• Gina Rullo

National Parks to visit for an adventure


The Joshua Tree National Park in California. (recreation.gov)

A day spent in the great outdoors can expose people to unparalleled beauty and offer the ability to view wildlife not readily encountered elsewhere. The United States has dozens of federally recognized national parks, as well as many other historic sites, scenic trails, national seashores and national recreation areas. Unique geological features, diverse ecosystems, amazing natural beauty and refuges for wild animals are located across the United States.


Yellowstone National Park was the first national park. A bill designated it as such as when signed into law in 1872 by President Ulysses S. Grant, followed by Mackinac National Park in 1875, which was later decommissioned. California (nine) and Alaska (eight) are home to the most national parks of any states. The newest national parks were added in 2021. They include Weir Farm National Historic Park in Connecticut, Homestead National Park in Nebraska and Jimmy Carter National Historic Park in Georgia. Exploring national parks across the nation can make for an exciting adventure and a relaxing retreat.

The National Park Service in the United States has been around for more than a century. Created in 1916, the National Park Service was initially tasked with protecting the country’s 35 national parks and monuments. Today, the National Park System comprises more than 400 areas that cover more than 84 million acres in 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan and the Virgin Islands.


The growth of the National Park Service is proof of the undeniable allure of the great outdoors. The call of the wild can be answered anywhere in the United States, and the following are some must-see locations that fall under the purview of the National Park Service.


Alabama

• Little River Canyon National Preserve


Alaska

• Denali National Park

• Glacier Bay National Park


Arizona

• Grand Canyon National Park

• Petrified Forest National Park


California

• Joshua Tree National Park

• Redwood National Park

• Sequoia National Park

• Yosemite National Park


Colorado

• Great Sand Dunes National Park

• Rocky Mountain National Park


Delaware

• First State National Historical Park


Florida

• Everglades National Park

• Dry Tortugas National Park


Hawaii

• Haleakala National Park


Idaho

• Yellowstone National Park (extends into Montana and Wyoming)


Kentucky

• Mammoth Cave National Park


Indiana

• Indiana Dunes National Park


Maine

• Acadia National Park

• Roosevelt Campobello International Park (a cooperative effort between the U.S. and Canada)


Michigan

• Isle Royale National Park

• Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore


Minnesota

• Voyageurs National Park

• Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway (extends into Wisconsin)


Missouri

• Gateway Arch National Park

• Ozark National Scenic Riverways


Montana

• Glacier National Park

• Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area (extends into Wyoming)


Nebraska

• Niobrara National Scenic River


Nevada

• Great Basin National Park


New Jersey

• New Jersey Pinelands

• Gateway National Recreation Area (extends into New York)


North Carolina

• Great Smoky Mountains National Park (extends into Tennessee)


North Dakota

• North Country National Scenic Trail (extends across various states)


Ohio

• Cuyahoga Valley National Park


Oregon

• Crater Lake National Park

• Lewis and Clark National Historical Park (extends into Washington)


South Carolina

• Congaree National Park


South Dakota

• Badlands National Park

• Wind Cave National Park


Texas

• Big Bend National Park

• Big Thicket National Preserve


Utah

• Arches National Park

• Canyonlands National Park


Virginia

• Blue Ridge Parkway (extends into North Carolina)

• Cumberland Gap (extends across various states)


West Virginia

• New River Gorge National Park


Visit www.nps.gov for a full list of national parks.