US National Parks

The United States has 59 protected areas known as national parks that are operated by the National Park Service. Fourteen national parks are designated UNESCO US World Heritage Sites, and 30 are designated UNESCO US Biosphere Reserves

Criteria for the selection of national parks include natural beauty, unique geological features, unusual ecosystems, and recreational opportunities. National Monuments, on the other hand, are frequently chosen for their historical or archaeological significance.

US National Parks Fun Facts

Out of 50 States, 27 states have national parks, as do the territories of American Samoa and the United States Virgin Islands. California has the most number of national parks (9), followed by Alaska (8), Utah (5), and Colorado (4).

The largest national park is Wrangell–St. Elias in Alaska: at over 8 million acres, it is larger than the combined nine smallest US states. The next three largest parks are also in Alaska. The smallest national park is Hot Springs in Arkansas.

Yellowstone was the first national park. The most-visited national park is the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee, followed by Arizona’s Grand Canyon, with millions of tourists visiting these parks each year. In contrast, only about 10,000 people visited the remote Gates of the Arctic in Alaska in the same year.

The below list makes for a great adventure bucket list. Visit them all or select some to add to your ultimate bucket list. The choice is yours.

List of United States National Parks

1. Denali National Park, Alaska

2. Gates of the Arctic, Alaska

3. Glacier Bay, Alaska

4. Katmai National Park, Alaska

5. Kenai Fjords, Alaska

6. Kobuk Valley, Alaska

7. Lake Clark, Alaska

8. Wrangell – St. Elias, Alaska

9. American Samoa National Park, American Samoa

10. Grand Canyon, Arizona

11. Petrified Forest, Arizona

12. Saguaro National Park, Arizona

13. Hot Springs. Arkansas

14. Channel Islands, California

15. Death Valley, California

16. Joshua Tree National Park, California

17. Kings Canyon, California

18. Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

19. Redwood National Park, California

20. Sequoia National Park, California

21. Yosemite, California

22. Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado

23. Great Sand Dunes,  Colorado

24. Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

25. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

26. Biscayne National Park, Florida

27. Dry Tortugas, Florida

28. Everglades National Park, Florida

29. Haleakala, Hawaii

30. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

31. Yellowstone, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming

32. Mammoth Cave, Kentucky

33. Acadia National Park, Maine

34. Isle Royale National Park, Michigan

35. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

36. Glacier National Park, Montana

37. Great Basin, Nevada

38. Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

39. Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina

40. Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

41. Cuyahoga Valley, Ohio

42. Crater Lake, Oregon

43. Congaree National Park, South Carolina

44. Badlands, South Dakota

45. Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota

46. Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

47. Big Bend National Park, Texas

48. Guadalupe Mountains, Texas

49. Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands

50. Arches, Utah

51. Bryce Canyon, Utah

52. Capitol Reef, Utah

53. Canyonlands, Utah

54. Zion National Park, Utah

55. Shenandoah, Virginia

56. Mount Rainier, Washington

57. North Cascades, Washington

58. Olympic National Park, Washington

59. Grand Teton, Wyoming

National Parks by States


Denali (est. 1917)

Gates of the Arctic (est. 1980)

Glacier Bay (est. 1980)

Katmai (est. 1980)

Kenai Fjords (est. 1980)

Kobuk Valley (est. 1980)

Lake Clark (est. 1980)

Wrangell – St. Elias (est. 1980)

American Samoa

American Samoa (est. 1988)


Grand Canyon (est. 1919)

Petrified Forest (est. 1962)

Saguaro (est. 1994)


Hot Springs (est. 1921)


Channel Islands (est. 1980)

Death Valley (est. 1994)

Joshua Tree (est. 1994)

Kings Canyon (est. 1940)

Lassen Volcanic (est. 1916)

Redwood (est. 1968)

Sequoia (est. 1890)

Yosemite (est. 1890)


Black Canyon of the Gunnison (est. 1999)

Great Sand Dunes (est. 2004)

Mesa Verde (est. 1906)

Rocky Mountain (est. 1915)


Biscayne National Park (est. 1980)

Dry Tortugas (est. 1992)

Everglades (est. 1947)


Haleakala (est. 1916)

Hawaii Volcanoes (est. 1916)


Yellowstone (est. 1872)


Mammoth Cave (est. 1941)


Acadia National Park (est. 1919)

Michigan Isle Royale (est. 1940)

Minnesota Voyageurs (est. 1975)


Glacier (est. 1910)

Yellowstone (est. 1872)


Great Basin (est. 1986)

New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns (est. 1930)

North Carolina

Great Smoky Mountains (est. 1934)

North Dakota

Theodore Roosevelt (est. 1978)


Cuyahoga Valley (est. 2000)


Crater Lake (est. 1902)

South Carolina

Congaree (est. 2003)

South Dakota

Badlands (est. 1978)

Wind Cave (est. 1903)


Great Smoky Mountains (est. 1934)


Big Bend (est. 1944)

Guadalupe Mountains (est. 1966)

U.S. Virgin Islands

Virgin Islands (est. 1956)


Arches (est. 1971)

Bryce Canyon (est. 1928)

Capitol Reef (est. 1971)

Canyonlands (est. 1964)

Zion (est. 1919)


Shenandoah (est. 1935)


Mount Rainier (est. 1899)

North Cascades (est. 1968)

Olympic (est. 1938)


Grand Teton (est. 1929)

Yellowstone (est. 1872)