Where to Go this Summer: America’s Top 10 National Parks

From big-sky Montana to the craggy coast of Maine, the U.S. is home to some of the world’s most spectacular scenery. In many of these regions, thousands of acres have been protected in order to conserve and safeguard their natural environments. Wild and untouched, they are diverse landscapes, with an abundance of native flora and fauna, to explore. Here are some of Indagare’s favorite national parks.

Contact Indagare to book a trip to a national park. Our travel specialists can match you with the best hotels, arrange great meals and activities and organize special excursions. 

Yellowstone National Park,Wyoming

Known for: The stunningly varied terrain, which includes canyons, valleys, waterfalls and geothermal pools, plus incredible wildlife such as elk, bison, moose and bears.
Good to Know: While most people visit Yellowstone in the summertime, a winter trip means travelers can see the best sites without the crowds, explore pristine snow-covered landscapes and experience one of the park’s best phenomena: hot springs feeding into icy rivers.
Don’t Miss: The Old Faithful geyser and boiling mud baths. A less popular but equally magnificent site is the Yellowstone Falls and canyon, a Grand Canyon-meets-Niagara Falls.

“I have visited Yellowstone every year since I was an infant and each year I find something new. When I was little, I adored the boiling mud pots. Then as I grew older, it was hiking through fields of wildflowers. Once I could drive, I was delighted by the ‘traffic stops’ caused by lazy buffalo in the road. Today, I’m floored by the vastness and tranquility of Yellowstone Lake with over 100 miles of untouched shoreline.” ~ Indagare’s Emily Pariseau

Related: The Top 10: Wilderness Resorts

Grand Canyon

Known for: Its mind-blowing proportions; the canyon is one of the Seven Wonders of the World at 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and over one mile deep.
Good to Know: Most travelers arrive to the Grand Canyon via the South Entrance, but if you can, try to come through the Desert View Point, which offers a scenic, 20-minute drive towards Grand Canyon Village.
Don’t Miss: A visit to the Kolb Studio. The Kolb Brothers were photographers of the Grand Canyon around 1900 and their striking black-and-white works are fascinating.

“It is difficult to imagine the sheer expanse of the Grand Canyon until you arrive at the rim. I was entirely humbled and mesmerized by such an immense work of nature”~ Indagare’s Kelly Brennan

Related: 3 Grand Canyon Itineraries

Acadia National Park, Maine

Known for: 120 miles of well-maintained hiking and biking trails with spectacular views of Maine’s Mount Desert Island, Bar Harbor and the Schoodic Peninsula.
Good to Know: Leave time to enjoy the view from Cadillac Mountain. A 27-mile roadway loops through 45,000 acres of pine forests and rocky cliff sides and culminates in the final climb up the mountain, which is the the highest point on the Northeastern Seaboard.
Don’t Miss: The undersea inlet cavern, Thunder Hole. Plan your visit for when the tide is coming in for maximum sea spray.

“I have been visiting Acadia National Park since I was a child. The view of the surrounding islands from the top of Cadillac Mountain, with the salty breeze and the smell of pine on a blue-sky day is hard to beat. It’s a slice of heaven.” ~ Indagare’s Jen Barr

Related: Indagare’s Guide to Kennebunkport, Maine

Joshua Tree National Park, Southern California

Known For: Dramatic desert landscapes of cacti, red rocks and the eponymous Joshua Tree, a rare species native to the park.
Good to Know: Joshua Tree National Park sits at a high elevation and is incredibly dry, with pitch black skies that are perfect for stargazing.
Don’t Miss: A visit to Key’s Viewpoint, which offers panoramic views over Coachella Valley.

“When I was living in Los Angeles, it was always a breath of fresh air to spend the weekends in Joshua Tree (the park is easy to reach—just a two-hour drive from downtown). The best thing to do is park your car on the side of the road and climb to the top of the inselbergs (rock hills). Most hills don’t require any sort of climbing equipment and it’s really fun.” ~ Indagare’s Colin Heinrich

Related: Get Your Glamp On

Arches National Park, Utah

Known For: Unique geological formations, including more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches.
Good to Know: Delicate Arch is the most popular site: it’s best to go early in the morning to avoid the heat and crowds.
Don’t Miss: The Devil’s Garden Primitive Loop, which passes by eight glorious arches.

“The drive into Arches National Park is absolutely spectacular: you come across a hillside and then the park just unfolds before you, appearing endless and magnificent.” ~ Indagare’s Simone Girner

Related: Indagare Matchmaker: Dude Ranches

Yosemite National Park, Central California

Known For: An incredible diversity of landscapes, from majestic sequoia trees and rugged mountains to waterfalls, granite cliffs and crystal-clear lakes.
Good to Know: For budding naturalists, Yosemite has expert guides who can lead the way through the flora and fauna. It’s one of the best programs in the United States. (Contact Indagare to arrange).
Don’t Miss: The Tunnel Viewpoint offers an amazing view of several of the best sites, including Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, Half Dome and Bridalveil Fall.

“The Bridalveil Fall waterfall is breathtaking. Legend has it that inhaling its mist increases your chances of getting married!” ~ Indagare’s Gabrielle DuCharme

“The giant sequoia trees have always been a favorite of mine. It makes me want to take Ansel Adams-inspired photographs with a film camera.” ~ Indagare’s Avery Carmichael

Related: Where to Travel in 2018: Nine to Know

 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

– Blair West on April 12, 2018

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