U.S. National Parks - Best Tours & Trips 2019

132 U.S. National Parks tours from 47 tour companies. 79 reviews. 4.9/5 avg rating.
The United States currently has 58 national parks, extending from Glacier Bay in Alaska and Haleakala in Hawaii to the Florida Everglades and Maine's Acadia. While the best known are probably Arizona's Grand Canyon, California's Yosemite and Wyoming's Yellowstone, there are dozens of other jewels scattered throughout the country. Whether you find yourself touring in the rugged setting of South Dakota's Badlands, the cool shade of ... Read More
All U.S. National Parks tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages.
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Travel Style Travel Style Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.

Trip Type Trip Type Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.

Itinerary Focus

Lodging Level Lodging Level Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.

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$ 0 $ 10,000+

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Physical Level Physical Level Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.

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Solo Friendly Solo Friendly Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.

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National Parks of the Northwest US

G Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
15 days
$ 205 / day
$ 3,079
From : $ 4,157
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Get inspired by wilderness in the rockies
  • Watch geysers erupt in yellowstone
  • Indulge in craft beer in laid-back oregon
  • Get a taste for the northwest's majestic national parks
  • Visit quirky towns and funky cities
Visits:
Boise, Glacier National Park, Portland, Yellowstone National Park, United States
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National Parks of America

Collette
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
12 days
$ 337 / day
$ 4,049
From : $ 4,980
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : N/A
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Experience a chuck wagon dinner and cowboy entertainment.
  • Discover a world of color and light on a breakfast cruise on Lake Powell.
  • Explore the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, a tribute to Buffalo Bill Cody.
  • Meet Native Americans and discuss their unique and colorful culture.
  • Spend a night at the spectacular Grand Canyon.
  • Visit Yellowstone National Park, home to the famous Old Faithful Geyser.
  • See one of the country's most famous landmarks, Mount Rushmore.
Visits:
Yellowstone National Park, United States
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Maine Acadia National Park & Bar Harbor

6 days
$ 499 / day
$ 2,995
From : $ 3,099
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • See the Acadia, our nation’s smallest National Park, is revered as one of the most scenic

  • Experience the life and work of Bar Harbor’s lobstermen
  • Enjoy a spin on the carriage trails or along the coast before arriving at the Jordan Pond House
  • Cycle for miles on Acadia’s automobile-free Carriage Roads
  • Experience cruise across Frenchman’s Bay to Schoodic Peninsula
Visits:
Acadia National Park, United States
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Raft & Ranch: Ultimate Western Vacation

ROW Adventures
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
7 days
$ 248 / day
$ 1,738
From : $ 2,346
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Explore Nez Perce National Historical Park in Spalding
  • Visit the world’s largest fish hatchery at the Dworshak Dam
  • Enjoy a ride in the Clearwater National Forest
  • Enjoy drive about two hours to our put-in on the Salmon River
  • Visit an ancient Chinese rock house
Visits:
Idaho, Lewiston, United States
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Joshua Tree & Palm Springs

6 days
$ 558 / day
$ 3,345
From : $ 4,516
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Ride through the famous neighbourhood of Palm Springs
  • Experience Hike through Indian Canyons followed by Palm Canyon’s fan palm tree
  • Opportunity to ride through Anza Borrego State Park features palm canyons, cacti, and plentiful wildlife, including bighorn sheep
  • Hike along a boulder-strewn river bed to one of the region’s only native palm canyons
Visits:
California, United States
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Grand Canyon Of Tuolumne

4 days
$ 313 / day
$ 1,250
From : $ 1,663
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges. Camping
Highlights
  • Hike through one of Yosemite's most breathtaking backcountry river canyons
  • Traverse the famous Tuolumne River from the high country to the lower valley
  • Pass several impressive waterfalls and box canyon sections
  • Follow in the footsteps of John Muir, who pioneered this route in the 1800's
  • Have good potential to see wildlife
  • Enjoy our exceptional backcountry cuisine and expert guides
Visits:
Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, United States
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Mt Rushmore, Grand Tetons & Yellowstone

8 days
$ 162 / day
$ 1,295
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Visit Mt. Rushmore National Monument
  • Visit the old western cowboy town of Sheridan
  • Follow the Lewis and Clark Trail to Livingston, Montana film location of "A River Runs Through It" and "The Horse Whisperer."
  • See the moose, elk, bison, bears and wolves
  • Visit Grand Teton National Park
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch near the banks of the Snake River
  • Watch for waterfowl, beaver, osprey and eagles
  • See the Mormon Tabernacle
Visits:
Grand Tetons, Idaho, Montana, Yellowstone National Park, United States
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Choose Your Pace: A Walk on the Wild Side in Yell ...

