But for some, trips to exotic locations can be expensive and impractical. And why go to another country when some of the most beautiful landscapes are only a few hours away? The United States is three times the size of Europe. There are 13 climate zones in the world, and Hawaii’s BigIsland alone has 11! And Utah (yes, Utah) has the same number of national parks as Alaska!
So, we’re reviving the summer road-trip idea. The United States is home to 58 national parks scattered across the states. They range from protected forests, to mountains, glaciers, rainforests, and canyons.
The following five national parks are some of the most beautiful, thought-provoking, and inspiring places to visit…in the world. And if these 5 aren’t enough for you, check out this list of national park with brief overviews and pictures. And make sure to click on the links- many link to the National Geographic pages for each park complete with several stunning photographs taken over the years.
1. Arches National Park: Utah
Arches National Park is in Utah and perhaps one of the most photographed parks. It is known for the 2,000 sandstone arches that rise into the sky at dizzying heights and imperceptible angles. The Paradox Formation is the geological process responsible for these towering spires.
One of the coolest things about these arches is the sediment layers and water marks left on the rock formations. Ranging from reds to yellows, the striated surfaces directly contrast the often cloudless, blue skies. The National Geographic website has a page dedicated to photographs of this park for a reason.
2. Bryce Canyon: Utah
BryceCanyon lives in the shadows of “The Grand Canyon”, but is more awe-inspiring not because of its horseshoe amphitheater shape, but by the vivid red, maroon, orange and white striated hoodoos. Yes, it’s a real word.
The limestone spires look almost like icicles, giving the canyon a unique jagged terrain. It is said that Bryce Canyon has enough fascinating geology and plant life (over 1,000 species) to fill a textbook.
3. Everglades National Park: Florida
The Everglades are the largest tropical wilderness in the US and famous for being a mangrove ecosystem. This marine estuary is home to 36 protected species including the Florida panther, the American crocodile, and the West Indian manatee.
And did you know: Everglades National Park is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist. It was also the first national park established (1947) to preserve biological diversity and resources, not for scenic views.
4. Yellowstone National Park: Idaho, Montana & Wyoming
Situated on the Yellowstone Caldera, the first national park in the world has vast geothermal areas such as hot springs and geysers, the best-known being Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic Spring. This is perhaps the most famous park in the continental US.
It is home to over 50 mammal species including the gray wolf, grizzly bears, lynx, and bison. This land is the closest we can come to the land pioneers saw. These are the animals they hunted and faced at night. The roar of geysers was the night’s music. This park is the complete opposite of the steel cities most of us stay caged in. Coming here will make you realize just how caged you are.
5. Denali National Park, Alaska
Denali is six million acres of wild land, bisected by one ribbon of road leading to Wonder Lake. Travelers along it see the relatively low-elevation taiga forest give way to high alpine tundra and snowy mountains, culminating in North America’s tallest peak, MountMcKinley.
Maxim Hygiene Products is a company whose core values include protecting our earth, celebrating it, and utilizing it in a way that both benefits us and our surrounding environment. Maxim products are organic – they are not only eco friendly, but also body friendly. We pride ourselves in our ability to appreciate our great country’s natural resources.
We encourage you to recognize what the Earth is – more than just resources for human consumption. All over the world, environmental degradation is taking place. Coral reefs are being destroyed, rainforests are being chopped down, and rivers are drying up. Take a stand and preserve this earth – preserve it not only for your own generation, preserve it for the next generation of both humans and wildlife.
And, if and when you visit any of the US national parks or protected areas, share your pictures to encourage others to appreciate the beauty of nature. Use the hashtag #parkpic and become part of a cause.