There's no reason that every vacation you take has to be to an urban center. Sometimes it's better to just pack up your car and head out into the wilderness. Whether you find yourself atop a snow-capped mountain, in an underwater sanctuary, a barren desert with wildlife, or exploring everything in between, Mother Nature has served up a magnificent selection of National Parks to discover.
No two parks are ever the same, and each of them has a number of unique natural wonders to explore. So, here are 10 from all around the world that should be added to your bucket list, well, almost immediately!
10 Fiordland National Park, South Island, New Zealand
If this is the first time you have heard of Fiordland National Park, you’ll probably think it is located somewhere in Scandinavia. However, it is a simply magnificent national park located on the complete other side of the world, in New Zealand.
Set on the South Island, Fiordland National Park is best known for its glacier fiords and tall, intimidating peaks reflecting in the pristine clear waters, which includes the notorious Mitre Peak.
9 Yellowstone, Wyoming, USA
Voted as the number one national park, Yellowstone covers 2.2 million acres from Wyoming to Idaho and Montana. It comprises of crystal clear lakes set afoot dramatic peaks, hiking and biking trails as well as simply stunning waterfalls.
The park welcomes over 4 million visitors annually, who are always left wanting to come back and explore more. Oh, and be sure to check-out Mammoth Hot Springs and wind down after a scenic and panoramic hike.
8 Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, Africa
Spread across 5,700 acres of Tanzania, Serengeti National Park is nothing like you have ever seen before. Sure, most national parks display Mother Nature at her finest with tall peaks, clear waters and endless outdoor activities. However, the Serengeti is much different.
You will hear the sounds of thousands of animals singing and playing as you take a safari through the desert. Aim to travel here during The Great Migration as this is truly a once in a lifetime experience that you will never forget.
7 Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is a different kind of national park: an underwater national park, and it is UNESCO World Heritage Listed. Unfortunately, coral bleaching means you better get here fast to explore before it is ruined.
Nevertheless, this underwater haven encompasses 2,900 coral reefs, 600 islands, 1,500 species of fish and welcomes 2 million visitors each year. Whether you prefer to be over or under the water, or just soaking up the rays on the beach, there are sightseeing options to suit you.
6 Torres Del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile
An unlikely spot to catch whales and penguins going about their business, Torres Del Pain National Park is located in the Patagonia region of Chile, South America. The National Park takes its name from the three massive mountain peaks around which it is located.
Visitors can enjoy 700 square miles of hiking trails, as well as Cuernos Peak and Grey Glacier which are capped off with panoramic views of the surrounding wilderness.
5 Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA
Did someone say limitless outdoor activities all year round? Yep, Rocky Mountain National Park is perfect for many activities no matter what time of year; hiking (a whopping 350 trails), biking, kayaking and swimming in summer; skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating in winter.
Aside from endless fun activities, the views are simply unforgettable, breathing in the fresh alpine air. If you’re lucky, you can spot some mountain wildlife such as Elk or Sheep.
4 Swiss National Park, Swiss Alps
It is no secret that the Swiss are renowned for being perfect and always on time. Swiss National Park is no different; pristine surrounds, perfectly green grass covering perfect snow-capped peaks and traditional villages scattered on the mountainside.
What makes this national park a haven for hikers, is the fact that there are no set hiking trails, or very minimal so you can choose where you would like to go…just keep in mind the altitude!
3 Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, Africa
The Serengeti National Park and Masai Mara National Reserve collectively make-up Africa's most varied, incredible and most remarkable natural environments. If you have ever wanted to wake-up to see towering giraffes roaming the desert and leopards prancing around freely, then you will want to add this high on the bucket list.
If you happen to find yourself here in July, you will be fortunate enough to witness the greatest Wildebeest migration in the world. A safari does not come cheap, no matter where you go, but do us all a favor and put it on the bucket list.
2 Sequoia National Park, California, USA
Home to the tallest trees in the world, Sequoia National Park is famous for trees soaring literally 200 feet above you. It is perhaps one of the most accessible national parks, certainly in America, only 80 miles from Fresno.
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The park contains The General Sherman Tree world’s tallest tree, which stands 275 feet above the ground and is quite an intimidating, yet spectacular sight. From caving to hiking and alpine skiing, Sequoia National Park is great for all year round activities!
1 Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA
No list of the best national parks would be complete without the Grand Canyon. Despite there being many to choose from, the Grand Canyon simply wins over them all. Formed over 6 million years ago, it has slowly shaped to become something simply extraordinary that pictures cannot even do justice.
If you want to escape the crowds, head to the North Rim as it is located slightly away from civilization. No matter where you are in this national park, the Grand Canyon and what Mother Nature has done over the past several million years is nothing but astonishing.