The Best National Parks to Visit in America

The national parks in North America are some of the most awe-inspiring and beautiful destinations in the world. They’re home to every conceivable landscape, from epic mountain ranges and ancient rock formations, to dense forests and idyllic coastlines.

A staggering 300 million visitors make the journey to experience America’s national parks every year. From the iconic natural wonders of Grand Canyon National Park to the oldest, tallest trees in the world in Redwood National Park, there is something for everyone. There are also incredible wildlife encounters to be experienced in each of the parks, with moose, bears, birds and more.

Many of the parks are driving distance from major cities and are the perfect addition to any luxury USA holiday itinerary. With so much choice, you might need a little help finding the perfect national park for you. To makes things easier our Travel Specialists have put together this inspiring list of the best national parks in America.


Can I visit the USA from the UK?

From 8 November 2021, the USA will once again welcome in visitors from the UK, so long as they’ve been fully vaccinated.


The 12 Best National Parks in America for a Holiday to the USA

1. Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, California

Location: California

Closest major city: San Francisco

Highlights of the park:

Yosemite is one of the most famous national parks in North America. It’s known for its towering ancient sequoia trees, the cascading Bridalveil Fall and the awesome granite rock formation of Half Dome. A hike to the top of iconic El Capitan affords some incredible views and, when you’re hungry from the walk, there are some delightful shops and restaurants to explore in Yosemite Village. 

Where to stay:

Ahwahnee

The best place to stay to see Yosemite is Ahwahnee, a legendary hotel found in the heart of the park. Inside, there are magnificent log-beamed ceilings, richly coloured Native American artwork, and massive stone hearths with roaring fires on cooler days and evenings.

See it with us:

Luxury San Francisco, Napa Winelands & Yosemite Tour

Explore the highlights of San Francisco including the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street and Alcatraz. Venture further afield to Napa Valley’s vineyards and be surrounded by the outstanding natural beauty of Yosemite National Park.


2. Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Location: Hawaii

Closest major city: Honolulu

Highlights of the park:

Truly one of the most fascinating locations in the world, come to Volcanoes National Park to discover active volcanoes and incredible views. You can get up close and personal to the immense natural formations and explore the active volcanoes of Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. The Chain of Craters Road weaves over the lava and guides your journey towards breathtaking steam vents and the Jaggar Museum.

Where to stay:

The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

You can stay in incredible luxury on The Big Island and reside at The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. This beachside property has impeccable service and incredible facilities including seven swimming pools and a Jack Nicklaus-designed championship golf course.

See it with us:

Hawaii Island Hopping – Oahu, Kauai, Maui and Hawaii, The Big Island

This Hawaii island-hopping holiday encompasses everything the islands have to offer. Meander between four of Hawaii’s most popular islands, Oahu, Kauai, Maui and Hawaii (The Big Island) and explore the diversity of each island’s scenery and culture.


3. Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia National Park, Maine

Location: Maine

Nearest major city: Boston

Highlights of the park:

Found primarily on Maine’s windswept and rugged Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park covers 47,000-acres of nature and wildlife. Moose and bear roam the forests and seabirds soar the granite cliffs and mountain peaks, including Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the east coast. With whales patrolling the glistening waters surrounding the island, this is one of the best national parks in the USA for nature lovers.  

Where to stay:

Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina

While vising the park we recommend staying at Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina. With its beach club, boat tours, onsite gym and tennis courts, two swimming pools, and a spa, this award-winning hotel leaves no stone left unturned.

See it with us:

Classic New England Self-Drive

Discover the rich history of the American Revolution on Boston’s Freedom Trail. Feast on fresh lobster and seafood in Maine. Scenic drives take you through the White Mountains and rural villages of the Berkshires and, of course, Acadia National Park.


4. Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park, Washington
Olympic National Park, Washington

Location: Washington

Nearest major city: Seattle

Highlights of the park:

This immense North American national park is home to an extraordinary number of different landscapes and ecosystems to explore. Here, you’ll discover Hoh Rainforest, full of towering ancient trees and enchanting nature trails, as well as Hurricane Ridge and the Olympic Mountains, a series of epic, snow-capped mountain peaks. There’re also the stunning waters of Lake Crescent, Ruby Beach, Sol Duc River and many more stunning waterfronts.

