Ever worry that you will run out of places to explore in America? Lucky for you, there are 63 national parks and 424 national park sites across the country—it will take a long time to work your way through the 85 millions acres they encompass. And with additional sites being earmarked for conservation (West Virginia’s New River Gorge was just designated as a national park in 2021, for example), the list of destinations keeps growing and growing.
Remember, it takes some planning to visit the national parks, though the journey you make of it will be worthwhile. One way to optimize the experience is by targeting the lesser-known parks. Avoid the snaking lines at the Grand Canyon and take in the wrinkly sandstone at Capitol Reef. Skip the tortuous campsite-booking system at Acadia and sleep on the sands of Indiana Dunes. Smaller parks might mean fewer amenities and tour outfitters, but that’s where the real beauty of wilderness shines through. Let us know in the comments what your favorites and underrated choices are.