Crater Lake National Park in Oregon.

5 National Parks to Visit This Summer


Sometimes the best natural beauty is in our own backyard.

Here are five national parks to visit this summer:

Kenai Fjords National Park (Nationalparks.org)

Kenai Fjords National Park

Where: Seward, Alaska (at the edge of the Kenai Peninsula)

Why: If you prefer to cool off a bit from the summer’s intense rays, explore America’s “Ice Age,” glacial paradise where temperatures range from 50-60 degrees in the summer months.

The park, designated in 1978, covers an area of 669,984 acres or 1,046.85 sq miles, where wildlife still thrive among its lush forests. Also, there’s a bit of history, the Native Alutiiq peoples once relied on the many resources found along this icy glacier for survival.

Crater Lake National Park (1MS.net)

Crater Lake National Park

Where: Klamath County, Oregon

Why: The park, established in 1902, is recognized by the National Park Service as a park that’s “Like no place else on earth.” As the fifth oldest national park, it is also home to the deepest lake in the U.S., which is 1,943 feet (592 m) deep at its deepest point.

Crater Lake is the only national park in Oregon.

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

Where: Maine

Why: From sandy beaches to hardwood forests to granite peaks, Acadia is a must-see treasure on the Atlantic coast.

The park was originally inhabited by the Wabanaki peoples, and today, its four tribes—the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot— continue to make Acadia the center of their traditional homeland.

Established in 1919, Acadia is the oldest national park east of the Mississippi River.

Monument Cave National Park (Wikipedia)

Mammoth Cave National Park

Where: Mammoth Cave, Kentucky

Why: According to the National Park Service, this is the world's longest known cave system, with more than 400 miles explored. Mammoth is twice as long as the second longest explored cave system: Mexico’s Sac Actun, an underwater cave stretching 143 miles.

The park was designated as a national park in July of 1941.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Gettysburg.edu)

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Where: Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Why: Great Smoky is America’s most visited park with between 8-10 million visitors each year.

The park is also home to 1,500 kinds of flowering plants; more than any other national park on the continent, according to the NPS.

Unless there are designated seasonal closings, the park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

RELATED: 11 Romantic Places for Natives to Fall in Love This Summer

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