See it with us:

Discover Pacific Northwest

Explore the cosmopolitan city of Seattle and take in the panoramic views from atop the Space Needle. Drive through old-growth forests and walk along miles of wild beaches in Olympic National Park.


5. Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Location: Arizona

Nearest major city: Las Vegas

Highlights of the park:

The main draw to this national park speaks for itself. The clue is in the name. The stunning striped, red rock formations are home to the immense Grand Canyon, often hailed as the best national park in the USA. Alongside this natural wonder of the world, you’ll find amazing views of the canyon and nearby Colorado River from the Yavapai Observation Station and the stunning Desert View Watchtower.

Where to Stay:

The Palazzo

Situated on Vegas’ Strip, The Palazzo is an all-suite, AAA Five Diamond hotel. The lavish hotel adjoins to its sister property The Venetian. Decorated in an Italian style, The Palazzo offers the largest standard suite available in Las Vegas.

See it with us:

Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil & Grand Canyon

Our four-night Las Vegas tour includes stretch limousine transfers, so you arrive at your hotel in style, tickets for your choice of one of seven Cirque du Soleil shows resident in Las Vegas and a helicopter flight-seeing tour over Grand Canyon.


6. Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park, California
Joshua Tree National Park, California

Location: California

Nearest major city: Palm Springs

Highlights of the park:

The legendary Joshua Tree National Park is named for the twisted Joshua Trees that populate the desert landscape. The sunrises and sunsets over the magical rock formations and prickly cacti are second to none. There are so many incredible viewing points throughout the park, with Key View and its lookouts over the Coachella Valley being the most popular.

The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, Palm Springs
The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, Palm Springs

Where to stay:

The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage

At this delightfully individual, five-star resort and spa, you will discover over 20 miles of scenic mountains and hiking trails from the hotel’s doorstep and enjoy sweeping views across Coachella Valley from The Edge Steakhouse.

See it with us:

Grand Tour of America’s West

A perfect fly-drive holiday introducing you to the treasures of California, Arizona and Nevada. From the bright lights of Las Vegas, to the charming coastal towns of California and the vibrant city of San Francisco, you will take to the road on an epic adventure.


7. Zion National Park

Zion National Park, Utah
Zion National Park, Utah

Location: Utah

Nearest major city: Las Vegas

Highlights of the park:

The towering red-sandstone cliffs that line the verdant valley floor are iconic in the state of Utah. There’re so many ways to explore this stunning landscape of canyons, rivers, waterfalls, and hidden hanging gardens. The breathtaking Zion Canyon Scenic Drive cuts through much of the park and leads to Emerald Pools, an enchanting nook of cascading falls and lush greenery.

Where to stay:

Cliffrose Springdale, Curio Collection by Hilton

Situated on Springdale’s main street just moments from Zion National Park, the Cliffrose Lodge & Gardens has five-acres of manicured grounds. Around the lodge you’ll find a riverside beach, guest barbecue grills for al fresco dining, a heated outdoor swimming pool and a waterfall hot tub.

See it with us:

Family Adventure Through Utah’s National Parks

This action-packed family holiday takes in spectacular national parks such as Zion, Bryce and the Grand Canyon, and also includes ATV tours, Jeep safaris, horse riding, canyon adventures and helicopter flights.


8. Arches National Park

Arches National Park, Utah
Arches National Park, Utah

Location: Utah

Nearest major city: Salt Lake City

Highlights of the park:

Boasting more than 2,000 otherworldly natural sandstone arches, Arches National Park is a landscape unlike anywhere else. The desert landscape appears like alien terrain as you cross through the Devils Garden region, towards Delicate Arch. Delicate Arch is the main attraction in the area and the views from its elevated position are among the best out of all of America’s national parks.

Where to stay:

Red Cliffs Lodge

Situated approximately 25 minutes from Moab, the Red Cliffs Lodge is set on the banks of Colorado River and surrounded by 2000ft sheer cliffs. The Red Cliffs Lodge is ideally located for visiting Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, as well as the town of Moab.

