4 of the Top National Parks to Visit in the United States

Most visitors to the United States base their trip on cramming in as many of the landmarks of well-known cities such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco as they can. Ask most Americans about which places in their country are the most worth visiting, however, and they are likely to direct you away from the hustle and bustle and toward the great outdoors. Read on for a list of the five most awe-inspiring national parks which are sure to make your trip an unforgettable one. Don’t forget to factor in ESTA visa into your plans when organising your trip – if not, you’ll be on a flight back home within a few hours of your plane landing.

1.Yosemite National Park – California

Visited by trail-lovers and thrill-seekers all year round for its wealth of hiking and adventure sports opportunities, the majestic natural beauty of Yosemite National Park is iconic. The sheer beauty of the park is characterised by an enormous diversity of landscapes, including verdant grass meadows, dizzying waterfalls leading into pristine rivers, and towering granite cliffs, among which El Capitan and Half Dome bring some of the world’s best professional climbers.

The park was established in 1864 with the help of a grant signed by President Lincoln and forms part of the western Sierra Nevada of Central California. The park boundaries were then expanded to their current size due to pressure from a movement led by the famous naturalist, John Muir, in 1890. Today, the park is recognised by UNESCO and contains one of the most breathtaking hiking routes in the world, the John Muir Trail. Not to be missed for those hoping for a real experience of the American West.

2.Yellowstone National Park – Idaho, Montana, Wyoming

Widely held to be the first official national park in the United States and, indeed, some say, in the whole world, Yellowstone National Park attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year from across America and beyond. The park is one of the most volcanically active places in the whole of North America. Due to the existence of large quantity of red-hot magma just beneath the surface of the land, the park is dotted with geysers, enormous volcanoes and other geothermal features.

Yellowstone is famous for its incredible abundance of flora and fauna. Residents of the park include the bald eagle, red fox and moose, as well as hundreds of other species of mammals, birds and reptiles. The dramatic surroundings and eye-catching wildlife make the park the perfect place for an extended jaunt into the wilderness for even the most experienced hiker.


3.Glacier National Park – Montana

Glacier National Park is the jewel in the crown of the state of Montana. Containing hundreds of square kilometres of trails passing through pristine alpine forests and meadows, crystal-clear lakes and rugged, snow-capped mountains, the park is a natural paradise that should not be missed by anyone with a love of the solitude and wildness.  As the name suggests, located within the park at least 35 glaciers, some of which date back to the last ice age. If hiking and camping are not your bag, the park is accessible via the Many Glacier Road by which visitors can take in the awesome sights of the parks. Just remember to check official travel advice before you set off, as sections of the road are prone to closure at times of high snowfall.  

4.Mount Rainier National Park – Washington

One of a number of incredible national parks in the state of Washington, Mount Rainier National Park lies around the volcano from which it takes its name. Also known as Tacoma, Mount Rainier stands at 14,410 feet above sea level. The volcano is active and is the most heavily-glaciated peak in the country. The runoff water from the glacier form the source of five major rivers. Inhospitable at higher altitudes, the lower slopes of the mountain characterised by unique eco-systems in which wildlife abounds. The perfect location for a camping trip – just make sure to wrap up warm, especially in the winter months.

The United States is full of incredible natural wonders, many of which are protected by national parks. There is something for all ages and abilities for those that want to break from the city-breaks of the average visitor to the U.S. If you’d like to pay them a visit, don’t forget to use a reputable ESTA guide for the fastest way to gain entrance to the United States.