ shadows be too much, surface for a drive through the desert offering scenic vistas.

10. Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana

Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana
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In Indiana Dunes National Park, you can enjoy over 50 miles of trails across diverse landscapes like wetlands and prairies.

Nestled by Lake Michigan, this park encourages you to immerse yourself in nature, and afterwards, refresh with a swim in the lake’s crystal-clear waters.

This hidden gem provides a serene escape where adventure and tranquility meet.

11. Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska

Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska
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Within Alaska’s vast terrain, Wrangell St. Elias stands out as the largest national park in the United States, covering over 13.2 million acres.

Home to towering peaks and glacial landscapes, the region invites you to scale some of Alaska’s tallest mountains for breathtaking views.

Whether you’re hiking beside rivers to witness glaciers or camping to behold the northern lights, adventure is abundant here. This huge protected land is also home to large numbers of all three species of North American bears, alongside lynx, stellar sea lions, and other wildlife.

12. Exploring Glacier National Park in Montana

Exploring Glacier National Park in Montana
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Nestled on the edge of Canada, Glacier National Park offers a vast wilderness that spans over a million acres.

You’ll find remnants of the last Ice Age here with plentiful glacial structures.

With over 700 lakes and multiple mountain ranges, the park provides countless trails and waterfalls that invite exploration.

Embrace the area’s natural beauty by staying at a historic lodge or chalet, many of which are recognized for their significance and preserved as part of the nation’s heritage.

13. Yosemite’s Iconic Landscapes

Yosemite's Iconic Landscapes

Among the grandeur of Yosemite National Park, you’ll find El Capitan and Half Dome—two towering granite monoliths.

Prepare to be awed by Yosemite Falls, recognized as one of North America’s tallest waterfalls.

This UNESCO World Heritage site invites you to explore its valleys and marvel at its natural wonders.

14. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
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At Grand Canyon National Park, stunning geological layers unfold the Earth’s history beneath your feet.

Stand at the rim and behold a world of color and grandeur.

Hiking the park’s intricate trails, whitewater rafting on the Colorado River, or taking in the expansive views from the Skywalk all provide profoundly memorable experiences.

The park is a journey through time etched into the very cliffs and gorges that make up the iconic Grand Canyon. The area is well-known for fossils (although not dinosaurs), and it even creates its own weather.

15. Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park
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Spanning over 2.2 million acres, Yellowstone National Park enriches your experience with its majestic mountains, tranquil hot springs, and vivid canyons.

While marveling at the reliable eruptions of Old Faithful, remember to stay vigilant for sightings of bison, elk, and possibly a grizzly.

The park’s wonders extend beyond just geothermal features, inviting you to witness its rich wildlife across Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.

16. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
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As you traverse southward from Yellowstone, within approximately one hour’s drive, the distinct profile of the Teton Range emerges.

Here in Grand Teton National Park, unlike its northern neighbor—famed for its hot springs and geysers—you’ll discover an abundance of pristine waterways.

Envision yourself fishing or gliding in a canoe on the meandering Snake River, or perhaps kayaking amid the reflections of grand peaks, surrounded by the rich habitat that supports Wyoming’s wildlife, like the majestic moose of Jackson Hole.

17. Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park, Maine
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In Acadia National Park, you’ll experience the unique beauty of coastal Maine’s highlands and forests.

Mountains rise mightily from the Atlantic, offering stunning vistas and loads of different outdoor activities.

You can hike rugged trails, bike on carriage roads, or admire the playfulness of seals along the jagged coastline.

Enjoy the park’s scenic richness with activities from horseback riding to rock climbing.

18. Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park, Utah
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Embark on a journey to Arches National Park where over 2,000 sandstone arches stand as nature’s masterpieces.

Marvel at the grandeur of the iconic Delicate Arch, or navigate the captivating formations within the Fiery Furnace.

Don’t miss the impressive Balanced Rock, rising 128 feet against the sky—a aweinspiring reminder of the wonders of natural erosion.

19. Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park, Washington
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Venture into Olympic National Park and encounter its vast ecological diversity.

With elevations that span from sea level to glacier-crowned peaks, your explorations will lead you through ancient rainforests and to sandy shores where tide pools brim with marine life.

In winter, Hurricane Ridge transforms into a snowy playground suitable for a range of exhilarating outdoor activities.

20. Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado
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Journey through the soaring elevations of Rocky Mountain National Park where you can traverse Trail Ridge Road. This renowned high-altitude highway ascends above 12,000 feet.

It offers a glimpse into the park’s unique subalpine and alpine worlds. As you explore lower regions, you’ll discover vibrant wildflowers. You’ll also wander among the large herds of elk that call the park home, along with bighorn sheep and moose.

For those seeking adventure, rock climbing, remote camping, and horseback riding present thrilling ways to experience the park’s rugged landscapes.

20 Crucial Supplies for Surviving a Societal Collapse

glass of water
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In the face of uncertainty, being well-prepared gives you at least some degree of control and security. The thought of a societal collapse, while extreme, prompts us to consider how we might endure without the conveniences of our current lifestyle. Here’s a list of 20 essential items that could prove indispensable in such a scenario. This guide isn’t about succumbing to fear but embracing preparedness and resilience.

14 Essential Canned Goods for Your Emergency Pantry

selection of canned goods
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I firmly believe in keeping a well-stocked emergency pantry. While fresh food is ideal, in a survival situation, we may not be that lucky. So, for my family, even though we grow a lot of our own food, canned goods play a crucial role in emergency preparedness. They offer a reliable source of nutrition when access to fresh produce may be limited. The goods you stockpile should be affordable, easy to store, and full of nutrition.

Best Regions in the U.S. to Escape to When Society Collapses

Alaska skyline
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Choosing a refuge in the event of societal collapse involves weighing the pros and cons of each location against your personal preparedness goals and abilities. Whether you’re drawn to the solitude of the desert or the protective heights of the mountains, the key is finding a place that offers safety and the opportunity for growth and renewal.

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Katy Willis is a writer, lifelong homesteader, and master herbalist, master gardener, and canine nutritionist. Katy is a preparedness expert and modern homesteader practicing everyday preparedness, sustainability, and a holistic lifestyle.

She knows how important it is to be prepared for whatever life throws at you, because you just never know what's coming. And preparedness helps you give your family the best chance to thrive in any situation.

Katy is passionate about living naturally, growing food, keeping livestock, foraging, and making and using herbal remedies. Katy is an experienced herbalist and a member of the CMA (Complementary Medical Association).

Her preparedness skills go beyond just being "ready", she's ready to survive the initial disaster, and thrive afterward, too. She grows 100% organic food on roughly 15 acres and raises goats, chickens, and ducks. She also lovingly tends her orchard, where she grows many different fruit trees. And, because she likes to know exactly what she's feeding her family, she's a seasoned from-scratch cook and gluten-free baker.

Katy teaches foraging and environmental education classes, too, including self-sufficient living, modern homesteading, seed saving, and organic vegetable gardening.

Katy helps others learn forgotten skills, including basic survival skills and self-reliance.

She's been published on sites such as MSN, Angi, Home Advisor, Family Handyman, Wealth of Geeks, Readers Digest, and more.

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