Travel

Top National and State Parks to Visit Near You

With the summer heat behind us and leaves starting to change and fall, it’s the perfect time to enjoy our country’s national and state parks. We’re bringing you a list of the most popular parks to check out in your state! So grab some snacks, pile into the car and head out to see the natural beauty near you.
Click on the links below to read more about each park!

 

Arizona – Take a trip to the land of red rocks, the largest canyon in the country, caverns and cacti!
If you’re a hiker, be sure to pack proper shoes and layers of clothing. Arizona is notoriously warm in the day but can be very chilly at night, depending on the season.
Grand Canyon National Park (duh) – North of Flagstaff, AZ
-If you’re planning to camp at the bottom of the canyon or raft down the river, make sure to book reservations ahead of time.
-The summer is the Canyon’s busiest time for tourism, so if you are seeking to avoid the crowds, opt for the fall or spring.
Kartchner Caverns State Park – Benson, AZ
-The tours of the caves are a must-see but be prepared with a reservation and the tour fees, in addition to the park entrance fee.
-Be sure to stop by the visitor center and check out the vast gift shop for locally made in AZ products and souvenirs.

Florida – You’ll love the beautiful white sand beaches and palm trees aplenty in these two lovely state parks.
Fort De Soto Park – St. Petersburg, FL
-The park includes a dog park for your furry friend and is the perfect place for an afternoon picnic.
-Be sure to check the park’s website before your trip to see if there are partial closures due to the season.
Cayo Costa State Park – Captiva, FL
-This park is only accessible by private boat or ferry so plan your trip accordingly.
– If you’re a fan of bird watching, this is the park for you. You can spend all day enjoying the 2,426 acres of the park: swimming, snorkeling or just hanging up a hammock and relaxing in the shade.

Georgia – These parks in the Peach State offer seemingly endless forests, lakes and breathtaking views.
Amicalola Falls State Park – Dawsonville, GA
Archery, zip lines and climbing wall, oh my! There is no shortage of outdoor activities to enjoy.
– If the campsites aren’t your cup of tea, check out rooms at The Lodge or book a private cabin.
Fort Yargo State Park – Winder, GA
– This park is perfect for a weekend getaway or a week-long stay as it contains 13 cabins, 3 cottages, 6 yurts and 50 campsites!
– Disc golf, miniature golf, boating and kayaking are also popular activities. Disc golf and miniature golf do require additional fees.

Indiana – Waterfalls, hiking trails and caves, oh my!
Turkey Run State Park – Marshall, IN
– Be sure to check out the recurring “Help Feed the Birds” and “Planetarium Star Show” events in the summer and fall.
– There are plenty of trails for hiking, ranging from Easy to Very Rugged. Check out all the trail options here.
Clifty Falls State Park – Madison, IN
– If you’re a sucker for waterfalls, don’t miss the waterfall group hike that takes place a couple times a month from May until October.
– You can also discover fossil remnants of the marine ecosystem that existed throughout Clifty Creek long ago.

Nevada – Nevada is home to both the wide open desert and a gorgeous, well-known lake and forest!
Lake Tahoe National Forest – Incline Village, NV
– Spanning across the border of NV and CA, Tahoe in the summer is a hiker’s dream, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding lake. Winter, however, is a skier or snowboarder’s paradise with world-renowned ski resorts only minutes away.
– Camping is best reserved for the spring or summer unless you’re a fan of freezing nighttime temperatures. To check out campsites throughout the area, click here.
Valley of Fire State Park – Moapa Valley, NV
– Hiking is a must with the stunning red rock and petroglyphs throughout the park. To see what hike might best suit your difficulty and length preferences, visit the Visitor Center.
– The entrance fee is only $10/day and you’ll be able to see the sandstone left behind from the Jurassic era and petroglyphs from 2,500 years ago!

North Carolina – These parks offer stunning trails and mountain views as well as waterfalls and rivers, respectively.
Chimney Rock State Park – Asheville, NC
– Take in the gorgeous 360-degree views from the signature granite outcropping referred to as “The Rock.”
– If you’re looking for an adventure (and a workout), try bouldering and rock climbing in the park. You can try a variety of routes as the guides from the climbing school teach you the correct technique.
Pisgah National Forest – Asheville, NC
– Mile-high peaks, stunning waterfalls and Whitewater Rivers await you at this 500,000-acre park.
– Fishing, horseback riding and tubing are all perfect activities for a summertime trip to Pisgah.

Tennessee – Bordering the well-known music cities of Nashville and Memphis rest these well-known parks are full of waterfalls and forests, perfect for camping and hiking.
Fall Creek Falls State Park – Spencer, TN
– Tennessee’s largest and most visited state park and for good reason. The Fall Creek waterfall, measuring 256 feet, is one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern United States.
– For lodging, the park offers an inn with 145 hotel rooms, as well as 30 cabins and 222 campsites!
Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Gatlinburg, TN
– Surrounding the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, this very popular and well-known park offers hikes through the Appalachians, breathtaking waterfalls, unparalleled camping options and even auto tours if you’d rather skip the walking and hiking.
– Check the website for precautions regarding the bears in the park, bear pepper spray is suggested for certain times of the year.

Texas – The Lone Star State offers plenty of wide open space, including these two parks, one of which is the second largest canyon in the country and the other offers the peace and beauty of a remote high desert.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park – Canyon, TX
– If you visit in the summer, you can catch one of the Sunday performances of the park’s “Texas: an outdoor musical drama.” You can go early for a pre-show barbecue and the show is full of singing, dancing, fireworks and humor.
– Choose from a variety of available campsites or book one of the three cabins located along the canyon’s rim.
Big Bend Ranch State Park – Presidio, TX
With 238 miles of multi-use trails, you can go hiking, horseback riding or biking to get the full experience of this park.
– Tours are available, including a 4×4 tour that accommodates up to 6 people and takes you to the most remote and scenic areas of the park. The cost for that tour is $150.

 

Happy travels! Let us know in the comments below if you have visited, or plan to visit, any of these parks.

 

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