A stroll through beautiful parks and preserves, filled with color, charm and exotic wildlife, is the dream of any nature lover. So, if you, too, prefer such leisurely and romantic walks in the park with your partner, then we suggest that you keep reading.
While many opt for perfectly maintained parks, others enjoy visiting more distant recreation areas with an abundance of wildlife. Whatever you pick, though, we can promise that most of these places are actually worth the ride.
With so much exotic beauty and charm to behold, it's probably hard for you too to determine which of these natural gems are best to travel to. Well, this is why you need our piece of advice. Below you'll find an exciting list of some of the world's most impressive national parks which are truly inspiring. But if we must be 100% realistic, not all of the city parks are blessed with such beauty, excellent maintenance, and accessibility.
So, based on multiple factors, such as maintenance, accessibility, diversity and abundance of wildlife, outdoor opportunities and others stunning natural wonders nearby, TheTravel gathered a collection of the best and worst national parks in the world.
20 Corcovado National Park (Costa Rica)
As one of the most beautiful national parks on the planet, Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica is also referred to as the most biologically diverse one in the country.
Located on the Osa Peninsula, the Corcovado National Park spreads out over 164 square miles and boasts lovely montane and cloud forest as well as an abundance of wildlife. This 164-square mile park is home to many Costa Rican monkeys alongside other rare species, such as Poison Dart Frogs, colorful bird species, etc. All in all, the volume of wildlife that this beautiful park can offer is certainly worth the visit.
19 Galapagos National Park & Preserve (Ecuador)
Did you know that Ecuador's Galapagos National Park was designated as a UNESCO Heritage site in the late 90s? Well, this stunning place consists of volcanic islands scattered almost 500 miles off the coast. By the way, the Galapagos National Park is really famous for its giant tortoises rambling through the preserve.
With such dynamic beauty and stunning green flora, visitors will genuinely have a blast around here. Here, the views of the beautiful landscapes, well-marked hiking trails, and lush vegetation of the Santa Cruz highlands will give you the right dose of relaxation and inner peace you need.
18 Grand Canyon National Park (USA)
It's always great to visit a wildly famous location that people talk so highly of. Well, it's true that such places are often crammed with curious travelers; however, the Grand Canyon National Park boasts such massiveness and grandeur that you'll surely find a less crowded area to contemplate marvelous views of the red-painted rocky hills. Besides, there's a perfect reason why the majestic Grand Canyon National Park is always on everyone's travel bucket list. After all, you don't get to marvel at such beauty in your hometown, do you? So, while walking along the edge of the canyon, watch out for elks, and California condors because this is what this gorgeous national park is known for.
17 Great Barrier Reef National Park (Australia)
There's barely a person on this planet that hasn't heard of this splendid location in the diverse land of Australia. But even if there are such people, they're probably cavemen who've never met with civilization. Seriously, this fantastic national park in Australia is not only a dream come true for nature lovers, but it's also one of the World's Seven National Wonders. And to top it all off, this Great Barrier Reef Park, boasts a critically endangered coral reef system, which is partly due to the coral bleaching triggered by the global warming. But outside of this, both tourists and skilled divers have always been eager to explore its crystal clear waters, diverse sealife alongside over 120 species of stingrays, six species of sea turtles, and about 1,500 species of fish.
16 Jim Corbett National Park & Preserve (India)
Formerly known as the Hailey National Park, this gorgeous place was officially established in 1936 with the primary purpose to protect the Bengal tiger from extinction. Today this famous Indian park, named after the hunter-turned-conservationist Jim Corbett, covers almost 200 square miles.
With its elevations ranging from 1,000 to 4,000 feet, Jim Corbett National Park is home to a dense forest, beautiful hillsides, lush grassland, diverse wildlife, glassy lakes and rivers, all making this park a family friendly location. Also, the park boasts more than 500 bird species, over 100 types of trees, 25 reptiles and many other exotic animals.
15 Kruger National Park & Preserve (South Africa)
Besides being another UNESCO designated place, Kruger National Park happens to be one of Africa's largest and most appreciated game reserves. This stunning national park, established in the early 90s, is home to an impressive array of animal and plant species, including over 500 birds, nearly 150 large mammals, over 100 reptile species, and the list just keeps expanding.
