Next Saturday, April 21, kicks off National Parks Weeks, which celebrates the crown jewels of America’s lands. And what better way to show your support than to plan a visit and camp at one of the 58 national parks? Yes, the lists always highlight Yosemite, Glacier, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon. But the other national parks are also beautiful and worth celebrating. Here’s a list of the lesser-known national parks you should add to your camping list:
Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
As the name of this park suggests, it is located on Isle Royale and other nearby islands in Lake Superior. This national park really enables you to escape the world. No vehicles are allowed on Isle Royale, so you can only arrive by boat or seaplane. Once you arrive, you can explore the island’s ’s boreal forests or paddle a canoe around the island. Scuba diving Lake Superior is also a popular activity, which is actually more common within out national parks than you would think.
North Cascades National Park, Washington
Glacier National Park is the obvious choice when it comes to seeing magnificent glaciers, but there are other parks to experience glacial adventures and North Cascades is one of them. Located three hours north of Seattle, this park boasts roughly glacial capped mountains and picture-worthy waterfalls. It’s an ideal destination for backpackers, hikers, and campers alike.
Great Basin National Park, Nevada
This park’s biggest wonder lies underneath the surface. The Lehman Caves are found at the base of the 13,063 foot Wheeler Peak and originally came to be 550 million years ago while under a shallow ocean. These caves are not the only draw, as Great Basin also hosts sage-covered terrain you can hike, Wheeler Peak, and stargazing in the desert.
Congaree National Park, South Carolina
Only boasting three campgrounds, this national park is one of the least visited in the U.S., but it shouldn’t be. Located in central South Carolina, this park preserves the largest old growth bottomland hardwood forest. You can hike anywhere along the 25 miles of hiking trails or simply enjoy the 2.4-mile boardwalk trail--there’s even a trail for canoers and kayakers.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
Located in Texas and close to the border of New Mexico, this park has one of the most diverse landscapes. Streams, woodlands, and canyons make this place great for hiking and bird watching. More than 300 bird species reside in the park, many of which you can spot as you explore the changing terrain.