Exploring the Great Outdoors: 5 Must-Visit Features of Every National Park in the United States

WUDN Outdoor Adventure Series

Table of Contents to Our National Park Series

5 Outdoor Adventures in Every National Park in the United States

Welcome, fellow adventurers, to a journey through the heart of America's natural wonders. The WUDN team loves the outdoors, so we’re taking you on a trip from the rugged cliffs of Acadia to the fiery volcanoes of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The United States boasts an impressive array of national parks, each offering its own unique blend of beauty and adventure. So grab your hiking boots, pack your camera, and join us as we explore the top five features and best outdoor activities in each and every US National Park.

Along the way, we might share with you the best of WUDN real-wood every-day-carry accessories to make your trips more fun and fulfilling.

National Parks of the Pacific Northwest

Click on any of the National Park badges below to read our Top 5 Outdoor Adventures 

Nestled within the rugged landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, four national parks beckon adventurers with their breathtaking beauty and ecological diversity.

Olympic National Park, with its towering rainforests, dramatic coastline, and snow-capped peaks, showcases the region's remarkable natural diversity.

Mount Rainier National Park, home to the iconic Mount Rainier, offers visitors the chance to explore pristine wilderness, cascading waterfalls, and wildflower-filled meadows.

North Cascades National Park, known as the "American Alps," boasts jagged peaks, alpine lakes, and some of the most extensive glaciated terrain in the lower 48 states.

Lastly, Crater Lake National Park, centered around the stunningly blue Crater Lake, captivates visitors with its sheer cliffs, pristine waters, and ancient forests.

Each of these national parks in the Pacific Northwest promises unforgettable experiences, from epic hikes and scenic drives to wildlife encounters and cultural explorations, making them must-visit destinations for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

01. Crater Lake National Park: A Natural Wonder of Oregon

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02. Mount Rainier National Park: Majestic Wilderness Adventure

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03. North Cascades National Park: Wilderness Wonderland

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04. Olympic National Park: Where Nature Reigns Supreme


National Parks of the California Coast & Desert 

Nestled along the rugged coastline and sprawling landscapes of California, a diverse array of national parks awaits exploration, offering visitors a glimpse into the Golden State's natural wonders and cultural heritage.

From the towering sequoias of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks to the dramatic cliffs and waterfalls of Yosemite National Park, California's national parks showcase some of the most iconic landscapes in the United States.

Joshua Tree National Park enchants with its otherworldly desert scenery and unique rock formations, while Death Valley National Park beckons with its stark beauty and extreme landscapes.

Redwood National and State Parks boast ancient groves of towering redwoods, the tallest trees on Earth, while Channel Islands National Park offers a pristine maritime sanctuary teeming with marine life and coastal wonders.

Whether hiking among towering trees, exploring desert landscapes, or marveling at coastal vistas, California's national parks promise unforgettable experiences and endless opportunities for adventure and discovery.

Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park (Part 06 of Our National Park Series)

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Kings Canyon National Park: Majesty in the Sierra Nevada

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Lassen Volcanic National Park: Nature's Fiery Spectacle

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Pinnacles National Park: Natural Rugged Beauty


Redwood National and State Parks: Where Giants Roam and Nature Thrives


Sequoia National Park: Where Giants Roam and Nature Flourishes


Yosemite National Park: Majestic Landscapes and Outdoor Adventures


National Parks of the Southwestern US

In the sun-drenched landscapes of the southwestern United States, 12 national parks beckon with their awe-inspiring beauty and rich cultural heritage. From the iconic vistas of the Grand Canyon to the ancient ruins of Mesa Verde, each park offers a unique and unforgettable experience.

Zion National Park enchants visitors with its towering sandstone cliffs and lush river valleys, while Bryce Canyon National Park mesmerizes with its intricate hoodoos and surreal landscapes. Arches National Park showcases nature's whimsy with its countless natural arches, bridges, and fins, while Canyonlands National Park boasts rugged canyons carved by the Colorado River. Capitol Reef National Park invites exploration with its towering rock formations and scenic drives through the Waterpocket Fold. Petrified Forest National Park preserves a prehistoric landscape dotted with colorful petrified wood and ancient petroglyphs, while Saguaro National Park celebrates the iconic saguaro cactus amidst the Sonoran Desert. Great Basin National Park invites stargazers to marvel at its dark night skies and ancient bristlecone pines. Guadalupe Mountains National Park showcases the rugged beauty of West Texas with its towering peaks and desert vistas, while White Sands National Park dazzles with its shimmering white gypsum dunes. Finally, Carlsbad Caverns National Park plunges visitors into a subterranean wonderland of massive caves and underground formations.

