Must-See National Parks In The West (+ Where To Stay)

Must-See National Parks In The West - United States

The United States has 58 gorgeous national parks from coast to coast, but it’s unlikely you’ll get the chance to see every one of them. To make the most of your vacation time and explore a park that’s perfect for you, check out 6 of the best parks in the American West with tips on where to stay so you can easily explore these Western National Parks!

Must-See National Parks In The West - United States


Best National Parks in The Western U.S.


Yosemite National Park

If you’re daring enough to attempt the unforgettable Half Dome hike, come prepared for a full day of sweat and tears! This 20 mile hike will likely take you 12-14 hours roundtrip and requires a permit, but the rewarding scenic views from the peak are unsurpassed.

The numerous hikes and mini-hikes to countless waterfalls make this a great park for families, as so many of the trails are stroller accessible and easy enough for children to tag along. The towering giant sequoias (thousands of years old, literally!) and fields of wildflowers in the off-seasons make for the perfect backdrop for your vacation photos.

Where to stay: Queen’s Inn By the River, Narrow Gauge Inn, White Wolf campground

Read more: 18 Best Weekend Getaways In Colorado + Where To Stay


Channel Islands National Park

The Channel Islands – comprised of 5 separate islands – are located in the outlying waters west of Ventura and Santa Barbara and are the perfect day trip for anyone visiting the West Coast. Plan on doing a lot of walking once you reach the islands, because there are no other forms of transportation available!

Once you’ve chosen what island you’d like to explore, ferry from Ventura or Santa Barbara and spend the day hiking, kayaking, diving, or snorkeling the many sea caves and kelp forests. Camping is available on some islands but requires a permit, so plan in advance or spend your evenings in one (or many) of California’s gorgeous coastal towns.

Where to stay: Clock Tower Inn Hotel, Casa Del Mar Inn

Read more: The Ultimate Guide to California’s Channel Islands

6 Must-See National Parks in The Western United States


Arches National Park

Arches National Park’s main attraction is – you guessed it! – it’s famous arches. Utah is known for its red rock formations, canyons, and deserts, and you’ll find the best of all of it right here. Hiking trails are plentiful, and rock climbing is even allowed for the adventurous. Stunning arches like Delicate Arch, Double Arch, and Skyline Arch are also perfect photo opportunities.

Where to stay: Aarchway Inn, Kokopelli Lodge (pet friendly), Devil’s Garden campground

Read more: Road Trip Guide to Utah’s Mighty 5 National Parks

6 Must-See National Parks in The Western United States


Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is one of America’s most popular national parks, with nearly 3.5 million visitors a year.

Old Faithful and the rainbow-colored hot springs are just a couple of Yellowstone’s unique features, but be sure not to miss the lesser-known Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone; the view of the canyon and Yellowstone Falls is unbeatable. If you have yet to see the Rockies, this is a trip to take at least once in your lifetime.

Where to stay: Painted Buffalo Inn, Snow King Resort, Canyon campground

Read more: Yellowstone National Park Camping & Packing Tips

6 Must-See Western U.S. National Parks


Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park is another one of California’s national parks, and possibly the greenest park on our list.

Unique attractions like a gondola ride through the Trees of Mystery and the drive-through Redwood tree will keep you entertained when you’re not exploring places like Trillium Falls Trail and Fern Canyon. Take Howland Hill Road through the park to Crescent City to end your trip at the ocean.

Where to stay: View Crest Lodge, Historic Requa Inn, Elk Prairie campground

Read more: 5 Amazing Places to Camp in California

6 Must-See National Parks in The Western United States


Grand Canyon National Park

One of the most well-known natural wonders of America, the Grand Canyon is a must for any and every traveler. Thrill seekers can whitewater raft the Colorado River, or take a helicopter ride over the Canyon for a 360-degree aerial view.

The turquoise-water Havasu Falls is a hidden oasis for hikers willing to trek out to the remote waterfall, but well worth the time it takes you to get out there. Havasu is a popular destination for college spring-breakers and summer tourists, so plan your trip during the fall if you can.

Best viewing points? Mather Point, Yavapai Point, Desert View, and Moran Point.

Where to stay: Bright Angel Lodge, Mather campground, Havasupai campground

Read more: Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Havasu Falls

6 Must-See National Parks in The Western United States


For tips on how to pack on your next national park adventure, read our Road Trip Packing Guide and our Ultimate Packing Checklist for Campers!


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  1. Carrick | Along for the Trip says:

    Hi Christy!

    Great list! We’re on a mission this year to hit lots of National Parks with our Every Kid in a Park Pass and our 4th grader. We’ve been to Hawaii and just returned from Rocky Mountain NP. This summer we’ll try to hit some of these others on your list. They all look fabulous. Thanks for writing it up!

    Safe travels!


  2. same day agra tour by car says:

    Great article,thank you for sharing it,the photos are awesome!

  3. same day agra tour by car says:

    Amazing post.i like your post,photos are so stunning and awesome.thank you so much for sharing this post.

  4. same day agra tour by car says:

    Awesome Post,i want to visit North America early,your post help me to enjoy my journey.the picture are so stunning and real.thanks for sharing this post.

  5. Rebecca and the World says:

    Great list! We are about to move to the US and I’m adding to my North America bucket list… the list has just grown even more 🙂