17 Best State Parks in the United States

US nationwide parks like Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon are likely to get all of the love and a focus, however state parks within the United States will be simply as unbelievable! From desert landscapes to mountainous terrain to waterfront locations, these state parks are all unforgettable locations to go to within the US.

The next are 17 of the best possible state parks in the US that you have to go to.

This state park in Utah appears out of this world!

1. Goblin Valley State Park (Utah)

Goblin Valley State Park is without doubt one of the most pleasant and distinctive state parks on this listing, just because you may go off-trail and discover nearly anyplace you see. 

So what makes Goblin Valley so distinctive? Effectively, the a whole bunch of goblins—quick and squat stone buildings that dot the valley in a wide range of attention-grabbing shapes. These goblins are in a flat valley surrounded by a ridge of earth, stone, and taller goblins. Typically single goblins stand by themselves, however typically there’s a number of clustered collectively, creating mounds you may climb on and little tunnels to discover. 

There are additionally a few hikes on the outskirts of the park, reminiscent of the three Sisters Path, the path to the Goblin’s Lair (a cave on the bottom of the valley), or the close by Little Wildhorse Canyon—a enjoyable slot canyon. This space can be dwelling to one of many darkest night time skies within the nation for wonderful star gazing alternatives.

Whereas anybody can and can take pleasure in Goblin Valley State Park, that is an exceptionally enjoyable park for youths. This park is positioned in the midst of Southern Utah, about 1.5 hours from Arches National Park.

2. Gooseberry Falls (Minnesota)

Gooseberry Falls State Park is positioned in northern Minnesota, simply north of Duluth, close to the Boundary Waters, and proper on the north shore of Lake Superior. This space—the North Shore—is understood for its beautiful views and landscapes, and Gooseberry Falls isn’t any exception.

At this park, you may in fact admire Gooseberry Falls, which is definitely made up of the Higher, Center, and Decrease Falls (plus the additional “Fifth” Falls). These falls are made up of darkish basalt (volcanic) rock. 

The waterfalls are at their fullest in springtime, however in summer season you may truly climb and play on elements of the waterfalls. Then, head to the paths to get nice views over Lake Superior and Gooseberry River! 

Past these shorter trails, Gooseberry Falls additionally connects to the Superior Climbing Path, a protracted, rugged path that takes you alongside Lake Superior and affords beautiful views of the area. 

You may also go for a chilly swim at Agate Seaside (hold your eyes peeled for agates!), or go biking in summer season or cross nation snowboarding in winter. 

Gulf State Park in Alabama
Have enjoyable within the waters of Gulf State Park in Alabama.

3. Gulf State Park (Alabama)

A really, very small part of the gulf coast falls in Alabama’s borders, but it’s typically neglected in favor of the extra well-known Florida seashores to the east.

Alabama’s gulf coast continues to be completely breathtaking, and Gulf State Park showcases this oceanside magnificence. This actually is without doubt one of the greatest state parks in the US for stunning seashores.

This park affords tenting, miles and miles of motorcycle trails (together with bike leases), and entry to the close by seaside. The seashores on this space are stuffed with delicate, positive white sand, and the water is extremely heat in spring, summer season, and fall. Gulf State Park is a peaceable space to benefit from the seaside. This is without doubt one of the most beautiful locations to go to in the whole US.

4. DuPont State Park (North Carolina)

DuPont State Park is positioned about an hour south of the charming mountain metropolis of Asheville, NC and affords among the most stunning waterfall hikes within the state. The most effective waterfall hike right here is Triple Falls, the place the path takes you to see three totally different waterfalls cascading down the river. 

There’s additionally a bit of jut-off part of the path the place you may stroll on the sleek rock proper alongside the shoreline. Hooker Falls, Excessive Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls are additionally stunning waterfalls you may see in DuPont State Park. 

This State Park has additionally been made well-known for its appearances in films like The Starvation Video games and The Final of the Mohicans

Tallulah Gorge State Park
Go mountaineering at Tallulah Gorge State Park.

5. Tallulah Gorge State Park (Georgia)

The Tallulah Gorge State Park is a good place to visit in North Georgia, because it incorporates a river and a number of other waterfalls slicing by way of a 1000 foot deep gorge, and is without doubt one of the most dramatic landscapes within the state. It’s simple to really feel such as you’re within the coronary heart of the mountains if you’re on the base of the gorge. 

