Top Ten Summer Parks


For some, summer outdoor recreation means heading off to the local pool or having a backyard barbecue featuring a game of volleyball or horseshoes. But for many of us, the warmth and long days that come with the season mean it's time to head off and take in one of those trademarks of wilderness in the United States—a national park.

We here at GORP have traversed many miles in our favorites, and there are as many readers' favorites as there are parks. One thing is pretty evident, though: You can't go wrong with any of the parks in the system. In order to make your next getaway easier, we offer you GORP's picks for the top ten most popular parks, compiled by consulting the National Park System's own visitation statistics, reviewing the experiences of other GORP readers, and adding in a bit of our own knowledge and biases.

Keep in mind that from June through September, you might not always be standing in pure solitude—millions of people descend on these places during the summer months. And there's good reason: These ten parks offer tops in everything from fishing to hiking, from wildlife viewing to places to simply take in the splendors of nature. And remember, most of the national parks are vast wildernesses in which anyone can find the perfect escape, even if there are a few hundred people standing around waiting for Old Faithful to blow a mile away.


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