Practical Tips for Visiting Each of the 63 U.S. National Parks

Are you trying to visit all the national parks? Many of us who love the U.S. national park system are aiming to visit all 63 of these esteemed parks in our lifetimes.

But they’re so spread out in so many different states — and territories, including the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa — that it’s costly and time-consuming to see them all.

There’s a huge difference between tropical Dry Tortugas, way at the bottom of the Florida Keys, and Gates of the Arctic, located way up north in Alaska!

entering glacier national park welcome sign

A lot of people are on the same journey to experience every national park in the country. Everyone seems to do it a little bit differently, but it feels like we’re all part of a special club.

I’ve now visited almost 50 of the 63 parks, and can offer advice for how best to tackle each park, and which activities to prioritize once you’re there.

Let’s run down some tips for visiting each of America’s national parks, based mostly on my own experiences there.

flightseeing - denali national park
Landing on a glacier inside Alaska’s Denali National Park.

Table of Contents

What Counts As a National Park Visit?

It’s totally up to you. You are the author of your own adventure. Some people set arbitrary rules, like, “I need to spend at least 2 hours in the park, see the visitor center, and do at least one hike.”

For me, I just need to touch soil inside the park. If I’ve set foot on land within the park boundary, then it counts.

I don’t consider flying over the park sufficient. Gates of the Arctic and Kobuk Valley both have flightseeing trips that fly over the park without landing.

To me, that doesn’t count as a real park visit. But you’re free to feel differently.

dry tortugas
Campsite in front of Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas NP.

What If You Visited a National Park Before it Was a National Park?

This is an interesting question. If you went to the Gateway Arch in 2011, seven years before it became a national park, does that count as visiting the national park?

Some people would say no. I say yes. Because I was indeed there, standing on the ground that is a national park. I know some travelers who don’t count it, though. It’s your call!

Tips for Visiting Every U.S. National Park

Group them together

This one seems obvious, but it’s worth noting. Knocking out more than 60 parks requires efficiency. If you’re heading to Utah, go to all 5 parks there, not just one.

Visiting Carlsbad Caverns? Then stop at Guadalupe Mountains and Big Bend as well.

big bend winter hike
foggy day in Big Bend NP.

Learn to love road trips

A lot of parks aren’t near major metropolitan areas. Road trips are the best way to see them.

I once took a road trip from Chicago all the way to Banff in Canada. The drive allowed me to visit Isle Royale in Michigan and Voyageurs in Minnesota, two northern parks that are pretty far out of the way.

Embrace campgrounds to save money

Traveling to 63 parks in 30 states and territories is quite costly. If money is no object for you, then congrats on your lot in life, my friend, and you may disregard this tip. But the rest of us have to consider the cost factor.

Some national parks have limited lodging options, meaning that you may be stuck paying for a night in an expensive park lodge. A good way to keep your costs down is by camping instead.

Big Bend, Yellowstone, Katmai, and Glacier Bay are a few such parks where you can save a ton of money by camping.

denali road trip
An overlook in Denali National Park.

Accept that the journey will take a while

Be patient! This is an adventure that is truly about the journey rather than the finish line. It’s going to take years. That’s the fun part!

Some people find that they get slightly bummed as they get closer to hitting all 63 parks, because what do they do after that? The immediate sense of accomplishment can be followed by a void.

The effort to get to 63 is so much fun that we almost don’t want it to end.

Expect that new parks will be added

New parks keep joining the national park system all the time. By the time 10+ years have gone by and you’re getting close to finishing, there may be 70 national parks by then!

So you’ll have to add new parks to your list frequently. Just another part of the challenge.

badlands hike
Hiking in Badlands NP in South Dakota.

Useful Tips for All the National Parks

In this section, we’ll go through each U.S. national park and share one useful tip for visiting. This is just meant to be a starting point. Obviously, you’ll need to do more research when you’re ready to see each place.

Let’s go in alphabetical order by park name!

Acadia NP, Maine

Looking to visit the northeastern-most national park? Consider a road trip from Boston to Maine that finishes in Acadia NP.

featured backup thunder

The most pleasant surprise in Acadia for many visitors is the surprising number of high-elevation spots that make for great viewpoints.

Drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain, hike to the top of Gorham Mountain, and enjoy the ocean views in each spot.

Fun fact: From October to March, Cadillac Mountain is the first place in the U.S. to see the sunrise each day!

Tip: Make sure to stop at Thunder Hole to see one of the most interesting natural formations in the park. It’s a ravine where ocean water regularly slams against the rocks and makes a thunderous, crashing sound.

Arches NP, Utah

Arches National Park has more than 2000 of its namesake stone arches, created over millions of years by erosion. Can you imagine? Two thousand arches?

Arches is the northern- and easternmost of Utah’s five parks, so it’s usually either the first or the last park that road trippers visit when they are exploring Utah.

Drive the 18-mile Arches Scenic Highway and visit the most popular sites: Delicate Arch, Devils Garden, and The Windows.

Those with more time can add Petrified Dunes, Balanced Rock, Fiery Furnace, and Landscape Arch (291 feet wide!) to their itinerary.

Tip: Remember that you’ll need a timed entry ticket to get inside Arches, if you’re visiting any time between April and October. Due to overcrowding, the days of just showing up and driving into the park without a reservation are over.

Badlands NP, South Dakota

badlands national park sign

Spending a night in the Badlands is a great way to encounter bighorn sheep and prairie dogs. The bighorn sheep are often visible in ravines right off the main park road.

The adorable prairie dogs live in villages. One member serves as the lookout, making shrieking noises whenever danger (a bison or human) approaches the village.

Badlands NP has some crazy geography, with the rolling dirt hills extending as far as the eye can see. It’s unlike any other national park.

Tip: Stay at the Sage Creek Campground if you want to hike in a somewhat quiet section of the park with bison and prairie dog villages visible on nearby hiking trails. It’s away from the heart of the park, but it’s very worth visiting.

Big Bend NP, Texas

In western Texas, I took a road trip down to the Prada Marfa store, and then on to Big Bend.

big bend all national parks

Give yourself a few days to explore Big Bend. It’s pretty far from any major cities, and it’s a large park, so you’ll want enough time to see everything.

Hike to The Window, a cool viewpoint through a gap in the mountain. You can relax in a natural hot spring along the Rio Grande and swim in the Rio Grande itself.

