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There are 59 national parks in the United States, created to protect the country’s stunning natural beauty, plants, animals, and in some cases, diverse ecosystems. It’s been said their existence is the best idea we ever had. To have to choose the best among them is a terribly difficult thing. In their own way, each one is the best. But this wouldn’t be America if we were equal, so we’ve gone ahead and made our selection. Choosing was never going to be easy, but we did it anyway. So here they are, the 12 best national parks in the United States, chosen for their eloquence in the face of turmoil, for their bravery, for standing tall amidst history’s great upheaval. Go ahead, debate us if you wish, but these are the best. We know, cos we took a peek last night.


640,000 years ago a massive volcano purged its contents over the Midwest, an event that when things cooled off helped to create Yogi Bear, who is purported to have lived somewhere close to Yellowstone. The park is home to the majority of the earth’s geysers. Not those found in bars, but geothermals like Old Faithful. They signal the presence of one of the world’s largest active volcanoes.

Yellowstone is the first and oldest of America’s parks, its protection signed into law by President Grant in 1872. The landscape is varied. Visitors encounter mountains, waterfalls and lakes, as well as every species of native large mammal, including the last free-ranging bison herd. John Giorgis, President Emeritus of the National Park Travelers Club, thinks you should go. Actually, he says: this is the one place that every able-bodied American should plan to go once before they die.

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