Additionally, Kruger National Park is part of the Canyons Biosphere Reserve - meaning that both encompass nearly 5 million hectares of lush grassland and breathtaking African savannah.
Ideally located within km of Mozambique, South Africa's most beautiful and oldest park offers nine main gates, granting access to numerous camping areas. Well, this really sounds like an unforgettable family journey in Africa, doesn't it?
14 Manú National Park (Peru)
Manú National Park (Peru), located only three hours from Cusco, stretches across 11,800 square miles and pretends to be the world's best location for bird watching.
Established in 1987, Peru's biologically diverse reserve houses over a thousand bird species, from Hoatzin and Andrean Cock-of-the-Rock to Macaws.
Peru's magical park area draws visitors and nature lovers with its ecosystems, ranging from montane grasslands to thick rainforests, all set at impressive elevations of over 13,000 feet. Also, Peru's reserve boasts quite an exotic wildlife, including dozens of monkey species, giant otters, and, of course, lots of bird species.
13 Tarangire National Park (Tanzania)
Well, it may be true that the Tarangire National Park in Tanzania is not as famous as the Serengeti National park, but it has got the full potential of becoming one of the world's most beautiful parks one day. Also, Tarangire has long captured the hearts of the devoted explorers with its incredible array of wildlife, including exotic animals and tropical plant species.
As impressive as it is, Tanzania's Tarangire park also happens to be the sixth largest park in the country. The park spreads out across 1,100 square miles and is the area's primary (and only) source of fresh water, especially when the dry season rolls along.
12 Tikal National Park (Guatemala)
Unlike the other national parks and reserves, which are more focused on the exotic wildlife, Guatemala's Tikal National Park is probably the first example today that's more concentrated on the country's culture, nature, history. Of course, Tikal genuinely cares about its tropical residents, including Jaguars and Pumas, but this park boasts numerous well-preserved archaeological sites reflecting on the legacy of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization.
This unique park is located in the northern parts of the country and is also another UNESCO declared World Heritage Site. If you dare to explore its tropical rainforests and wildlife, you may even meet over 300 bird species as well.
11 Torres del Paine National Park (Chile)
Located in the Chilean Patagonia, this fantastic park is part of the National System of Protected Forested Areas of Chile. But what it's probably most famous for is its blue icebergs of the beautiful Lago Grey breaking off the stunning Grey Glacier.
Today Torres del Paine National Park is not only another beautiful park, but it's one of the largest and most appreciated ones in the entire country, encompassing over 240,000 hectares.
Estimated on an annual basis, this unique park in Chile enjoys the attention of over 150,000 nature lovers, which certainly justifies its international fame.
10 Not That Great: Katmai National Park, Alaska
Unlike the other well-maintained parks & reserves that are merely fantastic for birdwatching and exploring nature's diverse wildlife, Katmai national park in Alaska is quite the opposite of that. It's not only a lesser-known location in the state, but it's also home to the largest population of Alaskan grizzlies in the world. Ask any local around here, and you'll surely get the same answer: Alaska is for bears, and so is this Katmai National Park. For the protocol, we're talking about an ill-tempered subspecies of the grizzly. So why take the risk of running into a hungry Alaskan bear anyway?
9 Not That Great: Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
Admittedly, Dry Tortugas in Florida could be quite a fantastic place for bird watching, especially from April to May, but other than this, the state's park is pretty much off-limits to the curious visitors. Dry Tortugas is almost 70 miles off the main road and is low on potable surface water. On top of that, Florida's Dry Tortugas is often criticized for being accessible only by boat.
Additionally, the area is home to the most massive masonry building, but it's also in poor condition. This fortress was officially built in the late 1800s but has also been left unfinished.
8 Not That Great: Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve, Alaska
Alaska has got no luck today: Gates of the Arctic is just another park and preserve in the area that left a bad taste in our mouth. The so-called Gates of the Arctic is not only the most northerly US park and reserve, but it's seriously missing out on the slightest road infrastructure and development. The Gates of the Arctic has got no roads, only challenging routes for the hardiest explorers and hikers out there. TIP: if you're not one of them, then you'd better pick some other national park on this list; Gates of the Arctic is actually meant for the most adventurous visitors.
