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National Parks of the USA: Top 5 Most Beautiful and Unusual

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Marina Gritsenko - organizer of custom tours to America and author of a project about New York and the USA.

When I was asked to write an article about the most beautiful parks in the USA, I thought I didn't want to take on such a big responsibility and claim that one park is better than another! So, I chose 5 parks that are unique and unlike each other: parks with crystal blue waters, giant trees, stunning mountain landscapes, a grand canyon, and tropical flora and fauna.

Interesting Facts:

The first national park in the USA, and in the world, was Yellowstone, which opened in 1872 with the goal of preserving unique natural areas for public use, without commercial use of land, flora, and fauna. In my opinion, the idea was wonderful, and now the USA has 58 natural national parks, as well as a large number of reserves and historical parks.

Sequoia National Park

This park is known for its enormous trees - sequoias (or redwoods), which are often featured in lists of the world's largest things. The biggest tree of all is called "General Sherman," and it's located in Sequoia National Park.

Some interesting facts about sequoias:

  • Sequoias can live for 3-4 thousand years.
  • Their height can reach up to 100 meters, with a diameter of about 20-31 meters. By the way, the dimensions of "General Sherman" are: height - 84 meters and diameter - 31 meters.
  • You can only find such enormous trees on the Pacific coast of the USA.
  • When a tree falls, it is not cut or removed, but left on the ground to preserve the ecosystem. If a tree falls on a road, a tunnel is simply cut through it for people to walk or drive through.

Grand Canyon

Perhaps one of the most popular national parks in the USA. You can admire the Grand Canyon from a certain point or explore it in more detail by taking various hikes!

The park is divided into two parts: the North Rim and the South Rim. Most of the attractions, hiking trails, and viewpoints are located on the South Rim. There are several ways to explore the canyon: on foot, by bike, by car, by shuttle bus, by helicopter, on horseback, or even by rafting on the Colorado River. There are plenty of options to choose from, depending on your preferences and budget. My favorite way is hiking, as it allows you to explore the terrain in more detail and enjoy the scenery.

What to do in the park:

  • Choose a trail and mode of transportation based on your physical and financial capabilities, as well as the time available.
  • Take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the beautiful view.
  • Take a boat or helicopter ride for a memorable experience.

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Yosemite National Park

In Yosemite Park, it's easy to feel in harmony with nature. There's something to admire for everyone, whether you love forests, rivers, lakes, mountains, or waterfalls.

The most visited part is Yosemite Valley, a beautiful and picturesque place where even a short trip can give you a general impression of the entire park.

I'll repeat, just a general impression! Besides visiting the Valley, I would recommend taking a hike on one of the park's numerous trails. For example, the Mist Trail takes only 3 hours but allows you to see Vernal Falls, Mirror Lake, visit viewpoints, and take beautiful photos!

What to do in the park:

  • Allocate at least 2 days to explore it.
  • Choose hiking trails based on your physical abilities and time availability.
  • Take lots of photos, especially beautiful panoramic shots from Glacier Point.

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Crater Lake

The deepest lake in the USA. But its main feature is not its depth but its incredibly blue, crystal-clear water. This volcanic lake is located in the crater of the once-active Mount Mazama. It's situated high in the mountains, but it's easily accessible by car.

Choosing the right weather for visiting the park is crucial because on cloudy days, the lake's enticing blue water turns into a dark blue, and viewpoints become shrouded in thick fog, making it challenging to see the lake. Fog can also suddenly obscure the beautiful and clear view of the lake even on sunny days. This is another unique aspect of this place: within seconds, a beautiful and clear view of the lake can be obscured by the mist, and the figures just a few meters away become barely discernible.

What to do in the park:

  • Admire the lake and take cool photos.
  • Visit the open terrace of the only hotel in the park, enjoy a glass of wine, and relax in one of the loungers while gazing at the lake.
  • Take a walk on one of the trails around the lake to see it from different angles.
  • During the warm season, buy a ticket for a boat ride on the lake.

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Everglades

Let's move from the west coast to the sunny state of Florida and visit Everglades National Park.

The park's territory consists of jungles, prairies, and swamps. You can explore it on foot, by car, by bike, or by boat. However, if you visit the park during the hot period (from April to November), exploring on foot or by bike can be challenging! The air temperature rises to +30-35°C, making it very difficult to breathe or simply be outdoors! Be sure to take an airboat ride through the park's mangrove thickets or go watch alligator shows or see these reptiles basking in the sun during your boat ride.

What to do in the park:

  • Observe rare animals and birds.
  • Watch alligator shows.
  • Take an airboat ride.
  • Take a photo with a baby alligator.

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