Best of the Best: National Parks

It’s time to start that summer road trip planning, and there’s nothing better than a trip to one of America’s National Parks.

For the first time ever, TripAdvisor announced its Traveler’s Choice list of the 10 best National Parks in America — and some great ones made the list.

Best of the Best: National Parks
Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Every year, TripAdvisor pulls together reviews, ratings, and saves that travelers share from across the globe, and they use their findings to spotlight the very best. This year for the first time, they included America’s National Parks in their research.

Can you go wrong with a visit to any of our national parks? Not really. But it’s fun to see which ones are the truly loved.

The list is a celebration of the amazing views, mountains, lakes, trees, trails, and beaches that got travelers outside and into nature — is your favorite on the list?

1. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Situated near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park‘s crown jewels include the Cathedral Group of peaks and the majestic Snake River.

The beautiful mountains are so awe-inspiring, and I truly believe you cannot take a bad picture here. Explore over 200 miles of trails, float the Snake River, try windsurfing and sailing at Jackson Lake, hike the Jenny Lake Trail, drive the 42-miles Scenic Loop Drive, or visit the Indian Arts Museum at the Colter Bay Visitor Center.

2. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Does everyone have the Grand Canyon on their bucket list? They should!

We’ve all seen pictures of the Grand Canyon, but nothing compares to actually seeing it and experiencing it. There are lots of great overlooks for visitors to take it all in from the rim.

Popular hiking trails include the Bright Angel Trail and South Kaibab Trails for amazing views. You can also rent bikes or take a scenic drive through the park. Kayak or whitewater raft down the Colorado River, descend into the canyon on a mule trip, or take a guided tour.

(And hey, if you can’t make it out to Arizona this year — Georgia’s got its own “Little Grand Canyon” for you to visit!)

3. Zion National Park, Utah

The spectacular rock formations, rugged canyons, tumbling rivers and pine-blanketed peaks of Zion National Park provide a southwestern wonderland for unparalleled camping, hiking, canyoneering and climbing.

Hike The Narrows or Angel’s Landing for a truly memorable experience! For those who’d rather not hike, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is where it’s at.

4. Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Denali National Park is huge — larger than the state of Massachusetts! — but only one road. Perfect for those who are truly looking to get away from it all!

Denali is home to Mount McKinley, also known as Denali, which means “The Great One.” It’s the highest peak in North America.

Hiking, backpacking, fishing, and plenty of winter activities abound at Denali.

5. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone is America’s first National Park — and boy, is it a good one. Located mostly in Wyoming, it also extends into Montana and Idaho.

Yellowstone has active geothermal features with geysers and boiling mud pots throughout the park. The most famous is Old Faithful, a geyser that has erupted on the clock for decades. Travelers, be warned, though — July is the busiest month of the year, with almost a million visitors alone! The park has a tour bus system, nine visitor centers, and 2,000 campsites.

6. Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park encompasses more than 1,000,000 acres of terrain!

Explore glacial-carved mountain peaks and valleys, cascading waterfalls and the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road, which runs through the heart of the park and crests the Continental Divide at Logan Pass.

The park is open year-round and offers sightseeing, wildlife watching, fall foliage, boating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, bicycling, fine dining and luxury accommodations. It has over 700 miles of trails to explore!

7. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

I mean, how could a national park in Hawaii not be amazing?!

Extending from sea level to 13,677 feet, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park encompasses the summits of two of the world’s most active volcanoes – Kīlauea and Mauna Loa.

Don’t miss Kilauea’s four-kilometer-wide Halemaumau Caldera, Kilauea Iki Crater Trail, or the easy Kipuka Puaula Trail — the scenery is spectacular no matter which you pick!

8. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

This national park is one of the easier ones for Atlantans to visit — so make sure you add this one to your travel list!

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has amazing hiking trails (try Alum Bluff, or Charlie’s Bunion), horseback riding, the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, Cades Cove for seeing wildlife, Clingmans Dome for spectacular views, plenty of camping, picnic spots, fishing, and more.

On the North Carolina side, Cherokee, NC is a great town to visit, and on the Tennessee side — Gatlinburg is filled with fun things to do!

9. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Hoodoos (irregular columns of rock) exist on every continent, but at Bryce Canyon National Park, you’ll find the largest concentration found anywhere on Earth.

Hike on the mile-long Bristlecone Loop or on the 22-plus mile Under the Rim trail. With 50 miles of trails, mountain biking, horseback riding and star talks, Bryce is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.

10. Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.

The valley is open year-round for camping, hiking, and climbing. Make sure you see El Capitan and Half Dome!

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