I’m sure you’ve heard of some of the most well-known national parks in the USA: Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, etc. You can’t live in America and not know about those places! But what about the easy-to-miss ones?
The ones that don’t get as much attention as the others? They deserve to be seen too. Today I’ll be talking about 10 underrated national parks in the USA. Keep reading if you want to learn more!
Congaree National Park, South Carolina
Congaree National Park is one of the most unique parks in the Southeast. Located in South Carolina, Congaree is a prime example of the many national parks that preserve and protect large swaths of natural land. With over 17,000 acres, this park is home to a wide variety of wildlife and plant life that make it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
Congaree National Park was established in 1976 by President Gerald Ford as the first national park in South Carolina. It contains some of the last remaining old-growth floodplain forest left in North America, along with an incredible diversity of animal and plant life.
The park protects an area that was once home to Native Americans who lived along the Congaree River before Europeans arrived on our shores. Today, Congaree National Park serves as an important refuge for many endangered species such as the red-cockaded woodpecker, which can be seen nesting inside large cypress trees throughout the park.
Visitors can hike through several different trails within Congaree National Park including the River Bluff Trail which takes visitors through a wide variety of landscapes including wetlands, bottomland hardwoods and upland longleaf pines
Great Basin National Park, Nevada
The Great Basin National Park is a United States National Park located in White Pine County, Nevada. The park was established in 1986 and covers an area of approximately 77,180 acres (312.3 km 2). It is noted for the Lehman Caves, sandstone formations that were created by wind, water and time.
The park has two visitor centers: Lehman Caves Visitor Center and Baker Historic District Visitor Center. Both visitor centers are open from mid-May to early September.
The park also offers ranger-led programs and activities for all ages. These include geology walks, campfire programs, guided hikes and presentations about the history of the park and the surrounding area.
Great Basin National Park is one of the few places where you can go backpacking with your dog in America’s national parks! Dogs are allowed on most trails in Great Basin National Park as long as they are leashed at all times.
Channel Islands National Park, California
Channel Islands National Park is a United States national park that consists of five of the eight Channel Islands off the coast of the U.S. state of California, in the Pacific Ocean. Although the islands are close to the shore of densely populated Southern California, their isolation has left them relatively undeveloped.
These islands are part of Channel Islands National Park, which includes San Miguel Island, Santa Barbara Island and Santa Catalina Island.
The five main islands in Channel Islands National Park are Anacapa, Santa Barbara, San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz. The three largest islands – Anacapa, Santa Barbara and San Miguel – comprise 97 percent of the total park land area.
All have been designated wilderness areas since 1978. The national park is situated 40 miles (64 km) west of Oxnard, California on CA-1 (Highway 1). The park’s headquarters are located in Ventura, about 50 miles (80 km) east of Los Angeles.
Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
Isle Royale National Park is located in Lake Superior, on the 45th parallel. This island contains a lot of wildlife including moose, wolves and bison. It is also home to over 200 species of birds. The park is only accessible by boat or plane, which makes it all the more unique.
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
Dry Tortugas National Park is a national park in the United States about 68 miles west of Key West, Florida. The park features Fort Jefferson, built between 1846 and 1875, and the Dry Tortugas – an archipelago of seven small islands.
The park includes approximately 70 small islands, reefs, shallow banks, and shoals known as “the Dry Tortugas.” These coral heads and isolated patches of sand form an area of great diving. The waters in the park are clear and shallow with few strong currents. Underwater visibility is often 100 feet or more.
The park has a variety of habitats such as mangrove forests, seagrass beds, sandy beaches, coastal dunes and salt marshes.
It is home to many rare species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world including the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) (a threatened species) and the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus).
Everglades National Park, Florida
The Everglades is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. It’s a vast and swampy wilderness of sawgrass, mangrove tunnels and unique birds.
Visiting this unique ecosystem is like stepping back in time. You’ll see alligators and crocodiles living side-by-side with American flamingos and wood storks.
North Cascades National Park, Washington State
North Cascades National Park is one of the most beautiful and remote parks in the United States. It’s rugged and mountainous, with peaks that rise from the valleys below and glaciers that have been retreating for years.
The park has both alpine areas and high-elevation forests, which provide habitat for many species of animals including mountain goats, elk and black bears. There are also several species of trout native to this region, including Dolly Varden trout, bull trout and cutthroat trout.
Olympic National Park, Washington State
Olympic National Park is a United States National Park located adjacent to the Pacific Ocean on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state. The park has four basic regions: the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the west side temperate rain forest and old-growth forest, and the wild Pacific coastline. The park contains six distinct ecosystems with some of North America’s most significant habitat for plant and animal species.
The park was established on January 25, 1938 as a national monument by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and designated a national park on October 31, 1953. The park has three visitor centers, which are located in Port Angeles at the north end of the peninsula; Forks at the west entrance; and La Push at the east entrance.
The park is famous for its diverse ecosystems and many opportunities for outdoor activities. Activities include hiking, backpacking, boating, kayaking, birdwatching and horse riding. The park has over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of trails that lead to isolated wilderness campsites.
Some of the animals that can be seen in the park include:
Birds – Bald eagles, osprey, heron, ducks, geese and swans are some examples of birds found in the park.
Mammals – Black bear, porcupine, raccoon, marmot and mink are just a few of the mammals you might see on your visit to Olympic National Park.
Reptiles & Amphibians – Garter snakes, Pacific tree frogs and western skinks are just a few of the reptiles and amphibians that call Olympic National Park home.
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
Petrified Forest National Park is a United States national park in Navajo and Apache counties, Arizona, located between the towns of Holbrook and Winslow.
The park preserves a variety of volcanic resources spanning 240 million years of geological history. The park’s major attractions include the Petrified Forest, a collection of fossilized logs, and the Painted Desert, with colorful hills of multi-hued volcanic ash and other sedimentary rock.
The site was declared a national monument in 1906 and a national park in 1962. The park is open all year round with free admission for everyone; however some facilities are closed during winter months (October through April).
Approximately two thirds of the park is designated wilderness area which protects its natural state. In addition to its rich fossil resources, Petrified Forest contains many species of plants and animals that can be found nowhere else in the world.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
Theodore Roosevelt National Park has two units — North Dakota’s Medora Unit, which is where the Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial is located, and the Elkhorn Ranch Unit in Montana.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park was established in 1978 to honor Theodore Roosevelt, a famous American president who was also an avid outdoorsman. The park consists of three separate units: the North Dakota Medora Unit (originally known as the Elkhorn Ranch), along with the Montana Elkhorn Ranch Unit and the South Dakota’s Badlands National Park.
Theodore Roosevelt himself spent a lot of time exploring these areas during his presidency and after he left office. He dedicated much of his life to conservation efforts and worked to protect this land from development. Today, Theodore Roosevelt National Park serves as a memorial for him and provides visitors with an opportunity to explore some of America’s most beautiful landscapes.
The United States has a total of 58 national parks, which is more than any other country in the world. That’s a lot of land to explore, but how much do you really know about these protected areas?
National parks are great places to visit, but they are also a place for people to enjoy and experience nature. These national parks in the US have something for everyone. Whether you want to hike, camp, or just sit back and enjoy the view, these parks have it all.
The national landmarks we have this country are truly treasures. How fortunate we are that they were preserved by our ancestors so that we could enjoy them. We should all go out and visit some of the parks listed on this list at least once to both experience their beauty and learn more about our history as Americans.