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Top 10 U.S. National Parks To Visit For 2024 Revealed (They Might Surprise You!)

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One might think America's most stunning views are ‘sea to shining sea', you could easily argue that it's National Parks that shine through the most.

While the familiar names of Yellowstone, Zion, and Yosemite are incredible to visit in their own right, more and more travelers are flocking to the great outdoors causing huge crowds despite wide open spaces.

Sandstone Falls of New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

There are some household names still well worth a visit that cracked the top 10 parks to visit this year, according to Travel Lemming's latest report, but others might surprise you!

  1. Redwood National Park
  2. Everglades National Park
  3. New River Gorge National Park
  4. Channel Islands National Park

6) Grand Canyon National Park

Skywalk overhang at The Grand Canyon

Okay, okay…so this one is not that surprising. The Grand Canyon may be the most recognizable National Park as it's always a road trip staple and one of the most iconic destinations in the country.

But why does the Grand Canyon make the top 10 and not Yellowstone and Zion, among others?

Well, Travel Lemming did their due diligence, and if there is any shock factor to the Grand Canyon, it's that it's not nearly as crowded as you'd expect.

Coming in 31st for ‘least crowded' among the 63 parks analyzed, this may be the best year to visit.

Fair warning to those visiting in summer – you may confuse this stunning park as Death Valley with the sweltering desert temps!

5) North Cascades National Park

Hikers in North Cascades National Park

Sometimes going off-path can make for the best experiences. While there are certainly more off-the-grid National Parks than North Cascades, this park beloved by locals is among the best to visit this year, and here is why:

Keep in mind, as National Parks have surged in popularity, so has the local economy with rising rates for accommodations.

Good news is one of Washington's best kept secrets is also the 2nd most affordable National Park in the nation, where visitors can expect a daily budget under $40 per day.

Crowds are surely no issue either, and the perfect place to immerse yourself in nature, embracing solitude with the backdrop of over 300 glaciers, untouched wilderness, and gorgeous lakes.

4) Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Sunrise over Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains may not come to mind with the likes of other household names, but it is, in fact, the most visited National Park in the country.

Spread across Tennessee and touching North Carolina, this breathtaking region of the U.S. offers visitors stunning views and fun activities.

Best of all – entry is free! Rarely is a bad word said about the park, except maybe navigating the crowds.

The Great Smoky Mountains are the 4th highest reviewed and the top park for biodiversity…and no, the creepy TikTok stories of the “feral people” wandering the trails are not factored in.

Expect a wide variety of blooming wildflowers and an abundance of wildlife sightings amongst the seemingly endless mountainous terrain.

3) Olympic National Park

Milky Way over Olympic National Park

Those looking to experience Washington's wild side have 2 choices at hand on this list with Olympic slightly ahead of North Cascades.

Olympic National Park is suitable to everyone no matter your age. With beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and otherworldly views atop plentiful mountain peaks, it doesn't get much better for nature enthusiasts.

Between taking in vibrant sunsets, chasing waterfalls, and stargazing away from Seattle's light pollution, it's easy to see why Olympic stands out in the Pacific Northwest.

2) Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

California cracked the top 10 with 3 different National Parks, but Joshua Tree is ranked the best in the Golden State.

Another West Coast gem is tucked away in the SoCal desert away from the pristine beaches and surfer dudes, but that's not to say Joshua Tree doesn't attract an eccentric crowd.

Outside Palm Springs, Joshua Tree is a very popular place to visit, most notable for its jaw-dropping landscapes, phenomenal weather, and affordability, as visitors can expect a daily budget of around $50.

Despite being neighbors to Coachella, park guests feel truly out in the wild with the sounds of coyotes, rugged trails, and of course, endless Yucca brevifolia…that's Joshua trees for everyone not paying attention in Biology class.

1) Shenandoah National Park

Crescent Rock Overlook in Shenandoah National Park

Surprise! Who would have guessed Shenandoah was the top National Park to visit?

Not exactly a common name tossed around at the dinner table, one of Virginia's top destinations is having a moment.

Beyond its incredible beauty, this park is one of the most accessible, given its proximity to Washington, D.C.

While the park is reasonably ranked 18th best in ‘weather', travelers may want to circle their calendars in fall as Shenandoah explodes in color with foliage.

Make sure to pack your most comfortable shoes, as there are over 500 miles of hiking trails to witness scenic creeks and beautiful waterfalls surrounded by the postcard-worthy Blue Ridge Mountains.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.