Hiking to Santa Elena Canyon is a must. It’s an awesome spot where the Rio Grande cuts through the mountains. It’s wild knowing that one side of the river is the U.S., and one side is Mexico.

Tip: Very motivated visitors can actually take a rowboat across the Rio Grande to the small town of Boquillas, Mexico. This is a sanctioned border crossing with an official immigration station. You can spend the day exploring the town. Here are the details on this unique adventure.

Biscayne NP, Florida

Florida’s Biscayne NP is an easy place to visit on a Miami to Key West road trip, although by car, you can only see a small portion of the park.

More than 90% of Biscayne is water or islands, so getting into a kayak or boat and heading out to snorkel is the best way to visit.

biscayne national park

The area on shore around the visitor center has a long fishing pier with a walking path allowing visitors to get a quick taste of the park. Keep peering into the shrubs as you walk around — lizards are plentiful here, including large, bright green iguanas!

Tip: Book one of the snorkel or kayak tours that depart daily from the visitor center. The $39 “Kayak the Mangroves” tour is the cheapest, but the best value is the $109 “Jones Lagoon” tour, which offers much better wildlife opportunities.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP, Colorado

For years, I’ve proclaimed Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park the most underrated park in the country.

It has postcard views, with easy driving access, along with comfortable temperatures and very small crowds. What more could you want?

black canyon of the gunnison

I compare Black Canyon favorably to the Grand Canyon, for two reasons. First, Black Canyon has a road that travels along the rim of the canyon for several miles. The Grand Canyon doesn’t have that!

Second, even though this canyon isn’t as high as the Grand Canyon, it’s steeper. There’s more of a drop off. So you can look straight down to the bottom and see the river.

Tip: This is more of a “drive and stop at viewpoints” kind of park, but make sure to do a couple hikes inside the park. Some trails go inside the canyon itself, partially (or fully) down to the water. Going at least partially down into the canyon offers a different perspective.

Bryce Canyon NP, Utah

Bryce Canyon is the place for hoodoos, which are tall, oddly-shaped rock pillars. Among the most noteworthy is Thor’s Hammer, a 150-foot-high pinnacle shaped like it has a mallet on top.

Sunrise and Sunset Point are both must-see spots. You can see Thor’s Hammer and much of the Bryce Amphitheater, a wide-open vista with dozens of hoodoos and peaks.

Rainbow Point is another worthy attraction. The park’s highest spot at 9115 feet, it sits at the very end of Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive. Walk the one-mile Bristlecone Loop for stellar views.

The park is only 56 square miles, so its points of interest are packed into a small area. A lot of the park sits above 8000 feet in elevation, so don’t push yourself too hard.

bryce canyon

Tip: When driving Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive, most of the vehicle pullouts are on the southern side of the road. So it’s best to drive straight to end of the road, and then stop at the viewpoints on the way back.

Canyonlands NP, Utah

Canyonlands is the biggest of the five national parks in Utah. Yet, there aren’t a lot of roads in the park, because it’s split by the Colorado and Green Rivers.

Canyonlands is sort of a grab bag of the best features of all of Utah’s parks, combined in one place. It has some arches, some canyons, some spires, and some viewpoints.

Among the highlights: Grand View Point, Aztec Butte, and Mesa Arch — a great place to take in a sunrise or sunset. Keep an eye out for pronghorns, bighorn sheep, coyotes, and cottontail rabbits.

Tip: The two main sections of the park are two hours apart by car, so visitors must decide in advance which section to visit. Casual road trippers tend to favor the Islands in Sky District, while hikers and backpackers often enjoy the Needles District.

Capitol Reef NP, Utah

Capitol Reef looks like the Chile of American national parks. It’s a long, narrow strip, running about 100 miles long.

The entire park has only 14 miles of paved road. So most visitors, aside from those who want to hike in the backcountry or drive on remote dirt roads, end up exploring the same small section of the park.

In just one day, you can see many of the park’s features, such as Panorama Point, Goosenecks Overlook, Hickman Bridge, Grand Wash, and Capitol Gorge.

Tip: You can pick your own fruit in Capitol Reef! The pioneer community of Fruita, established in 1880, created orchards with apples, cherries, peaches, pears, and more. Today, you can visit these orchards, pick fresh fruit, and self-pay using the scales on site.

Carlsbad Caverns NP, New Mexico

carlsbad caverns

Carlsbad Caverns might be the quirkiest national park. It’s creepy but fun to stand in a limestone cavern 750 feet beneath the earth, surrounded by the bizarre ancient mineral formations known as stalagmites and stalactites.

And the constant underground temperature of 56 degrees is a nice break from the desert heat.

This was my first time being any significant depth underground, and I was blown away by the realization that these formations were thousands of years old.

There are multiple self-guided walking tours available. I suggest doing the longest walk, since the path is mostly flat and it’s not strenuous at all.

Tip: If you visit from April to September, hang around at the Natural Cave Entrance just before sunset to see a massive group of bats streaming out of the cave.

Channel Islands NP, California

There’s so much to love about the Channel Islands. A lot of people don’t even know this national park exists just off the coast of Los Angeles.

You just take a ferry ride from Ventura over to the island of your choice. You may want to spend a few days camping and hiking on Santa Cruz Island, enjoying the relative solitude.

santa cruz island fox

This island has a huge number of island foxes, a unique species of fox that is barely larger than a housecat. So adorable!

Santa Cruz Island has sea caves in the islands. You can take a kayak tour and paddle through the caves. Kayaking in the ocean is challenging, but so much fun!

Tip: Plan ahead, because everything needs to be booked in advance for the Channel Islands: Your ferry ticket, your campsite, your kayak tour. There is absolutely no food on the island, and limited drinking water, so bring everything you’ll need.

Congaree NP, South Carolina

Congaree National Park has a very different vibe from many of the others, and that makes it cool.

congaree national park activities

This is a swampy landscape with boardwalks in the forest to allow for hiking and walking to the river. When the swamp levels are high enough, people can even kayak or canoe through the park.

If you have the chance, participate in an “Owl Prowl,” an evening ranger-led hike. Guests are given red film to cover their flashlights as they walk the boardwalks and trails looking for owls in the trees.

Seeing owls in the wild is not a common sight, so this is a unique opportunity.

