Did you know there are 63 National Parks all across the United States? We have only seen a handful of them, but wanted to share our love for them, and why you should see them too! Word of advise: if you are planning on visiting even 3 of these parks, you may as well purchase the annual pass for $80 (entrance to many of these parks is at least $30 per vehicle).
1. Grand Canyon, Arizona
Can you really say you visited US, if you have not been to Grand Canyon? Probably not! This spectacular wonder is something truly worth seeing. Summer or winter, it has amazing views that you cannot say no to. Hiking in winter can be little bit more challenging, since it gets very slippery. If you are limited on time and have only few hours to spend there, make sure you hike South Kaibab trail (4-6 hours, but you can go back anytime since it's in and out). Bring plenty of water!!!
2. Arches National Park, Utah
Utah is our favorite state mainly because all of our favorite parks are located here. The orange rock of Arches along with its shapes, is something like out of a poster. You can easily spend hours here just driving around and hiking various spots. Make sure you hike the Delicate Arch Trail! Also stay for the sunset, it's well worth it!
3. Bryce Canyon, Utah
Another beauty of Utah! Even though we visited in March along with some snow, we think it was even more picturesque to see the contrast between the orange rock formations, and its white snow caps. Unfortunately in winter, some trails are closed, and you are limited to where you can go, but the views are still worth spending few hours here.
4. Zion National Park, Utah
Now you can see why we love Utah, right?
Zion is quite a well known destination, mainly because of Angel's Landing trail. This one is definitely not for ones who are scared of heights. It is quite strenuous, and gets very narrow towards the end while holding on to metal chains. If you are planning on hiking here, avoid the crowds and get here as soon as you can. It is one way in same way out, so keep that in mind especially if you have some youngsters in your group.
5. Badlands National Park, South Dakota
South Dakota, home to not only the very famous Mt. Rushmore, is also a home to Badlands National Park. Imagine camping here in your RV with friends or family, while spending hours hiking and then star gazing at night. Paradise right? You can easily spend couple hours here or entire day. The Badlands loop (39 miles) takes about one hour to drive through without stopping, but you will definitely stop, that's why you are there in the first place :)
6. Death Valley National Park, California
Now Death Valley is like no other place we have seen before in US. We have visited it five times already, mainly because it's located by our favorite city. If you know us well enough, you know what it is! In summer it can get extremely hot; when we visited it was 114 degrees, so imagine not having a working AC in your car- disaster. Fall is probably the best time to visit since the weather is just right, and you can still access all the interesting points. Word of advise, making sure you stack up on water and gas prior to arriving here.
7. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone is definitely a place to spend hours if not days, because of the park's size. The landscape is so intriguing that you will be stopping to get out of the car every few minutes. Watch out for bison crossing the street, there are many of them and since they are used to humans, they are not really scared of them. DO NOT come out of the car to come up to them, it can get ugly real quick.
8. Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite, home to Half Dome, is one of the most visited national parks. Camping here or staying for few days in a cabin ,while exploring what it has to offer, is well worth it! Yosemite has a vast number of trails and picturesque terrains that you will not want to miss while here. Make sure to check out Mist Trail (8.8 mile loop), which is a very scenic trail and best to hike May- October.
9. Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Major word of advise: if you are not used to higher altitudes, do your research before visiting Colorado. Both Kam and I got extreme altitude sickness, which we thought was a hoax. Stubborn us, did not take it seriously, and regretted it the second it hit us. Drink more water than you normally would, and acclimate first before hiking in higher elevation. On another note, Grand Sand Dunes is something you need to see while visiting Colorado. The dunes are so captivating in size that it's hard to look away. Also, star gazing once the sun sets, is the best we have seen here!
10. Redwood National Park, California
Did you know the tallest trees can be found right here, in Redwood National Park? Not only are these trees massive in size, their lifespan can be 2,000 years! These gentle giants make you realize as humans how little we are and how amazing nature is. We need to take every step we can to make sure they stay for other generations to enjoy it the same way we can.
USA is full of of beauty and no matter what National Park you go to, you will be mesmerized by the views and trails. These are only a few that are our favorite, but I am sure as we explore more, our top 10 will continue to evolve.
Adri & Kam