51 Must-Visit National Park Properties Across America

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HaizhanZheng/iStock via Getty Images / HaizhanZheng/iStock via Getty Images

The United States National Park System comprises more than 400 individual properties. Those sites include mountains, deserts, rainforests, and the homes of former presidents. No matter where in America you find yourself, there's likely a national park, trail, or monument within driving distance. As you plan your next road trip, be sure to check out these must-visit national park properties in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C.

1. Alabama // Freedom Riders National Monument

Ser Amantio di Nicolao, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

The National Park Service manages several sites in Alabama, including the Freedom Riders National Monument, which honors the multiracial group of civil rights activists. In 1961, the Freedom Riders challenged racist laws requiring segregation in interstate travel. The riders were attacked by segregationists, and their buses were firebombed. Images of the attack appeared in countless newspapers, leading the federal government to ban racial segregation on buses, trains, and other means of transportation. —Erika Wolf

2. Alaska // Denali National Park & Preserve

Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska is home to a charismatic assortment of wildlife and many magnificent sites. Denali, formerly known as Mount McKinley, is the highest mountain peak in North America with an elevation of more than 20,000 feet. Just be prepared to map out exactly what you want to see, as it would take a visitor days to fully explore Denali's 6 million acres. There are several rivers and lakes throughout the park, as well as glaciers; visitors should not be surprised to see animals like bears, wolves, mountain goats, and even moose. Only one road winds through the park, which is located about five hours from Anchorage, and personal vehicles are not allowed after the 15-mile marker, so visitors will need to hike or join a bus tour. —Tasia Bass

3. Arizona // Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park, one of the world's Seven Natural Wonders.
Grand Canyon National Park, one of the world's Seven Natural Wonders. / espiegle/Getty Images

Arizona may be home to 22 national parks, but only one boasts the honor of being ranked among the world’s Seven Natural Wonders. Between 5 and 6 million years ago, the Colorado River began sculpting the Grand Canyon, carving through layers of sandstone, shale, and limestone. The resulting chasm is a mile deep and, at some points, 18 miles wide. You can (cautiously) stand at the canyon’s rim or choose from a variety of hikes that will take you down to the river flowing deep below. —Kerry Wolfe

4. Arkansas // Hot Springs National Park

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Hot Springs National Park is a tribute to the American spa experience, with nine historic bathhouses located on Bathhouse Row, a popular spot for relaxation and water therapy for early 20th-century visitors. The park also features ancient thermal springs (yes, you can drink the water from some of them), beautiful creeks, and forest hikes, as well as opportunities for biking and birdwatching. —EW

5. California // Joshua Tree National Park

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Joshua Tree National Park has gained a reputation as an Insta-ready hipster haven in recent years, but there’s plenty for everyone here. Indian Cove Nature Trail is a great place for enjoying the park’s namesake flora, and climbing enthusiasts can ascend more than 8000 routes (it's the largest climbing area on the continent), including the popular beginner and intermediate climbs at Echo Cove. —EW

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6. Colorado // Rocky Mountain National Park

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The Rocky Mountains are the largest mountain range in North America, and the best place to experience them is Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. With trails taking hikers 12,000 feet about sea level, the park is famous for its views. In addition to the stunning vistas, guests also come to Rocky Mountain National Park to see lakes, waterfalls, and alpine wildlife. —Michele Debczak

7. Connecticut // Weir Farm National Historical Park

Connecticut Farm by J. Alden Weir.
Connecticut Farm by J. Alden Weir. / Princeton University Art Museum, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

This national historical park celebrates American Impressionist painter J. Alden Weir and the other artists who were inspired by this picturesque patch of Connecticut. Weir bought the property in 1882—paying a mere $10 and a painting for the 153-acre farm. His daughter Dorothy Weir, who was also an artist, inherited the land; the farm was home to other artists before becoming a national historic site in 1990. You can tour the various houses, barns, and studios where they worked; park yourself in one of the property’s gardens and unleash your inner artist, or meander along a woodland trail. —KW

8. Delaware // First State National Historical Park

Delaware was the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, which is how it earned the nickname "The First State." First State National Historical Park comprises six sites that played an important role in the founding of the United States, including Fort Christina, where Swedish settlers first landed in 1638. Among the public programs, the park offers a free Let’s Go Fishing summer program for youth and their families. —EW

