There are 58 National Parks in the United States that stretch from Alaska to Maine and everywhere in between. Each park offers its own unique activities and majesty, however, some are better fit for road trips than others.
With 2016 being the Centennial celebration for the National Park Service, there is no better time to explore the stunning landscapes the country has to offer. Whether you’re exploring the coasts of California or the swamps of Florida, memories of visiting National Parks will last a lifetime.
Here are ten of the best National Parks that you need to plan a road trip to:
Acadia National Park
A road trip throughout New England couldn’t be complete without a trip to Acadia National Park. With its panoramic cliff sides and picturesque lighthouses, this National Park is located on Maine’s Mount Desert Island.
Wildlife in the area includes moose, bears and even whales in mid-spring. After exploring the beautiful state of Maine, head down the coast through New Hampshire and Massachusetts. This road trip offers historical sites and fun activities for the whole family.
Take a helicopter tour, catch a boat ride or enjoy dozens of other activities while making your way through the small but exciting State of Rhode Island.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
If you’re looking to start checking off your National Park bucket list, there’s no better place to start than the Southwest. With Carlsbad Caverns National Park tucked away in Southern New Mexico, you can hit National Parks in Texas, Colorado, and Arizona while on your statewide road trip.
Carlsbad caverns boast more than 100 caves and a grand Natural Entrance into the ancient wonderland. Keep your eyes open for bats or other wildlife, or visit during the Bat Flight. From May to October each year, you can watch at sunset each day as hundreds of bats emerge from the cavern.
Grand Canyon National Park
Head west for one of the most famous National Parks in the United States. Grand Canyon National Park is a must-see, however, if you’ve already seen it before don’t hesitate to make another trip.
From kayaking the Colorado River or just hiking to the bottom, there are so many new and exciting experiences awaiting you at the Grand Canyon.
This road trip is perfect for those wanting to see Arches National Park, Saguaro National Park and more while exploring the vast Southwest.
Redwood National Park
Start your California dream on a road trip to Redwood National Park. Whether you’re looking to see the California or Oregon coast, the Redwoods are something you cannot miss.
These trees reach up to 350 feet and live to be nearly 2,000 years old. Take the classic picture inside a hollowed out tree and check out the many trails in the area. Then, head to Enderts Beach for secluded coves and tide pools.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Head to the mountains of Tennessee after enjoying a weekend of music and fun in Nashville. Here you’ll discover breathtaking trails, waterfalls, and delicious restaurants.
Be sure to make a pit stop on your trip to the Foxfire Mountain Ziplines and of course, Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures.
Everglades National Park
Bears, moose, and alligators? What makes the U.S. so unique is its diversity of landscapes and wildlife. While on a National Park road trip you can see it all and more.
Make your way to southern Florida for Everglades National Park, a 1.5-million acre wetland filled with alligators, birds and other exotic creatures.
Rocky Mountain National Park
The lakes, peaks, and wildlife of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado make it the perfect place to make a family road trip.
Stop by Mesa Verde National Park on the way and see some of the largest cliff dwellings in North America. Then, head to the Rocky Mountains for a scenic and memorable drive.
Olympic National Park
The Olympic Peninsula of the Washington Coast is just hours from the bustling city of Seattle. Head down the coast for a peaceful drive to the Hoh Rainforest, one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S.
Be sure to also make a stop at Lake Crescent and Ruby Beach while cruising through the greenery and beauty of the Washington coastline.
Glacier National Park
Up next on the road trip journey Montana! Glacier National Park is home to more than 700 miles of hiking trails as well as stunning places to camp and fish.
Bring your camera to capture the charming mountain goats, but beware of grizzly bears. Don’t leave food in your car and keep an eye out for the gigantic bears while on your adventure.
Yellowstone National Park
More than 3.5 million people visit Yellowstone National Park each year, making it one of the most visited National Parks in the U.S.
The best time to visit the volcanic hotspot is between April and to May, when the crowds are fewer and the weather is good. While in Wyoming, you may want to check out Grand Teton National Park for even more stunning views.