Road Scholar
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
6 days
$ 233 / day
$ 1,399
From : $ 1,889
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Minimal walking. Motor vehicles for all major parts of trip. Wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Most cruises. Very Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Discover a spectacular and mostly untouched landscape while hiking a fragment of Yellowstone's 1,200 miles of backpacking, hiking and walking trails
  • Four days in the field offer a tantalizing glimpse of the Great Caldera’s infinite wonders
  • An instructor’s interpretation and observations enhance your hiking field trips and provide an intimate portrait of the park’s wildlife, habitats and geology
Visits:
Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, United States
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Yosemite Half Dome Guided Backpacking

4 days
$ 224 / day
$ 895
From : $ 1,208
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • See the Yosemite’s wilderness allow a clear picture of the hand that glaciers had in shaping Yosemite
  • Enjoy the epic views while your guide shares tips, tricks and interpretation
  • Visit  the world-famous naturalist John Muir became fascinated with glaciers when exploring Yosemite
  • Enjoy the summit Half Dome and stand in awe of the incredible view
Visits:
Yosemite National Park, United States
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Colorado River Backpacking Loop

3 days
$ 265 / day
$ 795
From : $ 1,073
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Enjoy camp for one night at Bright Angel campground
  • You’ll have endless opportunities for exploration as you make your way along Garden Creek to the campground for the second night at Indian Gardens
  • Experience Hike out day, and you’ll ascend to the Rim along the Bright Angel Trail.
Visits:
Grand Canyon, United States
View Trip

Winter in Yellowstone

Collette
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
7 days
$ 486 / day
$ 3,399
From : $ 4,181
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • G
  • See elk in their natural habitat during a sleigh ride in the National Elk Refuge.
  • Journey to the picturesque Caribou Targhee National Forest in Idaho.
  • See the tranquil Lamar Valley tucked away in the scenic northwest corner of Yellowstone.
  • Join an expert on a private walking tour to learn the history of Yellowstone.
  • Witness the colossal geyser Old Faithful in action and surrounded by snow and ice.
  • Travel by snowcoach to observe Yellowstone's iconic scenery.
Visits:
Yellowstone National Park, United States
View Trip

5-Day Grand Canyon National Park Hiking & Cam ...

5 days
$ 285 / day
$ 1,425
From : $ 1,924
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Experience hiking trip in Grand Canyon National Park for 5 days of camping
  • Explore the popular and iconic South Rim and the more scenic North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park
  • Experience this historic tourist destination in a way that few travelers do
  • Walk amongst an ancient Puebloan village at Wupatki National Monument
Visits:
Arizona, Grand Canyon, United States
View Trip

Yosemite Hiking & Camping Weekend

3 days
$ 332 / day
$ 995
From : $ 1,343
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Awesome thrilling trail offers spectacular views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Sentinel Rock
  • Incredible postcard-worthy views of Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Falls, El Capitan
  • Enjoy hiking along The Merced River, we’ll take an incredible views of Upper Yosemite Falls
Visits:
Yosemite National Park, United States
View Trip

Rocky Mountain Thunder Lake Backpacking

3 days
$ 265 / day
$ 795
From : $ 1,073
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Experience hike past Lion Lakes and Snowbank Lake all the way to the Continental Divide
  • Enjoy the summer splendor of backpacking in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado
  • Experience “the backbone of the continent,” skirting alpine lakes and hiking across the jaw-droopingly beautiful Martian landscape
Visits:
United States
View Trip

Yosemite Falls Backpacking

4 days
$ 211 / day
$ 845
From : $ 1,141
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Experience the rugged wilderness of Yosemite with the expert guides from AOA
  • Awesome hike beneath the towering peaks of the Sierra Nevada, past rushing waterfalls, and alongside Yosemite Creek
  • Learn about, and from, this one-of-a-kind wilderness
  • This trip is a great choice for fit but inexperienced backpackers, as well as those who have already put significant backpacking miles on their boots
Visits:
Yosemite National Park, United States
View Trip
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Top U.S. National Parks Experiences and Attractions

Top U.S. National Parks Experiences

Standing on the rim of Arizona’s Grand Canyon, gazing into the vast width and depth of multi-hued rock carved over millions of years by the Colorado River.

