Our Top US National Parks for a Luxury Holiday

With the aim of protecting, preserving and showcasing the country’s most impressive scenery, archaeological sites and spectacular natural landmarks, the US National Park network is a wonderful way to experience and explore the best of America.

US National Parks

Scattered all over the country, national parks are there to protect and preserve some of the world's most beautiful natural wonders, wildlife, landmarks, and communities. Some might be better known than others; showstoppers like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, for example, and some are more off-the-beaten-track, such as the Denali in Alaska. Each offers a different but equally spellbinding experience. There are steaming geysers and hot springs to see, canyons and glacier-capped mountain ranges, and even rainforests and coastlines. Travellers who love the great outdoors and want to be active – and even those who prefer a slower pace of life – will feel the call of the wild on a trip to the US national parks.

Are US National Parks Worth Visiting?


Visiting US national parks is undoubtedly worthwhile. Home to some of the most breathtaking sights in the world, they offer a huge variety of landscapes to explore and enjoy. And being amongst the remote wilderness, reconnecting to nature will recalibrate you from the stresses of normal life.

“This kind of scenery leaves you with a sense of awe. Being surrounded by such enormous vistas and huge expanses is a humbling experience, and something that you can’t comprehend from the photos.” Rob Holmes, North America Travel Expert

There are endless opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, rock climbing, wildlife viewing, and more. Whether you're an adventure enthusiast or simply enjoy the outdoors, you’ll find something to pique your interest.

Better still, the US National Park System plays a crucial role in conserving fragile ecosystems and endangered species, as well as contributing to community outreach programmes. There are often visitor centres and ranger-led experiences that provide fascinating educational opportunities about the geology, ecology, and history of the parks. Many of which hold important cultural significance and include ancient Native American dwellings or Civil War battlefields.

With parks spread across the country, they’re accessible no matter where in America you are visiting. Some include incredible scenic road trips too, where you can soak up the views from the comfort of your own car.

However, with all this brilliance comes crowds, and national parks can become busy, particularly during holiday times. There are ways of avoiding the tourists though, going out of season, for example, or exploring hidden gems rather than the headline acts, allows you to see the parks more privately.

How Many National Parks Are There in The US?

There are 63 locations on the official list of US national parks. The most recent to be added was New River Gorge National Park and Preserve in West Virginia, in 2021, while the first ever national park in the USA was Yellowstone. When President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act on 1st March 1872, he kick-started the founding of the entire national park system in America.

The Best National Parks in America

Choosing which national park to visit is no mean feat. Is it the red rock of the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona that calls to you or the granite monoliths in Yosemite National Park, California? Do you want an authentic cowboy experience at Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming or to soak up the wilderness of Denali, Alaska?

If you’re not sure where to start, read on for our pick of the best national parks in the US.

Grand Canyon, Arizona


Best for: Families with older children/teens, couples, and groups.

Where to stay: The Grand Hotel is 2km from the South Rim, offering up cosy, cabin-style accommodation and all-American cuisine.

The instantly recognisable rust-red landscape of the Grand Canyon is often called the seventh wonder of the world. Supernatural in its appearance, there is nowhere else like it. It is one of the best US national parks not only due to its iconic geology but also because of the sheer scale of it. This can make it hard to know where to begin exploring. We suggest starting with a helicopter tour soaring high above the canyon. They depart from the South Rim, which is where most of the action happens. Divided by the powerful Colorado River, the Grand Canyon is split into North and South Rim. The South is where it’s at its widest and deepest, and where you’ll find the best views, via day hikes. The North, meanwhile, is more intrepid. Only open in the summer months, it’s not as easy to access but does have amazing sunsets, and some great hiking and biking trails too.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming


Best for: Families with kids over 10 and older couples.

Where to stay: Luxurious Sage Lodge is perfectly placed and designed to make the most of the stunning views of Yellowstone. It’s an ideal base to relax in after days on your feet.

Bubbling geysers, exhilarating wildlife, mesmerising waterfalls, epic mountains, and shimmering lakes have been luring visitors to Yellowstone since 1872. This is one of the biggest national parks in the USA. Beautiful walks take you past its most impressive sights such as the Grand Prismatic Spring and Old Faithful Geyser, while a tour of the park’s upper loop gives you sightings of grizzly bears and wolves, as well as hot springs, waterfalls, and the more secluded parts of the park. Next door in Grand Teton National Park, a highlight for animal lovers is the wildlife safari, where you will be on the lookout for deer, elk, moose, bears and bison in their natural habitat.

Denali, Alaska


Best for: Adults, including adventurous honeymooners, and families with teenagers.

Where to stay: One of the most remote hotels in the world, Sheldon Chalet, sits on top of a peak of rock in Denali. It’s an intimate experience, with only five bedrooms (and shared bathrooms).

