Must-See Hidden Gems Nestled in the U.S. National Parks


Your Mileage May Vary

There are 423 National Park Sites in the U.S.–Here are some that you can’t miss out on!

In 1872, Yellowstone was the first National Park to be founded in the United States. Now, over the span of more than 84 million acres, there is a group of 63 elite National Parks extending beyond the states to reserves in Puerto Rico, Guam, The Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. 

You’ve probably heard of the prestigious beauty of well-known sites like the Grand Canyon and the area surrounding Big Sky Montana. However, you may not be familiar with the glistening blankets of white sand in New Mexico or the Idaho Oasis of the Blue Heart Springs. 

Scroll through the directory of hidden treasures and locations below that should be on your lifetime’s must-do bucket list. 


Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

A volcanic eruption that took place over 7,000 years ago created Mount Mazama. Crater Lake is snuggled within the alp, and is almost 2,000 feet deep–the deepest in the country. The clear crystal blue waters manufacture a gorgeous and breathtaking panorama. 


Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic is encompassed by several awe-inspiring parks–spread out over nearly one million acres with temperate rainforests that make it the wettest region of the continental U.S. About 95% of the land is dedicated to a vast wilderness and the region hosts a myriad of other splendid wonders such as tide pools, rocky cliffs, mountain glaciers, and sandy beaches. 


Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

The 100-mile open, blue water landscape is the third largest barrier reef system outside of Belize and Australia. It rests at the farthest point of the Florida Keys, reachable by boat or seaplane. Within its seven small islands, there is prosperous ocean and marine life that enrich the experience of visitors who can snorkel and explore shipwrecks near Fort Jefferson. 


Sequoia National Park, California

Home to the world’s largest tree and the tallest mountain in the continental U.S., Sequoia National Park is a massive old-growth coniferous forest and is one of the most extensive in the world. There are also over 240 marble caverns within the park. 


White Sands National Park, New Mexico

Engulfed in 275 square miles of desert, the massive wave-like sand dunes of White Sands National Park are one of the great wonders of the world. It is located in the Tularosa Basin of New Mexico. Its sand is composed of gypsum—creating the largest gypsum dunefield globally. Not to mention it looks like you are standing on fluffy white clouds as you traverse the vast landscape. 


Spruce Flats Falls, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains are now seeing upwards of 11 million visitors each year–which is more than that of the Grand Canyon and Yosmite combined! However, there is a hidden treasure trove: Spruce Flats Falls. The 30-foot multi-tiered waterfall is a sight to put on your must-see list the next time you visit the Misty Mountains. 


Bowman Lake, Glacier National Park

One of the most remote locations in Glacier National Park is Bowman Lake. This detour leads you away from all the congested tourist sights. The eight-mile lake has campsites and numerous hiking trails for you to choose from. Most importantly, 25 of the Park’s 150 glaciers remain, and by 2030, it is expected that the residual glaciers will permanently disappear. This means that you should try to visit these sights before you no longer have the chance. 


Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

The geologic treasure of the Grand Staircase National Monument consists of spectacular terraces, cliffs, natural bridges, slot canyons, and grand arches. While vast and rugged, the Southern Utahn monument is also easily accessible. 


Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska

This rarely visited national reserve is a wilderness of ice fields, glacial rivers, and alpine valleys. It is the largest U.S. National Park at 13.2 million acres of protected land. 


Delta Lake, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park is one of the busiest in the country, but this glorious should-be hotspot is a must-do, as long as you are okay with a bit of a hike. It isn’t for the faint of heart, but the stunning landscape and turquoise waters make it unquestionably worth it!


Kings Landing, Florida

Kings Landing is located on the pristine waters of one of the main tributaries that caters into the Wekiva River Basin. Paddle boards, kayaks, and canoes can be launched into the natural lazy river that flows through the Florida jungle. It is the perfect place for explorative snorkeling and for swimming in shallow wading areas. 


Blue Heart Springs, Idaho

The natural spring water oasis is a brilliant blue hue—at a crisp 58 degrees. The cove is exclusively accessible by boat as it is located in a fragile ecosystem. The quaint swimming hole has been termed “Heaven on Earth” and its secret whereabouts place it far from the watchful eye of the public. 


To learn more about each of the places mentioned above and to get a glimpse of their natural beauty, be sure to click the heading links for each description!