Tip: Try to time your Congaree visit with the annual firefly viewing, which takes place in May or early June. Or visit when the park is conducting one of its Owl Prowl hikes, usually from fall through spring.

Crater Lake NP, Oregon

The three national parks in Washington are regarded as some of the most scenic in the country, but don’t overlook Crater Lake in Oregon. What a gorgeous lake!

crater lake oregon
Awesome view of Crater Lake National Park in Oregon!

Crater Lake is yet another national park with captivating mountains and hiking trails. The Rim Drive loop road takes drivers around the entire lake and has several pullouts for photo opportunities.

A great itinerary for a single day is to start with a hike to Mount Scott, the highest point in the park, followed by a hike down to the lake. You can swim inside the volcano crater! Definitely take advantage of that option.

Tip: Drive the full 7-mile Pinnacles Road, a spur road off Rim Drive. It leads to the easy Plaikni Falls waterfall hike and Pinnacles Overlook, which has “fossil fumeroles,” 100-foot tall rock needles formed from volcanic ash.

Cuyahoga Valley NP, Ohio

Many people drive right past Cuyahoga Valley National Park on I-80 without even realizing it’s there.

It’s a small-ish park without any major attractions, so that probably explains its lack of buzz. But it’s close enough to Cleveland that anyone visiting the city may want to drive down.

snakes cuyahoga valley NP

My short visit included some hiking, where I encountered a strange snake pile on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Imagine seeing a trio of snakes at once!

Tip: The best way to see as much of the park as possible is biking the Towpath Trail. You can take the bike-friendly Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad back. This page has a list of places near the park that rent bikes.

Death Valley NP, California

It’s impressive to see of the natural wonders inside Death Valley National Park.

The first major attraction is Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level. The salt flat is such a barren landscape, especially on a hot day with the sun beating down.

Death Valley salt flats

From the sand dunes to Telescope Peak to Artists Palette, this park has a number of landscapes that look wildly different from each other.

If you’re brave, and don’t mind hot temperatures and the potential of scorpions and coyotes around, settled down for the evening at Furnace Creek Campground.

Tip: As with many desert parks, try to avoid coming during summer, because it just gets way too hot. A spring or fall visit will allow you to take some longer hikes and fully appreciate the park. Also, make a detour to see the nearby ghost town of Rhyolite.

Denali NP, Alaska

Denali National Park is one of the crown jewels of Alaska. It’s a good place to try backcountry camping, as long as you have some experience with camping in the wild.

You will need bear spray and a bear container to store your food in overnight, because the park has lots and lots of bears roaming around. I saw several!

bears denali

Denali has wildlife that you won’t see in many other parks, like caribou. Seeing a caribou in the distance while hiking was a thrill.

Denali also provided Dall sheep and moose sightings. It’s the second-most popular of the national parks in Alaska, after Glacier Bay.

Tip: You can only drive about 20 miles into Denali, then you must switch to a shuttle bus. I advise taking the shuttle bus all the way to the end of the road, to see as much as possible. We only took the shuttle halfway, and I still wonder what we might have missed by not going all the way.

Dry Tortugas NP, Florida

Many national park junkies are intrigued by Dry Tortugas, a tiny set of islands 70 miles off the coast of Key West, one of which features a former World War II-era fort.

Getting there requires a ferry or floatplane ride, but it’s worth the journey.

dry tortugas

In my three days there, I saw an American crocodile, had some fantastic snorkeling, and camped right outside the historic Fort Jefferson. The tropical park fully lived up to expectations.

Fort Jefferson was fascinating to explore. You can walk through its abandoned corridors and even on its roof to imagine how the soldiers and prisoners who used to stay there would have lived.

Tip: Book your ferry and/or campground at least 3 months in advance, or you may find there are no spots available.

Everglades NP, Florida

Forget those tram rides and airboat trips. The easiest way to see alligators in the Everglades is to visit the Anhinga Trail.

While walking on the trail, I saw a few gators in the water and several more sitting on the shore, literally five feet from where I was standing on the boardwalk.

everglades gator

My other lingering memory of the Everglades is how vicious the mosquitos were. Bring a lot of repellent!

Tip: When visiting the Anhinga Trail, park as close to the trailhead as possible, to minimize the chances of vultures attacking your vehicle. I’m not joking!

Gates of the Arctic NP, Alaska

Gates of the Arctic National Park is the most remote park in the country. There are no roads to the park. You can only get there by bush plane, which lands inside the park and drops you off.

That’s why it was the least-visited national park in America last year!

gates of the arctic

There’s nothing like camping out there, miles away from civilization, surrounded on all sides by mountains, with rivers and streams running through the middle.

You’ll most likely have to join a group tour to visit Gates of the Arctic, or you can take a day trip that stops in the park for less than an hour. In either case, you’ll be spending at least a few thousand dollars.

Tip: Be prepared for any kind of weather, any time of year. As my experience shows, the weather can change in an instant. Our guide told us they once got 4 inches of snow during a late July storm, so it really can get cold any month of the year.

Gateway Arch NP, Missouri

It was a surprise to everyone in 2018 when the National Park Service declared the famous Gateway Arch in St. Louis a national park.

Most national parks involve wilderness, hiking, and nature, so it’s unusual to have a man-made attraction in the middle of a big city listed as an official national park.

st. louis arch sign

The Arch has a tram inside. Ride inside a little elevator orb to go to the top. The views are good, but they don’t let you stay up there very long.

The Gateway Arch Museum and Visitor Center are a gold mine of information about the construction of the Arch itself and the history of the region.

You can learn a lot about the native animals, early explorers, and colonial St. Louis.

Tip: There isn’t a lot to do here aside from going inside the Arch itself. I recommend walking a few blocks to St. Louis Citygarden, a park with lots of public art and cool views of the Arch.

Glacier NP, Montana

I’d always heard great things about Montana’s Glacier National Park, and from my first moments at gorgeous Bowman Lake, it lived up to the hype.

Seeing the mountains and glaciers of the park on hiking trails and from Going-to-the-Sun Road was thrilling. Glacier immediately became one of my favorite parks.

goat walking glacier national park

On a later park visit, I got to encounter around 20 of Glacier’s famed mountain goats while hiking on the Hidden Lake Trail. This is one of the few U.S. parks with mountain goats.

