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Here Are Some Excellent U.S. National Park Itineraries For Your Next Outdoor Adventure Or Road Trip

I've explored several National Parks over the past ten years. Here are my absolute favorites.

Visiting a National Park can be one of the most relaxing and enriching vacations a person can take.

people relaxing at Yosemite

As someone who has explored several of them over the past ten years, I wanted to write up a guide to three of my absolute favorite National Parks so far. If you're planning a future trip, read on for tips and tricks on where to stay, what to do, and how to make the most of your next adventure.

Joshua Tree National Park

1. Zion National Park in Utah: Less than a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, Zion offers up astonishing natural craters, unparalleled hiking and mountain biking, and sandstone cliffs perfect for canyoneering.

a lone hiker walking through the zion national park narrows

Lodging-wise, you can't go wrong with hotels *or* camping — and Zion offers excellent options for both.

camper cooking in tent door

When it comes to hiking at Zion, there's something for just about every skill level.

Hiker looking at views of mountains

Beyond hiking, there are also many other outdoor activities — including several on wheels.

Couple with bicycles on cliff against cloudy sky

2. Acadia National Park in Maine: Situated on the coast of Maine near Bar Harbor, it offers incredible hikes in the summer, skiing in the winter, autumnal leaves in the fall, and fishing in the spring.

Monument Cove Acadia National Park

When it comes to lodging at Acadia, there are hundreds of options.

Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park, Maine

There are also countless scenic trails and loops — including some set against the famed Cadillac mountain.

An early morning view of Frenchman Bay from the top of Cadillac Mountain in Autumn; Acadia National Park, Maine.

And in trademark Maine style, the ponds and iconic lighthouses are (of course) everywhere.

summertime at the Jordan Pond in Maine

3. Joshua Tree National Park in California: Located near Palm Spring in the Indio Valley, Joshua Tree is known for its stunning rock formations, distinct trees reminiscent of a Dr. Seuss drawing, and incredible ecosystem that's home to more than 57 different species of mammal.

Joshua Tree desert landscape at Sunset

If there ever was a place to truly live the desert lifestyle, it might just be Joshua Tree.

Campers assembling tent, Joshua Tree National Park, California

You'll want to set aside plenty of time for exploring the famed rock formations and taking the glorious sunrise — and sunset.

person looks into the distance with binoculars while standing on top of unique rock formation in Joshua Tree National Park

Don't skip the rock climbing, either.

Three kids rock climbing

What's your favorite National Park — and why? Share in the comments below!

Two National Park travelers smiling