This state park affords a number of trails, together with a north and south rim path, a path to the bottom of the gorge, and the gorge ground path. There are 5-6 official viewpoints on every of the rim trails, showcasing the pure magnificence and the waterfalls within the gorge. 

The path to the bottom of the gorge takes you down over 500 stairs and throughout a suspension bridge over the river. However the coolest a part of Tallulah Gorge is the Flooring Path. You want a allow to do that hike, however to start out, you’ll need to scramble throughout boulders within the river, after which proceed scrambling throughout boulders on the shoreline to see some waterfalls and a swimming pool—there isn’t actually a “path,” it’s simply numerous scrambling, which makes it very enjoyable! 

6. Ichetucknee Springs State Park (Florida)

Moreover its beautiful seashores and the everglades, Florida can be identified for her pure springs; there’s truly over 700 within the state! These springs function beautiful and refreshingly crisp turquoise water.

At Ichetucknee Springs State Park, you may float down the springs in a canoe, kayak, stand-up paddle-board, and even scuba diving whereas admiring the clear water lined with cyprus and oak timber. You could even see manatees as you float down the river (that is most typical in winter time). 

7. Fall Creek Falls State Park (Tennessee)

This well-liked state park in Tennessee options Fall Creek Falls, the tallest waterfall within the state (256 ft tall) and one of many tallest within the jap United States. This waterfall drops dramatically off of a curved cliff edge and falls straight down right into a small pool, the place guests can wade. 

There are 3 different waterfalls to discover, too (Piney, Cane Creek, and Cane Creek Cascades). This park has gorges, canyons, streams, waterfalls, swimming holes, and mountaineering trails. It’s merely a stunning place to spend a while. 

That mentioned, in case you’re visiting this state and need a extra lively journey, go on among the best hikes in Tennessee.

8. Huntington Seaside State Park (South Carolina)

On the coast of South Carolina (about 1.5 hours north of Charleston) is Huntington Seaside State Park. This park options wild shoreline and a couple of large, fairly seashores on the Atlantic coast, the place you may swim, loosen up, or do some surf fishing. 

There are a number of quick and straightforward paved, filth, and boardwalk trails the place you may stroll by way of the marshes and lagoons and observe wildlife. Alligators, turtles, blue herons, and all types of birds reside right here. 

This state park can be distinctive in that it features a citadel! Atalaya Fort was the house of the unique homeowners of the land that Huntington Seaside now sits on, and you’ll tour by way of the property and home. 

US best state parks
The drop lifeless beautiful panorama at Valley of Fireplace State Park.

9. Valley of Fireplace (Nevada)

It’s actually shocking that this spot hadn’t been designated a Nationwide Park—the panorama is completely drop lifeless beautiful. The park is stuffed with deep crimson and orange sandstone rocks that appear to be they had been molded and formed earlier than being set in intricate buildings. 

Whereas there are various enjoyable hikes and rock formations in Valley of Fireplace, undoubtedly probably the most unbelievable spot within the park is the Fireplace Wave. The Fireplace Wave is a big space of sandstone rock, with probably the most vibrant and colourful striations within the rock. White and crimson bands swirl round one another, making you are feeling such as you’re on a special planet. 

Different nice spots embrace Pastel Canyon, which options softer, pastel striations within the rocks as you hike by way of, and White Domes path, which takes you thru a slot canyon. 

10. Rangeley Lake State Park (Maine)

Rangeley Lake State Park is ready within the Western Mountains of Maine. This state park encompasses over 800 acres of land surrounding a fantastic 9 acre lake. This lake is world well-known for its high quality and amount of trout and salmon, and is a well-liked space for fishing (although catch and launch is strongly inspired).

Most individuals come for the tenting, fishing, and swimming, however there are various stunning hikes within the park as properly. 

11. Catalina State Park (Arizona)

If you’d like an alternative choice to the extra well-known Saguaro Nationwide Park in Tucson, Catalina State Park is an under-appreciated gem. Catalina is nestled within the foothills of the Catalina Mountains and is dwelling to over 5000 saguaro cacti and exquisite desert landscapes. 

