Best States for The Most Scenic National Park Trips

by Jacklyn Krol

Ready to discover the National Park of your dreams? Find out the best states to visit and explore parks with scenic points.

National Park 101

There are sixty-two National Parks in the United States, two of which are located in the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa. Overall, 419 sites are run by the U.S. National Park Service. Those sites include historical sites and trails, along with the classic parks. Furthermore, 22 states do not have National Parks.


California boasts eight National Parks exclusively and additionally share Death Valley with Nevada. Redwood features the tallest and some of the rarest trees on the planet. You can encounter elk, salmon, seals, and sea lions there. Aside from the stunning trees, visitors can check out the beaches, canyons and trails.

Yosemite is one of the most famous and visited parks. It is in four counties and on 748,436 acres. According to the National Park Guide, attractions include:  “alpine wilderness, three groves of Giant Sequoias and the glacially carved Yosemite Valley with impressive waterfalls, cliffs, and unusual rock formations.”

Joshua Tree is known for its cacti and rock climbing areas. Photographers often set up to take unreal photos of the stars in the night sky.


Although there is only one National Park in this state, it is certainly memorable and large. The Indiana Dunes are just outside Chicago, you can actually see the epic skyline on the beach. The park boasts beaches, forests, prairie, bog, wetlands, and dunes.

This park runs for almost 25 miles along Lake Michigan. People come from all over the world to experience the scenic trails or to climb the dunes. The park boasts over 2,000 species of animals. It opened in 1966 but became the official 61st National Park on February 15, 2019.


Although most of their parks are the least visited because of location, their scenery is absolutely stunning. Surprisingly, the state has eight parks. The Gates of the Arctic National Park has no park facilities and is an undisturbed wilderness. Native people live there and hunt caribou for the last 11,000 years.

Denali has the highest prominence mountain in North America. Visitors have to use the one road that takes you to Wonder Lake. If you’re looking for glaciers, this is the perfect destination. It features some of the lowest elevations and even a tundra in the middle. You’ll find cross-country skiing and dog sledding here.

Does tidewater glaciers, rainforest, mountains, and fjords sound appealing? Glacier Bay offers that and out of this world animal watching. You can find whales, eagles, seals, and grizzly bears.


Firstly, the Everglades is a must-visit for any nature explorer. The Everglades is the largest tropical wilderness in the country at over 1 and a half million acres. It features both fresh and saltwater along with sawgrass prairies, and mangrove forests.

Biscayne features coral reefs, forest, the Bay, and The Keys. You can find manatees, crocodiles, and other endangered wildlife in this park.

Dry Tortugas is unlike any other park in the world. It features seven islands and the Civil War era Fort Jefferson. The fort was built in 1846 with 16 million bricks.  It is the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere.

The islands feature the least disturbed coral reefs in Florida. Besides the scuba opportunities, people often visit for bird watching as the islands have 299 species.


Zion National Park has every type of rock formation you could want like mesas, towers, canyons, cliffs. It has four ecosystems: woodlands, deserts, riparian, and the coniferous forest.

When you search nature, chances are at least one of the photos from Arches comes up. The park houses 2,000 arches made of sandstone. They were naturally formed by millions of years of erosion. Aside from the sandstone and desert landscape, you can find balancing rocks, pinnacles, and fins, here.


Big Bend is on the border of Mexico and is in the Chihuahuan Desert. Canyons sprawl with the river in the background. Visitors and experts alike have found fossils here. Native Americans still inhabit portions of the untouched land.

Guadalupe Peak National Park is the highest point in Texas with a spectacular view. Almost every camping site has an unworldly view of rock. If you’re up for an adventure, the desert houses a fossilized coral reef from roughly 298 million years ago.