9. Florida // Everglades National Park

Established in 1934, Florida’s Everglades National Park features more than 1.5 million acres of wetland and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Between the five habitats seen in the park, the Everglades are home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, manatees, bobcats, and (of course) alligators. Year-round tours—via tram, boat, or bike—allow visitors to explore the wetlands and learn about the extensive conservation efforts being made under the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. There are several trails and camping sites around the park. It also offers several ideal spots for stargazing with clear night skies in South Florida. —TB

10. Georgia // Jimmy Carter National Historical Park

Elizabeth Cheney, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

Plains, Georgia, is where you'll find the boyhood home of Jimmy Carter, 39th U.S. president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Spoiler alert: He still lives there! The site includes the farm where he grew up, the train depot, the town’s historic district, and the local high school, as well as a museum. —EW

11. Hawaii // Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

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Step foot on two of the world's most active volcanoes at this national park, located on the Big Island. Kīlauea and Mauna Loa demonstrate the seismic geologic forces that created the islands of Hawai'i, while volcanic features like pumice fields, lava beds, and the unique Thurston Lava Tube show how the land is continually shaped and remade. Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park also offers an extensive museum of cultural artifacts, programs about Native Hawai'ian and Pacific Islander heritage, and possible glimpses of the endangered state bird, the nēnē goose. —Kat Long

12. Idaho // Nez Perce National Historical Park

Home to the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) people, the gorgeous valleys, mountains, prairies, and plateaus of this national park tell the story of how this resilient population survived the settling of the United States. It consists of 38 sites important to the culture and history of the Nimiipuu. —EW

13. Illinois // Lincoln Home National Historic Site

Tigin Philip Samuel, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

There are no national parks in Illinois, but the National Park Service does operate the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield. Take a tour of the only home Abraham Lincoln ever owned to get a glimpse into his personal life as a husband, father, and neighbor. —EW

14. Indiana // Indiana Dunes National Park

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Indiana Dunes National Park, which is located along a beautiful 15-mile stretch of Lake Michigan's southern shore, offers up plenty of space for rare-species birdwatching and hiking over rugged dunes, sun-drenched prairies, and wetlands. It’s also pet-friendly, so your four-legged family members are welcome, too. —EW

15. Iowa // Effigy Mounds National Monument

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Iowa doesn’t technically have any national parks, but it does have some national trails, monuments, and historic sites. One of the most noteworthy is Effigy Mounds National Monument, a space that's considered sacred by the monument's 20 culturally associated Native American tribes, including the Crow Creek Sioux of South Dakota and Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin. Archaeologists believe that the 200-plus mounds were built to mark celestial events and seasonal observances. —EW

16. Kansas // Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

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North America used to be home to 170 million acres of tallgrass prairie, but the vast majority of it has since been transformed into farmland. Today, a mere 4 percent remains intact, and most of it is in the Flint Hills region of Kansas, where the National Park Service operates the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Bison, wildflowers, a historic ranch, and a one-room schoolhouse are just a few of the unique attractions you'll find here. —EW

17. Kentucky // Mammoth Cave National Park

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This park is home to the longest known cave system in the world, which is surrounded by rolling hills, breathtaking river valleys, and other picturesque natural wonders. Take a cave tour, or lace up and enjoy the park's 80-plus miles of hiking trails. —EW

18. Louisiana // Cane River Creole National Historical Park

James W. Rosenthal, Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons

The Cane River region played an important role in Louisiana's Creole culture. And this park preserves the Oakland and Magnolia plantations, two of the country's most well-preserved Creole cotton plantations. The park is designed to tell the story of the area's agricultural history from the varying perspectives of the many generations of families that lived here, including landowners, workers, tenant farmers, and enslaved people. —EW

19. Maine // Acadia National Park

A panoramic view of Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park.
A panoramic view of Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park. / PictureLake/iStock via Getty Images

Acadia National Park packs forests, lakes, bogs, and beaches all within a 47,000-acre area. Trek to one of the many lakes nestled within the trees or stroll along the 45 miles of historic carriage roads that wind throughout the park [PDF]. A hike to one of Acadia’s bare granite peaks reveals panoramic vistas of its many spruce-fir forests hugging the rugged North Atlantic coast. Be sure to swing by the Jordan Pond House for quintessential park views and a tasty popover slathered with strawberry jam, then take an evening drive up Cadillac Mountain—the eastern seaboard’s highest peak—to watch the stars shimmer within a crisp, clear night sky. —KW

