America is home to tons of gorgeous scenery and national parks! While many well-known National Parks, such as Yellowstone and Yosemite, reside in the west, America’s east coast also has several notable parks that are worth a visit! Here are 5 diverse and stunning parks you’ll want to consider checking out.
1. Dry Tortugas National Park
Located near the Florida Keys, Dry Tortugas is a unique national park that requires a boat or seaplane to access. This national park may not have forests or mountains, but its unique geography makes it worth a visit! It consists of seven separate islands. One of the most notable features of this park is Fort Jefferson, a large military fort — that is situated on Garden Key. The park is also a great spot for camping, snorkeling, or boating. Thanks to its location off the Florida coast, it also tends to experience pleasant weather year-round. This makes it a great option for those looking to escape to a warmer climate in the colder months. To get to the park, you have a couple of options. You can take a ferry, charter a seaplane, or arrive via boat.
2. Acadia National Park
Head over to Maine to experience Acadia National Park. This diverse landscape offers a little bit of everything. You can look forward to viewing gorgeous forests or taking in the equally gorgeous coast. In addition to being a great place for general outdoor recreation such as hiking and camping, the park is also a perfect spot for several more niche activities and sights. Visit in fall, for example, to take in stunning red, orange, and yellow foliage as the seasons change. Peak season is generally late September through early October but extends into November. Another popular activity for those who stay overnight in the park is to go stargazing – Acadia is an excellent spot for viewing the skies above us!
3. Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah is another perfect spot for those looking to see the changing seasons! Conditions tend to vary enough in the park that predicting when the peak foliage season will be is difficult, but it typically runs from September to November. As autumn is one of the most popular times to visit the park, campsites and lodges do fill up quickly. Planning a last-minute trip isn’t totally impossible, however – there are some first come first serve campsites – but it can be riskier. The park remains open throughout the winter and sees a drop in visitors in the colder months. It is still a great place for a snowy hike or drive, however. You’ll want to make sure to check the road conditions before setting out, and wear warm clothes!
4. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Home to both the Great Smoky Mountains, as well as part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this national park is a great vacation spot! You can look forward to all manner of outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, and picnicking. Because the park is also home to black bears, you may want to bring along bear-safe containers for food if you are planning on picnicking or camping to make sure you have the safest and most enjoyable time. You may also want to check out the ranger-led programs, which offer in-depth insight into the history and features of the park.
5. Everglades National Park
Head on down to Florida to check out Everglades National Park! This national park is not only home to the largest subtropical forest in the United States, but also where a variety of rare and endangered animals reside. You can look forward to potentially seeing an American crocodile or Florida panther, as well as countless other interesting animals. The park is a popular spot for nature walks as well as camping. Everglades National Park is home to two drive-in campsites. The park also offers campsites accessible by the water. A wilderness camping permit is needed for those sites. You may also want to consider going on a guided tour – the park offers ranger-led tours year-round. This can be a great way to safely take in a park in a number of ways, including via tram, boat, or kayak!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com