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??


  • 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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  • Lake Clark National Park - My namesake National Park, Lake Clark, was next on this adventure! This is one of the parks you have to fly into. There are no roads in or to this park. It is an undeveloped area full of lakes, streams, volcanos, rivers, mountains, and it includes the headwaters for the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery; making it a haven for fishers.  We flew to this park with Lake & Pen Air from their small office near the main airport. It...

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  • Kenai Fjords National Park - Next up on the Alaskan adventure, we headed to Kenai Fjords National Park after our time in Denali. Over half of Kenai Fjords is covered by glaciers; together all called the Harding Icefield, which is why the park itself is primarily experienced on the water.  From Denali and Anchorage, Seward is only a couple hours away on a beautiful coastal highway. Seward, the park headquarters, is a cute port town that is bustling with tourists.  We got to enjoy this...

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  • Denali National Park - After my disappointing experience with the Arctic Parks, Mike and I headed to the crown jewel of Alaska; Denali National Park. We arrived late morning, so we grabbed my Junior Ranger booklet, talked to the rangers, and made a game plan.We’ve been walking the fine line of spontaneity and still getting tickets/reservations/etc. Sometimes it bites us in the butt, but we got veryyyy lucky and were able to reserve the very last campsite for the following evening at Wonder Lake...

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  • Gates of the Arctic and Kobuk Valley National Parks - From Wrangell St Elias, we headed up north to check out the Arctic parks; Gates of the Arctic and Kobuk Valley. The first thing you should know about these parks… they are ridiculously hard to get to. For both parks, the majority of people fly into the parks. And most of those people just do a flightseeing tour and that’s about it. It is so so so expensive.  Gates of the Arctic was a tiny bit easier for us to...

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