Acadia ✪ Top Rated
4.9 (13,035 reviews)
Covering most of Mount Desert Island and other coastal islands, Acadia features the tallest mountain on the Atlantic coast of the United States, granite peaks, ocean shoreline, woodlands, and lakes. There are freshwater, estuary, forest, and intertidal habitats.
Maine, United States - EastExplore Acadia
Badlands ✪ Top Rated
4.9 (10,733 reviews)
The Badlands are a collection of buttes, pinnacles, spires, and mixed-grass prairies. The White River Badlands contain the largest assemblage of known late Eocene and Oligocene mammal fossils. The wildlife includes bison, bighorn sheep, black-footed ferrets, and prairie dogs.
South Dakota, United States - CentralExplore Badlands
Big Bend Great
4.8 (3,518 reviews)
Named for the prominent bend in the Rio Grande along the U.S.–Mexico border, this park encompasses a large and remote part of the Chihuahuan Desert. Its main attraction is backcountry recreation in the arid Chisos Mountains and in canyons along the river. A wide variety of Cretaceous and Tertiary fossils as well as cultural artifacts of Native Americans also exist within its borders.
Texas, United States - CentralExplore Big Bend
4.7 (1,743 reviews)
Located in Biscayne Bay, this park at the north end of the Florida Keys has four interrelated marine ecosystems: mangrove forest, the Bay, the Keys, and coral reefs. Threatened animals include the West Indian manatee, American crocodile, various sea turtles, and peregrine falcon.
Florida, United States - EastExplore Biscayne
4.8 (3,226 reviews)
The park protects a quarter of the Gunnison River, which slices sheer canyon walls from dark Precambrian-era rock. The canyon features some of the steepest cliffs and oldest rock in North America, and is a popular site for river rafting and rock climbing. The deep, narrow canyon is composed of gneiss and schist which appears black when in shadow.
Colorado, United States - WestExplore Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Bryce Canyon ✪ Top Rated
4.9 (17,319 reviews)
Bryce Canyon is a geological amphitheater on the Paunsaugunt Plateau with hundreds of tall, multicolored sandstone hoodoos formed by erosion. The region was originally settled by Native Americans and later by Mormon pioneers.
Utah, United States - WestExplore Bryce Canyon
Capitol Reef Great
4.8 (3,301 reviews)
The park's Waterpocket Fold is a 100-mile (160 km) monocline that exhibits the earth's diverse geologic layers. Other natural features include monoliths, cliffs, and sandstone domes shaped like the United States Capitol.
Utah, United States - WestExplore Capitol Reef
Carlsbad Caverns Great
4.8 (7,809 reviews)
Carlsbad Caverns has 117 caves, the longest of which is over 120 miles (190 km) long. The Big Room is almost 4,000 feet (1,200 m) long, and the caves are home to over 400,000 Mexican free-tailed bats and sixteen other species. Above ground are the Chihuahuan Desert and Rattlesnake Springs.
New Mexico, United States - WestExplore Carlsbad Caverns
Channel Islands Good
4.7 (1,428 reviews)
Five of the eight Channel Islands are protected, with half of the park's area underwater. The islands have a unique Mediterranean ecosystem originally settled by the Chumash people. They are home to over 2,000 species of land plants and animals, 145 endemic to them, including the island fox. Ferry services offer transportation to the islands from the mainland.
California, United States - WestExplore Channel Islands
Crater Lake Great
4.8 (10,470 reviews)
Crater Lake lies in the caldera of an ancient volcano called Mount Mazama that collapsed 7,700 years ago. The lake is the deepest in the United States and is noted for its vivid blue color and water clarity. Wizard Island and the Phantom Ship are more recent volcanic formations within the caldera. As the lake has no inlets or outlets, the lake is replenished only by precipitation.
Oregon, United States - WestExplore Crater Lake