Get ready to pack your bags or at least get a serious case of wanderlust because when we asked travel bloggers to share the best National Parks in the World, they delivered!
If you’ve been reading TREKKN for a while now, then you probably know we’re pretty obsessed with National Parks; specifically, United States and Canadian National Parks because that’s where we’ve traveled to.
But we’re also enamored with the fact that there are some incredible worldwide National Parks this earth has to offer and we want to share them with you. But since we can’t get to them all, we asked travel bloggers from around the globe to share their favorite National Park in the world.
Get ready to see beauty from Australia and Japan to the Caribbean Islands and Iceland.
47 of the Best National Parks In the World According to Travel Bloggers
Denali National Park
Contributed by: Jennifer from National Park Obsessed
Denali National Park is the land of extremes. The weather is extreme, the views are extreme, the wildlife is extreme. Visitors opinions of the park are extreme. Even the elevation is extreme. It ranges from 240 ft at the Yentna River to the summit of Denali (the mountain) at 20,310 ft. The Alaskan moose are some of the largest in the world. It’s an extreme place.
The extremes are the reason I love Denali. Every day in Denali is an adventure. The day can start out dark and stormy and the sun will come out and with it – the MOUNTAIN. Denali is massive. When she is out, she fills the sky. There is nothing like seeing Denali out in all her glory.
Almost all visitation to the park takes place via bus tour. Most people spend 6-8 hours riding a school bus down the road. This is one of the main visitor complaints from the park. This limited the traffic issues found in other US National Parks. During the last days of the summer season, the Denali Park Road opens for 1,600 lottery winners. These 1,600 people are given 18 hours to explore the 92-mile park road at their leisure in their own vehicle.
Iguaçu National Park
Contributed by: Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan
Kakadu National Park
Contributed by: Rachel from Adventure and Sunshine
Ask people to picture Outback Australia and most will describe a red, dusty landscape. And there is plenty of that across the country! But if you explore a little further and take a closer look, you will find lush and striking National Parks, like Kakadu.
Located 2 hours east of Darwin in the Top End of Australia, Kakadu National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site, peppered with ancient indigenous rock art and stunning landscapes.
To really appreciate the beauty of the Park you need to immerse yourself there for a couple of days.
Hike through deep gorges to discover hidden waterfalls, swim at pretty waterholes and camp under inky black starry skies. Spend time learning bush crafts from the local women and cruising the river to spot crocodiles and birdlife. Join the Park Rangers to learn more about the ancient rock art and owners of the land. Take the long and dusty roads to admire Gunlom, Maguk and Jim Jim Falls.
A visit to Kakadu is a memorable and rewarding experience for outdoor lovers.
Kalbarri National Park
Contributed by: Kylie, Our World Of Adventure
Kalbarri National Park is a gem in the Western Australia crown. The park surrounds the Murchison River which has carved an eighty-kilometre in land gorge through the red and white sandstone. A visit here guarantees you’ll enjoy some of the most spectacular views in the whole of Western Australia.
One of the (many) reasons we love Kalbarri National Park is that its beauty is accessible to all. There is a wide range of trails to explore at varying difficulty – everything from spectacular coastal lookouts with disabled access to 8km river gorge hikes! With plenty of picnic areas and scenic spots, it’s a great place for all the family to enjoy the great outdoors. The canoe safari experience and SUP tours are a fun way to explore the park for those wanting an extra zing of adventure.
Kalbarri National Park is a great place to experience year-round however visits from July through to October enjoy extra floral beauty as the array of native wildflowers spring into bloom.
Magnetic Island National Park
Contributed by: Eloise from My Favourite Escapes
Located less than 10km away from Townsville on the East Coast of Australia, Magnetic Island is one of my favourite national parks for a few reasons. The mountainous island is protected and has a lot of different experiences to offer to nature lovers. Plus, the climate is pleasant all year round.
The most popular hike will take you to historical WWII ruins where you can admire fantastic views and spot wild koalas. If walking isn’t your thing, koalas can also be seen while horse riding, just before swimming with your horse on the beautiful beach of Horseshoe Bay. It’s one of the many secluded bays to relax and freshen up. Snorkelling on Magnetic Island is very reputed, and if it’s not enough, it’s easy to catch a day trip to the outer Great Barrier Reef. The beautiful shades of blues contrasting with the white sand and the granite boulders make your beach time special even if you don’t put your head in the water. At the end of the day, you may want to watch the sunset from one of the sailing boats going around the island or choose to spend it with wallabies hopping on the rocks.
And you can do all that in just one day. But I bet you’ll want to stay longer.
Chapada Diamantina National Park
Contributed by: Miguel from Travelsauro
Located in the heart of the Brazilian state of Bahia, the Chapada Diamantina National Park is the perfect destination for the outdoor lover. The park lies in a large plateau bounded by terrific cliffs and peaks. You’ll find canyons, waterfalls, rivers, caves, cliffs, and much more.
