America’s national parks are a treasure trove of beauty and adventure. In them, you’ll find amazing foliage, rare encounters with wildlife, and plenty of history. These parks were formed over thousands, sometimes millions of years, and it is up to us to preserve them for the next million.
Despite the natural beauty these parks offer, there are some that are overlooked. They may be harder to get to, but making the trek to see them is half the adventure. If you make it, you’ll be rewarded with stunning vistas, giant glaciers, and up-close looks at animals not seen anywhere else in the world.
Newverest wants to bring attention to these forgotten parks, as well as the fan favorites. So, make sure to make up one of our National Parks Scratch-Off Posters to track your visits and help preserve them! And check out our list of the Top 10 Forgotten U.S. National Parks You Need to Visit Now.
Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
Want to visit a national park so isolated it’s only accessible by boat or plane? Then Isle Royal is the one for you. Take a trip here and you can spend your days cruising the icy waters of Lake Superior looking for sunken ships - there are plenty of them out here to explore - and your nights cozying up to fire on one of the many islands that make up this park. Once you visit, you won’t want to leave.
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska
This national park has no roads, trails, or campsites. Here you’ll find glaciers, the Northern lights, and a wilderness that’s as wild today as it was a thousand years ago. If you want to see it, be prepared for a journey over rough terrain. Touring companies provide trips to and from the park if you don’t want to go it alone, or fly above it in a small plane for an overhead view. However you see it, you’ll never forget it.
Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
With almost half of this park covered in water, visitors hesitate to flock here. But the system of lakes and waterways that connect the park only adds to its beauty and charm. Go boating all day then stop off on one of the park’s many islands for the night. You’ll feel like you’re camping on your own, private island, without the expense of actually owning one.
Pinnacles National Park, California
California has amazing parks that draw millions of tourists every year, but Pinnacles often gets forgotten. There’s no real reason, other than perhaps it’s a bit further from other popular destinations, like Los Angeles or San Francisco. Here you’ll find eagles, condors, caves, and rocks as big as an eighteen-wheeler. It’s a fun and beautiful place to explore and should not be missed.
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
The remote location of Dry Tortugas makes it less popular with tourists, but all that means is that it’s less crowded and easy to enjoy its natural beauty without being stepped on. This amazing park makes up part of the Florida Keys reef system and is home to a large number of marine animals, plants, and shipwrecks. Pay it a visit, and maybe you’ll go home with some lost treasure.
Great Basin National Park, Nevada
People forget about this park because it’s out in the desert, but it’s also home to stunning vistas and the Lehman Caves. Enjoy beautiful stalagmite and stalactite crystals as the cave air cools you, then head back out into the sun for an afternoon hike or a little fishing. The campgrounds here are all first-come, first-served, but you shouldn’t have a problem getting into one since this park has few visitors.
Congaree National Park, South Carolina
Congaree National Park is almost mind-bogglingly beautiful and deserves more than the 100,000 visitors it gets every year. With over 25 miles of trails, you’ll never run out of places to hike. And for those who’d rather stick a little closer to civilization, there’s a 2.4-mile boardwalk easily accessible by foot. You can even take a guided tour of the trails, so there’s no chance of getting lost or missing the sights.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a showstopper. It has a little of everything: desert, canyons, mountains, dunes. If you make it all the way to the top of Guadalupe Peak, affectionately known as the “Top of Texas,” you’ll be able to see every angle of the park, which stretches on for miles. It’s beautiful in any season, but if you happen by in fall, you’ll be treated to autumn colors that can’t be beaten.
North Cascades National Park, Washington
If you want to see some glaciers but Alaska is a little too far, check out North Cascades. It has the most glaciers for viewing outside of Alaska. This is a snowy place, so expect to bundle up at least some of the time. But that doesn’t mean it’s covered in ice all year. You can still enjoy rafting, horseback riding, hiking, and a host of outdoor activities. Just plan your visit ahead of time so you know what to expect.
Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska
This is one of the most stunning national parks you’ll find. Even though it’s Alaska, it’s covered in sand dunes. In fact, it has the largest sand dunes in the Arctic. Glaciers formed them thousands of years ago and made this park what it is. You’ll find bears, wolves, moose, and half a million caribou who migrate through the park each year. Time your trip right, and you can see them up close.
With so many national parks to visit across the USA, it’s easy to overlook the ones that are a little more out of the way or a little less popular. But these parks deserve our attention. Take a chance on one of these forgotten parks, and you won’t be disappointed.
And when you get back, you can mark your travels on the Newverest National Parks Scratch Map. We’re close to launch date, so check out our Kickstarter page and get in on things while you still can. Help us preserve our national parks. They are national treasures, after all, and we want them to be around for a long, long time. With your help, they will be.