Tip: If you have the freedom in your schedule to visit in late September, do it! Glacier has become so crowded that they’ve instituted a vehicle reservation system to limit visitation, but reservations are not required after September 10. The weather is still pretty good, and the crowds are gone.

Glacier Bay NP, Alaska

Most people reach Glacier Bay NP in Alaska by cruise ship, as this park sees a number of cruises during summer.

You can also fly on Alaska Airlines from Juneau to Gustavus to reach the park. That allows you spend a couple days in the lodge and take a day cruise out into the bay.

The highlight is usually the day cruise to the tidewater glaciers that are melting as they reach the water of the bay.

The boat ride can be a wildlife extravaganza. On the day cruise, you can see humpback whales, porpoises, otters, and sea lions, plus bears and mountain goats on the shore.

Tip: Try to attend the nightly program in the Huna Tribal House, which educates visitors about the Huna Tlingit clans who lived in this area for centuries. This building holds a lot of significance for these folks, and the NPS does a great job of explaining the history with a movie featuring the personal stories of tribal members.

Grand Canyon NP, Arizona

Spending time at the Grand Canyon was a remarkable experience. It’s one of the iconic American attraction, so everyone should visit at least once.

I saw a rare California condor from close range, which remains one of my favorite wildlife sightings ever.

inerior grand canyon

The North Rim and South Rim are almost four hours apart by car, so most people just visit one or the other. The South Rim is far more popular, but the North Rim has great views too. The mountains are more forested on that side.

The weather tends to be more comfortable at the North Rim, and it’s much less crowded. So consider going to the north side! At the North Rim, you can hike on the North Kaibab Trail.

Tip: If you hike into the Canyon for any distance at all, take double the amount of water you think you’ll need. The heat and elevation gain are no joke. Running out of water here is not fun.

Grand Teton NP, Wyoming

Grand Teton often gets overshadowed by Yellowstone, which sits immediately to the north.

While Grand Teton doesn’t have the same geysers and geothermal attractions, it makes up for it with picturesque mountains and lakes that create some stunning pics.

grand teton park

Look at that phenomenal scenery at Jenny Lake! If you get a clear day, your photos here will be majestic.

Tip: I suggest doing Grand Teton before Yellowstone, so that it doesn’t pale in comparison. Doing Grand Teton first allows you to come in with a clean slate and appreciate everything this park has to offer, without mentally comparing it to the more iconic Yellowstone environment.

Great Basin NP, Nevada

Wheeler Peak Glacier is the little-known highlight of Great Basin National Park. It’s the only glacier in Nevada.

Sure, it’s a “rock glacier,” meaning that it’s hidden underneath rocks and rubble. But it’s there!

This park is way off the beaten path, so it gets far fewer visitors than places like Yellowstone and Yosemite. But the hiking here is just as good.

wheeler peak glacier - visit all the national parks

You can hike to the base of the glacier. Or you can hike above the glacier, to the Wheeler Peak summit at 13,000 feet. When I did this hike, I encountered fewer than 10 people on the trail.

Keep an eye out for the remarkable bristlecone pine trees, with their twisting, spindly branches. Some of the trees here have been alive for more than 3000 years!

Be sure to also make a reservation to visit Lehman Caves, an underground tunnel system featuring caves that are millions of years old.

Tip: Give yourself at least one day in the park to acclimatize before trying to hike to the summit of Wheeler Peak. Elevation sickness is a genuine concern here, so it’s best not to try to summit on your first day in Great Basin.

Great Sand Dunes NP, Colorado

A lot of people aren’t even aware that Colorado has massive sand dunes. They’re the tallest in North America, in fact.

The dunes were impressive to see up close, even though it was incredibly windy the day I visited. You can’t imagine how much sand I got down my pants that day.

great sand dunes activities

Leave some time for a forest hike too. The Mosca Pass Trail is a cool environment of aspen and conifer forests.

Tip: Be prepared to wade across a small creek when you walk from the visitor center to the dunes themselves. Best practice is to walk across barefoot, and bring a small towel to dry your feet after. Also, skip the flip flops and wear closed-toe shoes if visiting in summer, because the sand temperature can reach 140 F!

Great Smoky Mountains NP, Tennessee

One of the first national parks I ever explored was the Great Smoky Mountains, America’s most-visited national park.

There are no huge peaks in the Smokies, but there are some good trails to the park’s highest spots. Check out the Two Chimneys Trail for a moderately challenging trek with cool views from the ummit.

great smoky mountains guide

The Smokies have numerous creeks, small waterfalls, and forests to explore. There are a lot of historic and abandoned cabins too.

Tip: For smaller crowds, try to avoid weekends or peak tourist season (July / August.) This tip applies to most U.S. national parks, but it’s especially true for the Smoky Mountains, since they see more visitors than any other park.

Guadalupe Mountains NP, Texas

Guadalupe Mountains National Park in western Texas is a hidden gem, especially due to its natural features, like Guadalupe Peak and the Devil’s Hall slot canyon.

The Devil’s Hall hike also has a natural staircase formed millions of years ago when Texas was underwater.

guadalupe mountains - devil's hall canyon

There are some century-old ranch buildings you can visit. The western end of the park has a small section of sand dunes. And the vivid orange sunsets can be spectacular. See our collection of Guadalupe Mountains photos.

How about if we all agree not to spread the word about this underrated national park, so that it never gets overcrowded?

Tip: Wear a watch! Guadalupe Mountains NP sits in the Mountain Time Zone, but the nearest cell phone towers are in the Central Time Zone. So your phone may display the wrong time, or worse, it may flip back and forth between time zones. It gets confusing, but an old-school watch is the best way to keep correct time.

Haleakala NP, Hawaii

Haleakala is a fun place to visit, because you’re not expecting a 10,000 foot volcanic summit on Maui, with views so far that you can see the Big Island on a clear day.

You can also hike down inside Haleakala Crater, getting views of the volcano from the inside, while observing the Hawaiian plants that dot the landscape.

haleakala national park

I visited on a rainy and foggy day, so there were no views into the crater at all. Oh well. That’s how it goes sometimes.

This is a good reminder that, when you’re visiting all the national parks, not every trip is going to result in a perfect experience. There will be challenges and struggles. It’s all part of the experience.

And a sub-optimal experience just provides a reason to go back for a return visit!

