Home Moving Best Places to Live in the U.S. 19 Best National Parks to Visit

19 Best National Parks to Visit

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By Bailey Hemphill, Storage.com

Campers, hikers, spelunkers, families, nature photographers, and other outdoor enthusiasts—if you’re looking for a fun adventure or road trip, why not visit one of the best U.S. national parks? Whether it’s summer, spring, winter, or fall, there’s a park that can provide you with a great vacation and memories for years to come. Check out our list of the most popular, most beautiful, most visited, and all-around best national parks below!

Alaska – Denali National Park & Reserve

Denali National Park and Preserve
Photo by Maureen

Best For: Campers, hikers, wildlife watchers

Home to Denali (formerly Mount McKinley), the highest mountain peak in North America, Denali National Park & Reserve in Alaska has more than six million acres of land and hundreds of animal species, including golden eagles, moose, wolves, grizzly bears, and snowshoe hares. Most visitors stick to Denali Park Road (which parallels the Alaska Range), where you can take a bus tour, rent bicycles, go for a hike, and more. You can also go deeper into the park’s backcountry to stay at one of the lodges, canoe, ride ATVs, go flightseeing, etc.

Arizona – Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park
Photo by Grand Canyon National Park

Best For: Families, hikers, road trippers

One of the oldest parks in the U.S., Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona features one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The Grand Canyon is a gorge carved by the Colorado River and is nearly 18 miles wide, 277 miles long, and more than 6,000 feet deep. Though the canyon itself is the main attraction of the park, most visitors head to the South Rim, where you can hike trails, take a three-hour or overnight mule ride, check out the Watchtower at Desert View Point, or raft down the Colorado River through the gorge.

California – Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park
Photo by Esther Lee

Best For: Campers, hikers, rock climbers

With beautiful waterfalls and giant sequoias, Yosemite National Park is a California gem. You can hike more than 800 trails, camp in the woods, view granite rock formations, and even climb epic cliffs like El Capitan and Half Dome—if you’re brave enough, that is. The nearly 1,200-square-mile park also offers fishing, skiing, snowshoeing, horseback and mule riding, biking, guided bus tours, overnight lodges, and more for visitors.

Colorado – Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park
Photo by Esther Lee

Best For: Campers, hikers, wildlife watchers

Spanning across the Continental Divide, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is unique among national parks. The eastern side of the park has glaciers and is typically drier, whereas the western side of the park is wetter with thick, green forests, offering diverse experiences for visitors. Rocky Mountain National Park encompasses 415 square miles with more than 300 miles of trails, overlooks, and wildlife. You can drive along Old Fall River Road or Trail Ridge Road to see mule deer, bighorn sheep, and more animal species from afar. Or you can hike, go camping, enjoy a fishing excursion, or take a horseback ride deeper in the woods.

Florida – Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park
Photo by Daniel Hartwig

Best For: Families, kayakers, road trippers

Known for its alligator habitats, Everglades National Park spans more than one million acres in the southern tip of Florida. Take a walk down the boardwalk, get an up-close look at the swamps with a boat tour, camp out in the backcountry, or enjoy a bike ride down one of Shark Valley’s trails. You can also explore the Everglades by canoeing or kayaking the 99-mile-long Wilderness Waterway over the course of a week, if you want a more immersive experience with Florida’s natural vegetation.

Kentucky – Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park
Photo by daveynin

Best For: Cavers, families, road trippers

Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky is home to longest known cave system in the world. More than 400 miles of caves run beneath the Green River valley. Visitors can take tours to see various areas and features of the caves, such as Fat Man’s Misery and Frozen Niagara. You can also go on a “wild” tour, which will take you away from well-lit, developed areas and have you climbing, squeezing, and crawling your way through the caves!

Maine – Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park
Photo by heipei

Best For: Hikers, road trippers, photographers

Regarded as the most beautiful national park in the country, Acadia National Park in Maine is home to Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain along the eastern coast of the U.S., as well as all kinds of animals and plants. A favorite spot for many park visitors is Bass Harbor Head Light, a lighthouse on the southern tip of Mount Desert Island, where the park is located. Though the lighthouse is occupied by a Coast Guard member and mostly private, there are trails around it that allow visitors to get good photos of the harbor and the lighthouse.

