The World’s National Parks To Visit

Although the first national park was Yellowstone in 1872, the United States is no longer the only country that has national parks. Canada declared its first national park in the 1880s. Later came Great Britain, then its colonies, then Japan and Mexico in the 1930s. As the twentieth century progressed, more and more countries followed. The National Geographic has given us a list of the world’s national parks that are worth a visit in the article titled, Visit The Greatest National Parks Around the World and here are a few of our favorites!

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park was the first location to be declared a national park. The park spans over two million acres and three states: Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. The park gained National Park status on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone is well known for its hot springs, mudpots, active geysers. The most notable geyser within the park is Old Faithful. Since Yellowstone gained its national park status, Old Faithful has had over a million eruptions. Old Faithful’s eruptions vary from 100-180 feet. The eruptions normally last between 1.5 to 5 minutes.

Fiordland National Park

Located in New Zealand’s South Island, Fiordland is comprised of over a dozen fjords and encompasses mountain and lake environments as well. The park was established in 1952 and sits at over 1.2 million hectares. Boasting a wide variety of flora and fauna, many plants and animals that inhabit Fiordland have evolved in a way to make them completely unique to that specific area. On land, the Great Walks offer a gorgeous view of waterfalls, granite peaks, and breathtaking lakes.

Iguazu National Park and Iguaçu National Park

With Iguazu being located in Argentina and Iguaçu in Brazil, these parks meet at the border of the two countries, creating a beautiful waterfall in the process. The waterfalls are surrounded by subtropical rainforests. The rainforests have their own unique ecosystem of plants and wildlife that have evolved and survived despite the intense conditions of the area.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

With its home in Australia, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park managed by both the Anagu and Australia’s park service. Most notable in the park is the Uluru monolith that stands proud over the park. Called Ayer’s Rock, the structure is sacred for the Anagu people. A ban on climbing the Uluru will take effect in October 2019. Despite this, Kata Tjuta can still be hiked along with other sites around the park.

Goreme National Park

Located in the country of Turkey, Goreme National Park is home to Fairy Chimneys- the name given to the park’s rock formations. If the structures themselves were not captivating by themselves, churches, dwellings, and underground cities were carved into the rocks dating as far back as the fourth century. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, museums, shops, and hotels are located in the carvings.

Cinque Terre National Park

 While most other parks are known for their wildlife, Cinque Terreis known for the five villages that are located along the Mediterranean coast. It sits at only fifteen square miles but it still as breathtaking as the other parks on the list. Despite its size, it boasts hiking trails, churches, villas, and monasteries.

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National Parks Without the Crowds

The U.S. National Park Service was founded on August 25th, 1916 and 61 areas hold the title of “national park”. Imagine visiting all 61 of them, that would mean you would have to travel to two U.S. territories and 29 states. Over 300 million people visited national parks last year. The National Park Service can sometimes struggle with providing educational and recreational opportunities while also trying to conserve the cultural and natural heritage of the park.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the most visited national park in 2018, over 10 million people visited this park alone. But sometimes it’s nice to get away and see a not so crowded park. National Geographic released an article listing the 10 Least-Visited U.S. National Parks and we are here to tell you about one of them, the Virgin Islands .

Virgin Islands National Park

The Virgin Islands National Park is made up of over 7,000 acres. From the reefs to the ridge tops, the park owns over 5,000 acres of the submerged land surrounding the island. This means that the coral, fish, migrating birds, and other marine life are protected by the park.

There are different Ranger- Guided tours that are available. The Reef Bay Trail gives its visitors the opportunity to learn about those who called the area home. Ancient rock carving, stone walls, and eve sugar plantation ruins still linger on the island. This helps demonstrate the change that the island has continuously gone through over the many years of inhabitants. The trails can get a little tricky. It is advised to bring the appropriate shoes and plenty of water. Snacks and bug spray are both good things to bring along as well.

The Discover Bird Watching Hike, goes on every Friday. Francis Bay Trail and salt pound gives bird lovers the opportunity to view the migratory birds and the birds that live on the islands. The Friends of Virgin Islands National Park even offers a winter seminar series. The option to hike with local and park scientist is offered along with snorkeling or kayaking as well. For more information on the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park, click here.

Safaris bus drivers also offer guided tours of the island. They usually last two to three hours and they give amazing views of the beaches and remnants sugar plantations. The tour will begin at Cruz Bay on the public ferry dock and it will also end there.

Here are some safety tips the park includes on their website.

Valuables should not be left unattended, just because it is a national park doesn’t mean things won’t get stolen. All you will need for this trip is some snacks and water, there is no need to bring any valuables with you.

When swimming, use reef-safe sunscreen. The whole point of a national park is to help save the wildlife inhabiting the area. If you do decide to swim, remember there is marine life which means there is a possibility of getting stung/bitten. Be prepared

Mosquitoes. Those tiny bugs can do a lot of damage. The Virgin Islands National Park warns visitors of mosquitoes. Most diseases are spread after a lot of rain and especially during the rainy season. Make sure to bring bug spray and if you are bitten, make sure to watch out for symptoms of diseases that are carried by mosquitoes. Click here for more information.

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