There are 63 national parks across the US. For some, hiking all of them in religious fashion has become a weekend warrior activity, while for others they've become new interstate destinations in their own right, especially as roadtrips have gained popularity throughout the pandemic.
So, where to start? We've rounded up three crowd favorites to get you going on your next national park adventure.
Sitting above the Cascade Mountains in Washington, North Cascades National Park is home to extremely moist forests, high peaks and glaciers.
The main way to access this location is through North Cascades National park or Ross Lake National Recreation area from State Route 20 (SR 20). Note that you will need a car to access the site, with the only other way to get there being a combination of buses, trains and planes (yes, combined). It goes without saying that hiring a rental will most likely be on the cards if you haven’t got your own vehicle handy.
The park is divided into three distinct sections: the aforementioned Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas, located in the north; and the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, which make up the majority of the park's acreage.
The North Cascades are also a hotbed of volcanic activity, with five active volcanoes sitting inside the park boundaries. If that’s not enough reason to head down to this natural wonder, we don’t know what is.
Fun fact for you: three major eruptions occurred between 1750 to 1850 in the area now known as Mt. Baker National Recreation Area.
Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the most unique and beautiful parks in the United States. It's known for its massive red rock formations called ‘hoodoos’, which were formed by natural erosion.
To get there, take 1-15N towards Salt Lake City, where you’ll need to hop off on exit 95. Head southeast after that, following Hwy 20 to Hwy 89 south. Finally, Hwy 12 easily will give you plenty of signage to follow, guiding you directly to the park itself.
Bryce Canyon has a variety of trails to satiate adventurers, with some easy and others more challenging. They're a great way to see the hoodoos up close, too, with unforgettable landscapes and surrounds not found anywhere else. You can also enjoy a hike, a picnic or even stay overnight at one of the park's campgrounds.
If you’re up for an experience that combines incredible geology while surrounded by awe-inspiring views of nature, this one’s for you.
This is the rarest of national park experiences in the United States — untouched, undeveloped and untrampled. Think breathtaking white-sand beaches, tropical beaches, and the stunning touch that only a Carribean location like this has to offer.
It's a place where you can go to hide out from the world without having to fly halfway around it, but the only way in and out of the Virgin Islands National Park is by boat. Expect the transfer time to be around 45 minutes, where you can take in the stunning views from St. Thomas to St. John. For additional transport, we recommend the local taxis and safari buses that you’ll find absolutely everywhere you roam here.
It’s also the place for people who really want to get away from it all – there are no modern accommodations here, just the natural splendor of beaches and coral reefs that are still relatively untouched by human activity.
You can also camp on one of the park's five islands or stay at a bed-and-breakfast run by residents of neighboring St. John.
So there you have it – three incredible national parks that should be at the top of your travel bucket list for 2022. Spend time getting back to nature while strolling through their beautiful lands and experiencing their many wonders firsthand, bringing some of the best sights of America to the forefront.
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