4 Scenic State Parks With National Park Vibes

By Erica Cowin

Planning a trip to a state or local park usually brings about thoughts of a less-mainstream, more local experience. People don’t usually think of state or local parks with the grand scale vision that you would usually expect while planning a visit to a national park. But if you set your travel plans for vacation destinations like Niagara Falls or Lake Tahoe, you may just be awestruck. Some state park’s attractions, amenities, or great outdoors experiences captivate you into believing — these state parks truly do have a national park vibe. Here are a few of the state or local parks that are sure to magnify your travel experience into something much greater than their state park designation.

1. Lake Tahoe’s State Parks

Stunning Lake Tahoe is known for shimmering sapphire-blue crystalline-quality waters surrounded by picturesque pine forests and snowcapped mountain peaks. From hiking, to alpine skiing, there is much to be discovered for adventurers and beach bums alike at this popular lake located along the California/Nevada border. Several state parks dot the shoreline, and boat cruises and historic sites leave travelers in awe with all that Lake Tahoe has to offer. Kings Beach awaits summer sunbathers as an ideal place for lounging and swimming, while scenic and historic state parks offer a variety of attractions within the proximity of the renowned lake. Consider a visit to Lake Tahoe any time of year for everything from world-class alpine ski resorts to nature walks, hiking, cycling, and water sports.

2. Napali Coast State Park

For your next trip to Kauai, Hawaii, immerse yourself in one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, the Napali Coast. Indulge in the scenic decadence by sea, land, or air — boat trips and kayaking trips are an amazing way to take it all in while hiking and aerial tours reveal hidden gems along the well-known coast. This iconic, mountainous shoreline consists of cliffs with deep, narrow valleys, with picturesque streams, and waterfalls including Manawaiopuna Falls, used in the backdrop of the Jurassic Park film. Hawaiian history can also be experienced amid stone walled terraces on the valley bottoms where Hawaiians historically cultivated taro, and where Hawaiian settlements existed and lived off the lush land. With 17 miles of cliff-laden shoreline, the beauty of Napali Coast’s beaches and waterfalls stands beyond its state park standing — beckoning to be experienced by the nation and the world.

3. Valley Of Fire State Park

Just 45 minutes northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada, lies 40,000 acres of bright-red Aztec sandstone mixed with tans and grays to create a one-of-a-kind expanse of desert. Here, geographical finds date back over 2,000 years! Valley of Fire State Park is certainly world-renowned, as many travel to take in the otherworldly landscape of rock formations resembling fire or even Mars! Adventures range from camping and hiking to weddings and photo tours — all of which are remarkable amid these spectacular sights unique to Nevada.

water inspired

4. Niagara Falls State Park

Niagara Falls unveils itself as one of the most notable landmarks — a state park renowned throughout the nation and world for its awe-inspiring scenery and famous falls. Visitors will be pleased to find that in addition to the falls themselves, there are a vast amount of attractions, exhibits, hiking trails, and dining options that are sure to wow visitors of any age. There are three falls that make up Niagara Falls: American Falls on the U.S. side, and Horseshoe Falls and Bridal Veil Falls primarily on the Canadian side. America’s oldest state park, this one is essential for travelers as a landmark destination to witness.

State parks have a uniqueness and allure all of their own. While the thought of visiting a state park may seem commonplace, these sites are nothing short of nationally-renowned and truly worthy of becoming your next exquisite visit.

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