The classic American family road trip has been around for quite a while, and there are hundreds of suitable destinations. However, in a day and age where travel is more accessible than ever, we here at K4Dynamics know that it can be difficult to find new places to go. While the Grand Canyon is a must-see and the Redwood Forest is absolutely mesmerizing, there is a plethora of beautiful, lesser-known national parks scattered throughout the country like hidden gems. Here are ten of our favorites:
- Congaree National Park can be found in South Carolina, and anyone who is a nature or adventure lover will adore this park. It’s home to one of the tallest deciduous forests on Earth, and the trees are absolutely wondrous. Located near Columbia, this national park offers many family activities, including camping, kayaking, canoeing and bird watching. The masses of Spanish moss also make for a great backdrop for some gorgeous photo ops!
- Great Sand Dunes National Parkis near Alamosa, Colorado, and is set against the amazing Rocky Mountains. These are the tallest sand dunes in North America, and visitors to this park enjoy climbing for hours to the top of the dunes, thousands of feet in the air. Once reaching the summit, people enjoy sandboarding and sledding down the dunes and cooling off in the creek below. At night, campers can even enjoy a stunning stargazing show!
- Dry Tortugas National Parkin Florida is located very close to the Florida Keys. In fact, this national park is closer to Cuba than to the mainland and requires a boat or seaplane for access. In addition, there are no facilities for camping or recreational use. However, the gorgeous views and fascinating history of the island are extremely worth the trip!
- Theodore Roosevelt National Parkin North Dakota is a surprisingly well-kept secret. Teddy Roosevelt was the pioneer of national parks, so one would think that this park would be one of the most visited parks in America. Aptly named after the President who loved to hunt bison, this park is in a rather remote location. At the park, you can visit the Maltese Cross Cabin, which is where Teddy resided when he was in North Dakota. Fun fact: after Roosevelt lived there, he signed the Antiquities Act that allowed him and other Presidents to proclaim national monuments and parks. Things to do at this park includes hiking, wildlife viewing, and camping.
- Gates of the Arctic National Parkis found in Alaska. It is the northernmost national park in America, and it lies completely above the Arctic Circle. Gates of the Arctic is very remote…to the point where there are no roads. However, it gives visitors some of the most pristine mountain views, scenic rivers, and diverse wildlife found in the world. Wolverines, polar bears and caribou are some of the unique wildlife that can be spotted in this national park.
- Like scuba diving, but don’t want to go to the ocean to do so? You can do this at Isle Royale National Parkin Michigan. There are many shipwrecked sites in the many lakes that make up this park. Even though it is often chilly and foggy, here you will see some of the most fantastic views of Lake Superior.
- North Cascades National Parkin Washington state contains over 300 glaciers. It is an alpine wonderland, just south of Seattle. Unless you are a fan of cold weather and ice, there is not much to do at this park but hike and enjoy wildlife, but there are several phenomenal photography opportunities and you are sure to come away feeling refreshed and in awe.
- Canyonlands National Parkin Utah is a great place to explore via the Colorado River, which carves its way through the park. The hiking trails are dramatic and the whitewater rafting is some of the most incredible in North America. Camping on sandy beaches under the stars is sure to create some of the best memories!
- Channel Islands in southern California consists of five islands and one mile of surrounding ocean. It caters to people who enjoy water sports such as scuba diving, kayaking, and snorkeling, and also provides great camping spaces. There are 12,000 years of human history to explore, such as the native Chumash culture, the European explorers, and several shipwrecks - there is something for everyone to love!
10. Great Basin National Park in Nevada is the best place to go for stargazing. There are a wide variety of landforms, and visitors will find deserts, glaciers, mountains, springs, and caves to explore. In fact, this park boasts having the oldest trees on earth, in addition to ancient caves. Wildlife watchers will especially enjoy the mule deer migration that takes place in the winter.
You can also check out the National Park Service website for information on FREE days at select national parks. Just click here!
No matter where your next trip takes you, we would love to be a part of it. Check out our line of products for car organization and traveling with kids at www.k4dynamics.com. If you love them, let us know (and tell your friends)!