America in the summertime is a special kind of wonderful. It’s the season of the great American road trip, the time to go West, the time to experience a few wide-open spaces. There’s no better way to do that than to explore our incredible national parks. There are more than 417 national park sites in the country, which can make it hard to narrow down where you want to go first. Maybe it’s one closest to you; maybe it’s one you’ve been meaning to mark off your bucket list; or maybe — and we assume this is why you’re here — you need a little inspiration.
We chose some of the best national parks to visit in the summertime. Whether you’re a West-Coast-best-coast die-hard fan, want to get lost in the woods of the East or hope to find something midway, we’ve got a few ideas for you. From volcanoes to flood plains, here are the national parks you should spend time exploring this summer — and where to stay when you want to lay your head down at the end of your adventures.