Activities & Adventure 6 MINS READ

10 Oldest National Parks In The United States

10 Oldest National Parks In The United States

Activities & Adventure 6 MINS READ

In 1872 the establishment of the first National Park in the U.S. was created by Ulysses S. Grant, the United States President at the time. Can you guess which park it was? If you answered the Yellowstone National Park – you’re correct! This nearly 3,500-sq.-mile sanctuary located in the western United States is the first national park of the country, and it’s worldwide known for its rich biodiversity. The Park is home to canyons, alpine rivers, forests, hot springs, and hundreds of animal species, such as bears, wolves, and antelopes.

Today, the National Park System features 422 national park sites in the United States, and these parks span across more than 84 million acres in each state. Not by chance, the U.S. became a true paradise for adrenaline seekers and adventurous travelers who want to escape to the great outdoors and spend some time in the wilderness. 

National Parks are real symbols of pride and are celebrated annually in  April during National Park Week, which honors the history and culture surrounding these stunning outdoor locations.

The National Park Service (NPS) recorded that in 2019 over 327 million people visited the USA’s national parks. While some parks are still temporarily closed, you can still gather some ideas to plan your next outdoor vacation in the U.S. A great place to start? With a list of the 10 oldest national parks in the United States. Check them out below:

The Oldest U.S. National Parks:

1. Yellowstone National Park| March 1, 1872

yellowstone national park

Located between three states —Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana— the Yellowstone National Park is the first national park in the U.S. Thanks to its diverse fauna and flora, Yellowstone welcomes about 4.2 million visitors a park. The park is home to over 1,700 species of trees, and almost 60 species of mammals, including the Rocky Mountain wolf, coyote, the Canadian lynx, and black and grizzly bears.

Placed at the northeastern end of the Snake River Plain, a geological feature located in Idaho, the park has a stunning volcanic landscape, and it harbors the famous Yellowstone Caldera, which is the largest volcanic system in North America, and in the world.

Other attractions in the park are the geysers, such as the “Old Faithful”, located in Upper Geyser Basin, and the Steamboar Geyser, which is the largest active geyser in the world.

2. Sequoia National Park| September 25, 1890

sequoia national park

Known for being home to the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree in the world by volume, the Sequoia National Park is the second oldest national park in the U.S. The park is located in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California, and it’s south of and contiguous with Kings Canyon Park.

Aside from gigantic Sequoia trees, which can grow between 250 to 275 feet tall, the Sequoia National Park is covered by four different types of vegetation zones: foothill woodlands, montane forests, subalpine forests, and alpine forests. The park is also inhabited by coyotes, black bears, sheep, eleven species of woodpecker, various species of turtle, three species of owl, and more animals.

Both the Sequoia Park and Kings Canyon are filled with outdoor activities all year round. Visitors can hit the hiking trails, backpack in the parks, wildlife watch, go picnicking and even ski during the winter.

yosemite national park

3. Yosemite National Park | October 1, 1890

Yellowstone is the official first national park in the U.S., but the idea to create the park originally came from President Abraham Lincoln when he signed the Yosemite Land Grant, back in 1864.

Located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in central California, Yosemite covers an area of 748,436 acres that spans over four counties: Tuolumne, Mariposa, Mono, and Madera County. Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is home to grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, sparkling lakes, mountains, and granite cliffs, among other marvels of nature. The park also features one of the biggest waterfalls on Earth, the 188 meters high Bridalveil Fall, aside from harboring over 400 species of animals, including the super-rare red fox.

4.  Mount Rainier National Park | March 2, 1899

mount rainier national park

Located in a Washington state reserve, southeast of Seattle, the Mount Rainier National Park is home to the Mount Rainier, a 14,411-foot stratovolcano. A true gem of the Washington State, the park is home to valleys, waterfalls, meadows, and forests, aside from having more than 25 glaciers.

A popular hiking spot in the U.S., the Mount Rainier National Park is inhabited by several animal species, such as beavers, black bears, raccoons, porcupines, marmots, and mountain goats, aside from plenty of birds, including owls and eagles.

5. Crater Lake National Park | May 22, 1902

crater lake national park

Crater Lake National Park is located in the Cascade Mountains of southern Oregon. Famous for its crystal blue water lakes, the park hugs the caldera of the 1,949 feet Crater Lake, a remnant o Mount Mazama and the deepest lake in the United States. The park features old-growth forests covering around 50,000 acres, the Pacific Crest Trail, which is a long-distance hiking trail that stretches from the Mexican to Canadian borders, an extinct volcano, and several species of mammals.

Some of the best things to do in the Crater Lake National Park include hiking and exploring the local forests and lakes, and driving the historic 33-mile Rim Drive, which circles Crater Lake and offers stunning views of the surrounding areas.

6. Wind Cave National Park | January 9, 1903

wind cave national park

Wind Cave is the first cave system in the U.S. to be designated as a national park, thanks to its massive concentration of rare boxwork formations. The park also encompasses 33,970 acres of forest and prairie that plays host to a remarkable variety of wildlife.

Located 10 miles (16 km) north of the town of Hot Springs in western South Dakota, the Wind Cave National Park was established in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt. The cave is regarded as the densest cave system in the world, and also as one of the longest caves on Earth, with 149.01 miles of explored cave passageways.

Aside from this majestic cave, the park also features 30 miles of hiking trails through prairies and ponderosa pine forests.

7. Mesa Verde National Park | June 29, 1906

mesa verde national park

Placed in Montezuma County, in southwest Colorado, Mesa Verde National Park is the largest archeological preserve with over 600 cliff dwellings. The Mesa Verde National Park was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it protects some of the best-preserved Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites in the country. The parks’ name translates into “green table”, and it’s a reflection of the vast greenery that covers thousands of acres.