Michigan – Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park
Photo by Joe Ross

Best For: Hikers, kayakers, scuba divers

Isle Royale National Park is an island northwest of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in Lake Superior. This remote wilderness can only be accessed by ferry, but it’s well worth the trip. You can hike 165 miles of trails, camp at one of 36 campgrounds, go fishing, and even take boat tours around the island’s coves and bays. For the more adventurous types, you can canoe or kayak out into the open waters of Lake Superior, or you can dive beneath the water and explore the National Park Service’s most intact shipwreck collection.

Montana – Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park
Photo by jankgo

Best For: Campers, hikers, road trippers

Montana’s Glacier National Park spans more than one million acres in the Rocky Mountains and includes more than 130 lakes, 700 miles of trails, hundreds of animal species, thousands of plant species, and, of course, glaciers. One spot visitors should definitely check out is Logan Pass, the highest elevation you can reach with a car. From there, you can hike popular trails like Highline or Hidden Lake, take photos of Clements Mountain and Reynolds Mountain, or spot deer among the valley’s wildflowers.

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Nevada – Great Basin National Park

Great Basin National Park
Photo by Frank Kovalchek

Best For: Campers, fishers, hikers

Near the Utah border in Nevada, you can experience a diverse landscape of deserts, pine-covered mountain terrains, and deep caves at Great Basin National Park. Hike around Wheeler Peak, the second tallest mountain in the state, along trails like the Island Forest Trail, Bristlecone Pine Trail, or the Baker/Johnson Lake Loop Trail. Go fishing in the nearby Lehman Creek or Baker Creek. And you can’t miss out on Lehman Caves beneath the mountains, where you can see more than 300 rare formations of limestone rock.

New Mexico – Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Photo by daveynin

Best For: Cavers, families, road trippers

Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico’s Guadalupe Mountains has more than 119 known caves, including the “Big Room,” a nearly 4,000-foot-long limestone chamber. Visitors can take guided or self-guided tours through the caverns to explore the treasures below ground. The park also has bat programs and night sky events during the late spring, summer, and early fall, where visitors can watch hundreds of bats leave and return from the caverns or spot distant stars through high-powered telescopes.

North Dakota – Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Photo by steve_h

Best For: Campers, fishers, hikers

Named after President Teddy Roosevelt, who’s typically regarded as the founder of America’s national parks, Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota spans across the rugged badlands. The park is divided into three sections—the North Unit, the South Unit, and the Elkhorn Ranch Unit—with the Little Missouri River and Maah Daah Hey Trail stretching through each unit. You can camp, hike, canoe or kayak, fish, go horseback riding, or watch bison roam the land throughout the park.

Oregon – Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park
Photo by Jonathan Miske

Best For: Campers, hikers, photographers

Crater Lake National Park in Oregon is the fifth oldest national park in the U.S. and has the deepest lake in the country. The 4,000-foot-deep caldera formed thousands of years ago after the collapse of volcano Mount Mazama. Today, Crater Lake is a beautiful sight to behold with deep, pure waters surrounded by mountains and wildlife. Park visitors can hike to overlook spots to get the full view of the caldera or take a boat tour to get an up-close look at the former volcano. There are also opportunities for fishing, camping, and cross-country skiing.

South Dakota – Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park
Photo by Thomas

Best For: Families, hikers, rock climbers

Once a home to prehistoric creatures like the saber-toothed cat, South Dakota’s Badlands National Park is now home to bison, prairie dogs, and bighorn sheep. The park stretches across more than 240,000 acres and is known for its rich fossil beds. You can hike one of the eight trails through the prairie or rock formations, sleep under the stars at one of the park’s campsites, or visit the paleontology lab where you can check out fossils of prehistoric animals discovered in the badlands.

Tennessee – Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Photo by Ken Lund

Best For: Campers, road trippers, wildlife watchers

Straddling the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is renowned for its beautiful Appalachian scenery and wildlife. With 800 miles of hiking trails, historic log buildings, scenic drives, and opportunities for fishing, boating, horseback riding, and biking, it’s no wonder why “The Smokies” is the #1 most visited U.S. national park. Be sure to stop by Cades Cove, the park’s most popular destination. There, you can see black bears and coyotes, drive or bike the 11-mile loop, and visit 19th century structures.

Texas – Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park
Photo by Keith Yahl

Best For: Campers, kayakers, wildlife watchers

Big Bend National Park in Texas takes up nearly 800,000 acres and is divided from Mexico’s Parque Nacional Cañon de Santa Elena by the Rio Grande along the U.S. border. The park’s mountains are home to than 450 bird species, which makes Big Bend National Park a great place for bird-watching. There’s also 200 miles of trails and 150 miles of dirt roads, which means visitors can backpack, mountain bike, ride horses, drive, or hike the park. Of course, since the Rio Grande is nearby, visitors can also do half-day floats or canoe or kayak excursions.

