When you’re planning a trip, you’re often choosing between adventure, sightseeing, and relaxation. Good thing America’s national park system allows you to get all three within a single trip.
This is a list of our favorite national parks that provide a great balance of adventure, sightseeing, and relaxation. We like to call these parks the flip-flop parks because you can see and do everything while wearing flip-flops.
This guide should help you understand what we mean…
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is arguably the most famous national park, and for good reason. The sightseeing is amazing and super accessible.
In fact, you can spot tons of wildlife without getting out of your car. There’s a reason why the phrase “Wyoming traffic jam” refers to a herd of buffalo blocking the road. It happens as often as a backed-up highway. Other animals include deer, bears, and gray wolves.
Most sights are accessible via a boardwalk or easy-to-moderate short hike. With little effort, you can see the Grand Prismatic Spring, Old Faithful, and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.
Everglades National Park
The Florida Everglades might not have snow-peaked mountains, caves, or deep canyons, but the park does have a fascinating ecosystem and alligators. A ton of them.
The highlight of the park is Shark Valley, which is a fifteen-mile loop that takes you through alligator country. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe. If you’re up to it, you can bike the loop, or if you just want to focus your energy on gator-watching, you can ride the tram for a small fee.
As a bonus, you’re close to two other flip- flop parks: Biscayne National Park (Homestead) and Dry Tortugas National Park that you can get to by taking a ferry from Key West.
Capitol Reef National Park
There’s no other national park in the US where you’re encouraged to pick fruit from an orchard and eat freshly baked pies. You can easily do both at Capitol Reef National Park in southern Utah.
Depending on when you visit, you can pick fruit like apricots, cherries, peaches, and pears directly from the trees in the orchard. They even provide ladders and fruit-picking tools. If you want to take some fruit home, no problem. You can pay by the pound for a lot cheaper than your local supermarket.
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