Favorite national park system sites visited


Mid-century modern picnic area in White Sands National Park, New Mexico

Below is my list of favorite national park system sites that I have visited by state (USA), by tribal nation (Navajo), by province (Canada), and by country (elsewhere).  This list will likely change over time as these are revisited or others are visited.

White Sands National Park, New Mexico

Interestingly, several of the best known national parks are not included, even though I have been to them (Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite in particular). This is primarily due to what my personal interests are (such as natural arches, volcanoes, deserts, dunes, historic sites, as well as Native American and Spanish-American cultures, but is also a result of overcrowding at some of these parks. My top ten favorites are listed at the bottom of the list and may include multiple parks from a single state/tribal nation/province/country. 

Lower Antelope Canyon, Navajo Nation

Alaska – Glacier Bay National Park, Gustavus, AK

Alberta – Banff National Park, Banff, AB

Arizona – Saguaro National Park, Tucson, AZ

Arkansas – Pea Ridge National Military Park, Pea Ridge, AR

British Columbia – Kootenay National Park, Radium Hot Springs, BC

California – Redwood National Park, Crescent City, CA

Colorado – Colorado National Monument, Grand Junction, CO

District of Columbia – George Washington Memorial Parkway – Washington, DC

England – Lake District National Park, Keswick, England

Florida – Everglades National Park, Everglades City, FL

Georgia – Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Battlefield, Ft. Oglethorpe, GA

Idaho – Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve, Carey, ID

Illinois – Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor – multiple locations, IL

Indiana – Indiana Dunes National Park, Chesterton, IN

Iowa – Hoover National Historic Site – West Branch, IA

Ireland – Killarney National Park – Killarney, Ireland

Kentucky – Mammoth Cave National Park, Park City, KY

Louisiana – Jean Lafite National Historic Park/Chalmette Battlefield, Chalmette, LA

Maine – Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME

Manitoba – The Forks National Historic Site, Winnepeg, MB

Maryland – Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park, multiple locations, MD and DC

Massachusetts – Lowell National Historical Park – Lowell, MA

Michigan – Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Empire, MI

Minnesota – Pipestone National Monument – Pipestone, MN

Mississippi – Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, MS

Missouri – Harry S. Truman National Historic Site, Independence, MO

Montana – Glacier National Park, Whitefish, MT

Navajo Nation – Lower Antelope Canyon – Page, AZ

Nebraska – Scotts Bluff National Monument, Scottsbluff, NE

New Brunswick – Bay of Fundy National Park, Alma, NB

New Jersey – Liberty National Monument – Jersey City, NJ

New York – Saratoga National Historic Park, Saratoga Springs, NY

North Carolina – Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Kitty Hawk, NC

Nova Scotia – Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Ingonish, NS

New Mexico – White Sands National Park, Alamogordo, NM

Ohio – Hopewell Culture National Historic Park, Chillicothe, OH

Oklahoma – Oklahoma City National Memorial, Oklahoma City, OK

Ontario – Point Pelee National Park, Leamington, ON

Oregon – Crater Lake National Park, Union Creek, OR (technically a National Forest Service site)

Pennsylvania – Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, PA

Portugal – Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, Sintra, Portugal

Sintra-Cascais Park, Portugal

Prince Edward Island – Prince Edward Island National Park, Summerside, PEI

Puerto Rico – San Juan National Historic Site, San Juan, PR

Scotland – Culloden Battlefield, Inverness, Scotland

South Carolina – Cowpens National Battlefield, Chesnee, SC

South Dakota – Badlands National Park, Wall, SD

Tennessee – Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, TN

Texas – San Antonio Missions National Historic Park – San Antonio, TX

Utah – Arches National Park, Moab, UT

Virginia – Shenandoah National Park, Front Royal, VA

Washington – Mt. St. Helen’s National Volcanic Monument, Cougar, WA

West Virginia – Harpers Ferry National Historical Park – Harpers Ferry

Wyoming – Grand Teton National Park, Moran, WY

Saguaro National Park, Arizona


Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan

Ten Favorite National Park System sites

  1. Arches National Park – Utah
  2. Mt. St. Helen’s National Volcanic Monument – Washington
  3. Saguaro National Park – Arizona
  4. White Sands National Park – New Mexico
  5. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – Michigan
  6. Crater Lake National Park – Oregon
  7. Zion National Park – Utah
  8. Lower Antelope Canyon Tribal Park – Navajo Nation
  9. Craters of the Moon National Monument – Idaho
  10. (tie) between Glacier National Park – Montana and Grand Teton National Park – Wyoming

Zion National Park, Utah

Most Wanted to See National Park system sites (USA)

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve – Colorado

Mesa Verde National Park – Colorado

Monument Valley Tribal Park – Navajo Nation 

Guadalupe Mountains National Park – Texas

Big Bend National Park – Texas

Rio Grande del Norte National Monument – New Mexico (technically a Bureau of Land Management site)

Death Valley National Park – California/Nevada

Olympic National Park – Washington

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area – Oregon

Mojave Desert National Preserve – California

Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park – Hawaii

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument – New Mexico

This entry was posted in archaeology, Canada, culture, deserts, ecosystems, entertainment, environment, Europe, fun, geography, Geology, government, hiking, historic preservation, history, humanity, infrastructure, Ireland, land use, landscape architecture, Native Americans, nature, North America, placemaking, planning, Portugal, rivers/watersheds, Science, spatial design, States, Statistics, technology, third places, topography, tourism, transportation, Travel, UK, walking, Wildlife and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Favorite national park system sites visited

  1. Last time I was there, the tables at the main campground in Badlands NP were exactly the same design as those shown at White Sands. Era of design doesn’t matter; we’d design them the same now. It’s a matter of survival getting shade from the sun.


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