Tip: If you drive the Road to Hana, continue south from Hana to explore the less-visited Kipahulu section of the park. It provides completely different scenery, with bamboo forests, waterfalls, and ocean views. The weather here was actually sunny and warm when I visited!

Hawaii Volcanoes NP, Hawaii

Hawaii’s other national park is located on the Big Island, and it’s a bit different from Haleakala.

Hawaii Volcanoes NP is more known for its hardened lava, in various forms. There are lava caves, like the Thurston Lava Tube. There are lava formations, like Holei Sea Arch.

There’s even an old park road that is now partially covered in hardened lava from an eruption that happened after the park opened.

And you can hike the Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs Trail to witness a collection of 800-year-old petroglyphs.

volcanoes np hike

I loved seeing how the land continues to change over time. The fact that new life can spring from lava rock is remarkable.

Tip: If it’s in your budget, consider a helicopter ride over the volcano. Seeing the swirling lava from above is a fun life experience. It provides a perspective you just can’t get from the ground.

Hot Springs NP, Arkansas

Before the Gateway Arch became a national park, Hot Springs was really the only NP in an urban setting. Sure, there are only 38,000 people in the Arkansas city, but that’s still a lot more than most parks.

The park contains a number of natural hot springs. Bring your swimsuit — you can soak in two of the thermal springs found in indoor bathhouses.

This park isn’t known for its hiking, but Goat Rock Trail is worth 90 minutes of your time. It’s a 2.5-mile roundtrip hike to a nice viewpoint.

Tip: Hot Springs is home to the only brewery in a national park. Superior Bathhouse offers brews made from thermal spring water, plus a menu of salads, burgers, and nachos.

Indiana Dunes NP, Indiana

indiana dunes national park

Indiana Dunes State Park and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (now Indiana Dunes National Park) are sandwiched next to each other in Porter, Indiana.

They sit along the shore of Lake Michigan, just a 45-minute drive from Chicago. This is a rare opportunity to swim or play in the sand in a national park.

Other attractions include the Cowles Bog Trail, a 4-mile path that passes through swamp and marsh environments; and the Bailly Homestead, a trading post from the 1820s that is one of 60 historic structures in the park.

Tip: Since many of the attractions here are in the state park rather than the national park, be sure to stop at the visitor center to pick up a park map. That way, you can check the map to guarantee that you’re actually setting foot inside national park territory.

Isle Royale NP, Michigan

Isle Royale holds the record for longest average time per visit of any national park (more than 2 days.) That’s because it’s so difficult to get here.

You have to drive all the way to the northern panhandle of Michigan, then take a ferry across Lake Superior. Here, it’s all about the nature: hiking, camping, kayaking, canoeing.

kayaks isle royale lake superior

The hiking here is fun because there’s so much solitude. If you hike one of the trails in the island’s interior, you may not run into another human on the trail.

And you may see a moose, which are abundant in Isle Royale.

Tip: Campgrounds are not reservable, so if you plan to camp, try to get in line first after getting off the ferry, so you have first pick of the available campsites. Have a backup plan in case your desired campground is not available.

Joshua Tree NP, California

What does Joshua Tree NP have besides its namesake trees? Start with the Barker Dam hike, Arch Rock, Keys View (which has views of the Coachella Valley), and the Cholla Cactus Garden (great for sunset photos among the cacti.)

The Jumbo Rocks section of the park was my favorite. Who doesn’t love getting to climb around on huge boulders? You can see many of the park’s highlights in a single day.

I’ve returned to Joshua Tree NP multiple times and have grown to love the desert hikes.

featured hall horrors

Tip: Hike the narrow Hall of Horrors slot canyon (above!) You won’t find it on any of the park brochures, but we have a guide for exactly how to find it. It’s fairly short and easy, and you won’t get stuck, despite how it looks.

Katmai NP, Alaska

Alaska’s Katmai National Park is hard to put into words. Seeing dozens of huge brown bears at the famous Brooks Falls waterfall is an epic life experience!

Even if you’ve watched the Katmai webcam, you’ll probably be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of bears in Katmai NP.

They are everywhere. They walk on all the park trails. They casually stroll past the visitor center. They even approach the campground, which has an electric fence around it for safety.

katmai brooks falls

If you’ve got time, take the day trip out to the Valley of 10,000 Smokes, an area of the park where a 1912 volcano eruption destroyed the landscape and created massive canyons and rivers.

Tip: Getting to Brooks Falls requires a one-mile hike through the forest where these bears live. It is very likely you will encounter bears on the trail. They’re used to people. Just walk with other people, make noise to avoid startling them, and give them plenty of space.

Kenai Fjords NP, Alaska

Though the effect of climate change on melting glaciers is sad, it does create some awe-inspiring moments. Like watching chunks of glaciers break away and crash into the sea.

That’s one of the opportunities you may have on a whale-watching cruise in Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska. Drive from Anchorage to Seward, and you can board the ship right there.

Glacier crashing

You’ll see nature at work. That means seeing glaciers calve, and it also means seeing orcas, porpoises, and humpback whales swimming through these cold waters.

Tip: A lot of people see Kenai Fjords by boat, but it’s also worth driving to Exit Glacier. You can drive and hike up close to the side of the ice, for a rare up-close view of a glacier.

Kings Canyon NP, California

Fun fact: Kings Canyon began as General Grant National Park in 1890, before being renamed Kings Canyon and expanded in 1940. Meant to protect a giant sequoia tree named after Ulysses Grant, the original park was just four square miles!

Today, Kings Canyon covers almost a half-million acres and includes several 13,000-foot peaks.

You can still see that famous General Grant Tree in the western unit. The eastern unit has points of interest such as Roaring River Falls and Muir Rock.

Tip: Kings Canyon and adjacent Sequoia National Forest have a ton of campgrounds. That’s good, because there aren’t a lot of hotels and cities around (Fresno is an hour away.) If you visit during summer, this is a park where camping is actually worth it, since it’s convenient and comfortable.

Kobuk Valley NP, Alaska

Kobuk Valley is one of two Alaska national parks above the Arctic Circle. The park has no roads and no airport. You can only get here by bush plane or by river.

camping kobuk valley

Kobuk Valley also has massive sand dunes. Who would’ve expected those in Alaska? Camping in the sand dunes here was a surreal experience.

Our group didn’t encounter much wildlife during our two days here. But while hiking around the dunes, we saw grizzly tracks, wolf tracks, and caribou tracks in the sand.

