Whether you’re looking for a grand adventure or seeking the solace and serenity of nature, you can find it all in America’s National Parks. From towering mountain ranges to peaceful rivers, to mossy groves and some of the best hiking trails on earth, the national park system has it all – even taking the form of man-made structures in metropolitan areas. Plan a horseback riding, camping, or rafting trip at one of the many historical sites filled with natural beauty. We’ve rounded up some of the most popular National Park destinations in the continental United States along with the best times of the year to visit so you can start planning your next trip.
Explore the coast of the Northeast, immerse yourself in a sunset over the blue-ridge mountains, and discover other-worldly caverns.
Congaree National Park
Incredible hardwood forest with fishing, canoeing, and hiking options.
Mammoth Cave National Park
Home to the largest cave in the world and the beautiful forests above.
Cape Cod National Seashore
Pristine, protected beaches in a historic side of town.
Great Smoky Mountains
Iconic rolling mountain vistas in historic Appalachia.
Spanning the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, the Canadian Rockies have jagged ice-capped peaks and pristine teal lakes that create a visual wonderland. Marvels include Banff National Park, Lake Louise, and Jasper National Park. You can take in the view on high by signing up for one of the train tours that glide through the Rockies or by riding the Jasper SkyTram. For a firsthand look at the scenery, hike the national parks, paddle the Yukon River, or ski the slopes. The region of Okanagan offers yet another perspective on the Rockies: At nightfall, you can visit the world’s largest accessible astronomy park to gaze through a telescope and learn about the stars, planets, and galaxies above. During the winter the Canadian Rockies are a paradise for snow sports from skiing and snowboarding to tubing and tobogganing, but in the cool springs and mild summers, from late May to early September, the temperature is perfect for hiking and climbing.
The only skyscrapers you’ll spot in the popular towns Banff and Canmore are the Canadian Rockies themselves. You can mosey through their mom-and-pop shops, stepping outside to breathe in the clean, crisp air with gusto. Here you can have your pick of gourmet and organic-minded restaurants then unwind at one of the towns’ many spas and yoga centers.