How To Pick Which National Park To Visit: A Helpful Handbook

National Parks


The United States is a beautiful and wondrous place — so beautiful and wondrous, in fact, that it manages to house 63 national parks, each ready to explore and offering something new to every single visitor.

That’s millions and millions of acres across 50 states and five territories. So how on earth are you supposed to choose? If your question is “Which national park should I visit?” then the answer is simple: Read on. The Cruise America team has put together this helpful handbook to assist you in making your national park choice.

Which National Park Should I Visit?

Our national parks showcase the best of the natural beauty our country offers, but each has its own flavor and distinct experience to offer visitors. Trust us — there’s a perfect national park for you to visit. And you’ll find it in one of the following categories:

Best National Parks for Each Season

You can get an unforgettable national park experience any time of the year, but some parks are better to visit at certain times of the year. Here’s the breakdown of the best national parks to visit by season:

  • Spring. If you’re traveling in the spring, consider Yosemite National Park. This California park is always a stunner, but its many waterfalls are at peak power in the spring.
  • Summer. Montana’s Glacier National Park is a perfect park to visit in the summer for a lot of reasons, but the most important is this: Summer is the only season in which you can drive the world-famous Going-to-the-Sun Road from end to end because snow typically blocks the mountain pass in all other seasons.
  • Fall. In the summer, California’s Death Valley National Park is almost too hot to enjoy. But when fall rolls around, ranger-guided tours begin, and you can get the best views of the desert.
  • Winter. Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park is the perfect place to visit in winter if you’re after a winter wonderland. Snow is plentiful, and so are the skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, sledding, and camping opportunities.

Best National Park for Families

Most national parks are designed to be at least somewhat family-friendly, but a few truly excel at providing environs and activities that are perfect for keeping kids entertained while the adults enjoy the natural beauty.

Grand Canyon National Park is a great example of a park that does it all. This Arizona park has a leg up on the others because it contains one of the most recognizable natural landmarks in history — a canyon that will thrill even the most distracted youngster. Add to that the Sesame Street-themed videos to help kids understand and enjoy the park, and you’ve got the perfect park to bring the whole family.

Best National Park for Advanced Hikers

Almost all national parks have at least some hiking, but a few provide world-class hiking challenges that will be sure to thrill the most advanced hikers. Chief among them, of course, is Zion National Park in Utah.

That’s because Zion has Angel’s Landing, an infamously difficult and breathtaking — even dangerous — hike that exposes hikers to more than a dozen steep switchbacks, tight squeezes, and heart-stopping dropoffs.

Best National Park for Lake-Lovers

Lakes aren’t everybody’s favorite natural sight, but when you’re a lake-lover, there’s little that can both excite and calm you as much as a gorgeous, picture-perfect lake. Try this one on for size: Lake Michigan, the second largest of the five enormous Great Lakes. You can see it from Indiana Dunes National Park, and it’s stunning. 

With 20 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, this Indiana park is a must-visit if you like oceanic views and dunes for days.

Best National Park for Mountain Enthusiasts

If your heart lives in the mountains, your body needs to follow suit and visit this mountainous national park. While you can find national parks in the Appalachians, Rocky Mountains, and a few other mountain ranges, only one holds the distinction of being the national park at the highest elevation: Denali National Park and Preserve.

This Alaska national park is at more than 20,000 feet above sea level and features Denali, the tallest mountain in all of North America.

Best National Park for City Folk

If you’re more of a city person, the “Which national park should I visit?” question may sound like more of a chore than an adventure. But don’t rule out national parks just yet. Did you know one of America’s national parks is right in the downtown area of a major city?

It’s true. It’s Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, Missouri. The architectural marvel that gives the park its name soars over the St. Louis skyline and signifies the role of the city in pioneers’ westward expansion.

See the Best National Parks in Style With an RV Rental

Which national park should you visit? Ultimately, that’s up to you. But whether you find yourself pining for the wide-open expanses of Alaska’s national parks or headed for the acreage along Florida’s sunny coasts, there’s only one way to see national parks in proper style: by renting an RV from Cruise America.

Our luxury RV rentals are designed to make RV camping and road-tripping not just a breeze but completely and totally fun. We’ve been doing this for decades, and along the way, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to make road trips into lifelong memories. Renting an RV is always step one.

Ready to get started? Reserve your RV online or contact our team today. Happy cruising!