I love Chapada because it offers amazing hiking trails, including the Vale do Pati Trek which is considered as the best hike in Brazil. This trail, which can be completed in 3-5 days, will take you along table-shaped mountains, colorful savannas, and endless valleys. There are other top-rated trails such as the Cachoeira da Fumaça Trek, the Cachoeira do Sossego Trail and the Pai Inacio Trek.
Most trails start from the towns of Lençois and Capão. To get there, you’ll need to take a bus from Salvador. The trip lasts seven hours, but there is a night bus that is pretty comfortable.
Jasper National Park
Contributed by: Jill from AdventureJ
Jasper National Park is one of my favorite parks in the world. Located in the province of Alberta in western Canada, it’s the largest National Park in Canada’s Rocky Mountains covering a staggering 11,000 square km’s. Did I mention that it belongs to UNESCO’s Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site?
There are so many national parks in the world but here’s why Jasper National Park is one of my favorites.
- Its outdoor adventures. Jasper is a virtual play ground for outdoor junkies! Filled with mountains, glaciers, rivers and hiking trails there are many options for spending time outdoors.
- Its wildlife. When visiting Jasper National Park, you’re almost guaranteed to spot wildlife in their natural habitat. On my last visit to Jasper I witnessed a small heard of elk swim across the Athabasca River, all from the side of the road! On other occasions I’ve come across woodland caribou, marmots, mountain sheep and even a black bear.
- The smaller crowds. Jasper National Park is over looked at times in favor of its more famous neighbor to the south, Banff National Park. Because of this, I find Jasper isn’t quite as busy or over run with tourism, especially if you stray away from the more popular sites.
If you’re planning a visit to western Canada, make sure you include Jasper National Park on your itinerary!
Waterton Lakes National Park
Contributed by: Vanessa from Wanderlust Crew
While everyone in Canada is flocking to Banff National Park, the real gem of Alberta is being overlooked, and I’m totally ok with that. I’m always almost hesitant to tell people about Waterton Lakes National Park because one of the reasons I love it so much is that there are no busloads of tourists there!
But I’ll let you in on my little secret and tell you that this place is worth a visit. Waterton is Glacier National Park’s northern sister. They actually share the longest unprotected border between countries in the world, making it an International Peace Park.
Waterton Lakes National Park provides great hiking, kayaking, swimming, canoeing, rock climbing, waterfalls viewing, and just incredible scenery and wildlife, including bears and buffalo! The little town inside the park is so charming. You can find a hot dog shop, a waffle shop, a candy shop, and multiple ice cream parlors. It’s like stepping into the 1950s version of a National Park and I love it!
Yoho National Park
Contributed by: Ben from Horizon Unknown
Yoho National Park is one of British Columbia’s most memorable parks to visit for a variety of reasons. There are many ways to experience the towering mountains, flowering meadows and pristine blue lakes if this beautiful section of Canada.
There are many hiking trails that weave around lakes and mountains with Yoho. Lake O’Hara is one of the most picturesque places to visit, and with such limited spots each year, it’s one of the most sought after experiences in the national park.
Emerald Lake is another option for beautiful scenery in Yoho. With a flat walk around the Lake, it’s easy to get beautiful views. For a truly unique perspective, you can hire a canoe in the summer, or cross country ski across the frozen water in the winter.
Following the Kicking Horse River downstream you will run into many waterfalls. The most notable being Wapta Falls. Over 100 meters wide, there’s on average 250 cubic meters of water gushing over the rocky face every second!
Yoho National Park has something for every traveller and member of the family to appreciate the natural beauty of Canada.
Morne Trois Piton National Park, Dominica
Contributed by: Claire from Past the Pot Holes
Morne Trois Pitons National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Caribbean Island of Dominica. It comprises of tropical forest surrounding its centrepiece, the Morne Trois Pitons volcano that climbs to 1,342 metres in height. The 7,000-hectare national park is unlike any other with three freshwater lakes, a boiling lake, a valley filled with steaming fumaroles, hot springs, five volcanoes and some of the richest biodiversity in the Caribbean. In an island nicknamed the “Nature Isle”, for a national park to stand out it has to be something special!
Exploring the national park is one of the best things to do in Dominica and there are countless hiking trails and natural wonders throughout the park to enjoy. The highlight of Morne Trois Pitons National Park for us was hiking to Boiling Lake. Our guide led us into dense jungle, through the otherworldly Valley of Desolation until we eventually reached the huge steaming, bubbling lake at the summit. As we descended we were treated to a dip in a hot spring before ending the 6 hour hike with a refreshing swim into Titou Gorge. While in Dominica we also hiked to Emerald Pool and Middleham Falls, both within the park.
