30 Breathtaking National Parks You Must See Before You Die
The world, despite the rapid urbanization and ever-flourishing digital technology, remains a charming place filled with organic beauty. From the grand US national parks to the immaculate underwater treasures, Mother Earth offers a seemingly endless medley of scenic spots, blessed with irresistible natural aesthetics and an abundance of wildlife. Of course, these national parks and nature hubs can also soothe your senses, giving you a sweet respite from the frenzy of your daily grind.
Looking for some excellent suggestions for your travel bucket list? Then, make sure to take a look at our list of national parks to see before you die! As you see and explore these national parks, you’ll get to see a plethora vibrant birds, fierce predators, dense forests, and surreal landscapes and even venomous reptiles.
1. Yellowstone national park, United States
With dozens of mesmerizing attractions scattered through its sprawling 3,500-square-mile land, Yellowstone National Park is by far the Disney World of the US national parks. But, make no mistake about it – its immense popularity hasn’t dulled its remarkable natural beauty. Here, you’ll be treated to a ton of striking sights at every turn, including verdant forests weaving past expansive meadows, kaleidoscopic pools swirling around hot springs, and volatile geysers launching steams of steaming water toward the sky.
2. Banff National Park, Canada
Take a quick hike through Banff National Park in Canada, and you will understand why it’s called the crown jewel of the Canadian Rockies. From its unique wildlife to its towering glaciers and pristine mountains, Banff offers the very best of the North American wilderness in one stunning package.
3. Cinque Terre, Italy
There aren’t a lot of national parks that blend nature and culture as beautifully and seamlessly as Italy’s Cinque Terre. Nestled on the Italian Riviera, this European paradise truly has it all, including sandy beaches, awesome hiking trails, board-filled forests as well as colorful and scenic villages.
4. Zion National Park, United States
Utah’s Zion National Park – a red-and-tan labyrinth of monoliths, mountains and canyons – is a major rock climbing and trekking destination, offering a glut of well-established routes with a range of difficulty. At the heart of stunning park is Zion Canyon – an awe-inspiring gorge plunging over 700 meters and 24 kilometers across.
5. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Galapagos is a chain of islands hosting a fabulous medley of wildlife. From unusual reptiles to chirping birds and colorful insects, the creatures in this archipelago enchant its visitors and observers. Likewise, you may trek across uninhabited islands, swim alongside sea lions and lounge on lovely beaches.
6. Badlands National Park, United States
Badlands, famous for its bizarre moonscape, was formed millions of years ago, when erosion and ash deposits sculpted sedimentary rocks into incredible rippled peaks. Fossils show that camels and rhinos once roamed on this US national park, but nowadays, this 244,000-acre land serves as a home to bighorn sheep, bobcats and bison. As long as they keep themselves hydrated, the national park’s yearly visitors will find the Badlands a magical place to explore. Cyclists mat coast by colorful grass prairie and colorful buttes, while hikers can scale the rocks to soak in the surreal panoramas of the White River Valley.
7. Göreme National Park, Turkey
The fairy chimneys and rock homes of Göreme National Park in Cappadocia, Turkey are a travel bucket-list staple all over the world. Not only does it possess one of the most extraordinary landscapes in the world, but it’s also home to intriguing underground cities and Byzantine cave frescoes.
8. Grand Canyon National Park
No list of the best American national parks is complete without the inclusion of the world-renowned Grand Canyon National Park. Deemed as one of the most majestic national parks of America, this vast UNESCO World Heritage site will awestruck you and even change your life for the better with its sheer size, awe-inspiring views and otherworldly aura.
9. Komodo National Park, Indonesia
As may have guessed, the Komodo National Park is the ultimate haven to see the largest lizard on the face of the earth – the Komodo Dragon. But, aside from admiring mighty reptiles, one of Asia’s most beloved national parks also boasts hidden beaches, world-class scuba diving and wondrous cloud forests.
10. The Everglades, United States
The Everglades, at first glance, can be rather intimidating. After all, it’s a vast wetland that covers a large chunk of Florida’s southern side. But with an airboat and a little grit, you can discover one of America’s national parks and greatest wildlife refuges, full of memorable sunsets, migratory birds, deer and crocodiles.
11. Kruger National Park, South Africa
South Africa’s Kruger National Park is an incredibly big nature park, with an impressive land area of more than 7,000 square miles. And with more species of big mammals than any game reserve in Africa, Kruger National Park is arguably the world’s ultimate safari destination. For animal lovers, Kruger is absolutely one of the must-see national parks that should be on your bucket list.
12. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
There are a couple of amazing ways to explore the highly celebrated Great Barrier Reef – by sky and by sea. With its unrivaled marine life diversity, the Great Barrier Reef – one of the most celebrated national parks in the world – is clearly a scuba and snorkel heaven. But, for the less aquatically inclined, you may opt to catch the splendid coral formations and colors from a plane as well.
13. Acadia National Park, United States
Acadia national park, even though it’s one of the smaller national parks in the US, draws nearly 3 million visitors a year, thanks to its unique landscapes, hiking trails and fun-filled water activities.
14. Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina
Very few sights across the world are as breath-snatching as the Perlto Moreno Glacier – the centerpiece and hulking glacier of the Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina. To cruise on the clear waters, and catch football-field-sized ice chunks crashing is indeed a humbling experience, even for seasoned world travelers.
