Best National Parks in the World

With so much beauty to behold, it's tough to choose which natural wonders you should visit first. To help, U.S. News compiled a ranking of the best national parks in the world using reader votes and expert insights, as well as factors like accessibility, abundance of wildlife, camping opportunities and breathtaking natural landmarks. We need your input to help determine next year's ranking, so vote for your favorite destinations below.

SUMMARY

Best National Parks in the World

  • Yellowstone
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    Yellowstone

    #1 in Best National Parks in the World

    With numerous attractions scattered throughout its more than 2 million acres, Yellowstone is a national treasure. This protected area in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho is America's first national park, but its age has not dulled its natural beauty. Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful continue to amaze visitors year after year, and less-crowded gems like Hayden Valley and Yellowstone Lake are also worth a visit.

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  • Yosemite
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    Yosemite

    #2 in Best National Parks in the World

    Less than 170 miles east of San Francisco, Yosemite offers visitors a plethora of impressive natural wonders to behold. Scenic landscapes, such as the famous Tunnel View and Valley View outlooks, and renowned landmarks like Half Dome and El Capitan are just a few of Yosemite's greatest attractions. What's more, the park boasts a whopping 800-plus miles of trails for visitors to traverse.

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  • Glacier National Park
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    Glacier National Park

    #3 in Best National Parks in the World

    Glacier National Park is Montana's crown jewel. The whopping 1 million-acre park, which was named after the remains of glaciers from the last ice age, offers captivating mountainous scenery left and right. Here, you'll find more than 700 lakes, six National Historic Landmarks (including Lake McDonald Lodge, Granite Park Chalet and the Two Medicine Store) and the famous Highline Trail, which follows the Continental Divide.

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  • Grand Canyon
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    Grand Canyon

    #4 in Best National Parks in the World

    You can't beat the views at this world-famous Arizona national park. The Grand Canyon continually wows visitors with its shifting colors, vast depth and incredible rock formations. Whether you're flying in a helicopter over the canyon, rafting down the Colorado River or simply exploring with your own two feet, the majesty of the Grand Canyon is guaranteed to leave you completely breathless.

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  • Serengeti National Park
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    Serengeti National Park

    #5 in Best National Parks in the World

    Tanzania's Serengeti National Park is the world-renowned home of the great migration. Every year, 2 million wildebeests and hundreds of thousands of zebras and gazelles cross the park in search of food and breeding grounds. Predicting when this momentous event will occur can be tricky, so if you don't have that kind of flexibility, a traditional safari is your best bet.

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  • Zion National Park
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    Zion National Park

    #6 in Best National Parks in the World

    Most visitors travel to Utah's first national park to see the stunning Zion Canyon, but the park's trails are just as impressive. Experienced hikers should traverse the sky-high Angels Landing (go early in the morning for fewer crowds) or brave the Narrows, which is the slimmest section of Zion Canyon. For a less-strenuous climb, try the popular Canyon Overlook Trail or the Pa'rus Trail.

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  • Jasper National Park
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    Jasper National Park

    #7 in Best National Parks in the World

    As the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper offers no shortage of outdoor fun. Come here to enjoy an array of adventure activities in the summer, including hiking, biking and boating, plus snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and ice climbing in the winter. No matter when you visit, be sure you take some time to stargaze – Jasper is the second-largest dark sky preserve in the world.

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  • Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
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    Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

    #8 in Best National Parks in the World

    In May 2018, the Kilauea volcano in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park erupted, leaving extensive damage in its wake and shutting down the park for months. Though some closures remain in effect, this park on the Big Island is still worth a visit. Travelers can take in the views along Chain of Craters Road, observe rising steam at the Steam Vents and hike through parts of Crater Rim Trail.

  • Torres Del Paine National Park
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    Torres Del Paine National Park

    #9 in Best National Parks in the World

    You may spot animals like penguins and whales here, but the landscape is the true star of the show. Located in Chilean Patagonia, Torres Del Paine National Park encompasses more than 448,000 acres of stunning geographical features, such as Grey Glacier and the famous Cuernos del Paine. The most popular hikes include the W Trek and the O Circuit, which are both dayslong journeys.

  • Kruger National Park
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    Kruger National Park

    #10 in Best National Parks in the World

    South Africa's iconic Kruger National Park is one of the most tourist-friendly game parks in the continent. Kruger is home to hundreds of animal species, including the big five – lions, leopards, buffaloes, elephants and rhinos – and a variety of birds. What's more, the national reserve boasts a variety of excursions and luxury lodges, as well as camping spots and specialty packages for honeymooners and families.

