When was the last time you made Teddy Roosevelt proud? Is your idea of “manifest destiny” going to a Burger King so you can have it your way? Did the last park you go to have a coin fountain and a mime to entertain the visitors?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then ol’ Teddy just grimaced from his seat in heaven. It’s time we all paid our respects to everyone’s favorite conservationist president Teddy Roosevelt by visiting one of America’s stunning national parks. Roosevelt’s legacy of creating America’s national park system is still paying enormous dividends to this day.
While debate abounds over which park is the most worthy of a visit, a few select parks contain such astounding scenery that you’ll be in disbelief such beauty could occur in nature. So without further ado, here are the top five national parks that will make you feel like you’re on another planet.
If you’re like most people, when you hear the word “rainforest” you think of tropical climates, colorful parrots, and howling monkeys. If this is true, then it may come as a surprise to you that there is a rainforest in the contiguous United States as well.
The Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park receives an astounding average of 165 inches of precipitation a year, which creates some of the lushest, densest forestry imaginable. Spend one day in the Hoh Rainforest and you’ll think you’ve seen enough green to last yourself a lifetime. Definitely make sure to visit this exotic locale, just make sure to pack a raincoat!
The great state of Alaska has a staggering number of 8 national parks to choose from. While all of them are breathtaking in their own right, the crown jewel is undoubtedly Denali National Park.
Home to Mt. McKinley, North America’s tallest mountain, pictures simply cannot convey what it’s like to stand at the base of a 20,327 ft. snow-capped peak. And with over 6 million acres to explore in this prodigious park, one could spend a whole lifetime exploring its realms and not see the same corner twice.
Perhaps the only thing that stands in the way of making a visit to Denali is its remote location. Luckily for the bold, there are plenty of outdoor-related summer jobs in Alaska, which could give you all the opportunity you need to explore this awe-inspiring park.
Noted author Edward Abbey once called Canyonlands National Park “the most weird, wonderful, magical place on earth—there is nothing else like it anywhere.”
He sure was right. From captivating mountain vistas, to lazy floats down the Colorado River, to thrilling hikes through claustrophobic slot canyons, this park is a favorite destination of many park explorers. There are also countless petroglyphs left behind by the Anasazi Indians, so you can also get your fill of ancient archaeology!
Ever seen flowing lava up close? We didn’t think so. Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii allows its visitors the extraordinary experience of coming within yards of molten lava. Active volcanoes spew lava into the Pacific Ocean, adding acres of land mass to the island of Hawaii every year. Visitors can explore lush jungle environments and even explore lava tubes— vast underground tunnels caused by old lava flows that are big enough to drive a Greyhound bus through.
The best part about visiting Volcanoes National Park? The fact that it’s in Hawaii. And the park certainly makes a vacation out to paradise even more appealing.
It’s time to pull out your spelunking shoes and go caving at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. No other National Park offers a more other-worldly experience than Carlsbad, as visitors can cozy up next to bizarre-looking stalactites and stalagmites around every corner. There are 116 different caves to explore, and visitors can take underground elevators to reach some of the caves’ deepest viewing spaces. When was the last time you took a leisurely stroll in a place 750 feet underground?
Welles is an outdoor enthusiast who writes on behalf of AlaskaTourJobs.com, a leading provider of jobs in Alaska.