Parks

Parks

59* parks to visit! 56 down, 3 to go!

Next up: Florida National Parks

Current Rankings (Click to see my personal rating system)

  1. Congaree (SC)
  2. Kenai Fjords (AK)
  3. Smoky Mountains (TN/NC)
  4. Denali (AK)
  5. Wrangell St Elias (AK)
  6. Olympic (WA)
  7. Grand Teton (WY)
  8. Voyageurs (MN)
  9. Hawaii Volcanoes (HI)
  10. Katmai (AK)
  11. Mammoth Cave (KY)
  12. Everglades (FL)
  13. Black Canyon of the Gunnison (CO)
  14. Great Sand Dunes (CO)
  15. Badlands (SD)
  16. Wind Cave (SD)
  17. Indiana Dunes (IN)
  18. Channel Islands (CA)
  19. Theodore Roosevelt (ND)
  20. Guadalupe Mountains (TX)
  21. Hot Springs (AR)
  22. Bryce Canyon (UT)
  23. Acadia (ME)
  24. Shenandoah (VA)
  25. Glacier Bay (AK)
  26. Rocky Mountain (CO)
  27. Redwoods (CA)
  28. Yellowstone (WY)
  29. Crater Lake (OR)
  30. Glacier (MT)
  31. Big Bend (TX)
  32. North Cascades (WA)
  33. Kings Canyon & Sequoia (CA)
  34. Mount Rainier (WA)
  35. Lassen Volcanic (CA)
  36. Carlsbad Caverns (NM)
  37. Lake Clark (AK)
  38. Canyonlands (UT)
  39. Arches (UT)
  40. Petrified Forest (AK)
  41. Capitol Reef (UT)
  42. Pinnacles (CA)
  43. Cuyahoga (OH)
  44. Mesa Verde (CO)
  45. Zion (UT)
  46. Haleakala (HI) 
  47. Yosemite (CA)
  48. Joshua Tree (CA)
  49. Saguaro (AZ)
  50. Great Basin (NV)
  51. Gates of the Arctic (AK)
  52. Grand Canyon (AZ)
  53. Death Valley (NV)
  54. Gateway Arch (MO)
  55. Kobuk Valley (AK)

*There are currently 61 National Parks – but two are on American territories that we will not be visiting. At least not until we have a lotttt more money. Also, did you know that the St Louis Arch and Indiana Dunes were just promoted to National Parks a few months ago??


  • Channel Islands National Park - After yet another short four hour drive down the coast of California from Pinnacles National Park, we arrived to Ventura, CA where the Visitor Center is for Channel Islands. And boy oh boy, Channel Islands National Park…. what a gem.  This park does take a little bit of pre-planning. There are only three ways to get to the islands; by a private boat, a plane through Channel Islands Aviation, or – the most cost effective and popular option – by boat...

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  • Pinnacles National Park - I don’t think anyone could ever live in California and say there is nothing to do! It seems like no matter where you are at, there is a National Park treasure just a couple hours away! After we visited Sequoia and Kings Canyon, we drove a quick four hours to Pinnacles National Park!  It was late afternoon on a hot August weekend in southern California when we arrived to the park, so we took one of the last campsites they...

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  • Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks - While Yosemite was wonderful and beautiful, this park was much more our style! Just a few hours down the road, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (2 in 1!) is the less visited, but just as amazing, National Park gem! Sequoia is the second oldest National Park, thanks to its namesake tree being the largest on Earth (and our past Presidents and leaders had the foresight to preserve such precious commodities, and cared about conservation more than profit…).  Since we...

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  • Yosemite National Park - Next up on the journey, one of the most visited and popular parks in the country… Yosemite National Park!  Yosemite is full of waterfalls, valleys, giant sequoias, rivers, wildlife, huge granite cliffs and rock formations, and more. With all these amazing things, they also bring ALL. THE. PEOPLE. In case you haven’t noticed, Mike and I tend to shy away from the crowds, and we were here during prime vacation time. We arrived at sunrise, as it’s proven to be...

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  • Lassen Volcanic National Park - On the next stop of our California tour; Lassen Volcanic National Park! It was a short 4 hour drive from the Redwood, which makes it a great addition to a Redwoods destination vacation. It adds a little variety and will have a lot less crowds! This park gets its name because it of the volcanoes. Within this park, all four types of volcanoes can be found; shield, composite, cinder cone, and plug dome. Lassen Peak is one of the largest...

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  • Redwood National Park - We finally made it to California! After Alaska, I think I was most excited to visit California since it has such a large number of National Parks and they’re vastly different across the state. The first park on our list was Redwood National Park. This park is absolutely huge and encompasses a lot of State Park area as well.  We started from the North and stopped at Crescent City Park Headquarters first to get started. From there, we drove down...

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  • Mount Rainier National Park - After our time at Olympic, Mike and I headed into Seattle to see a few of my friends! When I taught English in South Korea a million years ago, a large group of my friends that I made were all from Seattle. One of my best friends from college is also from there, so I had a plethora of friends to catch up with before Mike and I headed down to Mount Rainier National Park! We entered Mount Rainier from...

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  • Olympic National Park - After Alaska, we zoomed 45 or so hours back to Bellingham, Washington, where my friends Beth and Lauren live. They are amazing and took care of our fur baby, Luca, while we were adventuring and hanging out with bears. Luca had a great time while he was there; he still hasn’t stopped talking about it.  After some good catching up and tacos, we headed down to Olympic National Park. We were joined by my mom for this park, as she...

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  • Glacier Bay National Park - After the bear-y exciting time at Katmai, it was finally time for our last park in Alaska; Glacier Bay National Park! We had attempted to make this our first park when we got to Alaska, but once we drove into Skagway, we had learned that the ferry tends to sell out a week or so in advance which is why we continued on and decided to hit it up later.  And it turns out, it was even easier for us...

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  • Katmai National Park - Ohhhh, Katmai National Park. If you google “bears eating salmon,” you will most definitely get images of grizzly bears at Katmai. Brooks Camp is a huge area for salmon runs, which leads to this special place being home for dozens and dozens of grizzlies…. which of course, means it’s one of the most popular parks to visit. However, this is another park that you have to fly into.  We flew with Katmai Air from Anchorage. The park is directly south...

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