6 Best National Parks To Visit This Summer

National parks throughout the U.S. provide outstanding places to see nature up close, enjoy picturesque views, and do outdoor activities. For those looking for a summer vacation spot or day trip destination, these parks offer a wide range of natural surroundings to choose from. With most national parks being affordable, they also make great budget-friendly places to visit. From forested and mountainous areas to deserts and beaches, the following are some of the best national parks to explore this summer.

Arches National Park, Utah

Best National Parks

Arches National Park offers more than 2,000 natural stone arches to see, as well as other stunning landscapes to admire. There’s a small entrance fee to enter the park during summer. Visitors can go backpacking or hiking through the park while taking photos of breathtaking red rock formations. The park also offers thrilling activities, such as canyoneering and rock climbing. Other activities include horseback riding, biking, and guided tours. Those staying overnight can take in amazing views of the night sky overhead. The park offers camping at Devils Garden Campground, but keep in mind that reservations are required in summer. Campsites close to the park in nearby Moab are also available.

Gates of the Arctic, Alaska

Gates of the Arctic

Gates of the Arctic is an ideal national park for those who are looking for a thrilling experience in a remote location. This national park doesn’t have any trails or roads to follow. Instead, visitors are allowed to roam throughout the park’s 8.4 million acres of land and water, which includes several rivers and streams. However, due to the untouched nature of the park, it’s recommended for those who have good outdoor survival skills. Activities to enjoy in the park include hiking, fishing, climbing, and birding. Depending on conditions, visitors might have a chance to see the Northern Lights at night. Visitors can camp out during their trip, but keep in mind that there are no designated campsites with amenities.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers free admission and an impressive diversity of forests, plants, and wildlife. America’s favourite national park, which is open year-round, has over 100 species of trees and covers half a million acres of land. This includes 3,000 miles of flowing waters and 800 miles of trails, with a mix of easy and challenging trails. In fact, some scenic wonders in the park are disabled-accessible. The ancient rolling mountains that make up this national park offer memorable views, with mists and fogs that create a romantic atmosphere. For those staying in the park, accommodations include campgrounds and cabins, including luxury Gatlinburg cabins nestled in the foothills around this gateway town to the park.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park is a coastal national park that includes parts of Mount Desert Island, Isle au Hait, and Schoodic Peninsula. Visitors can enjoy views of both mountains and the ocean during their stay. Keep in mind that there’s a fee to enter the park. Acadia National Park has 27 miles of motor roads and over 150 miles of hiking trails, making it a great place for hiking and scenic drives. Carriage tours, horseback riding, and climbing are also available. Water activities in the park include swimming, fishing, tide pooling, and boating. Campgrounds offer the only type of lodging in the park. Campsites require reservations ahead of time. The park has a couple of campgrounds on Mount Desert Island and another campground on the Schoodic Peninsula.

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is an exciting place to visit for those who want to explore volcanic surroundings and have a chance to watch eruptions. The park includes the summits of Mauna Loa and Kilauea, two active volcanoes. Visitors can reach the park via car or public transportation on the island of Hawai’i or fly in from other areas. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park does charge an entrance fee. Activities in the park include driving tours along the crater rim of Kilauea, day hikes, backcountry hiking, and road tours. The park has two campgrounds with multiple campsites. The historic Volcano House offers lodging in the park with over 30 guest rooms, a dining room, and other amenities.

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park offers a tropical paradise to visit with tons of exciting activities and attractions. This remote national park is located roughly 70 miles from Key West at the bottommost part of Florida. The park consists of seven small islands to explore and covers about 100 square miles overall. Visitors can get to the park via seaplane or boat only. There’s an entrance fee for the park that’s good for seven consecutive days. Visitors can take a guided tour of historic Fort Jefferson on Garden Key, go swimming and snorkelling in clear waters, go fishing, or explore the waters via boat. For those who want to spend the night or vacation in Dry Tortugas National Park, camping is available on Garden Key. Campsites are first-come, first-serve, so plan accordingly.

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