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Best National Parks/Natural Scenery??

Travel Forums North America Best National Parks/Natural Scenery??

1. Posted by McfcNyc (Budding Member 2 posts) 6y

Hi, new to the forums, and one would say a very inexperienced traveller.

Bit of basic info first, me and my fiancee have decided we would both love to travel america for a honeymoon type trip, maybe for 6-8 weeks. We are in the VERY early stages of planning such a trip, and have no real idea where to go.

Ideally we would both love the National Parks such as Yosemite, and places liek Lake Tahoe, places with natural beauty and the great outdoors feel. We arent really interested in the nightlife scene in the big cities, but would probably go to Vegas and San Francisco just to say we've been. The Grand Canyon etc are all very well known but are there any real lesser known hidden gems that shouldnt be passed up?

Of the litle research we have done we have come to realise the west side of America has the best scenery and National Parks. We would love to drive, (we will both be over 25 when we go), Are american roads much different to drive on than UK roads?

Any help would be much appreciated.

2. Posted by jambo101 (Respected Member 414 posts) 6y

Glacier National Park is worth a look Driving is on the left side of the road and drivers tend to be like anywhere else rude,ignorant and discourteous.
If your trip will be mainly west coast try to get a plane to San Francisco,Seattle,Denver, Phoenix, i'd try to avoid the traffic nightmare of LA.

Heres a good site for inspiration and travel ideas
If you notice at the top left of the link is a link to get a free brochure which is actually a 250 page book

This is what they sent me when i requested the free brochure

[ Edit: Edited on 22-Mar-2010, at 05:17 by jambo101 ]

3. Posted by Ham Radio (Respected Member 284 posts) 6y

Best scenery: Yosemite National Park, California, hands down.

4. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1998 posts) 6y

Okay, first go to this site and look at this National Geographic Map:

Notice anything? Like maybe that about 90% of all of the national conservation areas are in the western US. This is good for you--since it means that you can travel in just the west and see most of the key places (the exceptions being The Everglades and Great Smoky National Parks).

The top national parks/monuments/other places to see out west (and not in Alaska or Hawaii) are the following (in order of my favorites):

(1) Grand Canyon National Park
(2) Yosemite National Park
(3) Yellowstone NP and (4) Grand Teton NP (right next door to each other)
(5) Redwoods National Park
(6) Arches National Park
(7) Monument Valley
(8) Glacier National Park
(9) Death Valley National Park
(10) Bryce Canyon National Park
(11) Mesa Verde National Park
(12) Olympic National Park
(13) Carlsbad Caverns National Park
(14) Rocky Mountains National Park
(15) Carmel-by-the-Sea, California and the 17 mile drive in Pebble Beach
(16) Lake Tahoe, California
(17) Sedona, Arizona
(18) Zion National Park
(19) Rocky Mountain National Park; and
(20) actually my real #1 since I visit it more than any of the others--
the wineries and ranches of Paso Robles, California

5. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1998 posts) 6y

Oh, and if you have the time, there are a few places in western Canada I should mention:
(1) Banff National Park
(2) Butchart Gardens (near Victoria)
(3) City of Victoria
(4) City of Vancouver on the northwest side
(5) Grouse Mountain (north side of Vancouver)

In Mexico, the Copper Canyon (southwest of Chihuahua) is very interesting, but dangerous to get to since the areas you have to pass through to get to the canyon are heavily populated by drug gangs fighting each other--so I suggest you give this one a pass.

6. Posted by McfcNyc (Budding Member 2 posts) 6y

Thanks very much for the list of National Parks. Quick question, how different are they all? America is a big country which surely means different scenery, or are the national parks all a bit the same?

7. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1998 posts) 6y

Well, maybe understanding a bit about different parks would explain the differences:

(1) Grand Canyon National Park--big whole in the ground--but just unbelievable when you see it
(2) Yosemite National Park--great scenery (mountains, trails, waterfalls, meadows, wildlife)
(3) Yellowstone NP and (4) Grand Teton NP (right next door to each other)--lots of wildlife and the most active volcanic area on the planet (this is the interesting part). My son just spent last week here as part of his spring break and ended up taking a hike and being 6 feet from a bison and walking past four different gigantic volcanic hot springs. (This when he wasn't snowboarding on the ski slopes nearby).
(5) Redwoods National Park (largest trees on the planet--along with those in China)
(6) Arches National Park--lots of natural rock formations
(7) Monument Valley--scenic, scenic, scenic--if you've every watched a western cowboy movie, you've seen this place
(8) Glacier National Park--more glaciers in one small area than any other place on earth--and most of them are disappearing
(9) Death Valley National Park--other than Libya, the hottest place on the planet--yet it has unusual plant life and is only about 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the highest mountain in the mainland US
(10) Bryce Canyon National Park--very unusual rock formations--only a few things to see, however
(11) Mesa Verde National Park--the only national park in the US dedicated to things created by humans--namely, old cave dwellings
(12) Olympic National Park-the only rainforest in the 50 states of the US (there is also a rainforest in Puerto Rico)
(13) Carlsbad Caverns National Park--largest cave formations in the entire western hemisphere
(14) Rocky Mountains National Park--just a lot of beautiful scenery and high mountains (but then, you can go to Yosemite, but if you live near Denver, this is where most people go to see this kind of beautiful stuff).
(15) Carmel-by-the-Sea, California and the 17 mile drive in Pebble Beach--okay, I live near here--and the reason why is that is is the single most beautiful city in the US (well actually, Pebble Beach right next door)--enough said (p.S. they hold the US open golf championship here this year--for the fifth time in 25 years. It is supposed to be rotated across other places all across the US, but they just keep coming back here--both for the beauty and because it is a great golf course. The 7th and 18th holes are considered the best ones.)
(16) Lake Tahoe, California--this place ranks second to Carmel in beauty--and it has skiing and lots of Vegas-type casinos
(17) Sedona, Arizona--red rock canyons
(18) Zion National Park--similar to Sedona--but deeper, although I think the color is not as intense
(19) Rocky Mountain National Park; and (hey, I screwed up and repeated one--see 14 above--I meant to put Channel Islands National Park here. Channel Islands has 150 types of wildlife that can be found nowhere else on the planet.
(20) actually my real #1 since I visit it more than any of the others--
the wineries and ranches of Paso Robles, California--look, I'm ready to move here tomorrow and am already looking at possible houses/ranches to purchase. Hasn't everyone thought about owning their own winery and vineyard and having friends over and spending time at the pool or at the nearby beaches. And this city' costs are still reasonable, the people are friendly (and not snooty like in Napa) and you can still raise horses or have a bunch of dogs and raise your own crops straight from the earth that taste 20 times better than anything you can buy in a store--and hey, I love to drink wine. I forget, what was the question, again?

[ Edit: .comments on son's trip ]

8. Posted by flyingbob (Inactive 842 posts) 6y

Here's a good one.

Pretty much unheard of by so many people, yet so much to offer.

9. Posted by jambo101 (Respected Member 414 posts) 6y

Quoting flyingbob

Here's a good one.

Pretty much unheard of by so many people, yet so much to offer.

Great Bass fishing..