20. Maryland // Antietam National Battlefield

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On September 17, 1862, more than 22,000 soldiers died at Antietam Creek, outside Sharpsburg, Maryland, in the bloodiest single day of the entire Civil War. (The battle ended with the Union's strategic victory.) Antietam National Battlefield preserves the key sites of the fight, including Dunker church, near where the battle erupted at dawn; the Cornfield, where hundreds of Confederate soldiers were killed; and Burnside's Bridge, where Confederate troops stalled the Union advance. Visitors can take the auto route to experience each locale and learn more about this turning point in American history. —KL

21. Massachusetts // New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

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Massachusetts has no shortage of NPS sites commemorating American democracy, culture, and history. But don't overlook New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, a walkable, waterside site that explores the whaling industry Herman Melville described in . Whaling helped light American cities, expand the railroads, and increase manufacturing productivity—and it spawned a whole repertoire of sea shanties. Visit the fascinating museum of maritime artifacts, check out a half-scale model of an actual whaling ship, and learn about efforts to protect whales today. —KL

22. Michigan // Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. / moncsicsi/iStock via Getty Images

This serene lakeshore area hugging Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula is renowned for its sand dunes, jutting cliffs, and almost 100 miles of amazing hiking trails, all surrounded by woodland that shifts color with the seasons. Pit stops along the way can include the Au Sable lighthouse and Oswald’s Bear Ranch, where visitors can get an up-close look at the furry residents. —Jake Rossen

23. Minnesota // Grand Portage National Monument

Grand Portage National Monument.
Grand Portage National Monument. / lynngrae/iStock via Getty Images

Step into a virtual time machine with this 710-acre monument celebrating the Ojibwe people, who made a name for themselves within a variety of trades, from the fur trade to maple tapping. Exhibits, an 8.5-mile-long trail, gardens, and reconstructed buildings are among the attractions. —JR

24. Mississippi // Natchez National Historical Park

Rosalie Mansion in Natchez National Historical Park.
Rosalie Mansion in Natchez National Historical Park. / Calmuziclover, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Natchez National Historical Park offers a glimpse of life in Antebellum South in an area that was first occupied by the Natchez American Indians. Among the focal points are the William Johnson House, which invites visitors to examine the life and business of William Johnson, an enslaved man who was freed, and Fort Rosalie, which was built by the French in the early 1700s to oversee the Mississippi River. —JR

25. Missouri // Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Rocky Falls near Eminence, Missouri.
Rocky Falls near Eminence, Missouri. / Logan Marshall/iStock via Getty Images

Ozark National Scenic Riverways have the distinction of being “the first national park area to protect a river system,” according to the NPS. The two most prominent rivers in that system are the Current River and the Jacks Fork River, which are filled with crisp, clean water (thanks in large part to the many freshwater springs around them). If you’re into fishing, canoeing, lazing along a riverbank, or seeking out the continent’s biggest salamander—Ozark hellbenders are slimy, aquatic creatures that can grow to almost 30 inches in length—there’s no better place to be. And if you’re not into those activities, the Riverways also offer plenty of lovely trails and caves to explore. —Ellen Gutoskey

26. Montana // Glacier National Park

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Glacier National Park is described as a “hiker’s paradise,” thanks to more than 700 miles of trails that run through it. The park’s “Native America Speaks” program is the longest-standing Indigenous speaker series in the whole National Park Service. —EW

27. Nebraska // Homestead National Historical Park

The Homestead Act of 1862, which granted 160 acres of “free” land to its claimants (and came at the expense of Native Americans), was pivotal in the westward expansion of the United States. Created in 1936, Homestead National Historical Park commemorates this act and the effects it had on the landscape and the people. A museum tells the story of homesteading in America, and the park’s research team is constantly learning more about the experience through oral histories and personal stories. —EW

28. Nevada // Great Basin National Park

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At this park, hikers can walk across beautiful green foothills or trek to the 13,063-foot summit of Wheeler Peak. Spend an evening stargazing beneath the desert sky or head underground and take a tour of the Lehman Caves. If you're looking to enjoy a few nights in Great Basin National Park, you're in luck: There are many options for summertime camping. —EW

