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29 Best State Parks in America

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.

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15 Best State Parks in Pennsylvania

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.

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Best New York State Parks

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

Letchworth State Park
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.

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101 Things to see in South Dakota

There are so many things to see in South Dakota that you could probably spend months there without doing them all. Let’s face it, South Dakota wouldn’t really be on most people got to see list but you would be wrong to think that. From outdoor recreation, family attractions several with an old west vibe, and an abundance of wildlife South Dakota offers so much to explore. After all, where else can you see a 12-foot-tall prairie dog!

Love outdoor recreations, well you will love South Dakota. With 2 national parks and several national monuments, most people would think of the Badlands and Mount Rushmore. And of course, Sturgis we all have seen pictures of the famous bike week held each August, but South Dakota is so much more. So here is a list of 101 things to see in South Dakota. What are you waiting for, let’s take that road trip!

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Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

“Maine, the Way Life Should Be”, the state slogan that represents the way you feel while living and vacationing in Maine. Visiting Moosehead Lake is an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Moosehead Lake is the largest lake in New England located about 70 miles north of Bangor Maine. It covers 75,000 acres and stretches 40 miles long and 12 miles wide.

Greenville and Rockwood Maine are the towns that surround Moosehead Lake. This area is known for moose as they outnumber residences 3 to 1.

The lake sits at 1,000 feet above sea level with mountains located all around the area. Mt. Kineo rises abruptly from the middle of the lake towering 800 feet above the water.

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Short Hikes in Upstate New York

When people think about New York, most think of New York City with all the skyscrapers, crowded streets and the lights on the billboards in Times Square. When I think of New York, I see spectacular waterfalls, mountains of green trees and beautiful lakes and streams.

I call it upstate as I live downstate and can’t wait to cross the bridges where I find my paradise. Upstate New York has quaint towns, wineries and breweries, scenic railroads and byways and what I love the most, great hiking.

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Baxter State Park, A True Wilderness Experience

Baxter State Park is a True Wilderness Experience. With over 200,000 acres, this special place is a hiker’s paradise to experience nature at its best.

There are 46 mountain peaks for you to explore of which 18 of them are over 3,000’ in elevation. The highest peak in Baxter State Park is Baxter Peak at 5,267’.

It’s a park you can get lost in so you should always have a good map with you. These can be obtained at the area campground, park headquarters in Millinocket and the Visitor Center at Togue Pond.

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Upper Peninsula Michigan Vacation

Upper Peninsula Michigan vacation has always been on our bucket list and after viewing so many beautiful pictures of it, we decided it was time for us to go. We took 2 weeks and drive with our camper attached from New York to experience the land of the waterfalls and boy we weren’t disappointed.

After a long ride on Route 80, we started to head north and finally stopped for the night in a campground just north of Ann Arbor. Wow, we made it to Michigan but to get to the Upper Peninsula was still going to be a ride but now it was time to start enjoying our vacation.

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Day Trip to Mackinac Island

We went on a day trip to Mackinac Island as part of a two-week vacation, or should I say experience, of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. There is so much to do in the UP and we couldn’t go there without going to see Mackinac Island, that would have just have been crazy if we didn’t. So we took the ferry with our bicycles from St. Ignace.

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Margaretville, NY aka Grandma’s Mountain

A vacation guide to Margaretville, NY in the Catskill Mountains

About Margaretville NY

Margaretville NY is a small town of about 600 year-round population in Delaware County on the west side of the Catskill Park area about 3 hours northwest of New York City. It’s one of the bigger towns in the area and has so much to offer to the surrounding communities with its small-town country feel.

View from Palmer Mountain overlooking Margaretville, NY

I was introduced to this quaint town some 37 years ago when I met my now-husband, Gerry. You see his parents, Herbert and Simone, decided to build a small cottage to enjoy their retirement and with the help of their 4 sons, their vision became a reality. Unfortunately, my father-in-law (whom I never knew) passed before his dream came true. Simone kept this cottage which her whole family has come to cherish.

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