These Lesser-Known National Parks Are Ideal For Summer Travel

Life Writer


There are 60 National Parks across America. That’s not counting the hundreds of National Monuments, historical sites, battlefields, memorials, trails, and more. When you count all of them together, the number of protected sites that fall under the US National Park system is well over 400. So it’s not going to surprise anyone when we say: “There are scores of incredible sites worth exploring, in this nation. From sea to shining sea.”

Still, that point feels worth mentioning again, with summer rapidly approaching. So we thought we’d put together a list of the 12 US National Parks we love that don’t get the big ticket acclaim of a Yellowstone or Olympic. These are the parks that are a little more off the beaten path, a little more unique, and 100 percent worth a visit this summer.

Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota

South Dakota is more than motorcycles and Mount Rushmore. The state is a summer vacay wonderland with endless forests for camping, mountains for climbing, rivers for floating, old-timey casinos for a little fun, and saloons for tipping back a cold one.

Wind Cave in South Dakota is a high plains wonderland. It’s where the beauty of the open prairie meets the lush wilderness of the Black Hills. The park has major historical significance as the place where the American Bison was saved from extinction (with the help from the Bronx Zoo). The herd that’s repopulated almost all of the American bison living today is still there, roaming what’s left of the great American frontier.

Summer Vibes: Spacious. SoDak (not a thing) is a land of wide open plains, so get in the mood to have room to explore. This goes double if you’re visiting Wind Cave. It’s literally where the buffalo roam.

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