National Parks aren’t they just great?
From waterfalls to deserts, tropical rainforests to mountain ranges, majestic animals to flora and fauna. They provide everything you need to reconnect with nature while creating unforgettable memories.
While there are over 4,000 national parks globally, I’ve picked 10 of the most beautiful that I think your kids will love!
Acadia National Park, USA
Located on Mount Desert Island in Maine, Acadia National Park is one of the top 10 most-visited parks in the USA. The 17 million acres forest includes 6,000 lakes and ponds, 32,000 miles of rivers and streams, and 3 campgrounds.
To truly appreciate the park, visitors should spend at least three to four days.
Things to do: Visitors can enjoy 158 miles of hiking trails, bicycle the 45 miles of carriage roads, encounter over 30 different types of birds in and around the park.
They can also explore Acadia’s tide-pools, or swim at Sand Beach and Echo Lake Beach.
For the more adventurous, one can rent canoes, kayaks, sailboats, or motorboats from the surrounding communities.
Many of the ranger-led programs that are offered between mid-May and mid-October are designed for families and children. The programs include are walks, hikes, boat cruises, and evening amphitheater programs.
Amboró National Park, Bolivia
Amboró National Park is the perfect jungle getaway to unwind, relax, and reconnect with nature. Located only 40 kilometers west of Santa Cruz, the park was given “National Park” status in 1984 protecting it from mining, deforestation, and hunting.
It is one of the most diverse parks in the world as it lies within three very different ecosystems: the Amazon Basin, the foothills of the Andes, and the northern Chaco.
It features cascading waterfalls, thick vegetation, beautiful walks, breathtaking landscape, and a large variety of flora and fauna.
Visitors can choose their level of stay from basic camping to wooden cabins to eco-resorts as all are ideally located close to the Amboró National Park.
- Mataracú Tent Camp (north side)
- La Chonta Lodge (north side)
- Villa Amboró (north side)
- Refugio Los Volcanes (south side)
- La Yunga Eco Lodge (south side)
Things to do: There are numerous things to keep visitors enthralled and engaged at Bolivia’s greatest natural treasure. They can hike along the trails of La Cascada, Los Loros, or El Cóndor.
Rappel down the crystal clear Jardin de las Delicias waterfalls. Canoe, raft, kayak, or fish along the river.
Enjoy the panoramic views over the Volcanes mountain range or try and spot rare animals like the giant slot.
Families can go horseback riding along the eco-trails or walk along the “Dinosaurios” path where they can explore caves, ravines and see dinosaur fossils. Alternatively, they can have a picnic at the beaches of the Surutu River.
Ao Phang Nga National Park, Thailand
Situated in the province of Phang Nga, Ao Phang Nga National park is famous for its limestone tower karst island. The park is famous for the Khao Ping Gan or James Bond Island as it is more popularly known.
Unfortunately, since 2018, the island is off-limits to tourists due to the ecological damage caused by so many visitors.
A boat tour will take visitors to Ko Panyi, a village built on stilts. There is an option to stay the night and experience the village life without the hundreds of tourists that pass by during the day.
Things to do: Tourists can explore Ao Phang Nga National Park mostly by kayak. Sea-canoeing is another popular activity and is a form of eco-tourism that is available either as one-day tours or overnight camping on the island beaches.
Banff National Park, Canada
Canada’s first national park began as a 26 sq/km hot spring reserve is now 6,641 sq/km of exceptional mountain scenery nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.
It is filled with dense forests, ice fields, mountainous terrain, glaciers, alpine landscapes.
Things to do: Families can backpack, bike, hike, canoe, mountain climbing or take guided cave tours to explore the park. Other activities include are bird watching, fishing, golfing, rafting, scuba diving, and of course skiing.
Blue Mountains National Park, Australia
Located in New South Wales, Australia, this World Heritage-listed park is home to the famous Three Sisters in Katoomba.
There are 6 areas in Blue Mountains National Park – Katoomba, Blackheath, Glenbrook, the Lower Grose Valley, Mount Wilson, and the Southern Blue Mountains.
