The National Park Service has ensured that national parks provide stunning and family-friendly experiences to visitors. These types of nature areas are places where visitors can take in the surrounding landscape and escape their everyday lives. This is a vital function of national parks. They provide spaces where visitors can experience nature and observe the unique features of different states and countries. 

While spending time in nature certainly helps people regulate their nervous systems, facilitate spiritual experiences, and even bond with their loved ones, it can get crowded. There are many impressive national parks, but some are overlooked despite their appeal. Travelers should consider more than the most popular national parks for their next trip to connect with nature. These underrated national parks offer unique experiences to those who visit them.

These are the top five underrated national parks that travelers should visit. 
pictured: two Black people enjoying naure
Nandhu Kumar / Pexels 

The most popular national parks in the United States are the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, and Yellowstone National Park. But beyond those well-known national parks, there are plenty of other options for travelers. Underrated national parks have just as much appeal but do not have the same reputation as the most popular options. These five national parks are some options that travelers may not consider at first glance but are worth the journey. 

Gates Of The Arctic National Park And Preserve

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is a unique national park in Alaska. 
pictured: Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
Brad / Unsplash 

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is a park in Alaska. This nature space protects the Brooks Range in northern Alaska. It is an incredibly spacious national park, which reflects how Alaska is a hub for nature tourism. The park looks practically untouched, allowing travelers to enjoy the refreshing natural beauty of this 8.4 million-acre natural area. Unlike many other national parks, there are no roads, trails, or established campsites at Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. Travelers may even be able to observe caribou migrating or the aurora borealis (the Northern Lights) during winter. This underrated national park has no entrance fee, but since it is pretty large and out of the way, travelers will need to spend money to get to and around the park. 

North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park is great option for travelers. 
pictured: North Cascades National Park
Eric Dekker / Unsplash 

North Cascades National Park in Washington is known for its glaciers, rivers, and mountains. Outside of Alaska, the more than 300 glaciers of North Cascades National Park make up the greatest concentration of glaciers in a national park. Travelers can simply drive through the park on Highway 20 (better known as the North Cascades Scenic Highway), visit overlook locations, or hike some trails. Some popular trails at this park are the Cascades Pass and Sahale Arm Trail, Eldorado Peak, and Agnes Gorge Trail. Travelers should consider dedicating a whole day to this underrated national park — it is vast.

Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park
is a park in Michigan. 
pictured: Isle Royale National Park
Michael Loftus / Unsplash 

This national park in Michigan is underrated because travelers often overlook the state’s natural areas. Travelers will be delighted to discover that Michigan is a nature lovers’ paradise, and this park should be number one on the list of sites to visit. The Isle Royale National Park is located in Keweenaw Country, Michigan. This park is a remote island cluster in Lake Superior, which is near the border of Canada. Isle Royale National Park offers a more isolated and rugged experience for visitors. Travelers can see this park’s scenic beauty after being transported to the island via ferry or seaplane. Many visitors enjoy visiting the Rock Harbor Lighthouse, spotting the best lookout areas, and checking out the Windigo Visitor Center.

Dry Tortugas National Park

This underrated national park is a tropical getaway. pictured: Dry Tortugas National Park
Colon Freld / Pexels

Dry Tortugas National Park is located in Florida, 70 miles west of Key West. Via ferry, it takes about two and a half hours to get to Dry Tortugas National Park. This is an underrated national park with tropical weather and plenty more to offer travelers. The park includes seven protected islands and a coral reef. It is known for its incredible marine life and great weather. A visit to this national park is an unforgettable experience. On guided tours, travelers can try different aquatic activities and learn about the surrounding nature and history. One of the best ways to tour this national park is through a seaplane tour since travelers can get aerial views of the clear waters. Visitors can even camp at the Dry Tortugas National Park.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

The Guadalupe Mountains National Park is one of the most underrated national parks.
pictured: Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Raychel Sanner / Unsplash 

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located in western Texas and is part of the Chihuahuan Desert. It is a significant site that travelers should visit because it contains the highest point in the state of Texas. The Guadalupe Peak (also known as Signal Peak) is a mountain with an elevation of 8,751 feet above sea level. Travelers can hike an 8.4-mile round trip hike at this park. Completing the hike should take about six to eight hours, but travelers will be rewarded with striking views at the peak. This park offers travelers a unique opportunity to explore the mountains, desert, and forest.