Stride climate

Top 10 National Parks in the World

By Samantha Scott
September 11, 2019

Visiting national parks is a classic travel activity. There are so many stunning destinations around the world that it’s practically impossible to narrow it down to 10 - it’s almost small enough a number for the choices to be arbitrary. 

However we’ve done our best to select the 10 best national parks in the world, choosing them for a wide breadth of locations, popularity, and number of activities available.

1. Yellowstone National Park, United States

Lone Buffalo in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone stands out for being the oldest national park in the United States, founded in 1872. The park is well known for geysers, the most famous being Old Faithful which erupts every hour. 

The geothermal activity in the park is what draws many visitors eager to see the steaming pools and springs. If you have a strong aversion to the smell of rotten eggs, beware. The hot springs create a very strong and pungent aroma!

The wildlife in Yellowstone is another highlight. Get ready to observe herds of buffalo and meandering grizzly bears. Bird watching is also popular.

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2. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Overview of walkways in Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice in Croatia is as close to a fairyland as anywhere in the world. The park consists of hundreds of waterfalls surrounding idyllic lakes and pools. Connecting them are miles of wooden pathways and hiking trails, providing unique views at eye level with the falls as well as expansive vistas. 

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3. Sequoia National Park, United States

Enormous trees in Sequoia national park

The largest trees in the world can be found in Northern California at Sequoia National Park. Walking amongst these giants is like walking through a different world.

Their size is absolutely dizzying. Highly recommended to visit with a guide who can highlight the ecological history of the area and shed light on just how amazing these trees are.

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4. Torres del Paine National Park, South America

Torres del Paine Patagonia national park

For travelers to Patagonia, Torres del Paine is the cream of the crop. Located on the Chilean side of Patagonia, this other-worldy national park features one of the top treks in the world, the “W” trek. 

On this hike you’ll see the famous “postcard shots” of icy blue glaciers and lagoons. Doing the W trek with a guided tour is highly recommended for safety as well as unique insights and locations you simply wouldn’t know about without a guide.

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5. Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

Fiordland national park in New Zealand

New Zealand has no shortage of stunning landscapes and Fiordland National Park is one of the most incredible places.

Two glacier formed “sounds” Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound make up Fiordland National Park, and are accessible by ferry for day or half day trips. There are also numerous hikes of varying difficulty and length around the sounds - many multi-day.

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6. Kruger National Park, South Africa

Lion crossing the road in Kruger National Park

Of all the safari parks in Africa, Kruger is perhaps the more well known. Located in South Africa, it is a great place for first time safari-goers especially if you want the best chance of seeing the “Big 5” (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and Cape buffalo).

Birders too will not be disappointed, as you attempt to spot ground hornbill, kori bustard, lappet-faced vulture, martial eagle, pel’s fishing owl, and saddle-bill stork. 

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7. Banff National Park, Canada

Bright blue lake jasper in Banff National park

Sending it north for a park that has unique charm in both winter and summer. Banff National Park in Western Canada is known for bright turquoise blue lakes and traditional lodges - a great vacation spot for families and couples.

In summer time kayaking or hiking around the many lakes (Moraine and Lake Louise are them most well known) are popular activities, while in wintertime you can ski to your heart's content.

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8. Iguazu National Park, Argentina

Waterfalls of Iguazu in South America national park

Waterfall lovers this is the one for you. Iguazu Falls - which famously made Eleanor Roosevelet proclaim “poor Niagara” is the star of this National Park, straddling the border between Brazil and Argentina.

Iguazu is a must see for anyone visiting Argentina or Brazil and hiking the surrounding rainforest of the park is great for those interested in spotting a plethora of wildlife.

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9. Swiss National Park

Landscapes of swiss national park

To channel your inner Maria von Trapp, there could be nothing better than an invigorating hike through the Swiss Alps. Swiss National Park in Eastern Switzerland boasts many activities, suitable for a wide range of physical levels. 

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10. Lake District National Park

Rolling hills of lake district national park in England

 For a classic British getaway, you couldn’t get any better than the Lake District in central England. Featuring beautiful expanses of greenery, plenty of hiking trails, boating, and as a bonus - it’s not really that crowded most of the year, except maybe in the middle of summer. 

Additionally, fans of the works of Beatrix Potter can visit her home and gardens!

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