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  • Grand Teton National Park
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    Grand Teton National Park

    #11 in Best National Parks in the World

    Often overlooked for its northern neighbor, Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park is a not-so-hidden gem. This Wyoming destination offers enviable scenery along its miles of scenic trails, including the popular Cascade Canyon Trail and the picturesque pathways by Jenny Lake. The park also features plenty of outdoor activities for all seasons, plus opportunities to spot wildlife ranging from black bears to bison.

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  • Guilin and Lijiang River National Park
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    Guilin and Lijiang River National Park

    #12 in Best National Parks in the World

    Southern China's Guilin and Lijiang River National Park stuns visitors with its misty peaks and tranquil river scenes. You'll encounter jagged limestone-formed karst hills, as well as caves and cliffs across the park that have inspired Chinese artists and poets throughout history. Explore by river cruise for the best views of popular sites like Elephant Trunk Hill, which resembles an elephant bending over to drink water with its trunk.

  • Rocky Mountain National Park
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    Rocky Mountain National Park

    #13 in Best National Parks in the World

    Spanning the Continental Divide, this 265,600-acre national park in Colorado is home to more than 300 miles of hiking trails and the 48-mile Trail Ridge Road, which reaches an elevation of more than 12,000 feet. Adventurous visitors should also check out must-see spots like Longs Peak, Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain along the popular Emerald Lake Trail for spectacular views.

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  • Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
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    Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

    #14 in Best National Parks in the World

    Located in central Australia, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features stunning geological formations across more than 327,000 acres. Managed by the indigenous Anangu people and Parks Australia, the park welcomes visitors interested in learning about the cultural and spiritual significance of the area. Travelers can also hike, embark on ranger-led tours, go bird-watching and learn about rock art painted many centuries ago.

  • Fiordland National Park
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    Fiordland National Park

    #15 in Best National Parks in the World

    New Zealand's largest national park is awash with fjords so stunning, they'll put Norway's famous natural attractions to shame. The fjords were carved by glaciers and can be found at multiple points in the park, though the most popular places to see them are Milford and Doubtful sounds. The park also features lakes, mountains and plenty of wildlife, making it an adventure traveler's ultimate destination.

  • Arches National Park
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    Arches National Park

    #16 in Best National Parks in the World

    Like the name suggests, you'll find a bounty of natural arches in this eastern Utah national park – more than 2,000, to be exact. The most iconic of these stone structures are Landscape Arch and Delicate Arch. However, visitors are equally wowed by Balanced Rock and the Windows Section, the latter of which is home to the largest arches in the park.

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  • Sequoia National Park
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    Sequoia National Park

    #17 in Best National Parks in the World

    Vacationers travel to this California park on the banks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range for photo ops of the striking, massive sequoias – the largest trees in the world. If you're tacking on a stop at Sequoia National Park during your next West Coast road trip, be sure to visit the Giant Forest grove. There, you'll see the largest living tree on Earth: the General Sherman Tree.

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  • Bryce Canyon National Park
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    Bryce Canyon National Park

    #18 in Best National Parks in the World

    After Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon is Utah's most popular national park. This southwestern Utah wonder is awash with unique hoodoos (tall, thin spikes of rock formed by erosion), which can be found in stunning mass at the Bryce Canyon Amphitheater. Take in the views at Inspiration Point, then venture into the canyon at Sunrise Point to get a closer look at the amphitheater's striking natural architecture.

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  • Swiss National Park
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    Swiss National Park

    #19 in Best National Parks in the World

    Swiss National Park in Zernez, Switzerland, encompasses 41,760 acres of verdant land, giving visitors access to almost 50 miles of trails that weave in and out of valleys backed by the breathtaking Swiss Alps. While hiking, keep an eye out for wildlife ranging from well-known animals like foxes and eagles to Alpine ibexes (wild goats with large horns that live in the mountains).

  • Olympic National Park
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    Olympic National Park

    #20 in Best National Parks in the World

    Olympic National Park offers snow-capped mountains, moss-covered rainforests and more than 70 miles of coastline across its nearly 1 million acres. You'll need more than a few days to see all of this Washington park's majesty, as it can take hours to cover the distance between attractions. Must-visit spots include the dreamy Hoh Rain Forest, the stately Hurricane Ridge and the beautiful Kalaloch Beach.

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