Torres del Paine National Park
Contributed by: Campbell & Alya from Stingy Nomads
Torres del Paine National park in Patagonia, Chile is one of the most spectacular places we’ve ever hiked. It’s located in the south end of South American continent, Puerto Natales is the closest to the park town, most travelers stay there before and after visiting the park. Torres del Paine is a famous place for hiking, there are several self-guided days and multi-day routes that take hikers across the park and offer some incredible scenery. The most famous routes are O-trek – requires 7-9 days to complete and W-trek – 4-5-day hike.
It’s possible to explore the park by doing day hikes and staying at one of the hotels or campsites outside or inside Torres del Paine. Every single corner of the park is beautiful but there are several highlights that can’t be missed; Las Torres, Grey glacier and Grey lake, Pehoe Lake, Nordenskjold lake. Hiking in Torres del Paine is a real pleasure; the routes are well-marked, there are campsites with good facilities (in most of them hikers can rent camping gear), it’s well-maintained and safe. Among other activities in the park are horseback riding, ice hiking and boat cruising.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
Contributed by: Kirsty from World for a Girl
Tayrona National Park
Contributed by: Claire from Tales of a Backpacker
Tayrona National Park on the Colombian Caribbean coast is without a doubt my favourite national park. Most people go to Parque Tayrona for the beaches, which are gorgeous, but the whole experience was magical for me.
The hike to the camps and beaches isn’t difficult, but the heat and humidity made it a challenge! It is definitely worth the effort though, and the first glimpse I had of the ocean took my breath away. We reached camp, chose a hammock for the night and went to explore.
You don’t have to go far to find culture in Tayrona, the indigenous people from the region still live in the National Park, and you can hike to El Pueblito, the settlement where there are houses deep in the jungle. Nature is all around Tayrona National Park too, and if you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of the endangered cotton-top tamarins who live in the park, as well as howler monkeys, bats, birds, butterflies and more.
If you don’t feel like exploring then spending the night in a hammock, listening to the waves as you fall asleep and waking up to an incredible sunrise is not a bad way to spend your time here! This is Colombia at its very best.
Bohemian Switzerland National Park
Contributed by: Veronika from Travel Geekery
As misleading as the name sounds, the Bohemian Switzerland National Park is not located in Switzerland, but in the North of the Czech Republic.
Forming a part of Northern Bohemia, this National Park is one of the most beautiful ones in the Czech Republic. It used to be a seabed some millions years ago, and what’s left from that period are stunning karst formations. They form high walls and cliffs, river creaks and diverse shapes. The most well-known is the Pravčická Gate, or Pravčická brána in Czech.
Pravčická brána is a natural sandstone arch, the largest of its kind in Europe. It became famous also for its short appearance in the Chronicles of Narnia.
The whole area is criss-crossed by well-kept hiking trails and can be enjoyed over several days. You can get to Bohemian Switzerland by train or by car from Prague – it’s just 2 hours away. The closest city is called Děčín.
Dartmoor National Park
Contributed by: Sophie from Escape to Britain
Calanques National Park
Contributed by: Elisa from World in Paris
The Calanques National Park is a coastal park located in the South of France, not far from the city of Marseille. The National Park includes a terrestrial part, made of limestone cliffs and pudding, creeks and islets and its corresponding marine part. This is our favorite park in France because it’s a great combination of sea and mountains.
The Calanques National Park is well known for its wild beauty and secluded beaches with turquoise waters. Day hikes along the Calanques starting from Marseille or from Cassis, a pretty coastal town, are very popular amongst visitors, especially on Sundays. In addition, people also go to the Calanques for swimming, diving or climbing.
The Calanques are a great idea for a weekend trip from Paris by train. Indeed, Marseille can be reached by train from Paris in only 3 hours and from there one just need to take a local bus to the starting point of the hikes.
Thingvellir National Park
Contributed by: Kristen from Yonderlust Ramblings
In a country that is a literal Pandora’s Box of natural beauty, one of Iceland’s standouts is Thingvellir National Park, located along the Golden Circle route in southern Iceland. This national park is home to turquoise waterfalls and cobalt lakes, towering black cliff sides, rugged hiking trails and walking paths, pristine camping, and early Icelandic history.
There are two designated campsites at Thingvellir National Park. Neither require reservations, and camping permits can be obtained at the Information Centre upon arrival. Most of these sites offer stunning, unobscured views of Thingvellir’s unique landscape.
There are plenty of hiking and walking paths in the park, but my favorite section of trail in Thingvellir leads to the Oxararfoss waterfall. This waterfall cascades over the craggy, bordering cliffs of Thingvellir, and appears almost streaked with green hues. The path adjacent to Oxararfoss continues along black lava walls to several other landmarks, including scenic overlooks, the Thingvellir historic church, and peaceful, slow-moving streams and ponds that are the aftermath of the thunderous Oxararfoss waterfall above.
