Are you looking for some inspiration for your next travels? Maybe when you scroll through the list of pictures that I took in various parks and pieces of nature around the world, that you’ll find your next destination. Each piece of nature offers something unique, that is worth exploring. Some of these places you’ll visit for a short period of time while others will be able to host you for multiple days. I don’t know what your interest is, but I do know what mine is. I am a hiker, and I try to get at least one trail in when visiting a park. Most parks do offer a lot more than hiking however. So check out their website and see what you can do! Have fun exploring the world!
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge – USA, NM
I was super excited to see alligators so close by that I could have walked over to them to pet them. Of Course I didn’t really do that, don’t touch wild animals. I did also see the whooping crane what the center of attention is for this park. But it was very far away, I think the season for the cranes was ending. All in all I found it a beautiful diverse refuge. I took about 3 hours to see it, including a picnic lunch.
Visited March 2018 https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Aransas/
Arches National Park – USA, UT
The structures are all so unique, its a powerful experience to see. I hiked to one of the arches on a challenging trail. The park offers many different trails, but when I was there it was too hot to really do much. I did the hike in the morning when the temperatures were still okay enough. I would love to come back here and do some more hiking when temperatures are more ideal.
Visited July 2008 https://www.nps.gov/arch/index.htm
Badlands National Park – USA, SD
How impressive a lot of nothing can be. You can see badland landscape in many different places and parks, but the size of these badlands are enormous. When I was out there I noticed that the whole park is two levels. The lowland and the highland, and in between are the steep badland slopes. It was very hot there when I visited and even a short hike in the middle of the day made me overheat and I needed to cool down in the air conditioned car.
Visited July 2008 https://www.nps.gov/badl/index.htm
Bandelier National Monument – USA, NM
Besides the historic housing that the park displays it also offers great hiking. I had so much fun climbing all the ladders to see a high elevated cliff dwelling. The temperature for hiking was ideal when I was there, but all plants and trees didn’t have leaves yet. I was there for about 4 hours, but I could have spent another day hiking there.
Visited Januari 2018 https://www.nps.gov/band/index.htm
Big Bend National Park – USA, TX
My favourite park of my March 2018 trip. It is so big and has so many things to see and do that the 2 days I spend there could have stretched into a full week without getting bored. They offer awesome multi day hikes through this beautiful landscape. Besides hiking I relaxed for a while in a hot spring and looked at some amazing dinosaur bone discoveries. It was already very hot so early in the year, the day exceeded 90 F or 30 C. If I’d go back I would like to see it in the fall.
Visited March 2018 https://www.nps.gov/bibe/index.htm
Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge – USA, NM
If you’re into birds this is your park to visit. I’ve seen many different species there together. The park doesn’t offer much else. I believe they do have a few trails, but you mostly explore the park by car. Most people visit during sunrise or sunset, when birds are most active.
Visited Januari 2018 https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Bosque_del_Apache/
Bryce Canyon National Park – USA, UT
A beautiful park, but so so busy. I expected that being there out of the season it would be not that crazy, but it was. At least for my personal taste, I believe it is typically a lot more busy during the summer. I enjoyed quite a few beautiful hikes throughout the park and on the way I’ve seen some real spectacular sights.
Visited October 2017 https://www.nps.gov/brca/index.htm
Canyonlands National Park – USA, UT
This park is more diverse than you might think. It offers a lot of hiking trails, stunning views and I believe even watersports. I did one long hike that took a good part of the day and saw amazing things. Along the way there are options to choose from on intersections. In many places you can explore the “caves” that have been eroded. It’s a great place to wander around and give yourself some time to take it all in. Temperatures were still pretty high at that time of year.
Visited September 2014 https://www.nps.gov/cany/index.htm
Carlsbad Caverns National Park – USA, NM
Impressive size cave, with so much variety and amazing shapes. This cave has been formed in a different way than most other caves resulting in sometimes scary deep drops or crazy high ceilings. Dripping water created the well known displays of caves.
Visited March 2018 https://www.nps.gov/cave/index.htm
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest – USA, WI
This national forest is enormous. I didn’t see to much of it, but I did enjoy the Wanoka Lake campground very much. I was there before season started, the campground was open and I could camp for free. That area didn’t offer to many hiking trails, but the roads going through the forest were not busy.