15. Yosemite National Park, United States
They don’t call Yosemite National Park as one of the finest national state parks in the United States for nothing. Whether you opt for snowy peaks, pine forests or crystalline lakes, Yosemite guarantees postcard-worthy sights in every direction.
16. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
There’s more to Kilimanjaro National Park than its steep and celebrated mountain. Although it’s a dream destination for bona fide climbing connoisseurs, one of Africa’s top national parks also has gorgeous grasslands, healthy wildlife and sweet views that can make your trip worthwhile.
17. Joshua Tree National Park, United States
Billed as adventure playground, Joshua Tree National Park isn’t just a place hardwired for the adventurous adrenaline junkie. With its dramatic desert landscapes, one-of-a-kind vistas and blazing sunsets, Joshua Tree can unleash your inner shutterbug too. And, did we mention that it’s a terrific spot to camp and do some stargazing?
18. Sequoia National Park, United States
Speaking of national parks of America, don’t forget to include Sequoia to your travel wish-list or bucket list. While it isn’t as well-known as Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, Sequoia is full of charms and spectacles that will put you on a state of bliss, including General Sherman – the largest known living stem tree in the world. As with most national parks of the United States, Sequoia also offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun and recreation to its visitors.
19. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Voted regularly as one of the world’s greatest national parks, Serengeti dazzles and wows spectators with its annual wildebeest migration (one of the planet’s biggest wildlife movements). As you watch this natural spectacle, you’ll get to see over a million wildebeest as well as other four-legged animals chase the horizon from the park’s one end to the other. Just don’t forget to visit this national park in fall or summer, to see this epic wildlife event.
20. Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile
When it comes to wildlife, Chile’s Torres Del Paine National Park is, by no means, as rich as Serengeti and the other national parks mentioned in this list. Still, it’s a superb nature park that you should see at least once in your life, especially if you’re fond outdoor adventures and photography. As you explore its 400,000-acre land, you’ll get to lay eyes on a plethora of enchanting geographical features, such as Grey Glacier as well as Paine Massif – the rugged stone peaks crowning the Chilean national park.
21. Guilin and Lijiang river National Park, China
This national park in China remains remarkably pristine, flaunting a scenic terrain wondrously covered in cone-shaped lush hills that create a heavenly landscape. Travelers and visitors can fully immerse themselves into this verdant national by sailing along its untouched rivers.
22. Jasper National Park, Canada
While most people associate the imperial Canadian Rockies with Banff (and with good reason), Jasper National Park is in reality the richer, wilder and larger national park. So, what’s the best solution? I suggest that you visit both Canadian national parks! Once you’ve finished visiting Banff, take the superb Icefields Parkway up to catch the marvelous wildlife, glaciers and woods of Jasper National Park.
23. Chitwan National Park, Nepal
Aside from Africa, there aren’t quite a lot of national parks in the planet that can rival Chitwan National Park’s wealth in wildlife. As a matter of fact, it has one of the highest concentrations of the fierce Bengal tigers across the world. With a visit to this Nepalese safari nirvana, you’ll have a multitude to chances to see a variety of other animals, including monkeys, cloud leopards and rhinos.
24. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, United States
Great Smoky Mountains National Park – one of the most visited national parks in America – spans four counties and across a couple of states. Accessible both from Cherokee, NC and Gatlinburg, TN, this park has more than 1,650 different types of flowering plants, which is more than any national park in the United States. Clingman’s Dome – its highest point – has a 50-feet observation deck that lets you take in some glorious views of surrounding natural beauty.
25. Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal
Sagarmatha National Park – home to the world’s tallest peak – is a monumental destination by any stretch of the imagination. Though only the bravest adventurers dare to conquer the Himalayas, those who are less daring may still gaze in amazement at the surreal and towering terrain from the foothills.
26. Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Thanks to the blockbuster “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, many folks all over the globe have fallen in love with the magical landscapes of New Zealand. And, there’s no better place in the country that’s more picturesque and amazing than Fiordland National Park. Even though the Sutherlands Falls is fairly impressive, it is the Mildford Sound that really draws the flocks of travelers to this national park.
27. Gandoca-Manzanillo Refuge, Costa Rica
After a short and easy hike from Manzanillo’s downtown area, you’ll be rewarded with the Gandoca-Manzanillo Refuge’s crystal clear waters. What’s more, you can snap pictures of an array of exotic animals as well as go scuba diving and snorkeling.
28. Canaima National Park, Venezuela
For a truly unforgettable national park experience, plan a visit to Canaima National Park in Venezuela. Though it’s known as the home to the celebrated Angel falls, the natural grandeur of this national park definitely doesn’t end on this thunderous cascade. The national park also has a bunch of wetlands, dense jungles, sprawling lagoons and ethereal plateaus, such as Mount Roraima.
29. Rapa Nui National Park, Chile
On the lookout for eerie and not-so ordinary national parks? Rapa Nui is an enigmatic and unusual national park that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Known a sacred site, this national park is famous for its mysterious gigantic stone statues, or also referred as Moai, whose oversized heads built centuries ago reflect the history of the rise and fall of the most isolated culture in Polynesia.
30. Bryce Canyon National Park, United States
With its spectacular scenery, orange hoodoos and gigantic natural amphitheater, it’s easy to see why many have included Bryce Canyon to their list of national parks to visit before they die. And just like the other national parks in the United States, Bryce Canyon has a host of outdoor diversions to thrill its visitors too, including horseback riding, hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.