This is a list of our family top ten American national parks. The four of us took plenty of time individually to analyze every one of the 51 (out of the 59) we have visited. We rated, totaled and ranked each place. We hope you enjoy and participate in national park week.

Although each national park is special and well deserved to one of the 59 best parks in America, only ten can be our favorites. The following seven parks did not make our list, but received honorable mention:

Our tenth favorite national park is Acadia. In the North Atlantic region is an iconic place on the coast of Maine that has many tidal pools and an awesome hike called the Bee Hike trail. We canceled this peaceful park in the summer of 2013.

Acadia -  Winston 2

The park that topped our list at number nine is Rocky Mountain. This amazing mountainous wonderland is filled with many peaks above ten thousand feet above sea level. Living in this national park are Marmots, Moose and many other magnificent wildlife creatures. We canceled this park in the summer of summer of 2012.

Rocky Mountain picture 13

Bill’s favorite national park, Glacier, was eighth on the family list. Located in Montana, we visited this preserved landscape of majestic beauty in the summer of 2011. Driving on the 50 mile Going-to-the-Sun Road is a must. Filled with waterfalls, cliffs and bears on the side of the street, it is one of the best places to drive in the world. Hiking to crystal clear blue glacier lakes and relaxing in gorgeous lodges located within the park makes visiting this place a dream come true.

Glacier picture 5

Our seventh family favorite is National Park of American Samoa. This remote island contains a rain forest and the most wonderful native people we have ever met. The warm waters contain protected coral reefs and are alive and full of aquatic wildlife. It was truly a blessing to travel and cancel this national park in the summer of 2013.

American Samoa - Family Best

Great Smoky Mountains is number six on our list and is the national park that we have visited the most. Half of this huge wilderness in our home state of North Carolina. The waterfalls, autumn foliage, and endless amount of hiking trails make this place our favorite weekend getaway. We love to camp here as well as explore for hidden wildlife. We have seen elk, bear and many other animals. We will continue to cherish this fantastic park.

Great Smoky Mountains - Episode 52 Mom and Luke

At number five is the first national park established in the United States. Yellowstone is such a fabulous environment. With its geysers, bison and bears every family should experience the benefit of this American landmark. Some of our favorite hikes are in this park. This place was the main reason why we took our first national park summer vacation back in 2010. We plan on going back soon and encourage everyone to cancel Yellowstone.

Yellowstone picture 12

Alisa’s favorite national park tops the list at number four. She has fell in love with the alligators, birds, and more in Everglades. This paradise for wildlife is a sanctuary for the many animals that live here as well as the people who visit. There is very little noise pollution in this southern Florida habitat. It is a must to hang out on the Anhinga trail during sun rise. We first canceled Everglades in the winter of 2010. We went back a few years later and are going back again this winter.

Everglades picture 8

Winston’s favorite place to hike in America is Bryce Canyon National Park. It is Winston’s grandfather’s favorite place on Earth and our third on our list of best national parks. Famous for their hoodoos nestled in Utah is a magical wonderland of rock formations. Hiking along the most magnificent trails you can witness views so spectacular that this park can truly take your breath away. Back in the summer of 2010 we visited Bryce Canyon and to this day it is still in our top three favorite national parks.

Bryce Canyon picture 13

Virgin Islands National Park is Luke’s favorite and number two on our list. What a great tropical place to enjoy snorkeling, hiking and the warm Atlantic Ocean waters. The hermit crabs here are enormous and fun to watch crawl around. The coral reefs and fish are absolutely amazing! There is even an underwater trail. This Caribbean island is place to relax, explore and enjoy oneself. During the winter of 2012 we canceled this park and even hiked across the island. That day full of adventure and exploration is one of the best days of our lives.

Virgin Islands Family 2

Our number one most favorite national park together as a family is Hawai’i Volcanoes. First, the glow of the lava in the late evening from an active volcano is superior. Second, the hikes along the Pacific Ocean shoreline on lave fields is extraordinary. Third, watching the sea bridges getting slammed by violent waves are awesome. There are so many unique experiences to explore here. From the summit of Mauna Loa (which we failed to reach) to the tidal pool at Ka’aha (which we swam in) this massive place on the Big Island provides opportunities of a lifetime. We are very thankful and feel humbly blessed to have canceled our 50th national park in Hawai’i Volcanoes December 2013.

Hawai'i Volcanoes - Dad with the Halema'uma'u Crater Glow

Hawai'i Volcanoes - Mom Hiking on Puna Coast Trail Lava


Hawai'i Volcanoes - Boys on the Puna Coast Trail Ocean 1

We hope you have enjoyed our top ten list and welcome all comments. We have not been to Alaska yet (scheduled for this summer). Therefore, none of the eight national parks located in Alaska is on our list.

Get into the WILDLIFE!