In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson created The National Park Service with a mission to conserve America’s scenic spaces, along with the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein. This year, America will proudly celebrate the 100th anniversary of its national parks and America’s greatest treasure. With more than 84 million acres and 409 sites including historical parks, coastlines, prehistoric ruins, battlefields, memorials and monuments, you’ll be spoilt for choice!
There are 59 spectacular parks scattered across the width and breadth of the country, promising a magical experience suited for everyone’s taste. More than 280 million people visit America’s national parks each year, satisfying the undying urge us Brits (but also the US locals) feel to escape the city and explore more rural surroundings.
With so much choice, we’ve decided to take a look at our top 4 national parks that are ready to be explored; an absolute must on your American bucket-list!
Not only America’s but the world’s oldest and first national park, Yellowstone has a lot to boast about. The park is made up of 3500sq. miles of wilderness atop a very active volcanic hot spot. Situated mostly in Wyoming, the park does spread into parts of Montana and Idaho too, making it the perfect driving route. The dramatic features that make up the park add to its unique and ‘movie-like’ appeal to visitors. Full of dramatic canyons, alpine rivers, lush forests and hot springs, it also includes its most famous landmark, Old Faithful. This impressive geyser is guaranteed to erupt every 35 to 120 minutes. Grab your flask of tea and take a seat to see the show. Make sure you have your camera ready.
Located on the Colorado River just 4 miles north of Moab, the Arches are not only a national park but a national treasure. Over 2,000 natural stone arches and hundreds of soaring pinnacles as well as massive fins and giant balanced rocks make up the awe inspiring park. This red rock wonderland will amaze you with the sky high formations that glow in the Utah sun. Two arches that are a must visit when in the park are Landscape Arch and Park Avenue. Landscape Arch is the longest arch measuring 306 feet from base to base. Park Avenue is the most famous of the trails in the park. It gets its name from the towering peaks that line the trail, creating an almost city-like skyline. The trail is one mile long and an easy walk for all the family. What are you waiting for? Grab those hiking boots!
Nestled on Maine’s east coast shores, Acadia is a stunning 47,000-acre Atlantic coast recreation area. But, more than that, it’s the first place that the sun rises in America. In a daily ritual every morning before dawn, a crowd gathers on Cadillac Mountain (the highest spot along the North Atlantic seaboard) trying to feel the first warm rays of sunshine! You’ll have to be up early, but the experience is worth needing that extra cup of coffee later on in the day. The park’s landscape is filled with thick woodland and granite peaks that are all surrounded by rocky beaches. When you visit, you may be lucky enough to come across some of the amazing wildlife that resides in the park. Bears and moose are most likely to be found within the forest and whales can sometimes be spotted gliding along the coastline. The best way to take it all in is to drive the twenty-mile Park Loop Road which has amazing coastal views. There are many spots to stop off and park your car, taking a stroll to breathe in the fresh air.
Hawai’i Volcanoes, Hawaii
Being one of the world’s most volcanically active spots, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is one of a kind. With hot lava flowing every day, you can see land being created right before your eyes. The park is made up of two active volcanoes, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa and stretches from the palm-fringed coastline south of Hilo to Mauna Loa’s steaming mouth. The famous surface lava flows about 12 miles east, at the end of Chain of Craters Road towards the sea. Despite the ever-changing landscape and rough terrain, you don’t have to go on an Indiana Jones expedition to find out when and where the lava is flowing – the park provides daily updates. More than 500 acres of new land has been added to Hawaii Island since the Kīlauea’s latest eruption in 1983.
Whatever you choose to do, American Affair can offer help and advice on where to go and what to do. Want to know more? Our team can help – give us a call on 020 7616 9949