National Parks are a popular summer vacation destination for many families. They offer the chance to explore nation and see incredible sights, like the Grand Canyon or the Rocky Mountains. They also encourage a little more family time without screens blocking everyone’s face (except for a camera to capture the moments!). Many people can probably name at least a few of the National Parks the U.S. has to offer. There are 419 NPS sites, including parks, monuments and more.
The National Park Service sees about 330 million visitors a year in the sites across the country, but some parks obviously get more visitors than others. Here are some of the less visited parks you may not have heard of – but you should browse Instagram to see the beauty they have to offer!
Katmai National Park
This park is located in Alaska, and it’s known for bears! It is the home to the Alaskan brown bear, a subspecies of grizzly bears. Although it’s a fairly large park, due to the roaming population of bears, people tend to keep to small section, where they can take in the views of the mountains, lakes, rivers and, of course, the bears.
National Park of the American Samoa
This one may be a bit of an adventure to get to, as it’s located in the South Pacific, 5,000 miles from California. However, for the 10,000 visitors a year who do make their way to the islands, they are greeted with volcanoes, humpback whales, sea turtles and coral. The culture of the Samoan people is another thing the park can offer visitors.
Great Basin National Park
Along the “loneliest road in America” lies the Great Basin National Park in eastern Nevada. Visitors can see caves, mountains and bristlecone pine trees dating back 5,000 years. Stargazers will delight at the dark night skies at the campgrounds. Cavern tours are offered for visitors who want to go deep underground and explore the rock formations beneath the surface of the Earth.
Congaree National Park
In South Carolina, you can find one of the largest groupings of hardwood trees in the country. The park is swampy, but travelling by canoe you can gaze 30 to 50 meters in the sky to see the top of these large, old trees. Other sights can include bobcats, otters and birds you may not see anywhere else. Not a canoe person? There’s an elevated Boardwalk Loop above the water near the visitor center in the north end of the park for you to glimpse some of these same views.
Dry Tortugas National Park
If you’re looking for a park closer to home, Dry Tortugas is right here in Florida. 68 miles off the main Florida Keys, this park is known for its turtles and Fort Jefferson. You can get there by ferry, boat or seaplane, and activities include snorkeling and diving around the coral reefs. If you’re in for a longer adventure, pack some food and supplies to camp under the stars near the fort.
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