See it with us:

Family Adventure Through Utah’s National Parks

This flexible fly-drive through Utah’s and Arizona’s National & State Parks has been designed for those travellers and families that like to include a wide range of adventures and experiences in their holiday.


9. Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park, California
Redwood National Park, California

Location: California

Nearest major city: Sacramento

Highlights of the Park:

Redwood National Park is famous for the towering Redwoods that give it its name. These are the world’s tallest trees, and the grandest specimens stand five stories taller than the Statue of Liberty! A World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve, the park protects almost half of the world’s ancient growth of redwoods, as well as vibrant wildlife like elk, whales, and seals.

Where to stay:

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa

Perfect for launching an adventure to Redwood National Park, the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa is a luxurious property with a unique spa, access to a fantastic 18-hole golf course and wonderful seasonal dining menus.

See it with us:

California Coast – Family Discovery

The Central California Coast is the perfect choice for an action-packed family holiday. Our flexible California Coast Family Adventure takes in the best this well-travelled route has to offer. Horseback ride through epic redwoods, explore Big Sur’s coastline and visit shining cities.


10. Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park,
Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Location: Colorado

Nearest major city: Denver

Highlights of the park:

The perfect park if you’re looking for a historic exploration, Mesa Verde National Park is the largest archaeological preserve in the USA. Across the desert landscape, you’ll find stunningly well-preserved Native rock carvings and petroglyphs, as well as Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings, including the huge Cliff Palace.

Where to stay:

Far View Lodge

Situated within the Mesa Verde National Park, the Far View Lodge is an ideal base for a journey here. Set just off the road into the park, Far View offers a collection of 150 rooms, each with a private balcony, and a restaurant.

See it with us:

Grand Circle National Parks Fly Drive

Exactly as the name suggests, this incredible tour takes you through diverse landscapes including canyons, petrified forests, and vast deserts. Visit Utah’s ‘Mighty 5’ national parks Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Arches and Canyonlands.


11. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee - 124204390
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Location: Tennessee

Nearest major city: Nashville 

Highlights of the park:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to staggering misty mountain ranges. But there is much more to it than that. This prettiest national park has more different species of wildflower than any other in North America, with over 1,500 kinds of flower that bloom year-round. There’s also an abundance of waterfalls, rivers, and streams along a section of the world-famous Appalachian Trail.

Where to stay:

Noelle, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel

Noelle, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel is a boutique bolthole encased in a beautiful building dating back to the 1930’s. Many original features combine with contemporary amenities to create this a sleek place to rest your head in the heart of Nashville.

See it with us:

Totally Tennessee

This tour takes in all the iconic sights that Tennessee has to offer. Discover the pretty flora and fauna of the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park, enjoy the thrill-rides, attractions and shows at Dollywood, and take a look inside Elvis’ former home, Graceland.


12. Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Location: Wyoming

Nearest major city: Jackson Hole 

Highlights of the park:

Yellowstone is arguably the most famous of the national parks in USA, or North America. The park has so much to explore and is home to epic canyons, rushing rivers, and a range of hot springs including Old Faithful, the best-known geyser in the USA. There are also stunning wildlife encounters with bears, bison, wolves, elk, and more calling Yellowstone home.

Where to stay:

Old Faithful Snow Lodge

Built nearly entirely of timber, the lodge offers a variety of simple but comfortable lodge rooms and more basic Frontier Cabins. You’ll find no televisions or radios in any of the park’s accommodations, so sit back and enjoy the peace!

See it with us:

Yellowstone plus Wyoming Ranch Self Drive

This Wyoming holiday ticks off two experiences on many travellers’ bucket-lists. First, you will visit the majestic and diverse Yellowstone National Park. Then you can fulfil the fantasy of becoming a cowboy or cowgirl on a western dude ranch.


Can you hear the call to adventure? Contact our Travel Specialists for some expert advice on creating your bespoke luxury holiday to take in the USA’s most beautiful National Parks.

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Jack Price
Often found daydreaming about travelling for sports, arts and food. Hopefully writing things that will inspire you to join me in holiday daydream-land.

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