Visited April 2017 https://www.fs.usda.gov/cnnf
Chippewa National Forest – USA, MN
Forest spotted with small lakes and campgrounds is what you find when visiting. And wildlife like the mosquito, horse fly, deer fly and black fly. I enjoyed a bit of hiking, but the insects were so tormenting that I gave up pretty soon.
Visited July 2017 https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/chippewa/home
Dinosaur National Monument – USA, UT
The park has this beautiful theatrical landscape, but you cannot go explore it. The park has few trails and everything seems to be focussing on that one dinosaur bone excavation. Of course that was impressive to see, but you need an hour to see that. The park does have a river running through and I believe that you can go white water rafting, if you have your own things. If you cannot go on a boat it’s not really possible to explore much of that big park. Oh, and hunting season was going on when I was there so people were driving up and down the high road to spot animals, so they could then go down and shoot on private land.
Visited October 2017 https://www.nps.gov/dino/index.htm
Franklin Mountains State Park – USA, TX
Offers some great hiking trails, it also offers some space for rock climbing. I did a hike towards a grotto that had been inhabited at some point in history. I also spend some time in a bird watch house. Because they feed the birds you can see them from quite close, I’m not really agreeing with feeding wild animals, but it was fun to see all these different species. The landscape of the park isn’t that exciting, but the space it offers for all these different activities makes it a nice place to hang out at.
Visited February 2018 https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/franklin-mountains
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument – USA, NM
This is one of the smallest parks that I’ve been to. The site contains a short walk to the dwellings and the dwellings themselves. Luckily it is located in the much bigger National Forest of the same name. The visitor center offers information both on the National Monument and the National Forest. I was really amazed by the things that are really old, but still visible for us to see. The volunteers who were walking around at the site showed me many things that I wouldn’t have been able to spot myself.
Visited November 2017 https://www.nps.gov/gicl/index.htm
Gila National Forest – USA, NM
Besides a beautiful diverse piece of landscape this National Forest has a few more things to offer. The park has multiple hot springs where you can hike to and relax in. And if you don’t want to hike there is also a developed hot spring in the tiny town called Gila Hot Spring. The hikes in the park vary from short one hour hikes to multiple day trips.
Visited November 2017 https://www.fs.usda.gov/gila/
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument – USA, UT
Part of that enormous amount of beautiful parks in Utah. I haven’t seen to much of this park since I was just passing by. But I did go on a short hike straight of highway 89. The rock formations that I saw were really impressive. One day I might go back and fully explore this park.
Grand Teton National Park – USA, WY
Unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity yet to explore this park. At that time I was traveling with others who were not interested in taking a heavy hike through these mountains. But I feel there has to come a day that I take a multi day trek through those stunning mountains.
Visited July 2008 https://www.nps.gov/grte/index.htm
Great Basin National Park – USA, NV
If I remember correctly the main focus of the park is the cave. But the elevation of this mountainous landscape makes camping quite comfortable out there versus the desert that lies beneath.
Visited September 2014 https://www.nps.gov/grba/index.htm
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve – USA, CO
The size of these dunes are impressive. It takes a long time to get all the way to the top of the dunes, I didn’t even make it. When driving up to the site I was amazed by how these dunes are located in a patch in front of the mountains. I attempted the climb in the afternoon and it was still really warm at that time of the year. I don’t believe there is much else to do than climb sand dunes.
Visited September 2014 https://www.nps.gov/grsa/index.htm
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore – USA, IN
I’ve seen very little of the park, but the hiking trails through the forested dunes are beautiful.
Visited March 2017 https://www.nps.gov/indu/index.htm
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument – USA, NM
You don’t need much time to visit this park, but it was my favourite place in New Mexico to visit. I got the advice from some other travelers and I was not disappointed. Part of the park was closed when I was there so I didn’t get to see everything, but the hike through the slot canyon was amazing. After every bend I saw new beautiful sights.
