America's Best National Parks

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2009 6:20 PM CDT
America's Best National Parks
Denali National Park, Alaska.   (AP Photo)

In the recession, international air travel is down and national park attendance is way up. Forbes runs down the crème de la crème of America’s national treasures, but be warned: “It's been incredibly hard to get camping space at most national parks,” one travel agent says.

  • Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii: Home to Mt. Kilauea, the most active volcano in the world. The park is "an exhilarating up-close crash course in the forces that shape the earth's profile," one travel author raves.

  • Denali National Park, Alaska: Sure, it boasts Denali, the tallest peak in the US, but the real draw is animal life. "Botswana is always wonderful," says the author, "but for the American safari, head to Denali."
  • Zion National Park, Utah: This "riot of rugged scrubland" got the most votes from Forbes' panel. "The narrow canyons are phenomenal—the colors astounding," a travel expert says.
  • Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Tenn. and NC: The huge expanse is the most popular in the US by visitors, and the old-growth forests are "breathtaking any time of year," the travel author says.
  • Acadia National Park, Maine: Once the playground of the Northeast's millionaires, cycling and fishing are now popular at the seaside wonder.
  • National Mall, Washington: Yup, the stretch of green and the reflecting pool between the Capitol and the Potomac are in a national park. "It is Washington's—and therefore America's—backyard," the author says.
For the full list, click the link below.
(More Jay-ZTV stories.)

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