National Parks


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We prioritized natural beauty—and lack of crowds

Avoid traffic jams and see America's best idea by foot, bus, or bike

Our national parks have some hilarious and inspirational social media accounts. These are our favorites to follow.

Pirates, enslaved people, and Spanish explorers shaped these seven small islands west of the Florida Keys. For most visitors, deep-diving into the past and then swimming the azure waters makes for an unforgettable trip.

Zion National Park, Carlsbad Caverns, and areas around Moab, Utah, were inundated by water after heavy rainfall pummeled the U.S. Southwest

Snorkel and paddle among quizzical lobsters, baby sharks, green turtles, and more at Biscayne, home to a massive coral-reef system off the coast of Miami

When retired art dealer Forrest Fenn hid a chest full of a million dollars’ worth gold, rubies, and diamonds in the Rocky Mountains, he sent thousands on a journey of desperation

But seriously: at this popular South Florida park, come for the large reptiles, but stay for the subtropical scenery, varied birdlife, and all-out airboat rides

You don’t have to know much about paddling to wend the dark waterways of Congaree, in South Carolina. But persistence and a good sense of humor will help you along.

Yellowstone and Death Valley. Now Joshua Tree. What the hell is going on in our national parks?

To control mass tourism, the National Park Service is working on solutions, like its reservation system. We tourists need to do our part, too. Here’s how.

The Wind Cave is the seventh-largest mapped cave in the world

Here’s how to make the most out of a visit to one of the wildest places in the U.S., from kayaking to birding to fishing and so much more

Western national parks like Yellowstone, Zion, and Joshua Tree are among our most iconic, but it’s the journeys road-tripping in between them that provide the greatest opportunities for adventure. From Montana to Southern California, here’s how to make the most of this itinerary and avoid the crowds.

Deep, dark, and hiding some dreadful bits of history, Mammoth Cave, in Kentucky, is a fascinating place for underground exploration

From the perfect cooler to the best bug-repelling candle, we’ve rounded up our favorite products that make picnicking a breeze

Too many rocks? Not enough people? Illustrator Amber Share says bring it on.

Many visitors to the mid-Atlantic make a beeline to the Smokies. But our 63 Parks columnist argues that there’s plenty of wild adventuring to be had in Shenandoah—and Blue Ridge views for days.

Unique recreation opportunities and uncrowded wilderness abound in areas impacted by Yellowstone flood

Acadia, in Maine, woos visitors with hikes that overlook the Atlantic Ocean, bike rides along historic carriage roads, and some awesome lobster rolls

Award-winning poet Elizabeth Alexander explains how the expansion of the National Park Service Mellon Humanities Fellowship will allow scholars to deepen our understanding of the history within our public lands and share it with visitors

In the show's six episodes, host Baratunde Thurston takes viewers across the U.S. and has thoughtful, honest conversations with the people he meets about their relationships to the natural world

The world’s first national park will reopen this week after the devastating floods. Here’s what you can expect.

You can still find a slice of solitude in the country's most visited parks

We’re for an official mandate: make this the season of long weekends. To help you out, we found the most fun new summer adventures.

Rangers in the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests are asking hikers to be mindful of bears

It's been six months since the first NPS director in five years stepped into office facing $22 billion in deferred maintenance. This is what he's accomplished so far—and what's still coming.

An atmospheric river dumped 200 to 300 percent more moisture than usual onto the area over the weekend

A new order from interior secretary Deb Haaland reverses a Trump-era policy that prevented national parks from banning plastic bottles

If you haven’t snagged a reservation to the growing list of timed-entry parks, it might seem like a trip there this summer is out of the cards. But fret not—we found some legal ways to visit.

The 200-million-old fossil, which contained footprints from an alligatorlike reptile, is believed to have been stolen from the park roughly five years ago

The former president once said, “It was here that the romance of my life began”

Our national parks are overcrowded, especially in summer. One solution is to create more of them. Here are the regions that get our votes.

‘Our Great National Parks’ overly idealizes U.S. conservation efforts and gives a mealymouthed call to climate action

The best way to catch aurora borealis in all its lit-up beauty: go to the darkest places on earth, at just the right time, and hope for the best

You need more natural silence in your life. Find it in these parks.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio turned a canalway into a 90-mile trail perfect for hiking and biking, and our 63 Parks columnist highly recommends a ride

Indiana Dunes National Park is an adventure gem for urban midwesterners all year long, but particularly in summer, when Lake Michigan almost appears tropical

Across the country, hard-to-nab spots are sitting vacant. How do we make sure these coveted spaces aren’t going to waste?