Other highlights of Thingvellir include snorkeling and scuba diving, wildlife sightings, trout fishing, and visiting historic “Law Rock”. Check out some other top things to see in southern Iceland, including more waterfalls, beaches, and glaciers!
Komodo National Park
Contributed by: Halef and Michael from The Round the World Guys
Komodo National Park may be famous for protecting its famous residents – the Komodo Dragons, big lizards that have roamed these islands for centuries. The National Park includes three arid islands where the Komodos live, along with the waters surrounding these islands.
It is a popular destination, especially for scuba divers. The water here is spectacular for both micro creatures, as well as big animals. At Batu Bolong dive site, you can find big manta rays lining up for a cleaning – a magnificent sight to see. The Dive Komodo Liveaboard is highly recommended to see some of the remote dive sites in Komodo National Park.
To get to Komodo National Park, make your way to Labuan Bajo, a sleepy port town located on Flores Island. From here, you can find many dive shops, as well as other operators, that offer a trip to the Komodo National Park, both above and under water.
Killarney National Park
Contributed by: Cath from Passports and Adventures
Killarney National Park, in the southern county of Kerry, Ireland, is one of the best national parks around the world. It was the first national park created in Ireland and it has expanded since it’s creation in 1932 to cover over 102km2. This UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is a special area of conservation and is home to a variety of fauna and flora, notably the only red deer herd on mainland Ireland.
The park is open year-round and main attractions include Muckross House, Ladies View, Ross Castle, and the Torc Waterfall, to name but a few. One of the other main tourist attractions of this area of Ireland, the Ring of Kerry, travels through the park. There are three lakes within Killarney National Park, all interlinked, and can be enjoyed both from the shores and on the water with permits, and sports angling is a past-time enjoyed at the Killarney lakes.
There are numerous hiking trails to enjoy within the park, and canoe and kayaking can be enjoyed on the lakes with a permit. Along with the natural beauty and history to be found in the park, Killarney National Park is one of the best national parks in the world.
Wicklow Mountains National Park
Contributed by: Eoin from Dolly’s Quest
Wicklow mountains national park is my favourite national park in my home country of Ireland. Located about one hour from Dublin, by bus, it is also a favourite with many visitors to Ireland.
Home to Glendalough, The Sally Gap walk and a whole host of ancient stone ruins and beautiful hiking and hill walking trails, it is one of the best ways to see some of Irelands rustic beauty. For those who are only on a short visit, it is quite easy to organise a trip into the national park.
Expect to find, wide open plains, windswept mountains and the rugged beauty visitors expect from Ireland. For me personally, I enjoy being able to wander along the hills and valleys, the walks are quite easy for the most part and going cross county is always an option.
You will find groups of walkers and cyclist year-round no matter the weather, but you may also spend the day alone discovering new areas as you explore.
For those who want to see some of Ireland ancient sites, then Glendalough is the perfect place to spend the day.
Cinque Terre National Park
Contributed by: Chris from Amateur Traveler
The Cinque Terre is a string of 5 beautiful towns along the coast of Liguria, south of the Italian Riviera. From south to north the towns are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia , Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. The area is an Italian National Park with hiking in between these towns, although they are also connected by train. I listed the towns from south to north because the hiking gets more difficult or longer as you head north. The easier trails are more crowded. The trail from Riomaggiore to Manarola is 2.7 kilometers and so easy your grandmother can do it. But the trail to Corniglia climbs hundreds of steps from the train station at the bottom of the hill to the town at the top. From each town and all along the way the view is stunning. Bring plenty of water in Summer and avoid the area on weekends if you can when a lot of day trippers will come down from Genoa.
Kamikochi National Park
Contributed by: Sarah from A Social Nomad
Kamikochi National Park is located in the Japanese Alps, not far from the city of Matsumoto. It’s a great place to spend a day away from the city and the park is free to enter, although the bus and
train combo to get there and back is a little expensive (aroundUS$30 per person!).
There are extensive trails available in the park, and a superb visitor centre to help you get the most out of your trip to Kamikochi. Most trails are easy and well formed with good signposting and it’s possible to crisscross the valley that the park mostly lies in several times and get a good 5-6 hours hiking in. A river runs through the centre of the park and bridges cross it at varying distances
between each other.
There are several cafes and restaurants in the park, and also a few hotels to stay in if you choose to spend more than a day in the park. It’s a fabulous and easy introduction to the Japanese Alps and a great day (or longer) out into the Japanese outdoors.
