There are many national parks that people either don’t know about or aren’t exactly on the beaten path. If you’re looking to enjoy some of the country’s best splendor while avoiding the endless crowds of Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, you might plan a visit to these underrated national parks.
Nestled in southeastern New Mexico, approximately two hours from El Paso, TX, this underground cavern system is one of America’s largest. You can escape the desert heat and explore the underground caves at your leisure. There are above-ground hiking trails and bat-watching programs too.
Voyageurs National Park
Voyageurs National Park is about as close as you can get to Canada while enjoying the pristine beauty of northern Minnesota. In the summertime, you can enjoy fishing, boating and kayaking. Campsites and houseboats are available to stay in the park.
During the winter, you can go snowshoe hiking and participate in other activities. As there is minimal solar light in this remote area, you can periodically see the Aurora Borealis “Northern Lights” on a clear night.
North Cascades National Park in Washington State can be easy to reach from Seattle. Some call this mountain range the “American Alps” because of its ancient beauty. You can also avoid any international travel restrictions for a similar view.
It can be an excellent alternative to Olympic and Rainier National Parks, which are better-known.
Hiking, climbing and mountain biking are some of the activities you can partake in. You can also go boating on Ross Lake to tour the park leisurely.
New River Gorge
West Virginia’s New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is one of America’s newest parks. This destination can be best for rafting and getting wet.
However, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking and partaking in scenic driving tours for a more tranquil experience of the Appalachians. There is a lot of history to enjoy along with the natural beauty.
Biscayne National Park
Take your beach trip to the next level by spending time at Biscayne National Park in the Florida
Keys. The park is 95% water, so that you can maximize your visit by snorkeling, swimming and boating. Fishing and lobstering are also possible if you’re ready to catch tonight’s dinner.
Another nifty fact is that the park is home to the largest coral reef in the United States.
Additionally, if you’re a nature journalist, a park volunteer takes people twice a month to different park spots to capture the scenery with park-provided paper and watercolors. No experience is necessary to join this outing.
Congaree National Park
If you don’t have the time to visit Everglades National Park in Florida or want a slightly different change of view, consider Congaree National Park in South Carolina. This park is situated just outside Columbia in the state’s center and is easily accessible from major interstates and airports. In addition, you can hike on land trails to enjoy the unique scenery of the wetlands.
There is also a 50-mile Congaree River Blue Trail for recreational paddling. This waterway connects the park with the city of Columbia.
These parks can create lifetime memories and help you see parts of America that don’t make most tourism booklets. So whether you prefer placid activities or are up for an adventure, these underrated national parks might be worth visiting multiple times.
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