Top National Parks to Explore This Year

For those seeking adventure, tranquility, and the awe-inspiring beauty of nature, the United States is home to a plethora of breathtaking national parks waiting to be explored. From rugged mountains to expansive deserts, lush forests to stunning coastlines, each park offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Here are some of the top national parks to explore this year, including the best places to stay near Zion National Park.

Zion National Park, Utah
Nestled in Utah’s southwestern corner, Zion National Park stands as a sanctuary of natural grandeur, spanning over 146,000 acres of pristine wilderness.

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Originally established as Mukuntuweap National Monument in the early 20th century, it has since become one of America’s most visited parks, attracting nature enthusiasts from around the globe. Zion, meaning sanctuary in Hebrew, perfectly encapsulates the essence of this majestic landscape, which serves as a haven for adventurers and casual explorers alike.

With its towering cliffs, verdant valleys, and meandering rivers, Zion offers a plethora of outdoor activities, including hiking, rock climbing, and wildlife viewing. For those seeking a thrilling adventure, the iconic Angels Landing hike promises both thrills and awe-inspiring views. Additionally, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive provides a captivating journey through the heart of the park, offering panoramic vistas of the surrounding terrain.

When planning a visit to Zion National Park, consider staying at one of the best places to stay near Zion National Park, such as Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. Situated where Zion National Park meets the sky, this resort offers a tranquil retreat amidst the stunning landscapes of southern Utah. With a range of accommodations, from cozy cabins to luxurious lodges, Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort provides the perfect base for exploring the wonders of Zion and the surrounding area.

Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite National Park, located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, is renowned for its iconic granite cliffs, towering waterfalls, and ancient sequoia trees. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Yosemite attracts millions of visitors each year with its awe-inspiring landscapes and diverse ecosystems.

Visitors to Yosemite can explore a range of natural wonders, including the breathtaking Yosemite Valley, the majestic Half Dome, and the towering granite walls of El Capitan. Hiking trails wind through pristine wilderness, offering opportunities to discover hidden waterfalls, meandering streams, and lush meadows.

For accommodations near Yosemite National Park, consider staying in one of the charming towns surrounding the park, such as Yosemite West or Mariposa. From cozy cabins to quaint bed and breakfasts, these communities offer a variety of lodging options to suit every traveler’s needs.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
No list of top national parks would be complete without the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon stretches for 277 miles across northern Arizona, revealing layers of geological history and stunning vistas at every turn.

Visitors to the Grand Canyon can explore the park’s rim via scenic overlooks, hiking trails, and guided tours. Whether admiring the sunrise from Mather Point, hiking into the canyon on the Bright Angel Trail, or rafting down the Colorado River, there are endless opportunities for adventure and exploration.

For accommodations near the Grand Canyon, consider staying in the nearby town of Tusayan, just outside the park’s south entrance. Here, visitors will find a range of hotels, motels, and campgrounds, as well as restaurants and amenities to enhance their stay.

Acadia National Park, Maine
Located on the rugged coast of Maine, Acadia National Park is a gem of the Northeast, encompassing diverse landscapes, including rocky shorelines, dense forests, and granite peaks. With over 120 miles of hiking trails, scenic drives, and picturesque coastal vistas, Acadia offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventure and exploration.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Renowned for its mist-covered mountains, lush forests, and diverse wildlife, Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the beauty of the Southern Appalachian region. With over 800 miles of trails, including the iconic Appalachian Trail, the park provides ample opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, and exploring historic sites.

Visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains can marvel at cascading waterfalls, such as Grotto Falls and Laurel Falls, or drive along the scenic Newfound Gap Road for breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Cades Cove, a picturesque valley surrounded by mountains, offers a glimpse into the region’s pioneer history with historic buildings and churches dating back to the 19th century. For those seeking a challenge, the hike to the summit of Clingmans Dome, the highest peak in the Smokies, rewards with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

When planning a visit to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visitors have a variety of options for accommodations, including campgrounds, cabins, and lodges both inside and outside the park. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, located just outside the park’s entrance, offer a wide range of lodging options, as well as dining, shopping, and entertainment.

When planning a visit to Acadia National Park, consider staying in the charming town of Bar Harbor, located just outside the park’s entrance. Here, visitors will find a range of accommodations, from historic bed and breakfasts to waterfront resorts, as well as shops, restaurants, and galleries to explore.


From the majestic cliffs of Zion to the granite peaks of Yosemite, the natural beauty of America’s national parks never fails to inspire awe and wonder. Whether seeking adventure or tranquility, these parks offer something for everyone to enjoy. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and embark on an unforgettable journey through some of the country’s most breathtaking landscapes.

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