Utah – Zion National Park

Zion National Park
Photo by faungg’s photos

Best For: Campers, kayakers, rock climbers

Zion National Park in Utah has four unique ecosystems within its 229 square miles—coniferous forests, woodlands, desert, and wetlands—and features mesas, natural arches, mountains, buttes, and more rock formations. Visitors can camp at Watchman Campground or Lava Point Campground, hike or backpack one of the seven available trails, kayak the Virgin River, or go “canyoneering” (which encompasses climbing, hiking, rappelling, and swimming) among The Narrows, The Subway, and other sandstone cliffs.

Washington – Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park
Photo by Nick Mealey

Best For: Campers, hikers, wildlife watchers

Known for its lush, temperate rainforests and rugged alpine areas, Olympic National Park in Washington is a must-visit among national parks. Visit the crystal waters of Lake Ozette along the Pacific Coast, where you can boat, canoe, or kayak. Hike and camp in the remote Queets Valley rainforest, where you can spot bears and other wildlife. Or make your way up Hurricane Ridge, where you can find great spots to take photos, snowshoe or cross-country ski, and climb up steep mountain trails.

Wyoming – Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park
Photo by Always Shooting

Best For: Families, road trippers, wildlife watchers

Yellowstone National Park is widely believed to be the first national park in the world. Established in 1872, this park spans two million acres and is home to more than 10,000 geothermal features, including Old Faithful Geyser and Mammoth Hot Springs. There are plenty of camping, fishing, and hiking spots around Lake Yellowstone, but if you’re looking for the best wildlife areas, check out Hayden Valley and Pelican Valley near Fishing Bridge. These spots are perfect for viewing grizzly bears, elk, wolves, bison, and more. Just don’t get too close!

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Are you an outdoor enthusiast? What are your favorite national parks to visit?

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Park information via National Park Service.

All images have either been provided by a listed organization or are licensed under Creative Commons.

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Home Moving Best Places to Live in the U.S. Where to Store Your RV, Trailer or Camper

Where to Store Your RV, Trailer or Camper

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By Gretchen Pille, Storage.com

This summer you made your home on the open road. The amount of memories created is rivaled only by the amount of miles you put on your RV. But soon that open road will be icing over and it will be time to put your RV away for a few months. Between your home and the variety of self storage opportunities, there are a lot of options for storing your RV. Each option has benefits and drawbacks.

To make the process stress-free, Storage.com has created a guide to help you weigh the pros and cons of each RV storage method. Read on to learn what self storage solution would best fit your needs.

STORING YOUR RV IN YOUR GARAGE

As far as recreational vehicles go, a standard garage will be able to fit campers and trailers that run on the small side, typically a class B (which run between 16-22 ft according to GoRVing.com) or smaller class C (21-35 ft). If the RV you need to store is larger than this, storing it at your home may be out of the question.

Pros:

  • Overall Cost – Storing an RV at your own home doesn’t cost anything.
  • Protection – Keeping your RV indoors protects it from damage the sun, hail, snow, rain, and other weather conditions can cause, saving you money on repairs later.
  • Secure – Indoor RV storage of any type also protects your RV from theft and vandalism.
  • Convenience – When your RV or camper is parked in your own garage, taking it for a spur of the moment spin is easy.

Cons:

  • Conspicuous – The RV takes up space you could be using for things you use more often, such as a snow blower, shovels, lawn mower, bike, or another car.
  • Uninvited Guests – Bugs and other unwanted pests can find their way into your garage, and you can bet those critters will want in your RV as well.

STORING YOUR RV IN YOUR DRIVEWAY OR BACKYARD

home with RV

Keeping your RV, camper, or trailer outdoors on your own property is another free and easy option. However, it is still important to weigh the pros and cons. To combat the elements that can damage your RV, camper, or trailer, there are a few accessories that you may find beneficial, such as a carport or RV cover.

Pros:

  • Overall Cost – Storing an RV on your own driveway or in your own yard doesn’t cost you anything.
  • Convenience – Last minute road trips are much easier to pull off when your RV is on your property.