Visited Januari 2018 https://www.blm.gov/visit/kktr
Lincoln National Forest – USA, NM
I hiked a lot in the Sacramento Ranger district. Many trails go up high into the mountains what makes hiking just that little bit more comfortable when the weather is hot. At certains altitudes you can find tons of awesome fossils from a really long time ago. I enjoyed hiking here on my time of from volunteering at White Sands October 2017 till Februari 2018.
Lost 40 Scientific and Natural Area – USA, MN
Not as impressive as I thought it would be. But if you walk around there and realize how old these trees are and what they’ve seen, that is a cool experience. I needed about an hour to walk the trail and see it all.
Visited July 2017 https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/snas/detail.html?id=sna01063
Mesa Verde National Park – USA, CO
A great diverse park with interesting Native American history, but also some nice hiking trails. The trail I did was a lot of fun. I went through some real narrow passages, steps were in place to be able to get from one elevation to the next. At the dwellings I went down into one of the buried rooms, which was a lot of fun to do.
Visited September 2014 https://www.nps.gov/meve/index.htm
Natchez Trace Parkway – USA, AL, MS, TN
This is probably the weirdest shaped park ever. It consists of a 444 mile long road with some stop areas on the side of the road. The road is placed close to an old trail that once was traveled a lot by foot, horse and coach. In some places the trail is worn down into a deep sunken trail. Walking on the trail is an inspiring experience. Many stops are found along the road where you can learn more of the history of the area.
Visited March 2018 https://www.nps.gov/natr/index.htm
Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument – USA, NM
Unique for the area, the very pointy rocks of the organ mountains. The park offers many hiking trails and also a campground. It has many different entrances and online the informations on the park is not to extensive. But once you’ve found it, it’s hard not to fall in love. A very diverse landscape going higher and higher until there is nothing else but the sharp mountain peaks. I believe you can also go climbing on these rocks, and I would have loved to do so, but again it’s hard to find any info on the site.
Ottawa National Forest – USA, MI
Can’t say that I saw much of this park, but I enjoyed hiking the Bergland ski trail.
Visited April 2017 https://www.fs.usda.gov/ottawa
Padre Island National Seashore – USA, TX
To me this park was a big disappointment, which had mostly to do with my expectations. I thought I was going to see a tropical beach with palm trees and the like. It was nothing like that. The whole island was barren, with nothing more than small shrubs and grasses. The island is a haven for birds, so I did go on a birding tour which was fun, but I’m not really a bird person. It also wasn’t the season for sea turtles yet, and the weather was unlucky cold. In a different season it might be more fun. I feel the park can improve big if they add a few hiking or biking trails on the island so you can go and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Visited March 2018 https://www.nps.gov/pais/index.htm
Petrified Forest National Park – USA, AZ
What an experience to see these pieces of rock that look like trees, and actually once were trees. I didn’t expect the amount of petrified wood lying around everywhere. Besides seeing the wood and learning about how it formed the park offers some great hiking trails that are not really trails. They call it off the beaten path. Pick up trail information at the visitor center and go find your way around. If you have a gps it’s useful to bring it, since some of the cool things that are on the trail are marked coordinates. When I was there it was still really hot weather.
Visited October 2017 https://www.nps.gov/pefo/index.htm
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – USA, MI
Couldn’t see of the park what I wanted, the weather and the amount of ice still in the park made it hard for me to see much of it. But what I saw was beautiful. I hiked to the lighthouse on an easy trail. After that hike the weather turned foggy so much of the views stayed hidden.
Visited April 2017 https://www.nps.gov/piro/index.htm
Rocky Mountain National Park – USA, CO
I actually visited this park twice, and both times I flew into Denver from sea level. First stop on both times was Rocky Mountain NP. Great place to start except that the altitude is very high, so hiking in these conditions is pretty hard. After a few days of acclimatizing one can make some stunning hikes.
Visited September 2014 https://www.nps.gov/romo/index.htm
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks – USA, CA
The combination of these two parks is massive. I’ve only seen the giant Sequoias that make the park. The trees are not that tall, but the circumference of these trees are crazy. Only when you see a person close to the tree, you’ll be able to grasp the size of the tree.