Wadi Rum National Park
Contributed by: Talek from Travels with Talek
The Wadi Rum National Park lies about 4 hours south of Amman in the southern part of Jordan. The area is a wild, scenic desert of soaring mountains and vast expanses of reddish sand. The area is so dramatic, in fact, it is where the movie Mars was filmed.
One of the more otherworldly aspects of this dessert is the absolute absence of sound…total silence. It’s like being in a vacuum where no sound penetrates. Another unexpected dessert feature is the brightness of the stars. You feel like you can touch them, that’s how close they seem.
Two types of sleeping accommodations are offered at Wadi Rum; little white pods, shaped like bubbles with see-through ceilings for star gazing at night, and tents. But not just any tents, these are equipped with comfortable baths, air-conditioning, and heat. You won’t think you’re in a tent in the dessert.
Although dessert animals are elusive, they are there; the stately ibex, wolves, various types of rabbits and hares. At night in the distance, the soulful howls of dessert wolves can be heard.
The best part of visiting the national park is meeting the Bedouins there, a friendly and gracious people that will make your stay there memorable.
Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park
Contributed by: Linn from Pack Up and Wander
Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site and consists of two large geographical formations of limestone needles; the Little Tsingy and the Great Tsingy. The national park is at the west coast of Madagascar.
The small Tsingy is an impressive walk along the top of the “limestone forest” with stunning views. The walk is connected with small wooden bridges and rocks attached to the most impossible parts to make it accessible to walk. To get there and back you will be transported in a traditional Malagasy wooden pirogue along the Manambolo river.
The Great Tsingy is a totally different experience. The water has created massive caves underneath the massive “limestone forest” which makes it an impressive experience walking beneath the Tsingy. There is an “easy hike” and a tougher hike for the more adventurous. We took the latter trek which included several wooden hanging bridges and steep climbs up the vertical cliff walls.
The challenging hike is rewarding not only because of the spectacular views but also because of the fauna and flora. You will most likely spot several species of wild lemurs on the trek even though the National Park is not mainly known for wildlife encounters in Madagascar.
Taman Negara National Park
Contributed by: Darja from Deegees Travel
Sagarmatha National Park
Contributed by: Joseph from Nomad Joseph
All of us know that the highest mountain in the world is Everest. Nepalese name for this mountain is Sagarmatha. The national park which protects the area around the mountain is called Sagarmatha National Park. It is full of wonderful, open-hearted people and stunning views to Himalayan mountains. You can choose what you want to do in the park from hiking to Everest basecamp to climbing Island Peak which is one of the most popular trekking peaks in Nepal. Three Passes and Gokyo lakes hikes are also popular choices among trekkers in Sagarmatha National Park.
It is my favorite national park because of the highest mountains in the world. It is the only place in the world where you could see sunset on Everest. It is very easy to hike in the mountains of this national park. You don‘t need to have a tent or food with you. There are teahouses open for tourists up to 5150 meters above sea level. They provide food and beds for trekkers.
Fiordland National Park
Contributed by: Cat from Walk My World
Tucked in the South-West corner of New Zealand’s South Island you’ll find Fiordland National Park – a place synonymous with wilderness and adventure. The vast majority of this huge national park is uninhabited and accessible only by boat or hiking trail – perfect for wilderness lovers. The landscape is characterised by steep mountains, glaciers, fiords, waterfalls and the biggest lakes in the country.
If you’re a hiker you’ll be spoilt for choice with three of New Zealand’s Great Walks passing through the park, including the Milford Track, known as the ‘finest walk in the world’. It’s the wettest place in New Zealand but it might be the only time you’re actually pleased to see rain as it cascades off the steep mountain tops creating hundreds of new waterfalls right before your eyes. There really is nowhere else like it on earth.
Non-hikers will be wowed by the most famous attraction in the country – Milford Sound – a place often described as the 8th Wonder of the World. This huge fiord weaves through pristine wilderness, and a boat or kayak trip will treat you to views of jagged mountains, waterfalls and seal colonies.
Every time we leave, we know it’s only a matter of time before we return.
Los Glaciares National Park
Contributed by: Bradley from Dream Big Travel Far
If you happen to find yourself in Patagonia in deep South America, then you simply have to visit the Los Glaciares National Park. It is a vast open park, almost 3,000 square miles in size. Here, you’ll find plenty of scenic hiking opportunities that can last you for days if needs be. However, hiking is not the main attraction in the Los Glaciares National Park.
Instead, hundreds of thousands of people flock here every single year to witness the park’s main attraction, the Perito Moreno Glacier. It is one of the world’s most breathtaking glaciers, and is roughly 100 square miles in size. But don’t worry, you’re not expected to see all of it! Instead, you can easily catch buses from El Calafate to the viewing platform that allows you to see it from the front.
