2. Band-e Amir National Park, Afghanistan
Band-e Amir has become the nation’s soothing antidote to the daily horrors elsewhere of improvised bombs, suicide attacks and bribe-hungry police. Partly that’s due to the peacefulness and startling beauty of the remote region, which is tucked away high in the Hindu Kush of Central Afghanistan, and partly because four years ago it became Afghanistan’s first national park.
5. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
Endangered mountain gorillas from the Bitukura family play inside a forest in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in the Ruhija sector of the park, about 550 km (341 miles) west of Uganda’s capital Kampala. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest borders the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. The total population of mountain gorillas worldwide is estimated at 880, half of which are to be found in Uganda’s Bwindi forest.
9. Dry Tortugas National Park, United States
Richie Moretti, left, and Bette Zirkelbach of the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital release a rehabilitated green sea turtle near Dry Tortugas National Park in the Florida Keys. The Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon named them “Las Tortugas,” “Las Tortugas” for the sea turtles he and his crew slaughtered there for food.
14. Göreme National Park, Turkey
People gather on viewpoints at Goereme National Park, specified in the UNESCO World Heritage List, to enjoy the sunset among the “fairy chimney” rock formations in the Cappadocia region. Ash and lava formed soft rocks after the eruption of Mount Erciyes about 2000 years ago. The rocks have been carved out later to form houses, churches or monasteries.
18. Kaziranga National Park, India
One horned Rhinoceros are seen inside the Kaziranga National Park in Kaziranga about 250 kilometers (156 miles) east of Gauhati, India, Tuesday, April 9, 2013. Declared a national park in 1968 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Kaziranga National Park is famous for the one-horned rhino habitat apart from other animals and birds.
19. Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
Located in Surat Thani province in Thailand, the Khao Sok National Park comprises the largest area of virgin forest in Southern Thailand and is a remnant of rainforest which is older and more diverse than the Amazon Rainforest.
20. Kruger National Park, South Africa
A White Rhinoceros lazes in the sun in Kruger National Park in Lower Sabie, South Africa. The Kruger National Park was established in 1898, and is South Africa’s premier wildlife park, spanning an area of approximately 2 million hectares.
23. Olympic National Park, United States
Rock formations known as sea stacks protrude out to the Pacific Ocean at the north end of Shi Shi Beach in Washington state’s Olympic National Park. One of the most pristine beaches in Washington state, Shi Shi provides blissful disconnect to hikers and campers at the beach.
25. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
In this Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013 photo, a herd of African elephants gather during the dry season in Serengeti National Park, 335 kilometers (208 miles) north of Arusha, Tanzania. The Serengeti is famous for its annual migration, when millions of wildebeest, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle trek for fresh grazing. The park covers over 14, 300 sq. kilometers (5,600 sq. miles).
29. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is a popular tourist destination in the Hunan province, home to striking sandstone and quartz cliffs and famously known for renaming a peak after the mountain formations inspired the fictional world of ‘Pandora’ in James Cameron’s film, ‘Avatar’.
30. Þingvellir National Park
The Þingvellir National Park area is part of a fissure zone running through Iceland, being situated on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It is also the original home of Iceland’s parliament.