This is the kind of place where you can walk around wherever you like, with total freedom, and you probably won’t see any other people all day.

Tip: Getting here is difficult and expensive. We have an entire article detailing the options for visiting Kobuk Valley NP and how much you can expect to pay for a private flight into this remote land.

Lake Clark NP, Alaska

Lake Clark may not be as well-known as Katmai, but it’s another great place to get up close with brown bears.

In fact, they often dig up clams along the beach, while humans stroll by, just feet away. They seem to be conditioned to people.

Tourists take day trips here via bush plane to see the bears in close proximity.

lake clark national park

A plane is actually the best way to see Lake Clark. From above, you can take in the mountain peaks, the glaciers, and the lakes. You may even see wildlife — from the plane, we saw bears, moose, and even beluga whales swimming in a river!

Tip: Even in summer, flights to Lake Clark often get delayed or canceled due to bad weather or poor visibility. Add an extra day or two in Anchorage to your schedule, in case your day trip to Lake Clark needs to be rescheduled.

Lassen Volcanic NP, California

Lassen Volcanic can be found in a less-traveled part of Northern California, about 5 hours east of the Redwoods and 4 hours northeast of San Francisco.

The park was created to protect an area that has seen volcanic eruptions, both in ancient history and recent times (1915). It’s one of the rare spots with all four types of volcano: cinder cone, shield, composite, and plug dome.

Seventy five percent of the park is wilderness, so tourists tend to stick to the 30-mile Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway, a winding road that passes by many of the park’s volcanic wonders.

Tip: Though it’s located in California, Lassen Volcanic sits at high elevation, with the highest peak reaching 10,457 feet. The main park road is closed for much of the year, so you’ll want to visit between June and early October.

Mammoth Cave NP, Kentucky

Extending for more than 400 miles, Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave is the longest cave system in the world. Who knew?

This park should be way more popular than it is, given that it’s located with a day’s drive from most of the Midwest and East Coast.

mammoth cave historic entrance

Sign up for one of the park’s cave tours, which vary in length and offer a chance to explore different parts of the underground complex. Bring a light jacket, since it’s always cool in the caves.

Being in this underground universe was a very different park experience. I consider Mammoth Cave one of the more underrated NPs, and one of the best national parks for solo travelers.

Tip: Be aware that Mammoth Cave is just barely across the Central Time Zone line. So if you have a scheduled cave tour and you’re arriving from Louisville or Lexington, which are in the Eastern Time Zone, plan the drive accordingly, or you’ll have an extra hour to kill before the tour.

Mesa Verde NP, Colorado

For more than 8000 years, early Americans inhabited the cliffs and mesas of what later became Mesa Verde National Park.

Many of the cliff dwellings remain today, and they are one of the biggest reasons that travelers make the trip to southern Colorado to visit this park. Marvel at how they were able to build homes right in the side of the rock.

mesa verde np

The best-preserved dwelling is Spruce Tree House, which was large enough to support a community of 100 people. Observe the site (visitors can’t go inside), then walk the 2-mile Petroglyph Point Trail to view preserved rock etchings.

Tip: A few of the cliff dwellings are still open to visitors. You’ll want to book tickets to the ranger-guided tours in advance. Cliff Palace, a site from the 1200s, is probably the most impressive to visit.

Mount Rainier NP, Washington

I’ve done a bunch of hikes at Mount Rainier now. Hiking beneath the snow-covered, 14,000-foot peak of an active volcano never gets old.

This is a park that requires a bare minimum of 2-3 days to fully appreciate everything it has to offer. And even then, you’re still getting just a small taste of all the scenery and beauty of the park.

mt rainier

The Skyline Trail is a great place to see marmots and mountain goats, and to eat lunch in the presence of several visible glaciers.

The hike to Panhandle Gap is my favorite, because it takes you deep into the park, in an area where wolverines live. The waterfalls and lakes also make for scenic viewing and photo opportunities.

Tip: As of 2024, the park is requiring timed-entry tickets during the summer to combat overcrowding. Without a reservation, you must enter the park before 7 am, or after 3 pm.

National Park of American Samoa

Very few people make it to the National Park of American Samoa. First, you have to fly all the way to Hawaii, and then it’s another six hours from there to the U.S. territory in the South Pacific.

The national park was created in 1988. What will you find here? Secluded beaches and coral reefs, primarily.

For the best view, hike 3.7 miles to the summit of Mount Alava, which offers a nice perspective at 1610 feet. At Breakers Point and Blunts Point, you can even see old gun batteries that were put in place during World War II.

Tip: If you’re trying to visit all 63 national parks, it’s wise to do American Samoa on the same trip as the Hawaii parks. That way, you won’t have to make a second trip back through Hawaii on the way to Samoa.

New River Gorge NP, West Virginia

America’s newest national park is New River Gorge, having been designated in 2021.

The park is ideal for activities like mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and rock climbing. Less adventurous road trippers will probably want to stick to hiking and driving Thurmond Road to the Thurman Historic District.

The visual highlight of the park is New River Gorge Bridge, a 45-year-old bridge that was once the highest and longest one-span arch bridge in the world.

You can actually pay for a “bridge walk,” or guided tour of the catwalk under the bridge. Guests are attached to a harness and cable as they tour the exposed steel beams under the road.

Tip: Whitewater rafting on the New River can be a fun activity, but you should expect large rapids that are challenging, especially for inexperienced rafters. Study the NPS page on rafting here to make sure you’re adequately prepared.

North Cascades NP, Washington

The North Cascades have some of the most breathtaking hikes in the Pacific Northwest.

doubtful lake north cascades

We could go down the entire list of beautiful treks in the park, but let’s just focus on one of the best trails: the hike from Cascade Pass up to Doubtful Lake. Look at this view!

Even from the trailhead parking lot, the mountain views are incredible. And they only get better the higher you go.

On this hike, I encountered pikas, marmots, mountain goats, and a black bear. This is one of those national parks that will make you want to move to the PNW, if you don’t live here already.

Tip: If you’re counting national parks, closely examine the park brochure to ensure that you get inside the official park boundary. Many attractions that are considered highlights of North Cascades NP, such as Diablo Lake, are actually not inside the national park — they’re in adjacent Ross Lake National Recreation Area.

