No plans for Independence Day? How about a last-minute road trip to a National Park? Below, we’ve ranked our top six National Parks–which are your faves?
Rocky beaches, granite peaks and verdant woodlands fill this 47,000-acre wonderland on Maine’s Mount Desert Island. Mountaineers can reach the top of Cadillac Mountain, the tallest peak on the East Coast. Day-trippers will enjoy all that resort town Bar Harbor has to offer. The 4 1/2-hour drive north from Boston offers great ocean and forest views.
With more than 360 species of birds, plus alligators, manatees and other endangered mammals, reptiles and amphibians, these wetlands are a naturalist’s dream. Add in gorgeous plant life and it’s a trip you won’t want to miss. Located on Florida’s southern tip, this park is a 42-mile drive from Miami, making it a perfect escape from the city.
With more than 1 million acres of wilderness, this Montana park is a hiker’s paradise thanks to more than 700 miles of trails. Wildlife ranging from mountain goats to grizzly bears abound, and there’s ample space for camping, backpacking and cycling in this Rocky Mountains paradise. The 2 1/2-hour drive north from Missoula features stunning views.
3. Grand Canyon
Starting in Phoenix, the 225-mile trip to the canyon’s South Rim is one for your bucket list. Along the way, you’ll want to stop in Verde Valley, Arizona’s wine country, before continuing to Sedona, home to stunning natural beauty, great dining and plentiful art galleries. Flagstaff is a great last stop before reaching your destination.
Walk in a land of giant sequoias, vast caverns, powerful rivers and deep canyons. Located less than 4 hours northeast of Los Angeles, this ruggedly beautiful wilderness boasts the world’s largest trees, including the famed General Sherman, and the stunning Crystal Cavern. For sweeping views of the park, visit Moro Rock.
Hike in the shadow of Mount Olympus. Explore stunning Rialto Beach. Boat on Ozette Lake. Depending on your route, getting there from Seattle can take a couple hours to half a day. After a scenic ferry ride to Bainbridge Island, follow State Route 104 to Highway 101. Stop in Port Angeles for park information, permits, lunch and any last-minute shopping.
Need a car for your road trip? Find one here.