We’ve always loved National Parks. When a country decides that a particular place is so special, unique, or beautiful that it should be preserved at the national level, that’s a pretty decent indication that it’s worth visiting. You’re very unlikely to be disappointed no matter which parkland you set your sights on.

National Parks are some of the most affordable places to vacation, too, since their appeal is completely natural. Nobody had to build expensive roller coasters or animatronic mice to attract people to the take in the views of the Grand Canyon or hike along its rim. Also, the costs that do exist are mostly taxpayer-funded, so the price of admission is usually cheap or even free.

If you’ve never been to a National Park before, we’re hoping the resources on this page will convince you to get out there and see some!

Our Trip to Every US National Park

In 2019, we achieved our goal of visiting every National Park in the United States before turning 30. We left our full-time jobs for the seven-month trek and camped in the back of a converted Nissan NV200 cargo van to keep costs low. 

Check out all the details of that trip and how we made it work:

What to See in the US National Parks

We wrote a six-part illustrated series documenting our experiences in the parks, in the order we visited them on our big trip. You can read through the whole thing, or if you’re looking for one park in particular, here’s a handy list of those articles and which parks are contained in each one:

  • National Parks 1-10: Hot Springs, Big Bend, Guadalupe Mountains, Saguaro, Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Channel Islands, Hawai’i Volcanoes, Haleakalā, American Samoa
  • National Parks 11-20: Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Carlsbad Caverns, Great Sand Dunes, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Pinnacles, Great Basin
  • National Parks 21-30: Virgin Islands, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Mesa Verde, Rocky Mountain, Wind Cave, Badlands, Theodore Roosevelt, Sequoia, Kings Canyon
  • National Parks 31-40: Yosemite, Redwood, Lassen Volcanic, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier, Crater Lake, Mount Rainier, Olympic, North Cascades
  • National Parks 41-50: Glacier Bay, Kobuk Valley, Gates of the Arctic, Denali, Lake Clark, Kenai Fjords, Katmai, Wrangell St. Elias, Voyageurs, Isle Royale
  • National Parks 51-61: Acadia, Shenandoah, Cuyahoga Valley, Indiana Dunes, Gateway Arch, Mammoth Cave, Great Smoky Mountains, Congaree, Everglades, Biscayne, Dry Tortugas
  • Update, January 2020: White Sands National Monument was upgraded to a National Park in December 2019. We actually stopped by incidentally when we were in New Mexico during our original seven months on the road visiting the other parks.
  • Update, July 2021: New River Gorge National River was upgraded to a National Park in December 2020. We took a trip to check it out the following summer!

The obvious question, since we had the opportunity to see them all, is “which ones were the best?” We actually compiled a complete US National Parks list, ranked from best to worst.

Photo banner for list of National Parks

Other US National Park Service Sites

Aside from the select places with “National Park” in their name, the US National Park Service also manages hundreds of other sites, like National Monuments, National Seashores, and National Preserves. Here are some we’ve written about:

National Parks Outside the US

The first National Park on Earth was Yellowstone, established by the United States Congress in 1872. But today, there are hundreds of National Parks in countries all around the world. We’ve barely scratched the surface on international parks, so there are plenty still on our to-do list! Here are some of the parks we’ve checked out in other countries so far:

If you’ve got any tips or photos to share with us from your own National Park adventures, drop us a line on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, or Instagram — and feel free to give us a follow.

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