While many of us have been working and studying from the comfort of our homes, being able to step outside into the summer sun and fresh air provides a much-needed break. Even better – a short family getaway to one of the beautiful national parks right in our country’s back yard is the perfect way to re-energize and recharge. At Fox, we love exploring the wilderness and enjoying nature, and our picks for the U.S.’ top five best national parks highlight nature at its finest.
- Mount Rainier National Park – Washington
The Pacific Northwest region is known for its lush green vegetation, blue waters and awe-inspiring mountain ranges. None are as iconic to the area at Mount Rainier, standing 14,411 feet tall. Surrounding the mountain is a beautiful national park filled with plenty to see and do, including hiking, camping and climbing. Currently, most roads are accessible, along with the associated trails and restrooms; however, park visitor centers and Paradise Inn are temporarily closed due to COVID-19.
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park – North Carolina/Tennessee
One of the most popular national parks in the country, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park rises along the North Carolina and Tennessee border and is known for the incredible diversity of animals and plants in the region. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a perfect place to go camping and get lost in thought while stars and fireflies illuminate the night sky. This park has been taking a phased approach to reopening during COVID-19, as some locations still remain closed off to the public.
- Bryce Canyon National Park – Utah
While some sights leave you speechless, others might have you starting to wonder exactly where you are! Such is the case with the Arches National Park in Utah. This park has an other-worldly feel to it, with more than 2,000 natural arches of red rock painting the landscape. We have no shame in acting like a tourist when visiting this park — our cameras are constantly snapping photos. This park offers exciting trails and stunning sunsets for when you’ve had enough exploring for the day. Bryce Canyon National Park has also been taking a phased reopening approach, as some locations, as well as the visitor center and campground, remain closed. The park’s roads, trails, store and restrooms are open.
- Yellowstone National Park – Wyoming/Montana/Idaho
One of the most iconic national parks, Yellowstone had to make this list somewhere. Sprawling across the intersection of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, Yellowstone National Park is a place to cross off your bucket list. This park is perfect for hiking, biking, horse rides, camping and checking out the famous hot springs! Entrances to the park through Wyoming opened on May 18, along with Montana entrances on June 1. There are also limited services and facilities available to the public.
- Yosemite National Park – California
Earning the top spot on our list is Yosemite National Park in California. The park is famous for its jaw-dropping waterfalls, meadows, cliffs, wild rock formations and so much more. Yosemite is great for extreme activities such as rock climbing, skiing and snowboarding, while yet still the perfect location for more relaxing activities as bird watching, fishing or stargazing. Whatever you’re looking for in a national park, Yosemite has it.
There are 61 national parks scattered across 29 different states, and each one offers a unique way to connect with nature and experience beautiful sights such as mountains and rivers, outdoor activities and limitless exploration. Although national parks are opening up to the public, many are opening with a phased approach, as you have noticed some areas, services and facilities remain closed due to COVID-19. Before you plan any trip, be sure to search for your destination on the National Park Service website to keep an eye on which parks are open, as well as practice social distancing and other safety practices wherever you go.
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