Hidden Gems of the National Park Service

Top Lesser-Known National Parks Worth Visiting

Everyone has heard of Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park and the Grand Canyon National Park, but there are lesser-known national parks that are well worth the time and effort to visit.  Although these parks do not have the name recognition as some of the more prominent parks and may be harder to reach, many offer other benefits such as fewer crowds and a more unique experience.  Nonetheless, these parks still offer breathtaking scenery and adventures that will make them memorable to travelers seeking an active vacation.  

Dry Tortugas National Park–Located in Florida on Garden Key, Dry Tortugas National Park offers something for everyone.  The park is mostly made up of open ocean and small islands that visitors can only reach by plane or boat. It offers visitors magnificent blue water where they can observe coral reefs and ocean life, as well as the historic Fort Jefferson, which is one of the largest 19th-century forts in the United States.  Dry Tortugas was originally built to suppress piracy in the area but is available for tours today. 

Isle Royale National Park–Isle Royale National Park is located in Michigan on an island in Lake Superior near the Canadian border.  The park is a designated wilderness area and is only reachable by boat or plane with many visitors arriving via ferry.  Once on the island, visitors have the chance to hike, fish, or even scuba dive around the island.  Divers also have the chance to explore a variety of shipwrecks which offer an unforgettable experience. 

Guadalupe Mountains National Park–Guadalupe Mountains National Park gives visitors the opportunity to experience mountains, canyons, deserts and sand dunes.  The park contains some of the highest peaks in Texas and travelers can hike to the “Top of Texas” on the Guadalupe Peak Trail.  The park also offers visitors the opportunity for excellent stargazing. 

Katmai National Park and Preserve–Located in Alaska, Katmai National Park and Preserve is one of the hardest national parks to access and is only accessible to most by plane or boat.  The park was originally established to protect the region, which was devastated by volcanoes at one point, but today also provides a natural habitat for bears, moose and salmon.  One of the most popular ways to view the park is via flightseeing tour. 

Although these parks do not have as many visitors as other national parks, they are well worth the visit.  Visitors to any of these parks are sure to have an unforgettable adventure.

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