25 great American parks every traveler should see

Whether you're looking to get back to nature or just need an escape from the big city, these National Parks, State Parks, and National Monuments definitely deliver. From classics like Yellowstone to the rain forests of El Yunque, here are 25 of your favorites.

By Kaeli Conforti, Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013, 6:00 PM

Source Article: 25 great American parks every traveler should see

Capitol Reef National Park

"Capitol Reef National Park. What a pleasant surprise!" —Lori Goodwin

(Courtesy Wolfgang Staudt/Flickr)

Crater Lake in Oregon

"Crater Lake in Oregon. It's one of the most spectacular places I've ever been, not least because it's so much bigger than it looks!" —@RobinRatchford

(Matthewjade /

Bandelier National Monument

"Bandelier is my favorite place in the park system, though it's a National Monument, not a park. Bandelier offers amazing scenery and hiking along with cultural treasures and wildlife." —Shannon McConnell

(Courtesy Lee Ruk/Flickr)

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

"Arches National Park." —Jesse Schulman

(Courtesy millerbd/myBudgetTravel)

Joshua Tree National Park

"It's hard to choose but I love Joshua Tree National Park—the desert as the sun is setting against the many Joshua trees, the welcoming and fun climbing community, the crazy rock structures tumbled throughout the park, and the hip little village located right outside the park." —Courtney Pollock

(Agap13 /

Valley of Fire State Park

"Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada is absolutely stunning. The park is host to 3,000 year-old petroglyphs and some incredible views of various red rock and sandstone formations." —Alyssa Premru

(Courtesy gikltd/myBudgetTravel)

Jasper National Park in Canada.

"Jasper National Park [in Canada]." —Kent Tinkess

(Courtesy rekissel/myBudgetTravel)

Badlands National Park

"My favorite is Badlands National Park. If you ever loved spaghetti westerns, this is your place. And at night, there are silent lightning storms that make you feel that you are on another planet." —Larry Taylor

(Courtesy rageorge/mybt)

The Grand Canyon

"I love the view you can get at the Grand Canyon!" —Lauren Burg

(Courtesy John Vetterli/Flickr)

The Maze, Canyonlands, Utah

"That is really tough, but I love the national parks in Utah, especially Canyonlands. There is something about being among rock formations that are ancient and huge that really humbles you and puts you in awe of nature." —Rachael Murphy

(Courtesy msmarls/myBudgetTravel)

Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park, Montana

"Glacier National Park. The scale of the place bends the mind between the amazing geology, the expansive vistas, the wildlife, and the almost unbelievable human ingenuity that built (and maintains) the Going to the Sun Road. It is a place that makes you re-think your relationship to the wild world." —Allison Osterberg


La Mina Waterfall in El Yunque Rainforest, Puerto Rico

"El Yunque in Puerto Rico. It's the only rain forest in the U.S. national forest system." —Raquel Ferrer

(Courtesy jeffgunn/Flickr)

Yellowstone national park, US

"Yellowstone! We visited with our son and my grandparents, and we were able to all be together as we drove around stopping at the sites. My son liked the ranger talks and had fun with the Junior Rangers and Junior Scientists programs. It was a blessing to have my grandpa share his favorite spot on earth with us!" —Courtney Rawe

(Cupertino10 /

Mount Desert Island lighthouse in Acadia National Park, Maine.

"Acadia is breathtaking in its calmness and completely absorbing peace. Watching the sun rise at Cadillac Mountain is my favorite place in the world. The miles and miles of fabulous trails, the ranger-guided boat tours, the fun atmosphere of Bar Harbor so close by. Acadia is dear to my heart and the perfect place to recharge." —Jodi Foxx

(Courtesy cmiller29/myBudgetTravel)

Zion National Park in Utah

"Zion has always been my favorite, for some reason, maybe its the grandeur combined with a quiet peacefulness. So awe inspiring." —Courtney Mercier Photography

(Courtesy stevebishop/myBudgetTravel)

Sequoias in Yosemite National Park

"Nothing can prepare you for the majesty of the Giant Sequoias in Yosemite National Park!" —Ann-Mary Rajanayagam

(Courtesy Randy Lemoine/Flickr)

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii

"Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Where else can you witness creation of the earth, and besides, it's in Hawaii!" —@tusindtak

(Courtesy Garvin/myBudgetTravel)

Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon

"Bryce Canyon. I dreamed of visiting since I was a kid. It was even more gorgeous than expected!" —@TravelEditor

(Courtesy jfenson/myBudgetTravel)

Custer State Park in South Dakota

"Custer State Park in South Dakota. Absolutely amazing. Where else can you get caught in a traffic jam because of a passing buffalo herd?" —Kaeli Conforti

(Courtesy Kaeli Conforti)

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

"Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Too beautiful. Drop me anywhere in there and leave me for a week or so." —Robin Shwedo

(Courtesy paulhurd/myBudgetTravel)

Muir Woods National Monument

"Muir Woods National Monument—the trees are so tall!" —Elizabeth Biasotti

(Courtesy daveynin/Flickr)

Shenandoah Valley

"I honeymooned in Death Valley and Joshua Tree, but I will have to pick Shenandoah as my favorite. After a New York winter, there is nothing better than a drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains in spring. I'm a history buff and enjoy the nearby towns and the old houses." —Caron Chapman-Case

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Yellowstone National Park

"Yellowstone is my favorite so far. The roads are well maintained and the staff is very friendly. Nowhere else in the U.S. is such a geologic wonder of that magnitude open for the public to learn about our early formation as a planet. Visual, visceral, stimulating!" —Lou Ann Frederick

(Courtesy leserks/myBudgetTravel)

Cinque Terre National Park in Italy

"Cinque Terre National Park in Italy—absolutely beautiful views of the Italian coastline as you hike between towns (you can take trains between them as well). My favorite spot was the Villa dell'Amore between Riomaggiore and Manarola, an easy 20 minute walk on a paved trail. Don't forget your camera!" —@willwrite4food2

(Courtesy Kaeli Conforti)

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore

"Our family just got back from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore and loved it! My proudest moment was when I found out my four-year-old son hiked about 75 percent of the way up the dune climb, by himself, once he saw me hiking to the top." —

(Courtesy Dreamstime)