National Parks get all the glory, but three times as many people visit America’s local areas. The Best State Parks in America serve as extensions of our own back yards, offering up adventures both large-scale and intimate. They remain alluring entry points to nature, often with fewer crowds than their better-known, big-name counterparts.
The best state parks in America combine incredible scenery with less crowded trails and campgrounds, making them perfect for hiking, biking, birdwatching or just getting away from it all. Here’s our list of the 29 best ones you should visit this year!
Each park listed has something unique about it that makes it worth visiting on its own merit!
Best State Parks in America
These parks are listed in any order and not by best first. They are all worth a visit!
Custer State Park, South Dakota
Custer State Park in South Dakota is a popular destination as it contains 71,000 acres in the Black Hills and is full of wildlife like bison, elk, prairie dogs, and more!
With 5 lakes including Sylvan Lake, Center Lake, Legion Lake, Stockade Lake, and Game Lodge Pond, there is no shortage of opportunities for swimming, boating, and fishing. The park also offers many hiking trails from easy to strenuous, horseback riding, and biking.
Pennsylvania is home to some of the most beautiful state parks in America. They are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, and boating. If you’re looking for a great place to spend your summer vacation or a weekend getaway check out the best state parks in Pennsylvania.
With over 121 parks to choose from many of them offer spectacular scenery with waterfalls galore and abundant wildlife including black bears, wild turkeys, red foxes, white-tailed deer, and coyotes.
Here is our list of the best state parks in Pennsylvania.
1. Ricketts Glen State Park
Ricketts Glen State Park is known for being the best state park in Pennsylvania but also ranks as one of the top parks in the United States.
Old Forge, NY is a town in the Adirondack Mountains. It’s home to many beautiful parks, lakes, and state forests. If you’re looking for peace and relaxation, this is the perfect place for you!
In all seasons, Old Forge has something to offer the outdoor enthusiast. Whitewater rafting in the spring, hiking and paddling in the summer, stunning fall foliage in the fall, and snowmobiling and skiing in winter.
This town in the Central Adirondacks has a lot to enjoy whether it’s having fun with family or friends or trying out a new experience for yourself!
There are many more things you can do in Old Forge so you should really consider going!
In this blog post, we will share some ideas about what to do while visiting Old Forge.
The Adirondacks Mountains in New York are bigger than several national parks combined ( Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, and the Smokie). With over 6 million acres to explore, hiking is a favorite pastime in this neck of the woods. There are thousands of hiking trails in the Adirondacks park just waiting for your to explore. The article covers the best hiking trails in Central Adirondacks of New York. These towns include Old Forge, Inlet, Long Lake, and Raquette Lake.
We are going to break them down for you in terms of length, difficulty, and location.
When you think about planning a vacation, South Dakota probably isn’t the first state that comes to mind. But it should be! These beautiful small towns in South Dakota should be added to your bucket list.
Filled with stunning scenery, national parks and monuments, and small quaint towns, South Dakota should be at the top of your bucket list.
These quaint little communities offer a slower pace with plenty of local flavors, history, arts & culture, outdoor activities, and western charm.
We’ve created an article about the 10 Best Small Towns in South Dakota so you can start planning your trip today!
Each town offers something different but each one has its own charm that makes it worth visiting over and over again!
The leaves are changing, the air feels crisper, and pumpkin spice lattes are back. Fall is a wonderful time of year to get outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer. But how about adding these 13 spooky destinations in America into your fall travel plans?
If you’re looking for haunted houses, corn mazes, or other attractions with a Halloween theme, these spooky destinations in America will leave you feeling scared but excited!
Cooperstown, New York is a quaint upstate town famous for being the home of American’s favorite pastime, baseball, but there are many other things to do in Cooperstown, NY while visiting here.
The village was named after Colonel William Cooper who built his inn along Otsego Lake. Nowadays this is where you will find one of Cooperstown’s main attractions, the Baseball Hall of Fame.
However, it is also home to Cooperstown Beverage Trail which allows visitors to taste different beers from around the world. You can also take a ride on the Charlotte Valley Railroad or take a cruise on Otsego Lake, both places offering scenic views of this historic region.
So whether you’re an avid baseball fan, looking for some beer tasting, or just want to take in some scenery, there are plenty of things to do when visiting Cooperstown NY.
Things To Do in Cooperstown, NY
This is a great place to spend an entire weekend and see everything it has to offer.
Let’s check out some of these fun places to go in Cooperstown.
Take your family on a magical train ride to the North Pole!
One of the classic Christmas movies of all time is “The Polar Express”. It’s such a nice story about the magic of Christmas.
The movie is based upon the 1985 children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg, a story about a little boy who doesn’t believe that Santa really exists. So he takes a train to the “North Pole” to see for himself if Santa is “real”.
When at the North Pole he experiences the toy factory, elves and gets to meet Santa! Santa gives him a silver bell as a gift and the boy leaves the North Pole really knowing what believing is all about.
When you think of New York most people think of New York City. Well, it might make up the largest of the state’s population, it doesn’t hold its beauty. So when you’re looking for the Best New York State Parks most New Yorkers look upstate.
With 180 New York state parks, one is more beautiful than the next. However, some stand out more than others, that’s where this list of the best New York State parks helps you determine where to plan your next vacation.
Note: There are no “state parks” in the Catskills and Adirondacks as recreational areas are run by the Department of Environmental Protection in these areas. These preserved areas are stunning with 6 million acres in the Adirondack Park and 700,000 acres in Catskill Park. The parks in this article are within New York’s other regions.
Best New York State Parks
Letchworth State Park
New York’s gem of a state park nestled in what is called the “Grand Canyon of the East”. This park also has been voted one the top 10 state parks in the United States.
Looking for things to do in Pennsylvania with kids? Well, look no farther.
Pennsylvania is filled with educational landmarks but your kids are not looking for that during a vacation. History can be boring and will make for long days and cranky kids.
This list of the 10 things to do in Pennsylvania are things your kids will love and will make for a vacation of Happy Kids and after all that will make Happy Parents too.
I’m not implying that you shouldn’t go to historical sites and educational places, I’m just saying we’ve all been cooped up in the house too long and are ready to have some fun!
The following attractions in Pennsylvania for families will have your kids wanting to experience more. Take them to Hershey, Sesame Street, Dutch Wonderland, and Crayola but also take them to see the elk and Amish Country.
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