Over the years, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to visit 11 of the 63 National Parks that can be found throughout the U.S. While all were unique and interesting in their own way, there were definitely some I loved more than others. This is my ranking of the Top 5 U.S. National Parks that I’ve visited so far. As a bonus, I’m also sharing the top 3 National Parks on my travel bucket list that I haven’t yet been to!
Top 5 U.S. National Parks
Fun fact: I actually used to live in South Dakota as a kid! I have a lot of family there and still love going back to visit because I think South Dakota is a super underrated state. Similarly, I don’t see too many people talking about Badlands National Park, even though it’s one of my favorites. The landscape is super unique and looks like something you might find on another planet. Plus, the park is full of wildlife ranging from bison and bighorn sheep to prairie dogs.
I would actually love to return to Yellowstone National Park and explore some more because my husband and I only got to spend one day in the park when we visited. Still, Yellowstone is such a classic that I highly recommend everyone take a visit. There’s a huge variety of wildlife and landscapes, and it’s unreal to see the massive hot springs and geysers in person. There’s a reason Yellowstone is one of the most popular National Parks!
Olympic National Park is one of those places you have to see for yourself to believe. I mean, where else in the U.S. can you spend a day exploring rocky beaches, snow-capped mountains, glacial rivers, and thick rainforests? Olympic National Park is full of biodiversity that makes every visit unique from the last.
2. Grand Teton
In my humble opinion, Grand Teton National Park is probably one of the prettiest areas in the entire country. The mountains look absolutely unreal in person, and the whole park feels wild and rugged. Grand Teton is another park I’d love to return to and spend more time exploring because there’s so much to see and do!
1. Mount Rainier
Of all the National Parks I’ve gotten to visit so far, Mount Rainier National Park is undoubtedly my favorite. Seeing Mount Rainier up close and personal is an amazing experience, and you truly can’t fathom its grandeur until you’re seeing it with your own eyes. Plus, Mount Rainier National Park is where I saw my first wild bear! The whole park feels so magical and is absolutely stunning year-round.
Top 3 U.S. National Parks Bucket List
Glacier National Park in Montana is one National Park I’ve been wanting to visit for years. The mountains look insanely dramatic and I’ve heard the park is absolutely full of wildlife. Plus, I’d love to pay a visit to RightOnTrek’s EDGE Backpacking Gear Rental Facility that just opened this year. I love that RightOnTrek works to make the outdoors accessible for as many people as possible. And, they make delicious backpacking meals!
As someone who loves both hiking and rock-climbing, Yosemite National Park sounds like an absolute dream. I’ve seen so many documentaries about Yosemite and I would love to pay the park a visit in the next couple years. I’ve actually never been to California, so I hope to make a trip out of it and explore a few different areas throughout the state!
1. Gates of the Arctic
Image courtesy of Travel Alaska
Alaska seems to be one of the last truly wild places left in the U.S., and I would absolutely love to spend some time exploring Gates of the Arctic National Park. The wilderness of Alaska looks intimidating but also incredibly beautiful, and I definitely plan on taking a trip to the state – hopefully, sooner rather than later!
What’s your favorite U.S. National Park, and which one would you like to visit next? Let me know in the comments!
3 thoughts on “Top 5 U.S. National Parks (Plus 3 On My Bucket List)”
I’m missing two on your list, Badlands and Gates of the Arctic (which looks incredible). You’ve inspired me to put them on my list now!
We have been to 61 of the 63 so far and have tickets to American Samoa for January 2023! Gates of the Arctic is a neat spot. Most people don’t know that you can hike into it about five miles from Galbraith Lake Campground on the Dalton Highway.
Yellowstone is one on my list as well. Thank you for sharing the list. Each of them looks spectacular.