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19 Off-The-Beaten-Path National Parks To Visit Before Summer Ends

It's not too late to have a summer adventure!

If you're itching to get away while responsibly socially distancing, visiting a national park by yourself or with family can be a great getaway! Although summer might be flying by, here are 19 national parks to visit before you say goodbye to the summer of 2020.

Note: As the US continues to deal with the spread of the coronavirus, safety guidelines and regulations around public spaces shift regularly. At the time of publication, the parks below are open to visitors, but it's best to monitor each park's website for up-to-date information.

1. Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

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Located in western Texas, the Guadalupe Mountains National Park is home to Texas's highest summit. Whether you're checking out the bright white salt basin dunes, hiking up Guadalupe Peak, or soaking in the sights of El Capitan, there's a level of adventure for every kind of explorer here.

Learn more about Guadalupe Mountains National Park here.

2. Acadia National Park, Maine

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Located in Maine, Acadia National Park is the perfect place to get a healthy dose of wilderness (with easy hiking trails for the whole family). Be sure to check out the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain or spend a scenic day at Sand Beach.

Learn more about Acadia here.

3. Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve, Colorado

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Located in southern Colorado, Great Sand Dunes National Park is a great place for someone who wants both a little adventure and relaxation. You can cherish that "Christmas in July" feeling by sledding/boarding down sand dunes or gazing at the Milky Way at night.

You can learn more about Great Sand Dunes here.

4. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

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Perfect for families, Shenandoah National Park offers a variety of attractions like cruising along the Skyline Drive, hiking Old Rag Mountain, or exploring cave formations in the Grand Caverns.

You can learn more about Shenandoah National Park here.

5. Kings Canyon National Park, California

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Located in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains, Kings Canyon National Park will surely take your breath away. When you're not seeing giant sequoia trees at the General Grant Grove, be sure to take a scenic drive down the Generals Highway.

You can learn more about Kings Canyon National Park here.

6. Arches National Park, Utah

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Who wouldn't want to journey to a beautiful landscape with over 2,000 sandstone arches? The more prominent sites to see at Arches National Park include the Delicate Arch, Balanced Rock, and the Devil's Garden Trailhead (a hike to see popular rock formations).

You can learn more about Arches National Park here.

7. Glacier National Park, Montana

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Located in Montana's Rocky Mountains region, Glacier National Park is full of unbelievably beautiful natural scenes. After driving on the scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road, you must check out Lake McDonald and hike along the Trail of the Cedars.

You can learn more about Glacier National Park here.

8. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

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From bird-watching to hiking to (obviously) touring caves, there's lots of exploring to do at this southern New Mexico attraction. You must explore the Natural Entrance of the Carlsbad Caverns and check out the huge underground chamber known as the Big Room.

You can learn more about Carlsbad Caverns National Park here.

9. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee

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Located across North Carolina and Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a great place to visit (especially if you're interested in hiking part of the Appalachian Trail). Plus, if you're in the mood for a cooldown on a hot summer day, there are over 100 prominent waterfalls and cascades in the park that you can see along most hiking trails, including the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

You can learn more about Great Smoky Mountains National Park here.

10. Olympic National Park, Washington

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At Olympic National Park, you can take your family on a trail through the Olympic National Forest and explore the rock formations at Ruby Beach. If you're an adrenaline junkie, you can do some rock climbing in the Olympic Mountains.

You can learn more about Olympic National Park here.

11. Zion National Park, Utah

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Located in southwest Utah, Zion National Park is full of chasms, canyons, waterfalls, and red cliffs. What better way to cool off after a long day of hiking than dipping your feet at the base of a three-tier waterfall?

You can learn more about Zion National Park here.

12. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

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This picturesque national park is as fun as it is beautiful. Not only can you take in the sights of the entire Crater Lake by cruising along Rim Drive, but you can also watch the sun rise over the crater along the road. With day hikes and cascading waterfalls like Plaikni Falls, there's much to do and see at Crater Lake National Park.

You can learn more about Crater Lake National Park here.

13. Saguaro National Park, Arizona

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If you visit Saguaro National Park in southern Arizona, you must cruise down the Bajada Loop Drive and take an easy walk around the Valley View Overlook Trail for some stunning sights. And for those who want to take a good look at the ecosystem, the Desert Discovery Nature Trail is the perfect activity.

You can learn more about Saguaro National Park here.

14. Everglades National Park, Florida

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Those who love spotting wildlife will thoroughly enjoy the Everglades. Between walking down the Anhinga Trail and canoeing down Nine Mile Pond, you're likely to see a beautiful alligator in its natural habitat.

You can learn more about Everglades National Park here.

15. Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

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Located in central Kentucky, the Mammoth Cave is the largest known cave system in the world. Besides visiting the caves, your family can enjoy canoeing on the Green River and hiking on the Cedar Sink Trail.

You can learn more about Mammoth Cave National Park here.

16. Great Basin National Park, Nevada

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For those who really want to get away and immerse themselves in nature, Great Basin National Park is the way to go. Located in eastern Nevada near the Utah border, this national park offers unreal sights like Wheeler Peak (which has a great scenic drive), Stella Lake, and Lexington Arch. It's perfect for hikers of all levels!

You can learn more about Great Basin National Park here.

17. Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

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Why not take a dip in a geothermal pool if you have the chance? Hot Springs National Park is perfect for those who want to balance wet and dry activities. In addition to soaking, be sure to walk along the Sunset Trail (which is good for both beginner and moderate hikers) to get a great mountain view of the park.

You can learn more about Hot Springs National Park here.

18. Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana

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For those who want tons of variety, Indiana Dunes National Park offers it all: sunbathing on the coast of Lake Michigan, hiking along Mount Baldy (a wandering dune), and walking along the green-filled trails of the park.

You can learn more about Indiana Dunes National Park here.

19. Badlands National Park, South Dakota

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Badlands National Park's "striking geologic deposits contain one of the world’s richest fossil beds." It's home to some of the rarest species in North America, including bison and bighorn sheep. With tons of overlooks and scenic drives, this is the perfect spot for the nature enthusiast to check out.

You can learn more about Badlands National Park here.

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