Happy 100th birthday National Parks! Last year on our epic US road trip we had the chance to visit a few of the best US national parks in the country. We didn’t get all 59 US national parks but we did make it 11 of the best US national parks. The other 48 US national parks are still on our ever-growing bucket list.
If you are planning a US road trip or just a summer vacation and hoping to visit several of the best US national parks make sure to purchase the “America is Beautiful” pass.
The America is beautiful pass is valid for 1 year and allows you into all the best US national parks, you can purchase online or at select national parks. We purchased it online and had it shipped to our house before taking off on our road trip. Here are the best US national parks we visited on our epic US road trip.
Best US National Parks You Need To Visit
1. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park is one of the most popular US national parks, one of our biggest tips for visiting Yellowstone National Park is to get into the park early and stay late. The park can get crowded but beat the crowds and you can practically have Old Faithful to yourself.
One of the biggest budget tips for Yellowstone National Park is to make sure you have enough gas before entering the park, the park is huge and you will use more gas than you think. There are gas stations in the park but the price is at a premium.
2. Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming
Right next door to Yellowstone National Park is Grand Teton National Park and it shouldn’t be missed. If you are a fan of hiking make sure to hit the trails hiking in the Grand Tetons for some amazing views.
3. Death Valley National Park, California
If you are staying in Vegas and looking for a break from all the glitz & glam head to Death Valley National Park. Death Valley is less than 2.5 hours away from Vegas and well worth the trip. If you can time your trip with a new moon, you’ll see stars for days. It was one of my favorite sober things to do in Vegas.
4. Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
Most people completely dismiss North Dakota when planning a vacation but let me tell you North Dakota is pretty darn awesome. Theodore Roosevelt National Park sees very few tourists so you feel as if you are the only one in one of the best US national parks!
5. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
Crater Lake National Park is home to the deepest lake in the United States of 1,949 feet (594 m) deep at its deepest point. We fell in love with this park as we drove the Rim Drive, the scenic route around the rim of Crater Lake. The scenic drive is seasonal and typically open July-October but can be closed due to snow. The deep blue colors of Crater Lake are what makes it one of the best US national parks you need to visit.
6. Zion National Park, Utah
One of the best US national parks for active people is Zion National Park, which is full of great hikes. One of the most famous hikes is Angels Landing, a hike not for those afraid of heights. Zion National Park is located only 2.5 hours from Las Vegas it can easily be added to a Vegas vacation.
Make sure to strap the GoPro to the windshield before entering the park, it’s a pretty epic scenic drive.
7. Great Basin National Park, Nevada
I literally felt like I was the only person at Great Basin National Park when I visited in May. The park is one of the least visited, but best US national parks and should be on your bucket list. Great Basin National Park has mountains, caves, hiking, and much more. Add it to your HWY 50 itinerary it was one of our favorite stops on “The Loneliest Road in America.”
8. Glacier National Park, Montana
One of the best US national parks to take sunset photos has to be Glacier National Park. Every night we sought out the best place for sunset in Glacier National Park and we were never disappointed. It is a must that you drive the “Going to the Sun Road” but plan on it taking all day, as there are so many photo ops along the way.
9. Redwood US National & State Park, California
The Redwood National Park is located just off the famous Pacific Coast Highway 1. If you’re driving the PCH 1 definitely take a slight detour and drive through one of the best US national parks. The park is famous for the sequoia trees, the tallest tree on earth is here in the Redwood National Park at 379.1 feet (115.5 m). Try and fit that into a picture!
10. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
I saved the best for last! No visit to the US should skip the best US national park, the Grand Canyon National Park. The Grand Canyon is huge and you’ll have to decide if you want to visit the North or South Rim, do any hiking/camping as it may require permits (click here for more information). I
f you are in Vegas with limited time check out these cheap Las Vegas helicopter tours for a day trip to the Grand Canyon. We visited Grand Canyon National Park in November and got caught in a snowstorm, but if you ask me it made for some epic photos.