With six million acres of pristine wilderness, North America's tallest peak, and only 92 miles of roadway, Denali National Park has to be seen to be believed. It is another of the largest national parks in the USA. This seemingly endless sea of land is covered with mountains and valleys, woven together by rapid-flowing rivers and creeks, and dotted with bears, moose, wolves, and other wildlife big and small. A trip to Denali is a thrilling experience for intrepid travellers, which is best between May and September when the park is officially open, and you might catch sight of the Northern Lights. Watch bears catch salmon, see dog sledging, go white water rafting and enjoy beautiful hikes up mountains and around lakes.

Zion, Utah


Best for: Keen hikers and young couples.

Where to stay: Cliffrose Lodge is practically built into the cliff and just five minutes from the gate to Zion National Park.

Famous for The Narrows – ultra-thin canyon walls that envelope you as you walk through – Zion National Park is a photographer’s (and Instagrammer’s) dream! Popular with adventurous travellers who love canyoneering, the park shares the Grand Canyon’s vibrant red hue but offers something more for adrenaline junkies. Along with hiking trails, some more hair-raising than others, there are cycling routes, guided excursions and scenic drives that allow you to take in the beauty of the rock formations.

Yosemite, California


Best for: Everyone, Yosemite is a crowd-pleaser for all ages.

Where to stay: The Redwoods for the authentic American log cabin experience.

Home to immense granite rockfaces, sky-high waterfalls, ancient sequoia groves and over 800 miles of trails, Yosemite National Park, California, is not only one of the best national parks in the US but also the most versatile. You could easily spend several days enjoying all it has to offer, like climbing, hiking, lake swimming, mountain biking and horse riding. Trails are well-trodden but it’s still worthwhile having a guide to take you to the best spots. If you’re combining a visit to Yosemite with a tour of California, either fly into Fresno Airport and hire a car or drive from San Francisco, Napa Valley or LA. Having a car gives you the flexibility to explore the park at your leisure and allows you to stop en route to stock up on supplies for your self-catering accommodation.

Bryce Canyon, Utah


Best for: Families with children, and adults alike.

Where to stay: Stay in or near Zion National Park.

Bryce Canyon National Park’s signature sandstone spires, known as hoodoos, date back 60 million years. And it is this geological phenomenon that makes the Utah park so popular. This completely unique landscape is best enjoyed on a day trip from Zion National Park. Fly over the hoodoos by helicopter for the most impressive views or embark on a guided walk. Bryce Canyon is best seen between April and September, it’s not such a good winter destination as temperatures can be sub-zero and deep snow makes it very difficult to see the park.

Lake Powell (Glen Canyon), Utah


Best for: Adventure-loving travellers looking for a rejuvenating experience.

Where to stay: Amangiri is one of the most incredible hotels in the world. Top-end luxury from the iconic Aman group, this hotel melts into the wilderness around it.

Lake Powell is where the Colorado River gets wide enough to use it for activities; fishing, kayaking, canoeing and rafting are all popular past times here. There are also fascinating guided tours led by the Navajo community, as Lake Powell is on sacred ground and they are the only people allowed to accompany you. Nearby Antelope Canyon’s red rock scenery is home to very thin slot canyons, a stunning sight especially when the light streams in, and makes for a thrilling hike.

Everglades, Florida


Best for: Families will love combining this with a trip to Walt Disney World Resort Florida.

Where to stay: The One Hotel is our choice for Miami, it is just an hour from South Beach to the Everglades.

Head to the Everglades from Miami for a totally unique US national park experience. Occupying 1.5 million acres of Southern Florida, these famed wetlands are home to hundreds of species of plants and wildlife — many of them endangered. Jump on an airboat tour of the mangrove swamps filled with alligators. There are also plenty of lovely walking trails or tram tours to join too.

This is also the perfect park for families who want a bit of nature before heading off to Walt Disney World in Orlando for a different kind of park experience.

Acadia, North Maine


Best for: Older couples looking for languid strolls and scrumptious eats

Where to stay: The White Barn Inn is a classic New England-style hotel where you’ll be amazingly well looked after in beautiful surroundings.

Pink granite peaks and secluded coves surround Acadia National Park, a 47,000-acre reserve that incorporates some of Maine’s most alluring coastline. The park spreads out across Mount Desert Island and is covered with walking trails to hidden tide pools, lakes, and peaks with views across the Gulf of Maine. In between the trails and coves are historic towns and perfectly clipped gardens, along with rustic lobster shacks serving delicious seafood feasts.

Visit the US National Parks

For more information on any of these US national parks or to start planning your holiday, contact one of our travel experts via the plan your trip button, or start looking for inspiration in our customisable USA Tours.

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