Cons:

  • Neighborhood Covenants – If you’re storing in an area where homes are close together, your neighbors may consider your recreational vehicle to be an eyesore. What’s more, your neighborhood or HOA may have rules against parking your RV outside.
  • Weather Conditions – Your RV will be exposed to harsh weather conditions like rain, snow, hail, and intense heat and cold. This type of weather can damage your RV, camper, or trailer and cost you money on repairs. RV covers provide an extra layer of protection. They can keep out water, precipitation, and UV rays, as well as bugs and other critters. RV covers typically start around $200 and increase in price based on the size of your vehicle. RV Share is a helpful resource for information on RV covers. RV Travel strongly encourages you buy an RV-specific cover, as using a standard tarp will cause more damage than protection.
  • Security – Parking your RV outside leaves it vulnerable to theft and vandalism.
  • More work for you – To ensure that your RV is secure and protected, you’ll want to consider installing a carport, which cost between $900 and $4,000, depending on the size.

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STORING YOUR RV AT A SELF STORAGE FACILITY

RV

Overall, the greatest benefit from any type of RV storage in a facility is going to be security. The three most common types of RV storage in a facility are outdoor, covered, and indoor.

OUTDOOR RV STORAGE

The most common type of storage for RVs is outdoor storage. Outdoor RV storage entails parking your RV, camper, or trailer in a designated spot on the storage facility’s property. Outdoor RV storage is typically the most affordable option at any storage facility, and is a great solution for short-term storage.

Pros:

  • Overall Cost – Outdoor RV storage is a simple storage method and is often the least expensive option at a storage facility. For more information about the cost of RV storage, visit our RV Storage FAQs page.
  • Security – The storage parking lot that serves as outdoor storage for RVs is typically located behind a securely fenced area in order to prevent any theft and vandalism.

Cons:

  • Weather Conditions – Since your RV will be outside, it is exposed to extreme weather conditions like rain, hail, and snow storms. Damage from these conditions can cost you more money on repairs than you saved in choosing less-expensive storage.

COVERED RV STORAGE

Covered RV storage is the most popular method among owners of medium and larger RVs. With covered RV storage, your RV is parked outside under a sheltered area, often a roof or awning. This offers some added protection from unfavorable weather conditions. Covered RV storage is a good idea if you plan on storing your RV long-term.

Pros:

  • Compromise – As far as price and protection are concerned, covered RV storage is the best compromise between indoor and outdoor RV storage.
  • Security – Keeping your RV, trailer, or camper in a fenced-in storage facility significantly decreases its chances of falling victim to theft or vandalism.
  • Overall Cost – Covered storage costs less than indoor storage.
  • Protection – Under a roof or awning, your RV, camper, or trailer is more protected than if it were simply placed in outdoor RV storage.

Cons:

  • Exposed to Weather Conditions – While covered RV storage offers more protection than outdoor RV storage, an awning alone will not completely protect your RV from extreme weather conditions.

INDOOR RV STORAGE

For a camper, trailer, or very small RV (most likely only Class B), indoor storage can be a great option. Indoor RV storage at a facility is going to be the most expensive option, but also offers the most protection. However, because it is hard to come by, indoor RV storage not the most common RV storage method people choose.

Pros:

  • Security – Four walls, a locked door, and a secure facility will protect your RV from theft and vandalism.
  • Protected from Weather Conditions– Indoor storage keeps your RV safe from the damaging effects of the sun, cold, rain, and snow.
  • Access – Some storage facilities offer 24-hour access using secure electronic gate access. So you get the same convenience of storing your RV at your home, with the security of a storage facility.

Cons:

  • Overall Cost – Indoor RV storage is the most expensive storage option. However, paying more to store it well may save you money on repairs later.
  • Overall Size – Class A and Class C RVs are not likely to fit in indoor storage. Be certain that the dimensions of your storage unit are large enough to house your RV before you reserve a storage unit.
  • Hard to Find – Indoor RV storage is not very common, so finding it near you may be a challenge.

Most self storage facilities have security features that you simply can’t replicate at home such as electronic gate access, alarmed storage units, and video surveillance. Here are a few important questions to ask when making a reservation for your RV at a self storage facility:

  • Insurance Options – It’s important know what kind of protection you have should something happen to your RV, camper, or trailer during its time at a storage facility.
  • Security features – Storage facilities often have security features such as video surveillance, alarmed units, and electronic gate access. You’ll want to know exactly what measures are taken at the facility you choose.
  • Access – Most storage facilities only allow access during specified gate hours. Make sure you are aware of what those hours are, as that may dictate when you can embark on your next RV adventure

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All images have either been provided by a listed organization or are licensed under the Creative Commons.