Olympic NP, Washington

Olympic National Park is fun because it covers several different environments, from ocean beaches to rainforests to snowy mountain peaks.

Located right on the Pacific Ocean, Ruby Beach has some of the best views of any PNW beach. Further south, the Kalaloch Campground sits on an elevated section of coast that allows for frequent views of gray whales swimming past.

The Hoh Rain Forest is the wettest rain forest in the lower 48 states, receiving 129 inches of rain per year.

Hurricane Ridge, meanwhile, gets a lot of snow for nine months of the year. That’s where you’ll find a visitor center and some of the best hiking trails.

high ridge trail olympic

Some of my favorite hikes here include the Ozette Triangle, a forested hike that goes to the ocean; and the Mount Storm King hike, which leads to some of the best views in the park.

Tip: There are very few towns and places to eat on the western side of Olympic NP near Hoh Rain Forest. The town of Forks has a Subway sandwich shop and a couple restaurants. Plan to eat there, or bring your own food when exploring this area.

Petrified Forest NP, Arizona

Petrified wood is fascinating. How do those old trees partially fossilize and turn into stone or quartz? The process may be confusing, but seeing the petrified logs that are millions of years old is kind of mind-blowing.

Besides the ancient stone logs, Petrified Forest National Park also has an area of badlands known as the Blue Mesa, where the ground has a blue-gray tint.

And Historic Route 66 passes through the northern end of the park. That spot is marked with a rusting 1932 Studebaker. Now that’s a quirky find in a national park!

The best time to visit is on a weekday in autumn, as nice temperatures and small crowds will make for an ideal visit.

petrified forest national park

Tip: This park has a surprising number of different attractions. Be sure to leave enough time to see them all! Don’t miss Blue Mesa, the Painted Desert, the Giant Logs Trail, the Puerco Pueblo ancestral village, and the petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock.

Pinnacles NP, California

National Geographic calls Pinnacles National Park a “geologic playground.” It has cliffs, woodlands, mountains, caves, and the lava spires that give the park its name.

Pinnacles is the seventh-smallest national park, and by far the smallest in California. You can sufficiently explore the park in one day if time is short.

The Condor Gulch-High Peaks Loop Trail covers 5 miles and rises 1500 feet into the heart of the park, making it one of the best hiking options. A shorter alternative is the 2-mile Moses Spring-Rim Trail Loop.

Tip: When planning your activities in Pinnacles, keep in mind that the park has an eastern entrance and a western entrance, but the two roads do not connect. You’ll need 90 minutes to drive from one side to the other, in order to fully explore the park.

Redwood NP, California

Redwood National Park is known for those famous giant redwood trees, the tallest trees on earth.

The only challenge in Redwood National Park is figuring out how to capture the enormity of the trees (and fallen trees) into a single photograph. Good luck!

redwoods tree trunk

The national park (and adjacent state park) have some large herds of elk that wander around near Highway 101. You may get lucky and have a great wildlife experience!

Tip: Make sure to visit the secret World War II radar station in the park. Designed to look like a farmhouse, it was built to look out for a possible Japanese attack along the California cost. Fascinating!

Rocky Mountain NP, Colorado

Most 12,000-foot peaks don’t have roads going to the top, but the highest points in Rocky Mountain National Park are exceptions to this rule.

For a few months during summer, when the snow has melted, drivers can zoom past the “Be prepared for rapidly changing conditions ahead” warning signs and head to a tundra landscape full of marmots.


Driving above 12,000 feet was a fun life experience. The wind up there is fierce, but the views are tremendous. Of course, the mountain hiking here is excellent, too.

Tip: This park has a good-sized population of bighorn sheep. Keep your eyes open for them around Sheep Lakes, especially between 9 am and 3 pm, when they’re more likely to come down from the mountains for a drink.

Saguaro NP, Arizona

Saguaro National Park is cool because it’s right next to a major city (Tucson), so lodging and driving are easy.

I decided to spend most of my time in the less-visited Eastern Unit of the park. I saw thousands of saguaro cactus, some of which had flowers in bloom.

Be sure to explore the Javelina Rocks area, the Riparian Overlook, and the Cactus Forest Trail. Cactus Forest Loop Drive has a number of great overlooks along the way.

saguaro east welcome sign

Tip: During summer, bring lots of water and try to finish hiking before noon. I did a short hike and started to get lightheaded from the hot and dry conditions, so I had to turn back. Be very cautious in the desert heat!

Sequoia NP, California

Sequoia National Park is obviously named after the famous tall trees. “General Sherman” is the most famous, standing a record 274 feet tall.

But the park has a number of other surprising attractions. Crystal Cave, a rare cave formed from marble, is a constant 50 F degrees. You can sign up for a 45-minute tour of the cave interior.

Then, find some Native American history at Hospital Rock, a site that features pictographs and other evidence of the native people who lived on this land.

Drive down to the Mineral King section of the park for the best hikes, including the 7-mile Eagle Lake Trail.

Tip: This is a rare national park with a legit museum. Giant Forest Museum is a great first stop in the park, since it provides an overview of the park environment to educate visitors. It’s also the starting point for the one-mile Big Trees Trail, another good introduction to the park.

Shenandoah NP, Virginia

Located less than 2 hours from numerous East Coast cities, including Washington DC and Baltimore, Shenandoah National Park

Skyline Drive was specifically designed to snake through the forest at some of the highest points in the park, giving road trippers great views of the mountain valleys below.

The road covers 105 miles. Relax and enjoy a leisurely, all-day drive with stops along the way at various overlooks.

Interested in a waterfall hike? Try Dark Hollow Falls or Doyles River Falls. You can also take a 4-mile hike to Rapidan Camp, the former vacation spot of President Herbert Hoover!

Tip: About 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail pass through Shenandoah, so here’s your chance to hike a piece of that famed trail! It parallels Skyline Drive for most of the way, so pick any section you like.

Theodore Roosevelt NP, North Dakota

roosevelt np bison - visit all the national parks

Roosevelt NP has to be one of the most underrated national parks in America. Especially for unique wildlife. Driving Scenic Loop Drive in the morning is a great way to see a lot of animals.

This park has bison, prairie dogs, turkeys, rattlesnakes, and even wild horses. These horses are descendants of the one that escaped capture in 1954 when the park attempted to remove them all.