29. New Hampshire // Appalachian National Scenic Trail

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The Appalachian Trail winds through 14 eastern states, but the section in New Hampshire might be the most breathtaking. This is where it crosses into the White Mountain National Forest at the Maine border and traverses granite peaks; thick stands of maple, oak, and conifers; and countless streams and rivers on its way to Vermont. The high point—literally—is 6288-foot Mount Washington, the tallest summit in the Northeast. It's known for its brutal and unpredictable weather, and reaching its top is a badge of honor for any hiker. —KL

30. New Jersey // Morristown National Historical Park

A picture of the Ford Mansion at Morristown National Historical Park.
A picture of the Ford Mansion at Morristown National Historical Park. / Acroterion, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

In January 1777, General George Washington led his troops to the Morristown, New Jersey, area to set up camp for the season. The Continental Army was coming off two important victories at Trenton and Princeton, and the position in Morristown was key, as it blocked the British troops in the area from easily reaching New England and Philadelphia. Between December 1779 and June 1780, Washington again set up camp in Morristown, with Washington himself residing in the spacious Ford Mansion. (This was during what is known as the “hard winter,” as a barrage of blizzards hit the Garden State and temperatures rarely rose above freezing.) Today, the mansion is part of a historic park measuring around 1700 acres. Other points of interest include Jockey Hollow, where many in the Continental Army stayed, and Fort Nonsense, constructed in 1777. —Jay Serafino

31. New Mexico // White Sands National Park

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White Sands National Park in New Mexico features a truly otherworldly landscape. Located in the world's largest gypsum dunefield, the park consists of waves of powder-white sand for as far as the eyes can see. It's a popular spot for desert sledding, and visitors can even purchase plastic snow-saucers at the gift shop. —MD

32. New York // Harriet Tubman National Historical Park

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In 1859, abolitionist Harriet Tubman moved to Auburn, New York, as an emancipated woman. Today people can visit Harriet Tubman National Historical Park to see her former residence from the outside. The property is also home to a church Tubman raised money to build, the Thompson Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. —MD

33. North Carolina // Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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Encompassing more than 800 square miles, Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers auto touring, bicycling, camping, and fishing. More than 90 historical structures dot the landscape, comprising one of the most extensive collections of log buildings on the East Coast. The natural attractions are pretty impressive, too. The park is world renowned for its diversity of wildflowers; its nickname, “Wildflower National Park,” reflects the more than 1500 types of flowering plants that bloom within its borders. Don't worry if you miss wildflower season, though. The park also boasts a colorful display of a fall foliage. —EW

34. North Dakota // Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt's Maltese Cross cabin
Theodore Roosevelt's Maltese Cross cabin / -A1A- // iStock via Getty Images Plus

Not long after his mother and first wife died on the same day, future president Theodore Roosevelt took off to the Dakota Territory, where he enthusiastically lived the life of a cowboy. He owned two ranches there: The Maltese Cross Ranch, located near Medora, North Dakota, and the more remote Elkhorn Ranch. Theodore Roosevelt National Park—the only national park named after a person—was established in North Dakota in 1947 and consists of three units. Visitors can step inside the original Maltese Cross Cabin where TR lived in the South Unit of the park and visit the site of the Elkhorn Ranch (the cabin no longer stands, but its foundation stones still exist) in the Elkhorn Unit. Beyond Roosevelt-themed attractions, nature has plenty to offer, including 185 species of birds, hundreds of bison, herds of wild horses, and a few prairie dog towns, as well as sweeping vistas of badlands like Painted Canyon Overlook. —Erin McCarthy

35. Ohio // Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park. / lipika/iStock via Getty Images

Some of Ohio’s best views are found in Cuyahoga Valley, which is the state's only National Park—and arguably, the only one you need. Just a short distance outside of Cleveland, you can hike among waterfalls and giant limestone boulders or take a bike through the Towpath Trail. —JR

36. Oklahoma // Chickasaw National Recreation Area

Little Niagara Falls in Chickasaw National Recreation Area.
Little Niagara Falls in Chickasaw National Recreation Area. / raksybH/iStock via Getty Images

