The United States is full of national parks, but we tend to think of the same few over and over when we start calling them to mind. It’s true that there are some that are significantly more popular than the rest, but all that means is that these practically secret ones will be a breath of fresh air when you get there. That also means that a lot of them are a little more wild than the rest. Here are some of the U.S. national parks that you might not have been to yet.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Copper Center, Alaska
The Wrangell-St. Elias national park is the largest one that we have in the United States, and covering over 13.2 million acres makes it even larger than the country of Switzerland. There are 150 glaciers and volcanic mountains. This spot isn’t for the faint of heart, as it is a complete wilderness spot with only two dirt roads in the place. Summer activities include fishing in the river, and all year you can explore the glaciers and deep ravines with the proper gear.
National Park of American Samoa
How tricky! This park isn’t in the U.S. mainland at all, but it is an American area of the Polynesian islands. This tropical park cover over 13,000 acres and three volcanic islands, with 4,000 acres of flourishing marine ecosystems. The park is actually closer to New Zealand than to the U.S., and being the only park in the Southern Hemisphere it relies on the Polynesian locals to manage it. Upon arrival you can expect lush rain forests, coral reefs, and beautiful beaches. One area of the island has a protected reef that is one of the best in the Pacific for snorkeling.
Channel Islands National Park, Channel Islands, California
Here’s a national park option that is probably a little closer to home for most U.S. Citizens. The Channel Islands are just across the Santa Barbara channel and stretch from Newport Beach to Santa Barbara. They can easily be reached by catamaran which makes them an easy stop from a lot of the Southern California beach towns. The park is 250,000 acres and has a variety of islands that are great for picnicking, snorkeling, kayaking, and animal watching. If you’re looking for Southern California beach time without all the tourists, this might be the place to go.
Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior, Michigan
To get to this 132,000 acre national park you either need to take the Park Service operated ferry or a seaplane to get there, and no vehicles are allowed so you have to pack in anything might need while you are there. (You can also boat up the coast if you’re just there for the view.) The park is deep wilderness and has the largest freshwater lake in the world. The area is heavily populated with the endangered grey wolves, who made their way over the island when moose where running free and taking the place over. There are also activities for the cold water scuba divers, as the park preserves the sunken ships in the area specifically for that purpose.