10 Unique Things to Do in National Parks

  • Enjoying the scenery and a snack at Acadia National Park

    Eat Popovers at Acadia National Park

    Acadia National Park is home to the Jordan Pond House (in addition to a host of natural wonders and spectacular views). At the Jordan Pond House, two things truly stand out: outdoor seating with top notch views, and the famous popover, a light, hollow roll t hat will fill you up but not leave you feeling bogged down before a hike.

    Photo courtesy of lori05871

  • Paunsaugunt ATV Trail offers exclusive views

    Cruise the ATV Trail Near Bryce Canyon

    One of Utah's many natural treasures, Bryce Canyon is best known for its ethereal rock formations, called hoodoos. While motorized vehicles are not permitted on any of the park's many trails, the nearby Paunsaugunt ATV Trail in the national forest is a great place to take an ATV ride that will give visitors a whole new perspective on the landscape.

    Photo courtesy of Specta

  • Yellowstone by horseback

    Ride a Horse or Llama Through Yellowstone

    Old Faithful is far from Yellowstone's only draw, though admittedly its most iconic. One way to truly experience the rugged and breathtaking landscape is to strike out on a guided, backcountry ride through the national park, either by horse or by llama.

    Photo courtesy of paulwbond

  • View of Zion Canyon

    Hike Zion's Hidden Canyon Trail

    Zion National Park is downright otherworldly, and has a host of popular hiking trails, some of them quite strenuous. This one, slightly off the beaten path as only befits its name–the Hidden Canyon Trail–leads from a narrow side ravine into the main canyon, and offers a break from the more traditional hikes.

    Photo courtesy of NPS - Barb Graves

  • Scale some peaks in Yosemite

    Climb the Sheer Cliffs of Yosemite

    Yosemite is known for many things, but for the more active and adventurous outdoors types who visit it each year, it's perhaps best known for rock climbing. Merced River Canyon and Tuolumne Meadows are considered two of the park's most challenging and riveting climbs.

    Photo courtesy of niiicedave

  • Stop and smell the flowers in the Smoky Mountains

    See the Wildflowers of the Great Smoky Mountains

    Over 16,600 flowering plant species can be found in the Great Smoky Mountains, and summer is the best time to visit to take them in. A world-renowned preserve for wildflowers, here you'll find specimens like the flame azalea or the rosebay rhododendron.

    Photo courtesy of rjones0856

  • Reel in a great catch at Rocky Mountain National Park

    Cast a Line in Rocky Mountain National Park

    Sport fishing is permitted in the rich waters of Rocky Mountain National Park. Lakes like Sprague Lake are teeming with greenback cutthroat and Colorado River cutthroat trout, both native to the region.

    Photo courtesy of krossbow

  • Hug a tree in Sequoia National Park

    Marvel at the Giants of Sequoia National Park

    Muir Woods isn't the only place in America to marvel at massive redwoods. The giant sequoias of aptly-named Sequoia National Park and neighboring King's Canyon are truly something to behold. For a slightly bleaker (but equally fascinating) sight, visit the Converse Basin, where you'll see the "Fallen Giants"–stumps of giant sequoias brought down in 1900.

    Photo courtesy of MiguelVieira

  • Dinner and a show:  breathtaking views with a delicious meal at Summit House

    Ride a Gondola to the Summit House on Mt. Rainier

    The Summit House feels like nothing short of dining at the top of the world. As if the sweeping views and stellar cuisine at the Summit House aren't a draw in their own right, summer is the perfect time to take a gondola ride up to your meal.

    Photo courtesy of kashyap_hc

  • Crater Lake National Park offers stunning views and adventuresome swimming

    Dip Your Toes at Crater Lake National Park

    Created from the collapse of a massive mountain over eight thousand years ago, Crater Lake National Park in Oregon is a national treasure. This lake is one of the coldest and deepest in the world, and in the heat of summer, you may just find yourself grateful.

    Photo courtesy of inkknife_2000