With their diverse landscapes and rich natural and cultural heritage, the national parks of the southwestern United States offer endless opportunities for exploration, adventure, and discovery.

Arches National Park


Big Bend National Park

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Bryce Canyon National Park

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Canyonlands National Park


Capitol Reef National Park

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park

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Great Basin National Park: Discovering the Depths of the Desert

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Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Exploring the Majesty of West Texas


Petrified Forest National Park: A Timeless Journey Through Ancient Landscapes

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Saguaro National Park: Where Desert Beauty Thrives


White Sands National Park: Dunes Dance in the Sunlight

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Zion National Park: Where Majesty Meets Adventure


National Parks of the Rocky Mountains

Nestled amidst the towering peaks and rugged landscapes of the Rocky Mountains region, eight national parks beckon with their majestic beauty and rich natural heritage.

Rocky Mountain National Park, located in Colorado, enchants visitors with its iconic alpine landscapes, pristine lakes, and abundant wildlife. Grand Teton National Park, neighboring Wyoming's Teton Range, boasts dramatic mountain vistas, sparkling lakes, and world-class hiking opportunities. Yellowstone National Park, straddling Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, showcases geothermal wonders, including Old Faithful and the Grand Prismatic Spring, along with diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes. Glacier National Park, located in Montana's Rocky Mountains, captivates with its towering peaks, shimmering glaciers, and pristine wilderness. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, nestled in Colorado's San Luis Valley, features towering sand dunes, lush wetlands, and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, also in Colorado, offers dramatic vistas of sheer cliffs plunging into the depths of the Gunnison River canyon. Mesa Verde National Park, in southwestern Colorado, preserves ancient Puebloan cliff dwellings and archaeological sites, offering insights into the region's rich cultural history. Finally, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, located in North Dakota's Badlands, showcases rugged landscapes, colorful rock formations, and abundant wildlife, paying homage to the conservation legacy of President Theodore Roosevelt.

With their diverse landscapes, abundant wildlife, and rich cultural heritage, the national parks of the Rocky Mountains region offer endless opportunities for exploration, adventure, and discovery.

Black Canyon National Park

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Glacier National Park


Grand Canyon National Park

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Grand Teton National Park

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Great Sand Dunes National Park: Surrender to the Sands

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Mesa Verde National Park: Unveiling Ancient Wonders

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Rocky Mountain National Park: Where Majesty Meets Adventure

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Yellowstone National Park: Nature's Masterpiece

Yellowstone National Park: Nature's Masterpiece

National Parks of the Midwestern US

Nestled within the heartland of the United States, six national parks offer a diverse tapestry of natural wonders and cultural heritage in the Midwest region.

Indiana Dunes National Park, located along the southern shores of Lake Michigan, boasts towering sand dunes, pristine beaches, and diverse ecosystems teeming with wildlife. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, nestled between Cleveland and Akron in Ohio, showcases lush forests, scenic waterfalls, and the historic Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Isle Royale National Park, situated in Lake Superior off the coast of Michigan, invites visitors to explore its rugged wilderness, pristine lakes, and isolated island ecosystems. Voyageurs National Park, nestled in the lake country of northern Minnesota, offers tranquil waterways, dense forests, and opportunities for boating, fishing, and wildlife watching. Badlands National Park, located in southwestern South Dakota, captivates with its striking rock formations, colorful buttes, and fossil-rich landscapes dating back millions of years. Finally, Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, Missouri, celebrates the historic significance of the Gateway Arch and the westward expansion of the United States, offering visitors panoramic views of the Mississippi River and the city skyline.

With their diverse landscapes, rich history, and recreational opportunities, these national parks in the Midwest region provide endless opportunities for exploration, discovery, and appreciation of the natural world.