Some might be surprised to hear that one of our nation's most visited parks is in Ohio, but a single trip will be enough to convince you otherwise. Bridal-veil waterfalls, a spectacular river, and more than 125 miles of trails are merely supporting characters to this Midwest playground's main act: a conservation success story.

As crowds grow and parks reach capacity, responsible national-park travel is more important than ever. Here’s how to leave a lighter footprint, according to rangers.

To mark its 150th anniversary, America’s first national park plans to use 2022 to address past wrongdoing and work toward a more inclusive future

The parks on this list span six continents and tens of millions of acres, offering excellent fodder for any nature-addicted international traveler looking to jump-start their wanderlust

This amazing 1,453-mile trip starts in Salt Lake City

Everything you need to know about experiencing America’s best idea

Granting access to more than 2,000 national parks and recreation areas, the America the Beautiful pass is a game changer for any park-hopping traveler. Here’s how to know if the pass is right for you—plus how to buy it and use it.

A park-by-park list of entrance charges and reservation information

Planning a vacation to Yellowstone involves many details, one of which is deciding how you will enter the park

Four more parks have begun or expanded their ticketing systems, and many have renewed what was already in place

If you’re willing to brave the cold, winter can be one of the best seasons to visit America’s best idea

Congress approves Sams as NPS director, Canadian cops raid indigenous protest, and Steamboat locals pray for snow

The $1.2 trillion plan doesn’t just include investments in roads and bridges; it’ll also focus on bike lanes, wildfire mitigation, and dam removal

Visit 13 of America’s best-loved national parks on this cross-country national-park train loop

As it turns out, the national parks just aren’t that great for some visitors (though we definitely disagree)

A recent ruling on an Endangered Species Act case may set a precedent for incorporating climate models into species protection

A warming planet, increased storms, and wildfires are creating a level of infrastructure collapse that’s expensive and devastating

Our experts sought out epic adventures in every landscape, from new desert outposts to off-the-grid wellness retreats, with plenty of trails, beaches, and base camps to fill up your 2022 travel calendar. Be flexible, plan smart, and let these 30 escapes inspire you. PLUS: Come with us! Travel with Outside editors to Alaska, Patagonia, Mount Everest Base Camp, and the French Alps.

Technology has become an all-encompassing fixture of our lives, even when it comes to outdoor recreation. Here’s a snapshot of how it’s shaping our national parks—for better or for worse.

The National Park Service hasn’t had a director in four years. The Biden administration is trying to fix that but faces a host of major challenges.

Many major national parks implemented new reservation systems intended to give visitors a more positive experience by decreasing gridlock, parking issues, and long lines for public services. But are they actually helping or making it more difficult to visit a park?

Knowledgeable and friendly rangers aren’t just found in our national parks

Alaska’s Kobuk Valley National Park is an overlooked gem. It offers up the great caribou migration, stargazing and miles of solitude, and massive dunes you’d expect to find in the Sahara. This is the 40th stop on our 62 Parks Traveler's quest to visit every national park in the U.S.

Public lands have become more trodden and restrictive, but the pandemic-era craziness might not last

The nonprofit Native Skywatchers has spent more than a decade collecting and preserving Indigenous star knowledge. Now organizations like NASA and the NPS are joining the movement.

Gates of the Arctic in northern Alaska is one of the last truly wild national parks. There are no roads or trails, and the park boasts the stunning Brooks Range, six wild and scenic rivers, and gets fewer than 3,000 visitors a year. Our 62 Parks columnist was awestruck by her 39th stop on her quest to visit every national park in the U.S.

Crowds, lines, and permits. Here’s how to visit a park this summer without melting down.

Katmai, in southern Alaska, is one of the few places where you can safely get up close and personal with a brown bear while it’s feeding—a life-list event says our 62 Parks Traveler about the 38th stop on her quest to visit every national park in the U.S.

Here’s how President Biden plans to address climate change, pollution, and public lands in the greatest detail we’ve seen so far

We need more access to public lands. Reclaiming damaged landscapes like old mines and former nuclear sites can be a powerful part of the answer.

A wild place—and an American ideal—are heading for destruction. We can stop it now.

This is just the kickoff to a ten-year plan to protect more land, water, and wildlife

From miles of accessible trails to nearby boarding services to dog safety, these are the best (and worst) parks to visit with your best friend

Whether you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime splurge or a cozy canvas tent minutes from Lake Powell, there’s something for everyone at these newly opened stays

The new secretary of the interior shares her plans to listen to historically underrepresented communities and address deferred maintenance projects—plus, what makes a national park her favorite

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