Chickasaw is actually two parks: the Platt Historic District and the Lake of the Arbuckles. The entire area features mineral-rich springs which are said to have rejuvenating properties, earning it the nickname the “Oklahoma oasis.” Six public campgrounds ensure there's plenty of room to spread out and stay for a bit. —JR

37. Oregon // Crater Lake National Park

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Nearly 8000 years ago, the Klamath people experienced what's known as one of the greatest geological catastrophes witnessed by humans: the eruption of Mount Mazama. The volcano collapsed, creating what we now call Crater Lake. It's one of the clearest, deepest lakes in the world. Winter sports are popular here, including cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, though the park is also fun to visit in summer. —EW

38. Pennsylvania // Valley Forge National Historical Park

George Washington's headquarters
George Washington's headquarters / VisionsbyAtlee // iStock via Getty Images Plus

Follow in the steps of Founding Fathers like George Washington and Alexander Hamilton by visiting Valley Forge, where the Continental Army spent the grueling winter of 1777–78. Within the 3500-acre park, you can find recreations of the huts where soldiers lived, tour Washington's HQ, and see monuments dedicated to Baron von Steuben—the Prussian officer who trained the army there—and General Anthony Wayne, as well as the Patriots of African Descent Monument and the National Memorial Arch. An audio tour and cell phone guide will ensure you don't miss a thing, and historical reenactors will make it feel as if you're right back in 1777. —EMC

39. Rhode Island // Roger Williams National Memorial

Roger Williams National Memorial.
Roger Williams National Memorial. / Kenneth C. Zirkel, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

Roger Williams was a firm believer that church and state should remain separate. While it’s common thinking now—and would later inspire the Founding Fathers—it was an inflammatory take to have in the 17th century. As a result, Williams, a minister, was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635. He went on to establish the Providence Plantation, later known as the state of Rhode Island. Today, at the center of the original plantation location, you’ll find the Roger Williams National Memorial. Operated by the National Park Service, the memorial is surrounded by a historic colonial district and includes learning resources, statues, and plenty of sightseeing opportunities. —JS

40. South Carolina // Congaree National Park

Brian W. Schaller, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Congaree National Park is the largest bottomland hardwood forest in the U.S. This 26,000-acre land is a UNESCO biosphere reserve and was officially established as a national park in 2003. Despite continuously being called a swamp, it's actually a , meaning it's only covered by water for part of the year. Visitors to the park can participate in a variety of activities, including hiking, kayaking, and birdwatching. Hikers may catch a glimpse of animals like feral pigs, coyotes, and turkeys on land, while the waters are filled with many species of fish, reptiles, and amphibians. —TB

41. South Dakota // Badlands National Park

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“Badlands” sounds like it might mean something, well … bad. But visiting this national park is like stepping back in time. Its geological deposits contain one of the planet’s richest fossil beds. Ancient horses and rhinos once roamed the terrain. The modern attractions are worth a visit, too: The park protects mixed-grass prairie lands, where bighorn sheep, bison, black-footed ferrets, and prairie dogs live today. As such, wildlife-spotting is a popular activity here, as are night-sky viewing and tours of the fossil preparation lab. —EW

42. Tennessee // Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park

A photo of Chattanooga and Moccasin Bend from Lookout Mountain in Tennessee.
A photo of Chattanooga and Moccasin Bend from Lookout Mountain in Tennessee. / VitaleBaby, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

This national military park sits on the border of southern Tennessee and northwest Georgia to mark the Civil War locations of the Battle of Chickamauga and the Siege of Chattanooga. On the Tennessee side of the park, you can trek through Missionary Ridge, where more than 50,000 Union soldiers led by Ulysses S. Grant clashed with the Confederacy in November 1863. One Confederate soldier described this battle as "the death knell of the Confederacy." Located across the ridge are a handful of reservations sprinkled with monuments and cannons preserved from the battle. Some of this artillery actually resides on the private property of residents living in the area. —JS

43. Texas // Guadalupe Mountains National Park

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Just east of El Paso, the Guadalupe Mountain Range is home to both the breathtaking natural beauty El Capitan peak and Guadalupe Peak which, at 8749 feet above sea level, is the highest point in Texas. Stargazing is easy to do here, thanks to the area's pristine night skies, and there are several ideal spots for birdwatching during the day. —EW