Badlands National Park


Gateway Arch National Park

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Isle Royale National Park: Wilderness Haven in the Heart of Lake Superior

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Theodore Roosevelt National Park: Where the Badlands Beckon

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Voyageurs National Park: Explore the Land of Lakes and Islands



Wind Cave National Park: Exploring Earth's Hidden Treasures


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National Parks from the Midwest to Northeast

In the transition from the Midwest to the Northeast of the United States, three national parks offer a blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and recreational opportunities. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, nestled between Cleveland and Akron in Ohio, showcases lush forests, scenic waterfalls, and the historic Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, inviting visitors to explore its diverse landscapes and rich history. Indiana Dunes National Park, located along the southern shores of Lake Michigan, boasts towering sand dunes, pristine beaches, and diverse ecosystems teeming with wildlife, providing a unique coastal experience in the heart of the Midwest. New River Gorge National Park, situated in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, offers rugged landscapes, scenic overlooks, and world-class whitewater rafting on the New River, showcasing the region's natural wonders and outdoor adventures. With their diverse landscapes, recreational opportunities, and cultural significance, these national parks provide a gateway to exploration and discovery in the Midwest to Northeast transition zone of the United States.

New River Gorge National Park: A Haven for Outdoor Enthusiasts


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Indiana Dunes National Park: Where Nature Meets the Shores of Lake Michigan


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Cuyahoga Valley National Park


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National Parks of the Northeastern US

In the northeastern corner of the United States, two iconic national parks beckon with their breathtaking landscapes and rich natural heritage. Acadia National Park, located along the rugged coast of Maine, enchants visitors with its dramatic rocky shores, pristine beaches, and towering granite peaks. From the summit of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the East Coast, to the tranquil beauty of Jordan Pond and the iconic Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, Acadia offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventure and scenic exploration. Shenandoah National Park, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, captivates with its rolling hills, lush forests, and panoramic vistas along the scenic Skyline Drive. Visitors can hike to picturesque waterfalls, explore the park's extensive network of trails, and discover the rich cultural history of the Appalachian region. With their stunning landscapes, abundant wildlife, and recreational opportunities, Acadia and Shenandoah National Parks offer unforgettable experiences for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike in the northeastern United States.

Acadia National Park 



Shenandoah National Park: Where Nature's Symphony Plays



National Parks of the Southeastern US

In the southeastern United States, six remarkable national parks invite visitors to explore their diverse landscapes, rich history, and vibrant ecosystems.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, showcases misty mountains, old-growth forests, and abundant wildlife, earning it the title of the most visited national park in the country. Everglades National Park, located in southern Florida, is a vast and wild subtropical wilderness teeming with mangrove forests, sawgrass prairies, and diverse bird and marine life. Congaree National Park, nestled in South Carolina's floodplain, boasts one of the largest intact old-growth bottomland hardwood forests in the United States, along with scenic paddling trails and abundant wildlife viewing opportunities. Biscayne National Park, off the coast of Miami, protects a diverse marine ecosystem encompassing coral reefs, mangrove forests, and crystal-clear waters, making it a paradise for snorkelers, divers, and boaters. Dry Tortugas National Park, situated off the Florida Keys, is home to Fort Jefferson, a historic coastal fortress surrounded by pristine coral reefs and turquoise waters, offering visitors a glimpse into the region's rich maritime history and natural beauty. Finally, the newly designated New River Gorge National Park, in West Virginia, showcases rugged landscapes, scenic overlooks, and world-class whitewater rafting on the New River, making it a premier destination for outdoor adventure in the southeastern United States.

With their diverse landscapes, cultural heritage, and recreational opportunities, these national parks offer unforgettable experiences for visitors seeking to explore the natural wonders of the Southeast.

Biscayne National Park



Congaree National Park



Dry Tortugas National Park


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Everglades National Park



Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Embrace Nature's Majesty


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Hot Springs National Park: Embracing Nature's Healing Powers


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Mammoth Cave National Park: Delving into Earth's Depths


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National Parks of Alaska

In the pristine wilderness of Alaska, eight magnificent national parks beckon adventurers with their rugged beauty, towering peaks, and abundant wildlife.