Visited September 2014 https://www.nps.gov/seki/index.htm
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – USA, MI
Great park to visit. It’s so special to realize that you’re not actually at the coast of a sea or an ocean, but just on a lake. I hiked some nice trails through the dunes and climbed the tall climbing dune. The campground in the park was very nice and already pretty busy for the time of year.
Visited April 2017 https://www.nps.gov/slbe/index.htm
Theodore Roosevelt National Park – USA, ND
I had so much fun here. I hiked quite a few trails in North and South unit. I didn’t visit the third unit, which is the old ranch of Teddy Roosevelt. I had bad luck that it was very rainy the day I arrived. All trails turn into mud when they are wet, and as soon as you need to go up or down a bit it becomes a crazy slide. The day after the rain it was still slippery but with walking sticks it was doable. In the South unit I hiked into the wilderness area which is awesome to do, nobody was there and you need to kick in your survival skills.
Visited October 2017 https://www.nps.gov/thro/index.htm
Valley Of Fires Recreation Area – USA, NM
The accessible portion of this park is very tiny. Basically it’s an hill where you can camp when looking out over the lava flow below. Or you can take the paved 30 minute hike through the lava field. However, if you’re not alone it is possible to go off trail and explore the lava field on your own. Be cautious to do so, since it the terrain is very uneven and full with caved in lava tubes. I still found it special to see this because I’d never seen such a thing before.
Visited Januari 2018 https://www.blm.gov/visit/valley-of-fires
Van Riper State Park – USA, MI
On my road trip I accidentally ended up here. Did a fun hike of about an hour and a half or so. Still a bit snowy and icy here and there, but some beautiful views on the way.
Visited April 2017 http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?type=SPRK&id=430
Voyageurs National Park – USA, MN
I lived in this park for five months, so I really got to know it. To be honest, it is not my type of landscape, I love the wide views. But I learned to love it as time went by. Had a lot of fun hiking all the trails in the park. Explored the park a few times by canoe and boat.
White Sands National Monument – USA, NM
This park was also my home for about 5 months. The landscape is both magical and confusing. The first time I drove into the park the weather was still fairly warm, but when I drove onto the plowed road my brain got all confused. My eyes were seeing snow, while my body was being warm. During my time there I enjoyed hiking barefoot in the sand, hiking by full moon and sledding down the dunes.
Yellowstone National Park – USA, ID, MT, WY
This park is very diverse and I’m a little sad that I didn’t really get to fully experience its diversity. My travel company at that time wanted to mainly focus on seeing the highlights of all the boiling mud and spraying geysers. I would have loved to go really explore more of the backcountry. I think this is one of those things that I will keep on my to do list.
Visited July 2008 https://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm
Yosemite National Park – USA, CA
The size of this park is amazing. It has something to offer for everyone. The thing I did here was a three day trek through the backcountry. The park has a special office where you need to go to if you want to do such a thing. I went in and asked what we could do. I was told that I could do one specific trail in one specific direction. Also I enjoyed the view of the big climbing rocks throughout the park, hoping that one day I can come back to climb on these magical rocks.
Visited September 2014 https://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm
Baronnies Provençales Parc Naturel Régional – France
Within this park I visited the town of Orpiere for the main reason of going rock climbing. But the area has a lot more to offer. Hiking and biking trails are also common in the area. The landscape is beautiful. The low elevation is ideal for nice spring and fall temperatures. A park like this is not at all comparable to the American national parks. The area is full with bigger and smaller towns, and you’ll be able to find lots of fields growing apples and all sorts of other fruits.
Visited May 2013 http://www.baronnies-provencales.fr/
Dolomites – Italy
My favourite piece of mountains in Europe. So many things you can do out there to enjoy this stunning piece of landscape. I hiked the Alta Via 1 and Alta Via 2, which takes you about a week to complete. The huts located in the mountains are all fun to stay at. Great food, as far as that goes high up in the mountains. When you’re up there you really are away from everyday life.
