Its easy to forget just how big the United States really is. We tend to think of it in terms of major cities like New York and Los Angeles, but nestled within its nearly four million square miles are some of the most breathtaking wilderness areas in the world. There are the places everyone knows, like the majestic Rocky Mountains or the wildlife-rich Yellowstone National Park. But in a country with roughly 6,649 state and national parks, theres a ton to see and do out in the wild. Here are 20 of these places that everybody should add to their bucket list.
Joshua Tree Wilderness, California
From fascinating rock formations to the unique species of tree that bears the parks namesake, Joshua Tree is a must-see for climbing enthusiasts, nature lovers, and fans of wildlife.
At night, the desert oasis comes alive with tarantulas, rattlesnakes, coyotes, jackrabbits, bobcats, kangaroo rats and burrowing owls. It also makes for excellent stargazing.
Sequoia National Forest, California
A trip to California just isnt complete without a visit to the Sequoia National Forest. The wilderness area is home to the largest trees in the world, some of which are over 2,700 years old.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness, Florida
This particular patch of the Everglades is a great place to see a diverse sampling of wildlife from both freshwater and salt water areas. Converging in the waters are fish, alligators, bottle-nosed dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and manatees. Hundreds of birds also nest in the area, including flamingos, egrets, pelicans, hawks, and storks.
The parks scenic views and diverse wildlife make it a must see for wildlife enthusiasts.
Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
Even if youre not into spelunking, you can still enjoy the breathtaking majesty of the Carlsbad Caverns. Among its 118 caves, youll find the world-famous Carlsbad Cavern and 125-mile long Lechuguilla Cave.
The beautifully intricate, yet natural rock formations are a must-see for visitors to the state of New Mexico.