44. Utah // Zion National Park

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Utah is famous for its national parks, and you can't go wrong visiting any of the state's Mighty Five (Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, Capitol, Reef, and Zion). But if you can only make time for one destination, Zion National Park is hard to beat. Originally established as Mukuntuweap National Monument in 1909, Zion was Utah's first national park and continues to be its most popular. The varied landscape—which includes both lush forests and arid deserts among mountains, slot canyons, and natural arches—means there's always something new for guests to see and explore. —MD

45. Vermont // Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park

Jack and Dianne, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

Unique among NPS sites, the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park examines the evolution of conservation in the United States. The site was the home of George Perkins Marsh, an early environmentalist, and owned by two subsequent land stewards, Frederick Billings and Mary and Laurance Rockefeller. Today, the park offers a network of trails through Vermont's peaceful forests, guided tours and workshops that put the site's conservation legacy into practice, and programs exploring Vermonters' roles in the Civil War and Underground Railroad. —KL

46. Virginia // Historic Jamestowne

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Jamestowne was England’s first permanent colony in the United States, and Historic Jamestowne National Park pays tribute to that history by giving visitors a peek at the area's restored architecture. If you want to truly immerse yourself in a back-in-time kind of experience, ranger-led tours will take you to such historical spots as where John Rolfe married Pocahontas in 1614. It's also the spot where the first (documented) enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia, making it a place of great cultural importance. —EW

47. Washington // Olympic National Park

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If you want to explore an American rainforest, head to Washington State. High precipitation levels in Olympic National Park have fostered a lush environment of moss-covered trees and vibrant plant-life. After hiking through the temperate rainforest, visitors can check out the glaciated mountains and Pacific coastline in other areas of the park. —MD

48. Washington, D.C. // National Mall and Memorial Parks

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No visitor to our nation's capital can afford to miss the sights on the National Mall. Stretching 2 miles from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, the expanse of green grass and pathways is bordered by sculptures and architecture synonymous with the United States. Here you'll find 15 Smithsonian Institution museums; monuments to Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin Roosevelt; solemn memorials to major American wars; and gardens, galleries, and fountains galore. The best time to visit is in early spring, when the Tidal Basin south of the Mall is ringed with blooming cherry blossoms. —KL

49. West Virginia // Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Harpers Ferry from afar.
Harpers Ferry from afar. / Douglas Rissing/iStock via Getty Images

Follow the Shenandoah River to where it meets the Potomac and you’ll find yourself in a small, friendly town that feels a little bit like you've stepped back in time to the early 19th century. Unsurprisingly, there’s some history there—most notably, the site of abolitionist John Brown’s famous raid of 1859. Harpers Ferry National Park is a good place to learn about pre-Civil War opposition to slavery, and it’s also a great vacation spot for avid hikers. Its 22 miles of trails bleed into Maryland and Virginia, too. —EG

50. Wisconsin // Ice Age National Scenic Trail

Part of the trail in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin.
Part of the trail in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. / MDuchek, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail boasts 1200 miles of breathtaking landscapes, complete with lakes, hills, valleys, and many other Instagram-worthy features. If that’s not enough of a selling point, the trail’s prehistoric beginnings just might be: Its topographical delights mark the outline of a glacier that covered a huge chunk of North America about 15,000 years ago. —EG

51. Wyoming // Grand Teton National Park

Moulton Barn in front of the Grand Tetons
Moulton Barn in front of the Grand Tetons / strickke // iStock via Getty Images Plus

Grand Teton National Park—named for the mountain range that runs through it—was originally established in 1929. In 1950, Congress combined that area with Jackson Hole National Monument and land donated by John D. Rockefeller to create the present-day park. Visitors might spot moose, bison, mule deer, bears, squirrels, ospreys, and river otters on their visit, and can do everything from hiking and fishing to camping and biking. There's even an opportunity to get a little history lesson by checking out Menors Ferry, which shows what life was like for homesteaders in the region. One can't-miss stop? Mormon Row, where visitors have the opportunity to photograph the iconic Moulton barns against the Tetons.

Note: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, some NPS facilities may be temporarily closed, only partially open, or operating with new hours. Be sure to confirm a park or facility is open on the day you plan to visit.