Taking the quickest tour of all national parks - Go Wandering

Taking the quickest tour of all national parks

By Mallory Corbett |
Taking the quickest tour of all national parks
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There are so many iconic national parks in the United States that narrowing down which ones to visit can be challenging. Luckily, there is a way to maximize the number of national parks you can see while making the most out of a road trip across the continental United States. 

If you have just two months of vacation time saved up, it is possible to visit 47 national parks, but don’t expect to spend several days in a row at any one of them. The entire trip totals about 17,000 miles from coast to coast. Logistically speaking, four months will help you soak in the journey at a more reasonable pace.

There are several necessities for this kind of voyage, including reliable transportation, a good-quality camera, binoculars to view wildlife, a National Parks passport booklet, and an America the Beautiful pass. Purchasing an annual America the Beautiful pass includes all entrance fees, amenity fees, and day-use fees to federally owned lands such as those run by the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Forest Service. 

The rules say that one pass is sufficient for a driver and all passengers in their vehicle. You can have up to 4 adults in one car, but children under 16 have free admission. This pass only costs $80, making it highly economical for anyone planning to visit multiple national parks in one year. America the Beautiful pass is good for 12 months from the time of purchase up until the last day of the month.

Here are the 47 national parks you will see in this itinerary:

West Coast

California:

Channel Islands National Park

Kings Canyon National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Pinnacles National Park

Redwood National and State Parks

Sequoia National Park

Yosemite National Park

Oregon:

Crater Lake National Park

Washington:

Mount Rainier National Park

North Cascades National Park

Olympic National Park

 

Rocky Mountains

Colorado:

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Mesa Verde National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Montana:

Glacier National Park

Wyoming:

Grand Teton National Park

Yellowstone National Park

 

Midwest

Michigan:

Isle Royale National Park

Minnesota:

Voyageurs National Park

North Dakota:

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Ohio:

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

South Dakota:

Badlands National Park

Wind Cave National Park

 

Southwestern Desert

Arizona:

Grand Canyon National Park

Petrified Forest National Park

Saguaro National Park

California:

Death Valley National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Nevada:

Great Basin National Park

New Mexico:

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Utah:

Arches National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Capitol Reef National Park

Zion National Park

 

Southern U.S.

Arkansas:

Hot Springs National Park

Kentucky:

Mammoth Cave National Park

Tennessee:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Texas:

Big Bend National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

 

East Coast

Florida:

Biscayne National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park

Everglades National Park

Maine:

Acadia National Park

South Carolina:

Congaree National Park

Virginia:

Shenandoah National Park

This road trip is essentially a huge loop around the continental United States. The western U.S. has the most national parks, especially California and Utah. Some people may want to visit national parks in the eastern United States on a separate road trip like this one to cut down on travel time significantly. Whatever you choose to do, a tour of the national parks will surely be an unforgettable adventure.

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