The national park system is made up of a whopping 407 areas of interest, according to NPS.gov, so you probably will have a hard time visiting every single one unless you want to quit your job. So in honor of National Park Week (April 18-26), we’ve selected our favorites that everyone should see at least once. Also note that if you live near a national park and it usually costs money to get in, it’s free this weekend!
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Yosemite National Park (California): This park, known for its waterfalls, cliffs and giant sequoias, is the third most-visited national park in the U.S., according to CNN. It’s a true beauty you could spend years exploring.
Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming/Montana/Idaho): Old Faithful is here, as are the majority of the world’s geysers, according to NPS.gov. Mountains, wildlife, beauty aplenty – this is not to be missed. Fun fact: Yellowstone was established in 1872 as America’s first national park.
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Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona): Pictures — though amazing — don’t even come close to doing this justice. It’s huge, it’s beautiful, it’s simply amazing. And you don’t just have to stand at the ledge and look – you can do down at certain points, and you can travel down the Colorado River, too.
Acadia National Park (Maine): Beautiful rugged coast, granite peaks, lakes – the oldest National Park east of the Mississippi River has it all. And it’s one of the most amazing spots from which to watch the sun rise.
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Channel Islands National Park (California): Last but not least, this national park is little known but incredibly rewarding to visit. You have to get there by boat, and you will be rewarded with ocean island scenery the likes of which you’ve never seen.