7 Not That Great: North Cascades National Park, Washington State
Typically, most of the least-visited preserves and parks are usually extremely hard to reach. These places seem so distant that you almost feel like they've been cut off from civilization. Speaking of such treacherous places, there's no better example that the North Cascades in the state of Washington.
Located within 100 miles of Seattle, this park has been running really low on visitors since 2015. These low numbers of travelers are probably due to the super limited road access which makes it almost impossible to get there. Indeed, it may be a beautiful park and preserve, but it's certainly not worth the risk of getting lost because of its poor accessibility. All in all, this park is certainly not for amateurs.
6 Not That Great: Nevada's Basin National Park
Nevada's Great Basin National Park may sound like the most beautiful and majestic place to explore, but it only seems like this. In reality, this national park is rightly nicknamed the Loneliest Park in America. This national park is located in the eastern parts of Nevada and protects a tiny pocket of the state's topography created by the continental crust, which forms a series of identical basins and mountain ranges. Also, this lesser-known park runs from east to west while cutting through the state's desert.
On the bright side, though, the Great Basin National Park is near the charming town of Baker; however, even this beautiful town doesn't seem to be worth the long ride to the basin.
5 Not That Great: The Gunnison National Park & Black Canyon Colorado
Well, there's a good reason why the park's canyon was called "the black one".
In contrast to the Grand Canyon, the Black one refers to the limited sunlight that rarely reaches its depths and core. When you add the pitch-black schist rock and gneiss to the picture, you'll undoubtedly get a spooky scenery with no signs of a joyful ending.
Seriously, this eerie black canyon, along with the almost unreachable Gunnison park, is also referred to as the steepest ones in North America. Well, it may not be the deepest canyon in the state, but it's undoubtedly one of the least visited ones by travelers and romantic couples.
4 Not That Great: Organ Pipe Cactus National Park & Monument, Arizona
If you're looking for a vibrant desert setting and picturesque scenery, Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus national park will probably make a pretty decent location for your needs; however, if you're not at all attracted to such vast areas, where the organ pipe cactus grows wild, then visiting this park sounds like a silly mistake. Also, this Sonoran desert is pollinated by bats, and that's anything but exciting. Another possible reason why the Organ Pipe National Park isn't that popular with travelers is that the park lies on the border with Mexico, where immigration problems are still rampant.
3 Not That Great: Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
Visiting the Isle Royale national park in Michigan is probably the most challenging thing you'll ever do. Not only is this park a dynamic predator-filled location, but the actual number of curious travelers is quite limited. This 45-mile long park is poorly maintained and is home to wolves and moose although sightings or interactions are quite rare.
So, instead of taking any risks, we suggest that you focus on exploring the north-west corner of Lake Superior. Note that seasonal ferries are available from several spots there, including Houghton and Copper Harbor. Camping is also permitted is several sites, but vehicles are only allowed on the Isle Royale.
2 Not That Great: Congaree National Park, South Carolina
Tucked into the swamps of South Caroline, this national park is home to one of the world's most extensive ranges of old-growth hardwood trees. The curious name of this park comes from the area's legendary champion trees and hardwoods. As a result, the Congaree park is now more famous as the Redwoods of the East. But before you think that the park may be worth the ride as well, don't forget that much of Congaree is quite swampy and muddy. Besides, it's almost impossible not to get your feet wet and dirty while walking through Congaree's swampy areas.
1 Not That Great: The National Park of American Samoa
Did you know that the Samoan culture happens to be one of the oldest ones in Polynesia? Well, it's not only an ancient culture, but it's still thriving on American Samoa. The National Park of American Samoa is located about 5,000 miles off the Californian coast as it once served as a strategic military location. In fact, three of its islands were declared national parks, but only a few visitors can make their way to the national park because of the lack of any practical means of transportation to the islands. Therefore, American Samoa's park is technically off-limits to many adventurers and first-time visitors.
References: www.tripstodiscover.com; discovercorps.com;www.theguardian.com