When most of us think about vacation, we dream about overseas destinations, envision exotic adventures or picture ourselves relaxing on a sun-drenched Caribbean beach. It’s so easy to forget that we have access to some of the most amazing destinations in the world right here in America. They’re all just a road trip away! We’ve all heard of Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. They’re incredible destinations that most of us have on our travel to-do lists if we haven’t seen them already. But they aren’t the only National Parks in America worth visiting. Searching for a spring destination? Check out these 5 lesser-known National Parks.
Zion National Park (Utah)
National Parks are some of the best places in the country to go camping. With three different campgrounds, Zion National Park has plenty of space to pull up your camper or set up your tent in the heart of nature. The 229 square miles offer countless trails that guide you into beautiful canyons and atop the highest plateaus.
Must See: Zion National Park is a hiker’s paradise. It’s most popular hiking trail is called The Narrows. This trail (pictured above) winds you through a gorge with walls over a thousand feet tall, and can even take you into the shallow Virgin River, which is no more than a stream in some parts and safe for supervised children.
Sequoia National Park (California)
Yellowstone may have been the first National Park in America, but as the second National Park in America, the Sequoia National Park in California was the first created specifically to protect living things. Today there are thousands of great Sequoia trees thriving in the park, many of them hundreds or thousands of years old.
Must See: The prize of the Sequoia National Park is the General Sherman Tree. It’s the largest living single stem tree on the entire planet. The massive tree is 275 feet tall and over 36 feet in diameter. A close second to General Sherman is the General Grant Tree, a sequoia located in nearby Kings Canyon National Park.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee & North Carolina)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to the highest diversity of animals and plants in America. It boasts thousands of unique plant species and well over a hundred different species of trees. Astonishingly, most of this land remains untouched by humans. It also has some of the most beautiful views in the country.
Must See: One of the easiest ways to experience Great Smoky Mountains National Park is in your vehicle. The Newfound Gap Road allows you to drive through over 30 miles of forest. Because the road’s elevation is so high, passengers get great views of the park, with plenty of scenic overlooks to stop and take it all in.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)
Most of this National Park might be desert and grassland, but Carlsbad Cavern is known for its caves. With nearly 120 unique caves in the park, there’s enough territory to keep any cave fanatic busy and continually surprised. More so, these caves, like the main attraction at Carlsbad Caverns, are immaculately preserved.
Must See: The biggest attraction at Carlsbad Caverns is known as “The Big Room“. It’s the fifth largest cave chamber in North America, and one of the largest of these chambers in the world. This limestone chamber features excellent views of overhanging stalactite formations (pictured above) and huge, ancient columns.
Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado)
Great Sand Dunes National Park proves that Colorado isn’t just known for its snowy slopes. Over 30 square miles of mountainous sand rests within view of numerous Colorado peaks. A popular hiking destination, the dunes feature the refreshing Medano Creek, where you can splash around and enjoy the occasional wave.
Must See: Some of the dunes are over 700 feet tall. Hiking to the top is adventure in itself, but it’s even better if you can reward yourself by taking the easy way down. The dunes are known for sand-sledding and sand-boarding. You can even rent sleds and boards from the park that are specifically designed to surf the dunes.
Get ready for your spring vacation or summer getaway with a variety of helpful products from The Lakeside Collection. Discover useful camping gear, athletic apparel, as well as travel essentials to help you pack up.