As summer approaches, families everywhere will begin mapping out their vacation adventures. The National Parks of the United States are a wonderful destination to take in amazing views, along with a heavy dose of what mother nature has to offer. Best of all, there is probably one within driving distance from your home town…saving you from our less-than-popular airports. Travel + Leisure recently highlighted the Best U.S. National Park Views, which includes images that leave us wondering why we’re often so excited to leave American behind when traveling…
Hidden Lake in Glacier Mountain Park, Montana lies on the Continental Divide. Pink and yellow monkey flowers, bear grass, and more than a few mountain goats will greet you before you take in the 360-degree view of glacier-curved peaks, including Bearhat and Heavy Runner mountains. (image: terragalleria)
While the Yosemite crowds flock by foot and car to Glacier Point, you can catch the same view—without the hordes of gawkers—at Sentinel Dome. There you’ll encounter 360-degree view of the park, including El Capitan, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls, the highest measured waterfall in North America. (image: A Yosemite Wedding)
On many mornings, Acadia National Park—the first national park east of the Mississippi—is the first place the rising sun hits the United States. The summit of Cadillac Mountain is the the highest point on the Atlantic Coast at 1,532 feet. There you’ll score great views overlooking Bar Harbor and the ice-carved coastline. (image: Jacob Balwas)
Touted by biologists as “North America’s Galapagos,” the five isles that make up the Channel Islands (also seen in main image) contain 150 endemic species, including the elusive rust-red harbor fox. On the volcanic, five-mile-long Anacapa Island, you’ll find Inspiration Point, where you’ll catch sight of a brown pelican fledgling area. Keep an eye out for breaching blue whales—park waters are home to the largest aggregation of them in the world. (images: terra galleria, megan andlars)
To check out more awe-inspiring views from America’s National Parks, visit the entire list at Travel + Leisure.