It’s hard to get away and truly step into nature these days. One place it’s possible? National parks. These huge parks offer a rare opportunity to see stunning vistas, observe animals in their natural element, and hear sounds you’d never notice in a city.
If you’re heading on a road trip through the Western U.S., make sure to take a pitstop (or two, or three) at one of these national parks. You won’t regret it!
1. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
No list of national parks is complete without the one that started it all: Yellowstone! Take in the world-famous geysers and hot springs, imagine yourself in a scene from the hit TV show, or hike along Yellowstone's Grand Canyon (Artist’s Point has the best views of its waterfall).
Instagrammable Spot: Do we even need to tell you? Old Faithful is a hit on and off the Gram, so take a pic!
2. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Wildflowers, wildlife, and the wild outdoors - what more could you ask for? Grand Teton National Park has it all. Walk along the Snake River for beautiful views of the Grand Tetons themselves, and check out Schwabacher’s Landing to see if you can spot any busy beavers doing their thing.
Instagrammable Spot: The Grand Teton mountains are the main event here, but the John Moulton Barn offers a glimpse at homesteading history and makes for a more unique shot.
3. Zion National Park, Utah
Rock lovers, this one’s for you. Whether you’re hiking along the canyon floor or driving along Mount Carmel Highway, Zion National Park boasts incredible rock formations and views that don’t feel real. Don’t leave without seeing the Three Patriarchs or Towers of the Virgin.
Instagrammable Spot: The Watchman Trail is beginner-friendly with plenty of places to stop for a photo all your own.
4. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Not to be outdone, Bryce Canyon also offers crazy rock formations that will make your jaw drop. You can thank the power of water erosion for this park’s wild geology of fins, hoodoos, and windows (don’t worry — you’ll know what all these mean after your visit).
Instagrammable Spot: Wake up early and get your camera ready. A sunrise photo from Bryce Point or Sunrise Point offers an especially colorful view of the Amphitheater, the area of the canyon with the most hoodoos. Thor’s Hammer is another fun spot for you Marvel fans out there.
5. Grand Canyon, Arizona
The Grand Canyon is so, well, grand, that it’s hard to capture in a photo. Still, it’s worth a try — and it’s definitely worth the experience! You can see elk, California condors, and bighorn sheep here. You can even walk your dog on some trails!
Instagrammable Spot: Mather Point is the easiest to get to if you’re short on time. Drive in from the south entrance, park along the South Rim, and take it all in.
Up for an extra pitstop on your road trip? Drive over to Sedona for a hike through Red Rock State Park.
6. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, California
That’s enough about canyons. Let’s get some ocean in our lives! Big Sur is just the place, located off California's scenic Pacific Coast Highway. Here you can check out one of California’s rare tidefalls (that’s a waterfall that empties into the ocean), marvel at Bixby Creek Bridge, or simply take in the beauty of California’s majestic coastline.
Instagrammable Spot: Grand Ocean Lookout Stop at the lookout over McWay Falls for a cliffside selfie.
7. Sequoia National Park, California
Get ready to have your breath taken away. The trees here are as gargantuan as you imagine. But Sequoia National Park has plenty to explore on ground level, too, from the Moro Rock Trail to Crystal Cave.
Instagrammable Spot: You know what to do. Head over to the General Sherman Tree and take your photo in front of this 275-foot-tall wonder of nature.
Still looking for more parks to explore? Find inspiration on our Pinterest board!
Roam often, stay stylish.
Such awesome article & photos are beautiful!! Have only been to #6 &7 but have always dreamed of seeing more of these amazing parks. Great place to go now!