30 National Parks to Visit in 2019

PHOTO: Taft Point at sunset at Yosemite National Park. (photo via jesselindemann / iStock / Getty Images Plus) (iStock / Getty Images Plus / jesselindemann)
Patrick Clarke
by Patrick Clarke
Last updated: 4:00 AM ET, Tue January 8, 2019

National Parks for the New Year

There's never been a better time than now to start planning your next national park vacation, whether it's a day trip, weekend jaunt or an extended adventure. If you're lacking inspiration, consider one of these spectacular national parks.

Olympic National Park

Washington's Olympic National Park is home to the otherworldly Hoh Rainforest, one of the largest temperate rainforests in the country. Given the remarkable variety of ecosystems on display, the nearly one-million-acre park is unquestionably one of the nation's most diverse.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah is truly a one-of-a-kind nature reserve best known for its eye-popping hoodoos. The spire-shaped rock formations are quite the sight, especially around sunrise and sunset.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park boasts more than 300 miles of hiking trails as well as the popular Trail Ridge Road, which peaks at 12,000 feet and includes a plethora of scenic overlooks.

Arches National Park

Another stellar national park in Utah, Arches is located just north of Moab. The super popular park showcases over 2,000 natural sandstone arches that are all but guaranteed to capture your imagination.

Zion National Park

A beloved park among hikers, Zion National Park is characterized by its dramatic red cliffs, scenic forests and mesmerizing waterfalls. Angels Landing is a popular attraction for many visitors as it offers rewarding views of Utah's Zion Canyon.

Grand Teton National Park

If you're planning to visit Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park in 2019, consider staying in the nearby Jackson Hole area as you'll not only be close to the park's striking landscapes and wildlife but Yellowstone National Park as well.

Grand Canyon National Park

A bucket-list stop for many, the Grand Canyon is perhaps the most iconic of America's national parks and should certainly be on your radar in 2019. The park's South Rim is open year-round while the North Rim won't open for the season until May 15.

Glacier National Park

Whether you're an avid hiker or camper, an outdoor or wildlife enthusiast or just someone seeking some serenity in the New Year, Montana's Glacier National Park is a worthwhile destination.

Yosemite National Park

California's Yosemite National Park is among the five-most-visited in the country thanks to its awe-inspiring sequoia trees and granite cliffs, none more unmistakable than El Capitan. What's more, the recent rollout of electronic park entrance passes makes accessing Yosemite easier than ever.

Yellowstone National Park

Established as far back as 1872, Yellowstone was America's first national park and should be high on travelers' list in 2019. Spanning three states, Yellowstone boasts an array of attractions, including hot springs, geysers, lakes, mountains, forests and much more.

Acadia National Park

Maine's Mount Desert Island is where you'll find Acadia National Park. Highlights include Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the East Coast of the U.S. Meanwhile, nearby Bar Harbor is a picturesque town where visitors can take a break from exploring.

Denali National Park and Preserve

North America's tallest peak resides in Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve. However, summertime visitors will be drawn here for plenty of other reasons, including tremendous biking and hiking opportunities along with unparalleled wildlife viewing spots.

Kenai Fjords National Park

Elsewhere in Alaska, Kenai Fjords National Park has felt the effects of climate change more so than most other parks but continues to blow visitors away with the dozens of glaciers that flow from the Harding Icefield.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Named after the famous conservationist and 26th president of the U.S., Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota is sprawling with wildlife such as bison and prairie dogs as well as famous sites, including Roosevelt's Maltese Cross Cabin.

Mammoth Cave National Park

Some of the statistics behind Kentucky's Mammoth Cave National Park are mind-boggling. With more than 400 miles having been explored, it's the world's longest known cave system.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the country's most-visited national park and it's not even close as it hosted more than 11 million visitors in 2017. The expansive park offers hundreds of miles of hiking trails and a handful of scenic drives for visitors hoping to see more of its beauty in less time.

Everglades National Park

This protected area is home to a slew of endangered species and the dry season (November through April) is arguably the best time to spot Everglades National Park's robust wildlife.

Sequoia National Park

Located in California's Sierra Nevada mountains, Sequoia National Park is best known for the massive trees that bear the same name. The adjacent Kings Canyon National Park shares Sequoia's dramatic landscape.

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is located a few hours east of Los Angeles and straddles the Colorado and Mojave Deserts. The popular hiking destination is named for its giant branching yuccas and celebrated for its stellar views and rich cultural history.

Shenandoah National Park

One of the nation's premier national parks for autumn leaf peeping, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia is home to acres and acres of forested peaks and valleys and is best known for the scenic Skyline Drive that runs the entire length of the park.

Dry Tortugas National Park

Florida's family-friendly Dry Tortugas National Park is a bit more challenging to access than most of America's most popular national parks as its comprised mostly of open water and seven small islands. However, amazing coral reefs and one of the nation's largest 19th-century forts in Fort Jefferson await eager visitors in 2019.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Established more than a century ago on the Big Island, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to not one but two active volcanoes in Kilauea and Mauna Loa. The latter is the world's most massive shield volcano.

Haleakala National Park

Hawaii's Haleakala National Park can be found on the island of Maui and is home to some endangered species that don't exist anywhere else in the world. The "House of the Sun" also boasts the Haleakala Crater, a dormant volcano stretching 10,023 feet above sea level.

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

Gates of the Arctic in Alaska is the northernmost national park in the country and lacks roads or trails, preserving the stunning natural landscapes it encompasses. Its location north of the Arctic Circle makes it a premier destination to see the elusive northern lights.

Death Valley National Park

Established just over two decades ago, Death Valley National Park is the site of the Badwater Basin, which is the lowest point in North America (282 feet below sea level). In addition to being the lowest, it's also the hottest and driest national park.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Visitors to the Midwest in 2019 shouldn't miss out on a chance to explore Ohio's Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Not far from the cities of Cleveland and Akron, this park boasts tons of scenery as well as the Towpath Trail following the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal.

Hot Springs National Park

Arkansas' Hot Springs National Park earned the nickname "The American Spa" a long time ago for its healing thermal waters. The park features multiple areas where visitors can feel the 143-degree springs for themselves.

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park comprises more than 240,000 acres in southwestern South Dakota and was once home to rhinos, horses and saber-toothed cats. It's known for containing one of the world's richest fossil beds.

Mount Rainier National Park

Located just southeast of Seattle, Mount Rainier National Park is named for the active volcano and most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S. Sunrise is the highest point reachable by car with an elevation of 6,400 feet and offers 360-degree views of Mount Rainier, the park's valleys and surrounding volcanoes.

Crater Lake National Park

Formed nearly 8,000 years ago, Crater Lake is the result of a volcanic eruption that led to the collapse of Mount Mazama. It's the deepest lake in the U.S. and its remarkable blue water along with incredible viewpoints make it a popular attraction for many photographers.

You don't have to be an outdoor enthusiast to appreciate these awe-inspiring protected lands.

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