Hiking among the world’s tallest trees in California’s Redwood National Park or the world’s biggest trees in California’s Sequoia National Park, and feeling nothing but awe.  

Riding an airboat over the surface of the Florida Everglades, checking out the crocodiles sunning themselves on the nearest land banks.

Following the boardwalks leading past steaming mud pots and geysers in Yellowstone National Park as bison wander freely in the distance.

Driving the winding Skyline Drive (speed limit: 35 mph) through Virginia’s mountainous Shenandoah National Park during fall foliage season.

Climbing as far as you dare up Half Dome, Yosemite’s most iconic granite formation and symbol.

Touring Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, the world’s longest complex of underground caverns.

Sailing Alaska’s Glacier Bay on a small ship cruise in search of whales, orcas, seals, and other sea mammals.

Marveling at the sometimes weird, always fascinating rock formations in Utah’s Bryce Canyon, Arches, and Zion national parks.

Stopping for fresh popovers after hiking the rugged Maine coast on a sunny day in Acadia National Park.

Discovering the diversity of life and attractions in California’s great desert parks, Death Valley and Joshua Tree.

Viewing the sunrise and then biking down Haleakala volcano on Hawaii’s island of Maui – the world’s longest downhill bike ride.

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U.S. National Parks Trip Reviews

79 U.S. National Parks Tour Reviews - Summary 99% Recommend

4.9 out of 5
Excellent 72
Great 6
Average 1
Disappointing 0
Terrible 0
Value
4.9
Guide
4.9
Activities
4.9
Lodging
4.9
Transportation
4.9
Meals
4.9

Tour Reviews Write a Review

What fun to travel by rail and see the cascade mountains

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

What fun to travel by rail and see the cascade mountains going and coming back at different times of day. Then the Rockies in Montana on the opposite schedule

Read more
Operator Vacations By Rail

It was the best trip I've taken in recent memory.

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

I don't think I can add much to what has already been said. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Yellowstone with Experience Park Tours. It was the best trip I've taken in recent memory. I love the beauty of nature and being with good people, and this trip combined both. It was excellent in every way. I especially appreciated how kind and helpful everyone was with my husband Larry who has some physical challenges/limitations. The staff were the very best in terms of their knowledge and expertise but also just good, kind people who were very hospitable and gracious. Thank you all so much for a memorable experience.

Read more
Operator Experience Park Tours

Excellent, with a few minor exceptions.

5.0
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 4.0

We just returned from a Caravan tour of Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, and Grand Tetons. Although there were just a couple of things we did not like, overall it was a very enjoyable seven days. The tour director was superb, very helpful, always available, friendly, and a pleasant person. The driver was very good at his job, extremely experienced and knowledgable. The trip was well planned, most of the hotels were above average in quality, the bus was comfortable, the included meals were good.

Financially, it was a good buy overall. However, it did cost somewhat more than expected based on the advertisements. Although Caravan advertises that "most or all" meals are included, in this particular tour only nine of the twenty meals were included, and of these, only one of the seven dinners. In addition, there was heavy emphasis on gratuities, with too-frequent reminders. Suggested amounts were given, and even the minimum suggested amounts seemed rather high to me. We were given to feel obligated, rather than left to decide on our own based on the quality of the service. Caravan stated that the only gratuities not included in the price were those to the tour director and driver. However, gratuities to hotel maids and local guides, and shuttle drivers were also not included, and suggested amounts for these were given by the tour director. Overall we spent about $150 on gratuities, even though staying in the lower range of the suggested amounts.

But we are glad we went, and will consider Caravan again when planning another trip.

Read more
Operator Caravan Tours

I loved the attention to detail

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

I loved the attention to detail & the itineraries provided. I like that everything you need is supplied for you vs having to travel with camping/hiking equipment.

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Operator Arizona Outback Adventures

Western Explorer

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

A wonderful trip with each day having numerous wow moments.
Difficult to pick just one but the most unexpected was the walk down Antelope slot canyon and photographing the spectacular colours and shades on the rock that the sunlight cast.
Also the 4x4 drive in Monument valley with the Navajo tribe a place I have always wanted to visit.