There are a lot of mountaineering trails within the park, however the most well-liked is the Romero Canyon Path. Right here, you’ll hike by way of canyons, passing cacti and different desert crops, to get to mountain lookout factors. 

12. Roxborough State Park (Colorado)

This park is positioned between Denver and Colorado Springs and is stuffed with spectacular crimson rock formations. This park has been referred to as the little Backyard of the Gods, and these crimson sandstone rocks appear to be they arrive out of the earth slanted. 

This park is off the overwhelmed path and sees much less guests than different, extra well-liked mountaineering locations in Colorado, but it surely shouldn’t be missed! There are numerous mountaineering trails of various size and problem that offer you many alternatives to admire the crimson rocks and wildlife. 

Willow Creek Path is an particularly nice, simple path with beautiful views of the slanted and pointy rock formations. 

Custer State Park - best state parks in the US
Benefit from the lake at Custer State Park.

13. Custer State Park (South Dakota)

Custer State Park is positioned within the Black Hills of South Dakota, not removed from Badlands Nationwide Park and Mount Rushmore. This space is characterised by the rugged, pointed mountains and spires (referred to as needles), forests, grasslands, and lakes. You’ll be able to see animals like bison, pronghorn, and elk within the park. 

Driving the Needles Freeway is a good factor to do in Custer. This freeway takes you thru twists and turns and slender tunnels as you drive previous beautiful, craggy, pointed rock formations. 

One of the vital stunning and well-liked areas within the park is Sylvan Lake, a placid lake surrounded by large boulders, the place you may go swimming, fishing, kayaking, mountaineering across the lake or deeper into the forest, or camp. That is certainly one of our favourite state parks within the Midwest United States.

14. Onondaga Cave State Park (Missouri)

Missouri is understood for having a ton of caves, (there are round 7000 within the state, and Missouri is sometimes called the Cave State) so it is sensible that a few of them are state parks. The Onondaga Cave is really spectacular, because it’s stuffed with top quality stalagmites, stalactites, and different cave rock formations. 

You’ll be able to take a 1 hr 15 minute guided tour of the cave, the place a educated information will take you thru the paved trails and provides details about the historical past and geology of the cave. Guests commonly say that is the very best cave tour they’ve ever completed. 

15. Humboldt Redwoods State Park (California) 

The redwood timber in California are among the many largest and oldest timber on this planet, and fortuitously for all of us, there are various state and nationwide parks the place you may see them. Humboldt Redwoods State Park is a good selection as a result of there are 17,000 acres of historical redwoods, and among the most dense redwood protection in California.

You’ll be able to drive Avenue of the Giants, an extremely scenic drive by way of the large redwoods after which go to Shrine Drive-By way of Tree. Marvel on the Rockefeller Tree, which is 362 ft excessive and 13.6 ft large. A number of nice hikes within the park are the Nature Path by the Customer’s Heart, and the Founders Grove path. 

16. Palo Duro Canyon State Park (Texas)

Nestled within the panhandle of north Texas and fewer than an hour from Armadillo is the second largest canyon within the US—Palo Duro Canyon. This state park affords beautiful views and rock formations. Probably the most well-known and photographed rock formation within the park is The Lighthouse, which requires a reasonably lengthy, however completely price it hike. 

You may also view the well-known Texas Longhorns grazing out in pasture within the park, or go discover the Huge Cave. 

17. Palouse Falls State Park (Washington)

At a mere 94 acres, Palouse Falls State Park is undoubtedly the smallest state park on this listing. It’s pretty remoted in jap Washington, about 2 hours south of Spokane. Whereas small, it undoubtedly makes an impression, because the heavy cascades from the Palouse River thunders over the sting of a cliff, plummeting 200 ft to the bottom. 

The river continues meandering by way of a deep canyon after the falls, creating a fantastic vista. There are two viewpoints to go to: one in entrance and one to the facet of the falls.

Remaining Ideas on the Greatest State Parks in the US

America has among the most stunning landscapes on this planet, and there are various unbelievable locations outdoors of the Nationwide Parks. You received’t remorse visiting any of those wonderful US state parks, or exploring your personal state and discovering hidden gems of your personal! 

Stephanie Rytting
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