Once here, you’ll find hundreds of metres of walkways which allow you to see the glacier form different angles and heights. But perhaps the best part about visiting the glacier is watching all of the ice break off and tumble down into the waters below. As they hit, you are met with a large booming noise and it’s a very impressive site to behold. Find out more about the Perito Moreno Glacier here.
Huascaran National Park
Contributed by: Bianca from Nomadbiba
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Palawan
Contributed by: Ferna from Everywhere with Ferna
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is located in Palawan, Philippines. It is also a UNESCO heritage and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in the world in the year 2012. It’s a national park which is also popularly known as Underground River, lush with a green environment that has been protected.
It is one of my favorite national parks in the world as the color of the water upon arriving in the area is totally crystal clear, with a great amount of number for its unique and different rock formation when entering the river totally surprises my visit.
The tour can only take about 45 minutes inside the cave, taking an open boat with the helmets on navigating to 4km distance brackish water. The limestone karst outside simply defines another panoramic view, from that mountain landscape one can surely identify the beauty within this national park.
Apart from the cave, there are monkeys lurking around and on the time I visited, we found one monitor lizard too. One of the things I do like from this place is the limit of visitors in a day, making sure that the place will not be destructed.
Tatra National Park
Contributed by: Joanna from Overhere
Tatra National Park is one of the most beautiful regions in Poland. Located in the southern part of the country, Tatras are the highest and most astonishing mountains in this part of Europe. These mountains are divided into a few ranges, each of them different, which makes them even more interesting.
Tatra National Park is famous for its amazing landscape – solemn granite peaks of High Tatras surround deep glacial lakes which never get warm. Oval mounts of Western Tatras welcome hikers with their long and picturesque trails. Rumbling waterfalls double their volume after rain. Tatra National Park is a true paradise for nature lovers, photographers, hikers, trail runners and climbers.
There are lots of trails suitable both for experienced hikers and families with children. There are via ferrata-like trails in High Tatras for thrill seekers, long but nice and safe routes in Western Tatras, and picturesque valleys perfect for beginners and hikers who just want to warm up.
The most famous places in Tatra mountains are: Five Lakes Valley (1,665m), Kasprowy Wierch peak (1,987m), Giewont peak (1,895m), Morskie Oko lake (1,406m), Chocholowska Valley (the longest valley in Poland!).
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park
Kruger National Park
Contributed by: Mariza from Hoponworld
Aigüestortes National Park, The Pyrenees
Contributed by: Gabor from Surfing the Planet
There are many awesome natural parks in Spain, but it’s hard to surpass the beauty of the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park. Situated in Catalonia, the Northeastern part of the country, this is probably the most picturesque area of the 400 km-long Pyrenees mountain chains that separates Spain from France.
In this national park you can find some of the best walks in the Pyrenees. I especially love this area because of the incredible variety of alpine lakes of all sorts of colors you can find there. The landscape is very diverse and changes quickly from lush forests to rocky mountain passes. The most easily accessible part of the park is the Estany de Sant Maurici, the largest lake in the park. The best way to get the most out of Aigüestortes is walking part of the Carros de Foc, a circular mountain trail that goes through the most beautiful parts of the national park. The whole walk takes several (5 to 7) days, during which you can sleep in fully equipped mountain refuges.
Udawalawe National Park
Contributed by: Lora from Explore with Lora
Sri Lanka has the highest density of wild Asian elephants in the world. The country has done an amazing job of protecting its wildlife while still making it accessible to tourists. Udawalawe National Park Safari is a great example of this.
During a safari at Udawalawe National Park, you will have the chance to spot elephants, water buffalo, crocodiles, lizards, monkeys, exotic birds, and If you’re really lucky, you may even spot a leopard.
On top of all the incredible wildlife, the landscape of the park is beautiful. It was completely different then anywhere else I visited in Sri Lanka, and actually felt like we were in Africa. The mountain ranges of nearby Ella provide a stunning backdrop to the park.
If you are planning a visit Sri Lanka, don’t miss the chance to go on an Elephant Safari in Udawalawe National Park.
Serengeti National Park
Contributed by: Jim from Travel Stories & Images
Without a doubt, my favorite national park in the world has to be Serengeti National Park. Serengeti NP is in the northern part of Tanzania, approximately 350Km (217 miles) Tanzania northwest of the city of Arusha. The northernmost border of the park is the Tanzanian-Kenyan border and is continuous with the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.
Serengeti represents everything I think of when Africa comes to mind. It has wide open plains filled with rolling hills and acacia trees and a wide range of wildlife. We were able to see all of Africa’s “big nine” game animals (the lion, the leopard, the cheetah, the cape buffalo, the elephant, the black rhinoceros, the hippo, the zebra and the giraffe) on our trip. The air was fresh and clean, and the night sky was filled with more stars than I’d ever seen from any other location on earth.
