The Southern United States contains some of the most beautiful, somewhat underrated, National parks in the country. There are historical sites, lush forests, and an abundance of wildlife throughout these parks. As always, there is something for everybody when searching for the perfect national park to visit.
Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
People often think of Yellowstone as the first national park, but Hot Springs was the first federally protected land in the US. While visiting Hot Springs, families can go hiking in the two major hiking trails in the park. One is the North Mountain Trails and the other is the West Mountain Trails. Both of these areas contain shorter trails perfect for the whole family. If you’re seeking a longer trail, the Sunset Trail is a remote hike through the park. In the area there are over six state parks surrounding the national park to enhance your visit.
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
If an island vacation is your speed, check out the archipelago of Dry Tortugas National Park. These seven islands are home to 64,000 acres of land, almost all of which is underwater, making this a paradise for snorkelers and scuba divers. For those looking to stay above water, there are opportunities for fishing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing. The best part of this park is that you can tent camp right on the beach!
Everglades National Park, Florida
Everglades is one of the largest national parks and provides crucial land to protect many endangered species. In this park you can birdwatch, fish, boat, hike, and bike to your heart’s content across the over 1.5 million acres. A favorite recreational activity in Everglades is canoeing or kayaking. There are four kayak/canoe day trips to choose from that range from easy to strenuous. If you’re interested in hitting two national parks in one trip, Biscayne is nearby.
Biscayne National Park, Florida
Similar to Dry Tortugas, Biscayne National Park’s land is mostly underwater. To enjoy the sights, hop on a boat ride and view the lighthouse on Boca Chita Key. With Miami just out of sight, this is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle while still having the night-life options close by. In order to experience the full landscape, take a guided eco-adventure available through the park. On this tour, you will get to snorkel through a shipwreck!
Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
To experience the longest-known cave system in the world, one must venture to Mammoth Cave National Park. Make sure you reserve a spot on a cave tour for your family. There are three tour options, two guided and one self-guided, ranging from 1-2 hours each. Once you make your way out of the cave, you can hike, bike, or horseback ride around the park area.