20 Must-see National Parks

by SheKnows
Nov 17, 2010 at 5:13 p.m. ET
Yosemite National Park, one of the first wilderness parks in the United States, is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.

1 /19: Zion National Park, Utah

1/19 :Zion National Park, Utah

Massive canyon walls ascend toward a brilliant blue sky. To experience Zion, you need to walk among the towering cliffs, or challenge your courage in a small narrow canyon. These unique sandstone cliffs range in color from cream, to pink, to red. They could be described as sand castles crowning desert canyons.

2 /19: Rocky Mountain, Colorado

2/19 :Rocky Mountain, Colorado

Throughout its 416 square miles of rock-ribbed wildness, Rocky Mountain National Park truly is a land of superlatives. Here at least 60 mountains exceed 12,000 feet, topping off at 14,259 feet on the football field-sized summit of Longs Peak.

3 /19: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

3/19 :Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Nearly five million people see the 1 mile deep Grand Canyon each year. Most of them see it from their car at overlooks along the South Rim (this includes Grand Canyon Village, Hermits Rest, and Desert View). The South Rim is the most accessible part of the park and is open all year.

4 /19: Glacier National Park, Montana

4/19 :Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park was designated our nation's 10th national park on May 11, 1910

5 /19: Acadia National Park, Maine

5/19 :Acadia National Park, Maine

People have been drawn to the rugged coast of Maine throughout history. Awed by its beauty and diversity, early 20th-century visionaries donated the land that became Acadia National Park. The park is home to many plants and animals, and the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast.

6 /19: Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

6/19 :Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Located in northwestern Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park preserves a spectacular landscape rich with majestic mountains, pristine lakes and extraordinary wildlife.

7 /19: Denali National Park, Alaska

7/19 :Denali National Park, Alaska

Roughly 400,000 intrepid travelers journey to Denali National Park and Preserve each year, primarily between late May and early September. Most come in search of wildlife or glimpses of 20,320' tall Mt. McKinley, the roof of North America.

8 /19: Arches National Park, Utah

8/19 :Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park preserves over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, like the world-famous Delicate Arch, as well as many other unusual rock formations.

9 /19: Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, Wyoming, & Montana

9/19 :Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, Wyoming, & Montana

Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is America's first national park. Located in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, it is home to a large variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk.

10 /19: Bryce Canyon, Utah

10/19 :Bryce Canyon, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park is located in southwestern Utah. Bryce Canyon is not actually a canyon but a giant natural amphitheater created by erosion along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau.

11 /19: Everglades National Park, Florida

11/19 :Everglades National Park, Florida

Everglades National Park, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, boasts rare and endangered species.

12 /19: Great Basin National Park, Nevada

12/19 :Great Basin National Park, Nevada

In the shadow of 13,063-foot Wheeler Peak, 5,000 year old bristlecone pine trees grow on rocky glacial moraines. Come to Great Basin National Park to experience the solitude of the desert, the smell of sagebrush after a thunderstorm, the darkest of night skies, and the beauty of Lehman Caves.

13 /19: Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

13/19 :Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

Come witness a brief moment in the ancient battle between the earth shaping forces of creation and destruction. Nestled within Lassen's peaceful mountain forests you will find that hissing fumaroles and boiling mud pots still shape and change the land.

14 /19: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

14/19 :Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park displays the results of 70 million years of volcanism, migration, and evolution -- processes that thrust a bare land from the sea and clothed it with unique ecosystems, and a distinct human culture.

15 /19: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennesse

15/19 :Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennesse

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is world renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture.

16 /19: Big Bend National Park, Texas

16/19 :Big Bend National Park, Texas

Sometimes considered "three parks in one," Big Bend includes mountain, desert, and river environments. An hour’s drive can take you from the banks of the Rio Grande to a mountain basin nearly a mile high.

17 /19: Badlands National Park, South Dakota

17/19 :Badlands National Park, South Dakota

The geologic deposits of the Badlands contain one of the world's richest fossil beds. Ancient mammals such as the rhino, horse, and saber-toothed cat once roamed here. The park's 244,000 acres protect an expanse of mixed-grass prairie where bison, bighorn sheep, deer, pronghorn, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets live today.

18 /19: Biscayne National Park, Florida

18/19 :Biscayne National Park, Florida

Within sight of downtown Miami, yet worlds away, Biscayne protects a rare combination of aquamarine waters, emerald islands, and fish-bejeweled coral reefs.

19 /19: Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska

19/19 :Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve was created to protect scenic beauty (volcanoes, glaciers, wild rivers and waterfalls), populations of fish and wildlife, watersheds essential for red salmon, and the traditional lifestyle of local residents.