The national parks in America get lots of love from the enthusiastic crowds all the year round. They offer postcard-worthy drives and plenty of thrills and activities for solo, group, and family travels. But, America is also blessed with numerous state parks that offer a glimpse to a state’s own unique natural splendors and panoramic views.
- The 10 Best State Parks for a Road Trip to Remember
- 1# Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
- 2# Smith Rock State Park, Oregon
- 3# Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee
- 4# Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas
- 5# Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, California
- 6# Longhorn Caverns State Park, Texas
- 7# Fair Haven Beach State Park, New York
- 8# Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Arizona
- 9# Lime Kiln Point State Park, Washington
- 10# City of Rocks State Park, New Mexico
The 10 Best State Parks for a Road Trip to Remember
The parks have everything to attract the outdoor lovers – stunning natural beauty, exciting wildlife, epic hiking trails, lakes, canyons, and more. Consider these 10 state parks for your next getaway:
1# Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
It is one of the most unique state parks that sits in the middle of the Mojave Desert, just an hour from the glitz and extravagance of Vegas. Mostly renowned for the Aztec sandstone outcrops, it has a different kind of beauty completed with ancient rock carvings, petrified trees, and plenty of trails.
There are campgrounds and RV sites will all the necessary equipment and facilities.
2# Smith Rock State Park, Oregon
Located in the High Desert, the park is another poplar rock-climbing destination. It has plenty of trails for easy to intense mountain biking and hiking – depending on your fitness and skill level. The combination of deep river canyons, streams, and lush greenery offers picturesque views. Spotting wildlife including mule deer, beaver, river otter, golden eagles, and more across the trails is a common scenario.
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3# Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee
State parks are not as popular as the national parks. But, the Fall Creek Falls State Park is an exception that receives its fair share of love. Spanning across a vast area of 26,000 acres in Van Buren and Bledsoe counties, the park has six breathtaking waterfalls including one that drops 256 feet. It also has streams, cascades, gorges, and lush hardwood trees – a treat for those whole worship nature and its beauties.
It appears like a mini resort with the luxury of tennis courts, golf courses, and a pool. There are many swimming holes and you can also kill time with fishing and hiking.
The park authority has arrangements for plenty of events and camping facilities. There are also cabins who don’t want to live in RVs or tents.
4# Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas
Texas has plenty of state parks, but the Palo Duo Canyon is worth mentioning because it’s the second-largest canyon in the United States. Located just south of Amarillo, the Palo Duro goes into the center of the Panhandle, the park has a semblance to its big brother the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
The horseback ride with trails spanned across 1,500 acres is the biggest attraction. However, there are also trails for mountain biking and hiking. Camping facility is available that includes RV sites, tent pitching, and several primitive cabins.
People visiting there during the summer months will get to enjoy an outdoor musical drama called ‘TEXAS’. The family-friendly show is the state’s official play.
5# Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, California
The California beaches and the Big Sur do not need any introduction. But, the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is something more than that. It has the McWay Falls that drops 80 feet over a cliff directly into the Pacific Ocean, 300-foot redwoods, and arrangement for scuba diving.
There are several hiking trails including the most rewarding Waterfall Overlook Trail. Only a half mile round trail of flat stroll will end up with the gorgeous views of McWay Falls. The Partington Cove Trail slightly more leg stretching. It leads you down to a 600 feet tunnel that emerges onto the rocky beach. A few other trails are currently closed because of erosion.
6# Longhorn Caverns State Park, Texas
Texas is known for its limestone caves but only a handful of them have a breathtaking view and a colorful history. The Longhorn Caverns near Burnet is one of them. You can take wild cave tours to behind rare cave formations. More adventurous souls can take the two-hour underground journey that involves crawling, climbing, and squeezing through narrow passages. The caves maintain a steady 20°C, making the tours during the summer days comfortable.
Unfortunately, Longhorn Caverns does not offer any camping ground but you will get the facility at the nearby Inks Lake State Park. It also offers primitive cabin rentals for those who don’t have an RV.
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7# Fair Haven Beach State Park, New York
Overlooking the Lake Ontario shoreline, the upstate New York park is one of the great places for RV camping and day trip in the region. A beautiful sandy beach with a guarded swimming area, hilly woodlands, shoreline bluffs, and seasonal permits for deer and waterfowl hunting are the main drawcards.
There are campgrounds and cabin areas for the RVers and people who are interested in overnight stays. There are plenty of activities to keep yourself engaged – fishing, boating, biking, hiking, diving boards, and more.
8# Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Arizona
Basically a natural arc in Arizona, the park arguably houses the world’s largest natural travertine bridge. There are four different trails that have their unique challenges and charms. There are picnic areas, museums & exhibits, and swimming spots (no lifeguard). Wildlife includes rabbits, deer, and javelinas along with plenty of bird species.
The Goodfellow Historic Lodge accommodates the travelers with 10 bedrooms and communal restrooms. It provides all the essentials you need to stay cooped up for days.
9# Lime Kiln Point State Park, Washington
Sitting on San Juan Island’s western shore, it is a popular destination for offering some of the world’s best places for spotting wild orcas. You will also get to see gray whales, humpbacks, and minke whales, especially from May through September.
It’s a daytime-use park where you can pass time diving, bird watching, and hiking when wales are not in sight. There is a vintage lighthouse featuring the ninetieth-century lime kiln.
You can access the island by car and bike. There is a ferry service too that can take your RV (with size restrictions) to the island.
10# City of Rocks State Park, New Mexico
If you are looking for some places with a year-round access, the City of Rocks is one of the best state parks. Standing outside of Deming, the park offers respite from a fast-paced road trip. It is famous for unusual rock formations from volcanic ash flow, which take the shapes of boulders and pinnacles, rising as high as 40 feet.
Visiting it during the winter is the most comfortable and spring will greet with some beautiful blooms in the botanical gardens. The summer is likely to be hot but not unbearable for camping for a day or two.
Source: Camping World
Last Updated on August 19, 2019