Underrated National Parks in North America Leisure Travel | Travel Zone by Best Western

Underrated National Parks in North America

By Mer Norwood

North America is filled with gorgeous National Parks, but in recent years, overcrowding seems to have overtaken most popular parks. For a more relaxed experienced, choose an adventure at underrated National Parks. Here’s our top picks on underrated National Parks in North America.


Lassen Volcanic National Park in Mineral California 

California has mighty National Parks, including Yosemite National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, and the Redwood National Park. While these National Parks draw in millions of visitors each year, Lassen Volcanic National Park draws in less than 500,000 visitors, comparably. Yet this Northern California gem is fascinating. Once you visit, you’ll become a volcano-enthusiast passionate about volcanism. There are four types of volcanoes found within the park (Shield, Composite, Cinder Cone, and Plug Dome) that are worth discovering. In addition, Lassen Volcanic National Park has the largest plug dome volcano in the world. Explore the magical colors of the painted dunes or take a dip in the clear waters of Manzanita Lake, adventure awaits at Lassen Volcanic National Park. 

Book your stay at Best Western Rose Quartz Inn. 


Congaree National Park in Hopkins, South Carolina 

As South Carolina’s only National Park, Congaree National Park does not disappoint. There are around 26,000 acres of some of the tallest trees in North America. You can look up to see the towering canopies that have a long-standing history of protecting humans for the last 10,000 years. It is also the largest intact tract of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in the US. Follow the Boardwalk Trail for a quick adventure meandering down the 2.4-mile loop surrounded by huge cypress trees. If you’re lucky enough to catch the firefly movement, you’ll be rewarded with thousands of glowing fireflies lighting up the night skies. 

Book your stay at Best Western Executive Inn & Suites. 


Petrified Forest National Park in Holbrook, Arizona 

Driving for miles on I-40 in Arizona may give you monotone beiges for miles, but when you reach the Petrified Forest National Park, you’ll be delighted to see spectacular colors. Petrified logs take on the colors of iron, carbon, and manganese to form almost solid quartz, with colors glittering in the sunshine. The logs were created over 200 million years ago, and now are a testament to nature’s triumph. In addition, within the park, is the Painted Desert, whose striations are simply breathtaking. These badlands of striated, flat-topped hills, extend from Petrified Forest National Park to almost 200 miles towards the Grand Canyon.  

Book your stay at Best Western Snowflake Inn. 


Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Mosca, Colorado 

Sandboarding is the act of surfing on sand instead of water, and it is one of the most popular and unique activities you can do in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Boasting the tallest sand dunes in North America, with the legendary Star Dune at nearly 800 feet, explore the sand dunes by hiking, sandboarding, or sand-sledding up and down the dunes. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is also recognized as a certified Dark Sky Park – meaning it has the ideal conditions to look up at the stars and galaxies at night. Whether you choose to explore during the day or night, you’ll be sure to find fun-filled moments worth capturing.   

Book your stay at Best Western Alamosa Inn

Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona 

While cacti have long been associated with the Wild West, it’s in Arizona that the famous saguaro cacti are indigenous.At the Saguaro National Park, you can see the glory of the saguaros in the Sonoran Desert, with some saguaros reaching 50 feet tall and dating to 200-years-old. Today, the Tohono O’odham people continue to play a vibrant role in the culture of the park, as Saguaro National Park has been their ancestral home for thousands of years. The Tohono O’odham people harvest the fruit and seeds of the saguaro in a ceremonial manner, with Hashañi Mashad as the saguaro harvest month.   

Book your stay at Best Western Royal Sun Inn & Suites

Georgian Bay Islands National Park in Honey Harbour, Ontario

Water lovers will embrace Georgian Islands National Park – Ontario’s National Park that is only accessible by boat and is an area of 13.5 sq km. With approximately 35,000 annual visitors per year, it is undeniably one of Canada’s underrated National Parks (Banff National Park, by comparison, receives nearly 5 million annual visitors). Comprised of 63 islands, the largest of which is Beausoleil Island, enjoy kayaking, boating, and swimming around the beautiful ecosystem that is more than 7,000 years old.

Book your stay at Christie’s Mill & Spa, BW Premier Collection.


Kootenay National Park in Radium, British Columbia

Kootenay National Park is often overshadowed by other nearby National Parks in British Columbia, but don’t be fooled, because this one’s worth the trip. Most known for Radium Hot Springs within the National Park, soaking in the clear mineral water, surrounded by breathtaking, natural beauty, will make for stunning memories. Explore the rest of Kootenay National Park, including hiking the Canadian Rockies and adventuring on the Vermilion River.

Book your stay at WorldHotels™ Crafted, Prestige Radium Hot Springs Resort.

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