America’s National Parks have been called their “Best Idea” and at the time of their creation they were an unusual idea in society. First proposed by artist George Catlin after travelling to the Great Plains of the USA in 1832, he envisioned a system to protect the great beauties of the land from encroaching development and mining.
It would take until 1864, 32 years later, for the government of California to pass legislation to protect the Yosemite Valley which started the process of the National Park system. In 1906, the Antiquities Act was signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt which gave the American Government power to reserve land for the public domain for protection.
108 years and 58 National Parks later, we honour their beauty by bringing you the 7 best National Parks of America.
1. Acadia National Park (Maine)
Located in the northeast of America in the state of Maine, Acadia National Park was the first National Park on the east coast of America. It’s beauty comes from dense forest filled with pine, fir and birch, stunning lakes and a jagged rocky shoreline that is so close to Canada you can catch a ferry across to Nova Scotia.
It was nearly lost to the public but for the help of wealthy benefactor, J D Rockefeller who financed a large part of it’s creation.
2. Yosemite National Park (California)
The original National Park and it’s not hard to see why. Set in the stunning Yosemite Valley in California, it attracts millions of tourists each year with it’s natural beauty. Postcard perfect granite cliffs dot the landscape along with dense old growth forests and spectacular waterfalls. A hikers paradise, you’ll never want to leave.
3. Zion National Park (Utah)
If you think of canyons in America, most people will say the Grand Canyon which whilst being beautiful, is not the best canyon to explore in the United States. Zion Canyon is a geographic wonder located in southern Utah. Mixing high peaks with low valleys, Zion’s climate and geographical uniqueness gives it’s an unsurpassed beauty.
4. Redwood National Park (California)
Redwood National Park in northern California is straight out of a fairy tale. With an old growth forest dominated by gigantic Redwoods this National Park will take your breath away as you stare up into the trees – some over 100 metres tall and wide enough that in parts of the park you can drive through the trunk of one in your car.
5. Arches National Park (Utah)
Carved out over millions of years, Arches National Park is famous for it’s iconic Delicate Arch (pictured below) that sits, funnily enough, delicately on top of a sandstone cliff.
The park is famous not just for it’s picturesque outcrops and arches but also the petroglyphs left behind by the ancient Pueblo people which have luckily been preserved by the dry climate.
6. Dry Tortugas (Florida)
One of the most remote National Parks in America, Dry Tortugas (turtles in Spanish, dry because their is no fresh water) is a fort that sits in the Florida gulf coast between Cuba and Key West.
It dates back to just after Florida was sold to the United States by Spain and it’s claim to fame is that was used as a prison to house Dr Mudd, a doctor who treated John Wilkes Booth after he was wounded assassinating Abraham Lincoln. Nature wise, it sits atop pristine coral reefs with many shipwrecks in the area.
7. Denali National Park (Alaska)
The home of the largest mountain in North America, Mount McKinley (but known to the locals as Denali), this park features dynamic mountain ranges, wide open vistas and even the occasional glacier. It’s stunningly beautiful in a way that only Alaska can deliver.
Spread out over close to 5 million acres the best way to see the park is by air.
Don’t forget the other 51 National Parks…
We only featured 7 of the 58 amazing National Parks of America but the others are equally worthwhile visiting and equally as breathtaking.
What’s your favourite National Park in America? Leave a comment below with your favourite.