8 US National Parks You Can Visit in One Day – Best Life – Best Life | Ad On Picture

Even serious travelers know that visiting the vastness of the national park system can be as daunting as it is awe-inspiring. After all, it covers more than 85 million acres in all 50 states plus territories, ranging in size from the largest at 13.2 million acres to the smallest at just 0.2 acres, according to the National Park Service (NPS). But just because you don’t have enough vacation days to spend weeks in the wilderness doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the natural wonders they have to offer on a quicker visit. In fact, some national parks are great for a stopover or day trip. Read on to see what the experts say are the best sites in the system for a condensed adventure.

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Some parks are known for their well-known attractions, such as Old Faithful, Half Dome or The Narrows. But others in the system maintain the beauty throughout, making it easy to appreciate without feeling like you’re rushing between sights.

“Few places enchant first-time visitors more than White Sands National Park [in New Mexico]even though the entire park is on one cul-de-sac only seven miles long,” Adam Marlanda travel photographer and writer for We Dream of Travel best life. “There is no must-see vantage point. Instead, the joy lies in getting lost (literally) in the silky white dunes. Even with a few short walks recommended, most travelers are in and out of the park within a few hours, except for the photographers who just can’t walk.”

There is also a stunningly beautiful bonus for those staying here later during their day trip. “The white ‘sand’ for which the park is named is neither white nor sandy! “This means that it appears white for most of the day due to the sunlight coming from above, but can appear in shades of red, orange, blue and purple depending on the colors of the sunset and dusk!”

Lakefront of Indiana Dunes National Park

The Midwest is probably not the first thing that springs to mind when someone mentions “sandy beaches.” But Indiana Dunes National Park offers visitors a quick and easy way to take in nature’s splendor without having to spend days booking travel or lodging.

“Whether you want to hike the scenic sand dunes, bird watch, or just enjoy a relaxing day on the beaches of Lake Michigan, Indiana Dunes National Park is the perfect park getaway.” Brooke Bergena travel blogger and founder of Brooke in Boots best life. “It’s also between Michigan City and Gary, Indiana, making it less than an hour’s drive from Chicago.”

And even if you don’t want to laze by the water’s edge on Lake Michigan’s 15 miles of sandy beaches, the place has plenty for active vacationers. “The park has over 50 miles of trails, including the West Beach Dune Succession Trail, a 1.1-mile loop that’s dog and kid friendly,” she adds. “But on summer weekends and bank holidays, beach parking can fill up, so make the most of your day and arrive early!”

Carlsbad Caverns New Mexico Magical Caves in United States

While the idea of ​​visiting a national park usually conjures up images of vast, open skies, there is at least one place that offers a completely different experience.

“There are few places on earth as otherworldly as Carlsbad Caverns National Park,” Dave MartinosianFounder of Hikers Daily, narrated best life. “There are over 119 caves to explore, but the main attraction is the Big Room cave. Once inside the caves, it’s like looking at a magical city upside down.”

But even if you’re pressed for time, you can still get the most out of the park. “The entire trail is only 1.25 miles long, and there’s even a shortcut if you’re feeling a little claustrophobic that cuts the length of the trail down to about a half-mile,” says Martirosian. “It’s fast, accessible and such a unique national park experience.”

However, others point out that the practically compact side still holds a surprise for those who stick around. “Although the park is actually more than just the cave system, there is little to explore outside of this small area,” says Marland best life. “Most visitors have been in and out in three to five hours at most, although many stay for the ‘sunset bat show’ which takes place each night (seasonally) when resident bats swarm off to their nightly feast in a harmonious display.”

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Small waterfalls and pond in Hot Springs National Park Hot Springs Arkansas

For those who are bigger fans of self-indulgence, thanks to hiking or rock climbing, there’s still one easily accessible park you might want to add to your list for a day trip.

“The second smallest national park, Hot Springs National Park is a quirky national park like no other. In the heart of the Ouachita Mountains in central Arkansas, natural mountain hot springs gush forth that have for centuries been credited with medicinal properties by both Native Americans and European settlers,” says Bergen best life.

“Hike miles of dog- and kid-friendly trails through the parks, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for the early-morning steam from the springs,” she recommends. “Visitors looking to pamper themselves can book modern treatments and enjoy the first come, first served indoor pools at the Quapaw Bathhouse, or experience the ‘traditional’ bath treatments that were practiced in the early 1900’s at the oldest continuously operating bathhouse, Buckstaff.”

Magical Destinations in Dry Tortugas National Park

Many national parks are remote deep in the arctic wilderness or in the vast desert. But a relatively remote location offers a bite-sized and sun-drenched way to enjoy the great outdoors that travelers can cover in under 24 hours.

“Dry Tortugas National Park is the perfect place to spend an idyllic day,” says the travel blogger Erin Moreland told best life. “Accessible only by seaplane or ferry, this park is located 70 miles off the coast of Key West, Florida in the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.”

Visitors will likely first notice Fort Jefferson – the 19th-century military installation that covers part of the island – when they arrive. But unlike other national parks, you should probably opt for a pair of flippers instead of hiking boots for your day trip.

“The most popular thing once you get there is snorkeling in the clear, turquoise waters, which are full of healthy, vibrant coral, sea sponges, and tropical fish,” says Moreland. “And since 99 percent of the park is actually underwater, there are miles of pristine coastline to explore during your epic day!”

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Fire and steam from Kilauea Crater (Pu'u O'o Crater), Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

It’s not every day that you see two of the world’s most active volcanoes. But if you’re planning a visit to the Big Island’s Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, experts say that with the help of your choice of vehicle between breakfast and dinner, you can easily have an impressive day.

“The park’s main street leads to viewpoints of the smoldering Kilauea volcano and other important park landmarks.” Joe Yogersta travel expert and author, tells best life. “Better yet, sign up for a guided downhill bike tour that ends with a break for lunch on the Pacific Ocean, and then a van ride back to the town of Volcano just outside the park.”

Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Dakota State Natural Wonder

As the founder of the National Park Service, it’s no surprise that Teddy Roosevelt National Park has a soft spot among many outdoor enthusiasts who roam North Dakota.

“Set in the rugged Badlands, it pays homage to both the beauty of the land and the vision of its namesake. No president has done more for national parks than Teddy, and his love of nature is at the heart of every visit.” Nate AxvigTraveler and founder of the Scandinavian clothing company Aktiv, tells best life.

Corresponding Jennifer Melroy, writer and founder of National Park Obsessed, you can get the most out of a day by visiting the park’s southern unit and driving to Buck Hill, the park’s second highest point, which “offers panoramic views of the Badlands.” You can also spend the day discovering prairie dog towns and visiting the Maltose Cabin built by Roosevelt himself along with his ranch hands.

The place is also an excellent stopover for long car journeys in the area. “Practically, the park isn’t that big, so it’s easy to glide through if your journey takes you towards Yellowstone,” says Axvig. “It’s also a short drive up from Mt. Rushmore.”

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Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park in Colorado

Colorado offers no shortage of natural beauty and outdoor activities no matter where you look. And for those who have just enough time to enjoy a short day of natural splendor, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park offers an accessible option.

“This park is southwest of Denver in the San Juan Mountain Range, sits at an elevation of 8,300 feet, and has sheer vertical cliffs that drop 2,250 feet into the canyon,” Moreland says best life. “Driving the South Rim Road takes you through a seven-mile scenic drive that takes in all of the park’s highlights. There are 12 scenic viewpoints off this road, most with short trails and easy out and back hikes.”

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