Your travel bucket list is probably pretty unique and might include a national park or two. Depending on your priorities, you might want to spend time in a tree-filled oasis without crowds. Or you might hope to visit a getaway near a major city. Whatever your ideal vacation, you should look beyond the most popular national parks. After all, the National Park Service operates 417 national parks throughout the United States.
Most of us think of the country’s most popular destinations when we think “national park.” We’re all familiar with the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Yellowstone. But it pays to go somewhere off the beaten path. Read on to check out some of the underrated national parks you might enjoy even more than the popular spots.
1. Biscayne National Park
Travelers flock to most U.S. national parks because of the sights they can see above ground. But Travel + Leisure reports that at Biscayne National Park in Florida, 95% of what you’ll want to see is underwater. The park boasts “173,000 acres of Caribbean-clear waters that wash over the sea-grass shallows Biscayne Bay — and the world’s third largest coral reef.” You can see 72 different shipwrecks in this national park, including one that’s even shallow enough for snorkelers to visit. This park is one of the best destinations for snorkeling and scuba diving in the U.S.