Getting to Serengeti wasn’t an easy or inexpensive trip…but it’s one that I would repeat in a heartbeat, given the chance.
Khao Sok National Park
Contributed by: Darja from DeeGees Travel
U.S. National Parks
Acadia National Park, Maine
Contributed by: Margie from DQ Family Travel
We visited Maine when there was thick fog in the area. As beautiful as Acadia National Park was with the fog, we did not hike certain trails due to low visibility. I was saddened not to be able to see the coastal views, the granite cliffs, and the alpine lakes so clearly due to the fog. It really shows what a lasting impression Acadia had on me. Despite the fog, I fell in love with Acadia National Park and cannot wait to explore some more.
Arches National Park & Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Contributed by: Tiffany from Nomadic and Threaded
Moab, UT is uniquely situated between Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. This central location provides the opportunity to experience two of the most stunning parks in the American Southwest. Arches and Canyonlands offer miles of trails, thousands of natural arches, and endless colorful red rock formations.
Arches National Park is the most easily accessible park between the two. You can reach the majority of what the park has to offer by a paved road. The drive is stunning in itself and offers multiple places to pull over to enjoy a sunrise or sunset. If you’re up for a little more adventure there are many short hikes throughout the park like the one to the famous “Delicate Arch,” or “The Windows.”
Canyonlands National Park can be entered about 40mins from Moab. This entrance will lead you to an area of the park called “Island in the Sky.” After a short hike, in the morning darkness, you will find yourself under the Mesa Arch, watching one of the most photographed sunrises in the US. However, what makes this park unique from other national parks is the remoteness and zero light pollution of “The Natural Bridges Monument.” This portion of the park was named the world’s first “Dark Sky Park.” The visitor center here is open year-round and offers many exhibits, making this the perfect place to experience astronomy.
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Contributed by: Leona from Wandermust Family
Badlands National Park might be one of our favorite national parks in the US if not the world! There are plenty of opportunities to wildlife spot – particularly seeing Bison and the Prairie Dogs at Roberts Town just off the loop road!
Back on the loop road are many easy to walk trailheads as well as many viewpoints on the roadside which makes seeing the best this park has to offer really easy!
But one of the best things about the Badlands National Park is that by comparison to many of the other parks both in the us and internationally is that it is exceptionally quiet which means that you really feel like you are in touch with nature! It is also close to other hidden gems such as Custer state park and well-known attraction Mount Rushmore!
The park is really easy to access both from Sioux Falls and Rapid City (50 minutes away) and the nearby town of wall drug which is advertised on the roadside from both cities is also worth stopping at during your badlands visit!
The combination of quietness, wildlife, geological beauty and proximity to other great sites makes badlands my favourite national park in the world!
Big Bend National Park, Texas
Contributed by: Erin from Sol Salute
My favorite national park is actually on the list of the least visited national parks in the United States. But this tiny park in West Texas has so much to offer. Big Bend National Park is isolated in the desert, an 8- hour drive from Austin. But every second in the car is worth it once you arrive. This is the only national park that houses an entire mountain range within its borders.
The Chisos Mountains rise up from the desert floor and are home to some of the best Big Bend hikes. The 150 miles of trails in the mountains, through the desert or along the Rio Grande are my favorite way to spend a weekend in Big Bend. If you love to camp, reserve a campsite ahead of time to sleep on the trail under the stars. And what a night sky it is, with no urbanized area for miles the stars come out in full force.
Sleeping under the Milky Way on the trail overlooking Mexico is an experience you’ll never forget. If you ever find yourself in Texas, don’t hesitate to get in the car and drive west.
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Contributed by: Julie from Open Wide the World
Summer or winter, the surreal landscape of Bryce Canyon National Park, located in southern Utah, makes it our favorite national park in the United States.
The most recognizable feature of Bryce Canyon is its ultra-photogenic, deep orange hoodoos. With an other-worldly appearance, hoodoos are irregularly formed spires of rock caused by millennia of freeze-thaw cycles and erosion. Hoodooos are found on every continent in the world, but in highest concentration in this area of southern Utah.
In hotter months, the hoodoos look ablaze under the summer sun; it is a great season for photography. Crowds of park visitors also experience phenomenal hikes, guided horseback rides, and ranger-lead stargazing programs in this season.
In colder months, thanks to the park’s elevation of 8,000+ feet (2500m+), Bryce Canyon typically sees about 80 inches (2m) of snow in a season (but can occasionally see 80+ inches in just one month!). The crowds thin out, so that those who do visit can enjoy peaceful winter hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. And the contrast between the untouched white snow, the deep orange hoodoos, and the green of the towering Douglas firs make for even more extraordinary photography than in summer!
But truly, any time of year is the right time to visit Bryce Canyon!
