Afternoon gents, it’s Max from the Young Gentleman’s Guide here! So, in the United States, our nation’s government is rife with political gridlock, corruption, and gross overspending. Of course, this really isn’t news to anybody, even to those who live outside the U.S. However, in the words of Parks and Recreation‘s Ron Swanson, “…the National Park Service is the only branch of government worth a damn”, and I tend to agree with that. The National Park Service’s sole mission is to preserve our nation’s natural environments and historical landmarks, as well give citizens and non-citizens alike a chance to appreciate the beauty, grandeur, and sometimes danger of God’s creation. So in honor of that, I’m going to list five (technically six) National Parks that everyone needs to visit at least once in their lives. Of course, I’d like this entry to be closer to 423 entries long, but I only have so much time to write. So without any further delay, let’s get started!
1. Yosemite (California)
California has so many beautiful National Parks that I could easily fill up this list with just Parks from California, but I’ll do my best to refrain from that. Nonetheless, let’s talk about Yosemite. This National Park is one of the most famous the world over, and for good reason. This idyllic valley is one of California’s most famous landmarks, and it is teeming with all kinds of local wildlife. On top of this, there is a massive variety of things to do at this park. Whether it’s going on a hike or nature walk, posting up at one of the campsites just outside the park, booking a stay at a cabin right in the park, or even enjoying a meal at the famous Ahwahnee Hotel, there is something here for nature lovers and non-nature lovers alike to enjoy.
2. Channel Islands (California)
I may be a little biased towards this park since I live right on its doorstep, but even so, this National Park is one of the most unique on this list. Five islands of this archipelago are designated as part of this National Park, those being San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara. Right off the coast of Southern California, these islands offer a wide range of activities for people visiting. A trip can often involve whale watching depending on the season, people who venture to Anacapa island can enjoy an unparalleled view of the mainland from the surrounding grounds of the lighthouse, the larger islands, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara, offer several hiking trails and larger camping areas for people of all ages to enjoy, and Santa Cruz allows visitors to take an ocean kayaking course which may also allow them to explore some small caverns below the island depending on the tide. On top of all of this, there is also a large number of animal species found there that are endemic to the Channel Islands, meaning that they can’t be found anywhere else in the world, which makes it absolutely worth checking out. Such animals include the famous Island Fox, the Island Deer Mouse, the Island Scrub Jay, and the Island Night Lizard.
3. Acadia (Maine)
Moving from the west coast to the east, Acadia National Park may require an entire day of exploration all on its own just to appreciate the beauty and glory that it has to offer. Acadia certainly has its own east coast flair to it, which is especially apparent during the onset of autumn. During autumn, almost the entire National Park turns to beautiful shades of red, orange, green, and brown, which makes it an absolute treat to visit at that time of year. Also, this park has the unique distinction of being home to Cadillac Mountain. Because this peak is the highest on the Eastern Seaboard, this is the first place in the U.S. that the sunlight hits every morning. That one aspect makes Cadillac Mountain and Acadia as a whole an incredibly popular National Park, the second most popular east of the Mississippi, in fact.
4. Zion and Arches (Utah)
I’m including these two together because they are relatively close together and could reasonably be visited on the same trip (which is also why I keep specifying that this list technically has six Parks). These two Parks offer a very expansive view of the landscape of the state of Utah. Zion offers a look at the various valleys, caves, bodies of water, and outcroppings around Utah that have formed over thousands of years that are truly a sight to behold. Arches, while appearing to be just an arid desert at first glance, is home to a multitude of rock formations to observe as well as a plethora of caves and trails to explore. Anyone looking to explore vast landscapes that are very rare to see in the U.S. should absolutely take a trip out to Zion and Arches.
5. Yellowstone (Wyoming)
Of course, no list about National Parks would be complete without mentioning the first National Park ever founded, the world famous Yellowstone. This one Park in the northwest corner of Wyoming is the perfect encapsulation of the aforementioned beauty, grandeur, and danger of God’s creation. Being formed in the basin of a super-volcano, that makes the soil in the area very fertile, which makes the vegetation and wildlife in the area thrive. However, out of this super-volcano also form geysers and hot springs, the most famous being Old Faithful. Not only could the super-volcano itself erupting bring unthinkable ramifications for the Earth as a whole, but the hot springs as they are are also incredibly dangerous, but to me, that’s part of what makes them so fascinating. Exploration, observation, and adventure all with a sense of history and danger are all part of what make Yellowstone worth a visit at least once.
So there it is! This by no means is an exhaustive list, there are many other National Parks that are absolutely worth visiting, such as Sequoias, Death Valley, Mt. Rainier, Glacier, Mt. Rushmore, and Minute Man, I’ll leave the rest of the exploring up to you gents. This list was formed mostly out of my own opinion and personal experience. I would love to see which National Parks are some of your favorites though, so please be sure to comment and let me know. In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading today’s post. Please be sure to share the post, follow the blog, and follow The Young Gentleman’s Guide on Facebook and Instagram. And on that note, this is Max from The Young Gentleman’s Guide, and I’ll see you next time!