Explore all 2,690 sq/km of the park and discover waterfalls, historic walking tracks, Aboriginal rock art, or camp in the remote wilderness.
Things to do: There is plenty of activities to keep families busy – AWD tours, birdwatching, adventure sports, canoeing, paddling, cycling, picnics and barbeques, swimming, and walking.
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Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
Considered one of the best forest national parks in the world, Bwindi Impenetrable National park is located in southwestern Uganda. The rainforests date back to more than 25,000 years and comprise close to 400 varied plant species.
This “impenetrable forest” is home to approximately 320 mountain gorillas, 346 species of birds, and more than 200 butterfly species.
Things to do: Gorilla tracking and trekking through this ancient forest is ranked as one of the world’s most premier wildlife experience. Anyone taking part in this must be physically fit as the trek involves climbing steep terrain.
Most tourists combine Tanzania safaris or Mount Kilimanjaro Trek while visiting this part of Africa.
Cat Ba National Park, Vietnam
Cat Ba National Park is situated in the Cat Ba Archipelago and is 45km east of Hai Phong City. In the heart of the UNESCO Cat Ba Archipelago Biosphere Reserve, it is home to 32 different species of mammals, including the world’s most endangered primate – the golden-headed langurs.
The park was established in 1986 and covers 263 sq/km and attracts millions of domestic and international visitors due to this natural beauty.
Things to do: A hiker’s dream destination with some excellent hiking trails, including a day-long hike to Viet Hai village or a two-hour return trip to Ngu Lam peak.
Visitors can also choose to relax on the isolated beaches in Lan Ha Bay or explore the rain or mangrove forests.
Chapada Diamantina National Park, Brazil
The name ‘Chapada Diamantina’ translates to Diamond Highlands and is one of Brazil’s most fascinating national parks. Its geographical features include a set of monoliths, limestone caves, vibrant blue underground rivers, and waterfalls.
Visitors probably won’t be able to see everything because it’s so big but the best know views are atop of the plateau with a sweeping view of the valley. Also home to numerous caves with crystal clear water that can be explored through swimming or diving tours.
Things to do: Other than taking in the view from the table mountains, visitors can swim under the spray of waterfalls.
For the brave, there are opportunities to zipline into the lagoon or toboggan down a natural waterslide.
One thing that all travelers must do is climb the stone steps up to the flat-topped Pai Inacio hill and watch the stunning sunset.
Cinque Terre National Park, Italy
Italy’s first national park is only 39 sq/km and was established in 1999. The park includes a group of five charming seaside villages – Corniglia, Manarola, Monterosso, Riomaggiore and Vernazza, high atop the rocky Mediterranean coastline. Behind them the towering hills and in front of them the Ligurian coastline.
The villages are alive with historical attractions from churches to castles, narrow streets to large squares, and from Benedictine monasteries to Roman villas.
Things to do: While most visitors focus on the villages, Cinque Terre is a seaside park and should be treated as one. Explore its bays, coves, and protected marine life by snorkeling or kayaking
Etosha National Park, Namibia
Etosha National Park’s main feature is its salt pan which is so large it can be seen from space. The park is one of the most accessible game reserves in Namibia and Southern Africa.
During winter the park is bone dry and is a wasteland of white dust. However the climate is mild and wildlife – springbok and zebras congregate around the waterholes.
In summer the heavy rains turn the park into a lush green oasis. Summer is also the time of year for newborn animals and birdlife. Expect to see flamingos, lions, leopards, elephants, cheers, and giraffes as you move around the park.
Things to do: Etosha is an excellent option for young explorers especially in the dry season as regular wildlife sightings at the waterholes reduce the need for long game drives.
Most of the lodges are family-friendly and overlook the waterholes. They also provide children facilities and some run kids wildlife programs.
National Parks Are Our Connections To Nature
Close to a hundred countries now have national parks. The U.S. has 60, Brazil has over 70 while China and Australia have over 200 parks!
We are spoilt for choice.
National parks are some of the most stunning places on earth and we should really visit them as often and as many as we can.
I hope you enjoyed my selection of the most beautiful national parks in the world.
Let me know in the comments section below which ones you have already visited or any national parks that should be added to the list.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post.