This is a rare park where visitors are allowed and even encouraged to get off the trails and hike through the backcountry. Grab a park map and your backpack, and set off wandering wherever you like!

Tip: Watch out for rattlesnakes while hiking in the park. I saw three in various locations around the park, including two right on the Buckhorn Trail.

Virgin Islands NP, U.S. Virgin Islands

Yes, you can even find a national park in the tropical paradise that is the U.S. Virgin Islands. Getting here involves flying from the mainland to St. Thomas island. Then, take the ferry over to St. John island.

Hike through the mangrove forests to reach viewpoints overlooking the waters of the Caribbean. Our top recommendation: The America Hill ruins on the Cinnamon Bay Trail.

Forty percent of the park is water. Take advantage by snorkeling at some of the coral reefs. The water between white sand beaches of Salomon and Honeymoon Bay has lots of colorful fish and coral. Trunk Bay is also great for swimming and snorkeling.

Tip: The park isn’t just beaches and ocean — it has a bit of history, in the form of old sugar cane plantations. A 1-2 hour hike will take you to the Annaberg Sugar Plantation from the 19th century.

Voyageurs NP, Minnesota

Voyageurs is a far northern park, located among the lakes in Minnesota right along the Canadian border.

bald eagles - voyageurs

You have to get out on the water to best explore Voyageurs NP. I took one of the day cruises and saw a whopping 10 bald eagles on the ride.

This is one of the best places in the country to see bald eagles! If you have a burning, patriotic desire to see America’s bird up close, start planning your Voyageurs excursion.

Tip: Book your day cruise early, since they can sell out. They only operate during the peak season of June to September. The cruise is the main attraction in Voyageurs NP, so you don’t want to miss out by waiting too long.

White Sands NP, New Mexico

For years, White Sands was a National Monument, but in 2019 it was finally promoted to a national park.

Hanging out here is fun because the gypsum sand environment is so rare. This is one of seven national parks with sand dunes, but most don’t have bright white sand.

You can run around and jump on the sand, or even try sledding down the dunes. The Playa Trail and Alkali Flat Trail are the best hiking options.

white sands shrubbery

Tip: You won’t need more than one day here, as there’s not much to do other than playing in the sand and taking short hikes. You may want to combine a visit here with Carlsbad Caverns, the other national park in New Mexico.

Wind Cave NP, South Dakota

Wind Cave seems to get overshadowed by the large number of South Dakota tourist attractions, from Badlands National Park to Mount Rushmore to the Crazy Horse monument. It’s about an hour west of the Badlands and just 20 minutes from Custer State Park.

It’s known as a “breathing cave” because of the way the air rushes in and out of the cave. That’s also where it gets its name from.

Like Mammoth Cave NP, Wind Cave has several different underground routes for visitors to choose from. The tours are short, covering less than one mile each.

The Natural Entrance Tour and Fairgrounds Tour are the most thorough, and allow guests to see boxwork, rare calcite formations found in few places on earth.

Tip: The majority of Wind Cave’s attractions are underground, but there are some hiking trails on the surface. The best for casual tourists is the Rankin Ridge Nature Trail, a one-mile loop that goes to a fire tower, the highest point in the park.

Wrangell-St. Elias NP, Alaska

Most people who take an Alaska road trip, tend to stick to Anchorage, Fairbanks, Seward, and Denali National Park.

But it’s also worth visiting Wrangell-St. Elias if you have the time. It’s the largest national park in the world!

wrangell st elias park

The park is eight million acres of forest, lakes, and wildlife. Unfortunately, just a small fraction of it is accessible via car. You can stop in to the visitor center and to see exhibits and look out from a couple of viewpoints that peer into the park.

One of the park attractions is Kennecott, an abandoned mine in the old town of McCarthy that still has remnants of the old machinery. You can only get to this park of the park by bus, or by driving down a long gravel road.

Tip: If you make it to McCarthy, take the 2-mile hike to Kennicott Glacier and Root Glacier. And yes, you will definitely need bear spray here.

Yellowstone NP, Wyoming/Montana/Idaho

What needs to be said about Yellowstone National Park? It was the first national park and it remains one of the most popular, thanks to its natural and geologic wonders.

The Old Faithful geyser gets a lot of attention, but don’t miss Grand Prismatic Spring, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Hayden Valley, and Lamar Valley as well. You can see wildlife like grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and more throughout the park.

As for hiking, Yellowstone has surprisingly few top-notch trails, but the highlight is Mount Washburn. Hike the Dunraven Pass Trail to reach the tower atop the 10,200-foot peak.

old faithful

Give yourself a minimum of three days to fully experience the world’s first national park. You don’t want to be rushed when you’re trying to see these iconic sights.

Tip: Finding lodging in Yellowstone can be tough. Park lodges are limited and expensive. Hotels in the towns around the park are moderately-priced, but require a long drive to get there. Camping is by far the most budget-friendly option.

Yosemite NP, California

Yosemite is known for sights like Half Dome and El Capitan that are favored by rock climbers. It has scenic camping and hiking, including part of the famous Pacific Crest Trail that runs all the way from Canada to Mexico.

Yosemite gets incredibly crowded, and reservations are required to enter the park for roughly half the year, from late spring to early fall.

Plan to spend at least three days here, and be sure that Glacier Point and Mariposa Grove find a place on your itinerary. Also spend a day hiking anywhere in Yosemite Valley.

Tip: Yosemite Falls (2425 feet high) is one of the tallest waterfalls in the country, and one of many falls worth seeing in the park. Spring is the best time to see waterfalls, with May and June typically having the most water. By August, some of the falls are completely dry.

Zion NP, Utah

Zion is the closest of Utah’s five parks to Las Vegas, making for a quick and easy road trip up to Zion from Sin City.

zion national park

People always rave about Zion, and with good reason! The views of the mountain peaks and valleys are some of the best in the entire national park system.

The highlight for me was hiking through the Narrows, the shallow river that weaves between 1000-foot-high walls. I rented boots and dry pants from an outfitter and spent a couple hours hiking through the gorge. It was an amazing hike, unlike any I’ve ever done.

Tip: If you have the time, don’t overlook Kolob Canyons, the far northwest section of the park. It’s much less crowded than the rest of Zion, and it has some incredible views like the one in my photo above.

Are you trying to visit all the national parks as well? Share your stories by leaving a comment!