6. Biscayne National Park
At the north end of the Florida Keys lies Biscayne Bay, which contains four different interconnected ecosystems that consist of mangrove forests, the bay, the keys, and coral reefs. With all kinds of aquatic animals and an abundance of coral reefs, it makes for an amazing scuba diving and snorkeling location.
7. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
The Gunnison River, a tributary of the Colorado River, is a 164-mile-long river that cuts through sheer canyon walls made from ancient rock. This park contains some of the steepest cliffs and oldest rock in the country, making it extremely popular for river rafters and rock climbers.
8. Bryce Canyon National Park
This park holds an incredible natural amphitheater made entirely from rock and features hundreds of spire-like sandstone hoodoos (chimney shaped rocks) that have been formed by thousands of years of erosion.
9. Canyonlands National Park
The combined efforts of the Colorado River, the Green River, and their tributaries has created a massive maze of canyons, large flat-topped mesas, and other beautiful rock formations to help make a wonderfully beautiful park.
10. Capitol Reef National Park
This park holds a 100-mile, step-like rock formation called the Waterpocket Fold, which can be viewed from three different scenic routes that go through the park. It also contains many other rock formations and geologic features to see in every area.
11. Carlsbad Caverns National Park
With 117 different caves, the longest of which stretches for more than 120 miles, this New Mexican cave system offers incredible underground sights. One cavern called “The Big Room” measures almost 4,000 feet long!
12. Channel Islands National Park
Of the eight Channel Islands, five of them are protected areas under the National Park Service. These islands, though they are close to the California shoreline, remain relatively undeveloped and contain a Mediterranean ecosystem that is home to more than 2,000 different plants and animals.
Andrew Terpstra grew up on Zoobooks and National Park excursions, so the outdoors and wildlife became a big part of his life. Now he is trying to help whomever he can, and the causes he holds dear, with the words he writes.