Erin was excellent. She had a couple of long days driving but still had loads of energy. She had a good knowledge of the places we visited, had plenty of suggestions for our free days and tried to vary the places we ate at.

If you are planning on spending extra time in San Francisco at the start then there is no need to visit the Golden Gate bridge. On the first actual day of the trip the minibus deposits you at the bridge and allows you time to walk across before collecting you from the other side.
Don't expect any time to visit / see Hoover dam, due to security restrictions meaning all our bags would have had to be searched we did not stop. Although we did visit Glen Canyon dam which is a similar structure and size earlier on the trip
There are a couple of long days travelling one of which is around 7 hours, however there are numerous stops and videos to watch also the time seems to pass quickly when looking at the scenery. The earliest we set off in the morning was 7. All the accommodation was good with the 2 nights at Zion particularly good

I have been on 8 trips booked through Exodus this was the best of the lot

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Operator Exodus Travels

This tour has a free atmosphere for me and i can make so much good friends from all of the world.

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

amazing

Read more
Operator G Adventures

U.S. National Parks Tours and Travel Guide

U.S. National Parks Attractions & Landmarks Guide

Since the first national park in the U.S. – and the world – was established in 1872, America’s National Park System has grown to encompass more than 400 areas in 50 states, the District of Columbia, and various U.S. overseas territories. Of these, the majority are national recreation areas, monuments, designated scenic trails and historic places overseen by the National Park Service.

That first national park, Yellowstone – which protects a huge swath of volcanic land stretching across parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, and is best known for its geysers and wildlife – remains one of the jewels of the system. It’s now part of a diverse and highly select group of 58 forests, deserts, canyons, mountains, bodies of water and wetlands, battlegrounds and other areas of natural scenic beauty and historic significance that warrant full national park status.

The National Park Stars

The most visited national park is the Great Smoky Mountains, accessed via a highway that cuts through the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee and leads to hiking trails, waterfalls, wildlife viewing and fall color scenery.

It receives more than nine million visitors per year, about twice the number of the second most-visited park, the Grand Canyon – though the 277-mile-long, 6,000-foot-deep canyon is probably the most famous U.S. national park. California’s Yosemite – a natural wonderland of valleys, meadows, waterfalls, and granite rock formations -- is the third most visited national park, followed by Yellowstone.

Other Top 20 National Parks

Other popular U.S. national parks include Washington State’s Olympic (for hiking through rainforest) and 14,400-foot Mt. Rainier; Colorado’s Rocky Mountains (with 60 peaks 12,000 feet or higher); Wyoming’s Grand Tetons, south of Yellowstone and replete with mountains and wildlife; Utah’s Bryce Canyon, Zion and Arches, known for their unusual rock formations and multi-colored canyons; and Maine’s Acadia, which was the first national park east of the Mississippi, with good hiking trails, campgrounds and beaches.

Along with Yosemite, California offers up two outstanding desert parks, Joshua Tree and Death Valley, as well as Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Redwood national parks, which feature the world’s biggest and tallest trees, respectively. Sequoia’s 2,500-year-old General Sherman tree is believed to be the world’s largest living thing.

Other top 20 most-visited national parks include Ohio’s Cuyahoga, which features a scenic railway ride as well as biking, hiking and horse trails; Montana’s Glacier, for hiking, camping, and mountain scenery; South Dakota’s Badlands, where erosion has produced an array of canyons, spires, and buttes; Hawaii Volcanoes, where Kilauea has been erupting since 1983; Hawaii’s 10,000-foot-high Haleakala volcano; and Arkansas’ Hot Springs.

Don’t Overlook These Gems

Other notable national parks include Florida’s Everglades, the country’s only subtropical wilderness area, known for its network of rivers and wetlands as well as its wildlife; Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave, the world’s longest known cave system, with almost 400 miles of caverns and passageways; Arizona’s Petrified Forest, with its ancient fossilized trees, and Saguaro National Park, home of giant cacti.

Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park offers scenic drives through the mountains; Alaska’s Glacier Bay and Denali provide incredible scenery (Denali is North America’s highest mountain); and Minnesota’s Voyageurs National Park is great for boating in summer, snowshoeing in winter.

Don’t know where to start? You can rely on Stride to help sort your way through the U.S. National Park System and soon have you on your way to some of America’s most beautiful and historic settings.

Top U.S. National Parks Travel Companies

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