Top Ten Alternative National and State Parks

Our country's parks system provides some of the best and most spectacularly beautiful options for a budget-friendly vacation in the outdoors. Although some parks get all the attention—and with it, millions of visitors—here are ten oft-overlooked
Colorado State Forest State Park
ALL WOW, NO CROWDS: Hit the trails on your own in Colorado State Forest State Park (courtesy, Colorado State Parks)
Get Outdoors
Want more travel ideas and guides to our country's parks? Peruse our Parks & Outdoors Travel Guide for all of your travel needs.

With nearly 650 million acres of public land, covering roughly 30 percent of the total land area of the United States, it's a wonder we encounter any other people while in the wild. But in 2008, 61 million people visited 57 national parks, and most of them (36 million) chose the top ten most visited parks. Sure, the awe-inspiring cliffs of the Grand Canyon and the shooting geysers of Yellowstone will ensure that those parks continue to attract throngs, but it's time some of the equally-enchanting but lesser-seen national and state parks and forests had a moment in the spotlight. Instead of fighting for space at the bigger-name parks, explore all the wilderness you can handle in these lesser-known parks.

10. Camden Hills State Park, Maine
9. North Cascades National Park, Washington
8. Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
7. Colorado State Forest State Park, Colorado
6. Shawnee State Park, Ohio
5. Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming
4. Tongass National Forest, Alaska
3. Kings Canyon National Park, California
2. Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona
1. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia


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