Denali National Park, home to North America's tallest peak, Denali, offers unparalleled opportunities for wilderness exploration, wildlife viewing, and mountaineering in the heart of the Alaska Range. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the largest national park in the United States, showcases dramatic landscapes, including towering glaciers, rugged mountains, and pristine rivers, providing a wilderness experience like no other. Glacier Bay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasts majestic tidewater glaciers, fjords, and abundant marine life, making it a premier destination for whale watching and glacier viewing. Kenai Fjords National Park, located near the town of Seward, features stunning fjords, calving glaciers, and rugged coastline, offering visitors the chance to explore the park's pristine wilderness by boat, kayak, or hiking trail. Katmai National Park, home to the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes and one of the largest brown bear populations in North America, provides opportunities for bear viewing, fly-fishing, and backcountry exploration in a remote and wild landscape. Lake Clark National Park, nestled between the Alaska Range and the Cook Inlet, offers pristine wilderness, towering mountains, and abundant wildlife, including grizzly bears and coastal brown bears. Kobuk Valley National Park, located above the Arctic Circle, showcases vast sand dunes, rolling tundra, and the annual migration of the Western Arctic Caribou Herd, providing a unique glimpse into Alaska's Arctic wilderness. Finally, Gates of the Arctic National Park, one of the most remote and least-visited national parks in the United States, offers rugged mountains, pristine rivers, and expansive wilderness, inviting visitors to experience true solitude and adventure in the Arctic wilderness.

With their diverse landscapes, rich wildlife, and pristine wilderness, Alaska's national parks offer unforgettable experiences for those seeking to explore the Last Frontier.

Denali National Park



Gates of the Arctic National Park


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Glacier Bay National Park


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Katmai National Park: Alaska's Untamed Wilderness



Kenai Fjords National Park: Where Glaciers Meet the Sea


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Kobuk Valley National Park: Wilderness Beyond Measure


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Lake Clark National Park: Alaska's Untamed Wilderness


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Wrangell-St. Elias National Park: Wilderness Unbound



National Parks of Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa & Northern Mariana Islands

In the remote and idyllic Pacific territories of Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands, a collection of unique and diverse national parks awaits exploration.

In Hawaii, Haleakalā National Park on Maui showcases the stunning landscapes of the island, from the summit crater of the dormant volcano Haleakalā to lush rainforests and vibrant coastal areas.

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island is home to two of the world's most active volcanoes, Mauna Loa and Kīlauea, offering visitors the chance to witness the raw power of volcanic activity and explore unique geological formations.

In American Samoa, the National Park of American Samoa preserves tropical rainforests, coral reefs, and pristine beaches across three separate units on the islands of Tutuila, Ofu, and Ta‘ū, providing a glimpse into Polynesian culture and natural beauty.

Finally, the Northern Mariana Islands' American Memorial Park honors the sacrifices of those who fought in the Pacific during World War II, featuring memorials, museums, and scenic landscapes on the island of Saipan.

With their diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and unique ecosystems, these national parks in the Pacific territories offer unforgettable experiences for visitors seeking adventure, history, and natural beauty in this remote corner of the world.

American Samoa National Park


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Haleakalā National Park: Embracing the Majesty of Maui



Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Where Fire Meets the Sea

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National Parks of the US Virgin Islands

In the tropical paradise of the United States Virgin Islands, a hidden gem awaits exploration in the form of Virgin Islands National Park. Located on the island of St. John, this pristine park encompasses over 7,000 acres of lush tropical forests, vibrant coral reefs, and pristine beaches, offering visitors a glimpse into the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the Caribbean. With its stunning landscapes, crystal-clear waters, and rich biodiversity, Virgin Islands National Park provides endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, from snorkeling and scuba diving among colorful coral gardens to hiking scenic trails through verdant forests. Visitors can also explore historic sugar plantations, ancient petroglyphs, and the ruins of Danish colonial settlements, gaining insight into the island's rich history and cultural heritage. With its breathtaking beauty and diverse array of recreational opportunities, Virgin Islands National Park offers an unforgettable Caribbean escape for nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and cultural explorers alike.

Virgin Islands National Park: A Caribbean Paradise Beckons

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The United States is home to a treasure trove of natural wonders, and our national parks stand as testament to the grandeur of Mother Nature. From rugged mountains to serene coastlines, these protected lands offer a sanctuary for adventure seekers, wildlife enthusiasts, and anyone yearning for a taste of the wild. From the rugged coastline of Acadia to the towering cliffs of Big Bend, America's national parks offer endless opportunities for adventure and exploration. Whether you're seeking epic hiking trails, breathtaking vistas, or unique wildlife encounters, these five parks are sure to leave you awe-inspired and eager to discover more of the natural wonders that our country has to offer. So pack your bags, hit the road, and embark on the ultimate outdoor adventure in the land of the free and the home of the brave. The wild awaits!

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Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

About the Author

Jaimeleigh Christian

Jaimeleigh Christian

Jaime is passionate about the outdoors and traveling throughout these gorgeous United States. Especially National Parks in the Pacific Northwest. 



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