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Contributed by: James from Travel Collecting
Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most incredible places on the planet. There are several ways to experience the canyon. There are multiple viewpoints from the north rim and the south rim, which is the main access point and the side that most people visit.
You can hike the Bright Angel Trail from the South Rim down into the canyon to Phantom Ranch at the bottom, where there are cabins and dorms to stay in. If you don’t want to hike, a mule ride is an alternative. Mule rides are also available around the top of the rim. You can also take a river rafting trip through the canyon. Seeing the canyon walls rise higher around you as you proceed through the canyon, and riding the whitewater rapids, is an awesome way to experience the canyon.
Grand Canyon is in Arizona in the southwest of the United States. The nearest main airport is Flagstaff, but Las Vegas, which has a larger airport, is also not far away. In fact, many people go to the canyon as a day trip from Las Vegas. However, spending longer gives you more time to fully appreciate the grandeur and enormity of the canyon.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
Contributed by: Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles
If you are looking for a unique National Park to visit in the USA, plan a trip to Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California! Doable as a day trip from Palm Springs or Los Angeles, Joshua Tree is also a great place to spend a few days, camping within the park.
Joshua Tree NP is a desert park that is located on not one but two deserts: the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert. Within the park, you’ll see two completely different ecosystems based on which desert you’re in, which is very cool. And Joshua Tree’s diverse range of things to do makes it a fun destination for different types of outdoor lovers, from hikers to climbers to photographers. The huge boulder formations in the park make for fabulous landscapes, as do the Joshua trees that give the park its name.
Even if you visit Joshua Tree NP for just one day, you can do the scenic drive through the park, a couple of short hikes, some rock scrambling, and sunset watching or star gazing.
So if you love the outdoors and plan to visit Southern California, make sure to place a visit to Joshua Tree NP on your itinerary!
Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
Contributed by: Tom from Travel Past 50
About 200 yards short of the path up the Cinder Cone at Lassen Volcanic National Park in California, all vegetation stops, and you feel like you’ve suddenly stepped onto a very black, windy, and dusty planet that is very different from the one you came from. And, the path up the cone that’s now just in front of you is a lot steeper than it looked in the pictures in the book.
The path up the hill is made of pumice stones that vary in size from golf ball to pea. And, since they are light pumice stone, they’re very easy to displace. In other words, for every step up the hill you take, the stones roll back about half the distance of your pace–taking you back down the hill with them.
But, the struggle is worth it, because when you get to the top, you’ll get a view unsurpassed in its stark beauty. And, because of the difficulty of the climb, there won’t be very many people up there with you. And that’s a rarity in the United States National Parks.
The Cinder Cone is the highlight of Lassen Volcanic, but don’t miss the Bumpass Hell trail through the active volcanic landscape on the other side of the park. The name alone is worth the hike. Stay on the path. It’s dangerous there.
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Contributed by: Cassie from White Sands and Cool Breezes
My favorite National Park – Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado!!!! Why? It’s pretty simple really. It’s beautiful!
You’ve got the tall majestic mountains, snow capped peaks, lakes, wild animals and scenery for miles and miles. Now, during the winter months (could be as early as October, until possibly the end of May) the main thoroughfare through the park, Trail Ridge Road, is closed due to snow. But from June until October you can enjoy the windy road that will take you over 12,000 feet above sea level, experience life above the treeline and cross over the Continental Divide!!! It’s a hiker and rustic campers daydream 🙂
Just remember, because you’re at high altitude it’s easier to get dehydrated so make sure you have plenty of water on you, even if you’re just driving through! Oh, and it’s cold up there even in the summer so dress accordingly.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Contributed by: Jurga from Full Suitcase
One of the oldest National Parks in the world, Yellowstone in Wyoming, USA, is probably the most unique National Park on the planet. Located on a huge volcano, Yellowstone is bustling with geothermal activity. Not surprisingly some of the park’s best-known features are its geysers, with the Old Faithful as an absolute crowd-favorite. Yellowstone is also well known for its colorful hot springs such as the Grand Prismatic or the Morning Glory Pool, to name just a few.
This huge park is also home to a big variety of flora and fauna. You can see thousands (yes, thousands!) of bison grazing next to the roads of the park. If you are lucky, you will also get to see all kinds of deer, and also bears, wolfs, and coyote…
But there is so much more to Yellowstone than that! Did you know that Yellowstone has its own canyon, a huge lake, and several places where river water is warmer than a jacuzzi? It’s such a diverse place, full of incredible landmarks, but also many hidden gems still waiting to be discovered.
If you are thinking of visiting, check these Yellowstone itinerary suggestions for inspiration.
So, which one of these worldwide National Parks will you be hitting up first? We have our eyes on so many, which means our bucket list just grew by leaps and bounds!
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