Visited September 2016 http://www.dolomitemountains.com/en/home.htm
Drentsche Aa Nationaal beek- en esdorpen landschap – The Netherlands
I was here on a very rainy day. Even then the landscape was very beautiful. The heath fields on this flowing base, here and there a tree growing. Sheep, scottish highlanders and other animals keeping the growth of grass under control. One day I’m going to check it out when the weather is beautiful and the heath is flowering.
Visited December 2015 http://www.drentscheaa.nl/
Het Twiske – The Netherlands
I grew up near this park and have enjoyed all the various things it brings. Most of the park is your average city park, but it’s the size of a big piece of nature. Recreation and nature coexist in this park. My favourite part of the park as a child was the big natural playground of the park. Now I enjoy it going on a hike, sometimes for just half an hour, sometimes for multiple hours.
Karwendel – Austria
The Karwendel mountain range is a spectacular outdoor place. It offers tons of possibilities for any outdoor lover. I hiked and did a via ferrata, used a ski lift to get straight up high into the mountains and stayed up there for multiple days. The sharp pointy mountains don’t seem very inviting, but once you start to travel through there it is plainly amazing.
Mullerthal (region) – Luxembourg
I went to this piece of forest for the climbing. The soft sandstone is shaped into all these amazing shapes, resulting into awesome climbs. But if you just hike past the rocks you won’t be disappointed at all these great views. The forest if full with trails bringing you from one great sight to the next.
Visited April 2015 http://www.mullerthal.lu/en
Olympia Archaeological Site – Greece
It was a special experience to see the place where the original olympic games were held. The site was found buried under layers of mud. After a lot of work the site was recovered and is now a great place to visit. The museum on the site has many interesting historic objects to see.
Visited October 2007 http://odysseus.culture.gr/h/3/eh351.jsp?obj_id=2358
Padjelanta National Park – Sweden
Two weeks of hiking through the wilderness of Padjelanta was an amazing experience. The land is a lot of emptiness, waving lands with below blue sparkling water. But still you’ll be amazed by new sights every time. The only downside of this piece of area is the amount of biting bugs, even at the end of August some places were uncomfortable to stand still for longer than 2 seconds.
Vanoise Parc National
I visited this region multiple times in the winter, to go skiing. In winter the landscape is stunning, I’m not sure about the summer. I personally don’t find ski slopes in summertime very attractive.
Visited January 2014 http://www.vanoise-parcnational.fr/fr
Penang National Park
A great place to get a jungle experience. The trails are nice and not too difficult, bringing you to some of the more beautiful beaches of Penang island. The toughest about hiking here is the temperature and air humidity. I hiked twice in the park, trying to take it slow and bring enough water with me, but by the time I returned I had a terrible headache.
Visited June 2009 https://www.travel-penang-malaysia.com/penang-national-park.html
Noosa National Park – Australia, QLD
Do you want to see koalas in their natural habitat? This is a park where it’s very likely that you can spot one. The best way to see one is to look up and look for dark marks on the trees. The animal doesn’t really bother to move when he or she has to go to the bathroom, so they let it run down the tree. Besides wildlife you can see a stunning coast with beautiful rock formations.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park – Australia, NT
The most spiritual experience I’ve ever had was in this park. You can go on a tour around Uluru with an Aboriginal. This was so awesome to do, she did her whole talk in her native tongue and a translator was translating what she was saying. The landscape in the area is amazing and very inspirational. This area used to be known by the name Ayers Rock and The Olgas. I’m glad that it got its Aboriginal name back and that it’s not allowed anymore to climb the sacred Uluru.
Visited July 2009 https://parksaustralia.gov.au/uluru/
Watarrka National Park – Australia, NT
Beautiful canyon made up of very red sandstone. What I really found awesome about it, is the places where you can still see that once, long ago, this was all under water. Look around for crazy weird formations. I stood on a surf rock and I saw a rock that was both a rabbit and a turtle. Fun place to use your imagination. The park is also known as Kings Canyon.
West MacDonnell National Park – Australia, NT
Another amazing red rock mountain range in the Alice Springs area. The park offers a nice selection of hiking trails. Its very special to see the waterholes in this desert area, the shadow and the depth of these holes make that they never really dry up.
Visited July 2009 http://www.macdonnellranges.com/
Are there any parks that I really should visit? Let me know!