8. Glacier National Park | May 11, 1910

glacier national park

Featuring over 700 miles of trails, the Glacier National Park is a real North American gem for those who love some outdoor hiking. Located in the northwest corner of Montana, the Glacier National Park spans over one million acres.

In total, the park has 75 named mountains, 762 lakes, 25 named glaciers, and close to 750 miles of hiking trails alone. The Glacier National Park also features a breathtaking panorama of pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, and spectacular lakes.

But the Glacier National Park is much more than a hiking paradise. The park also offers the perfect conditions for other fun outdoor activities, such as boating, fishing, biking, backcountry camping, and even count-country skiing.

9. Rocky Mountain National Park | January 26, 1915

rocky mountain national park

The ninth oldest U.S. national park is the iconic Rocky Mountain, which happens to be one of the most visited national parks in the country. While the park was founded in 1915, the mountain range where it’s located is actually over 76 million years old. The high peaks and rugged landscape make the perfect backdrop for the city of Denver, which is just a short drive away.

With more than 100 peaks rising above 11,000 feet in altitude, the park is located in north-central Colorado, between the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake. This family-friendly destination features a jaw-dropping nature setting, as it’s filled with mountains, waterfall hikes, alpine lakes, and a wide variety of wildlife everywhere you look.

10. Haleakala National Park |August 1, 1916

haleakala national park

Haleakala National Park is located on the Hawaiian Island, Maui. While the park itself is over 33,000 acres, the park’s main feature is its massive 7-mile wide volcanic crater, the dormant Haleakalā Volcano, which last erupted between 1480 and 1600 AD. Visitors usually go to the Haleakala National Park to go to the summit of the volcano and watch the sunset or sunrise from up high.

You can also enjoy these national parks from afar by taking virtual tours and experiences at home.

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Destination Deep-Dive 14 MINS READ

30 Most Instagrammable Places to Visit

30 Most Instagrammable Places to Visit

Destination Deep-Dive 14 MINS READ

Do you travel around the world looking for the best spot to take the perfect photo? If this is something up your alley, then you will love checking out this list of the 30 most Instagrammable places to visit during the summer. From London’s Tower Bridge to Malaysia’s steps to Batu Caves to the Duomo di Milano, there are so many places to fall head over heels for. Many of these monuments, cities, islands, and landmarks are also UNESCO Heritage Sites. Pack your camera, tripod, and video gear because these Instagram-worthy destinations cannot be beaten.

Scroll down the list to plan your trip to the most Instagrammed places in the world You will want to add each one to your bucket list after seeing them all.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

If you have ever wanted to visit Southeast Asia you most likely came across pictures and stories about Halong Bay. There are over 1,600 islands in the bay scattered through the emerald waters. The islands are actually limestone karst landforms, which were worn down by 500 million years of tropical downpours and look like arches and pillars shooting out of the water. The bay is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the best Instagrammable spots in Vietnam. For some Insta worthy pictures, a great tip is to take a junk boat tour to explore the bay’s islands, caves, and floating villages.
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Duomo di Milano, Italy

The Duomo di Milano is a national treasure in Italy, and one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Aside from being a highly Instagrammable spot, the Duomo is Milan’s main cathedral and welcomes millions of worshipers and tourists annually. The cathedral, which has over 90 gargoyles and about 3,400 statues, took almost six centuries to be built. It is also the largest cathedral in Italy, the second-largest in Europe, and fourth-largest in the world.
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Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, USA

If you go to San Francisco, you must take a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. Connecting San Francisco City to Marin County, the Golden Gate it’s one of the longest and tallest suspension bridges in the world and is one of California’s most well-known attractions. The American Society of Engineers considers the bridge to be one of the Modern Wonders of the World. Tip for taking the best photo of the Golden Gate bridge: head over to Baker Beach, during sunset. Also, make sure to check the weather forecast to avoid cloudy or foggy days. Mornings are better when shooting the bridge from the east.
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Oia City, Santorini, Greece

The beautiful city of Oia on Santorini Island is one of the most jaw-dropping Instagrammable places in the world. People travel far and wide to get a picture of the white-washed houses and bright blue rooves, which are definitely Instagram worthy. During your trip to Santorini, don’t forget to take a boat ride around the island and soak up the sunshine and friendliness of the Greeks. This ride will not only provide you with amazing photo spots, but also a great relaxation time under the Greek sun.
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Rainbow Mountain, Peru

Rainbow Mountain is not only one of the 30 most Instagrammable places in the world, but also one of Peru’s most picturesque natural landmarks. While it may seem that the mountain was painted by hands, the colors are actually a result of minerals in the ground. The Rainbow Mountain, which is over 5,000 meters above sea level, is enjoyed by thousands of visitors daily and it’s becoming the main attraction to see after or before Machu Picchu. Listed as one of the“Top 100 Places To Visit Before You Die” by National Geographic, the mountain is made of 14 different minerals, which have a wide range of colors, such as turquoise, lavender, and gold. The Rainbow Mountain is also known as Vinicunca in the local Peruvian Quechua language, which translates to “colored mountain”.
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Tower Bridge, London, England

Often mistaken as London Bridge, this famous monument in England’s capital is the Tower Bridge. The bridge is located between the Tower of London, Borough Market, and Westminister Abbey, a is a must-visit place for the perfect London photo shot. Also, going to Tower Bridge will put you in the middle of London’s most famous photo-spots, like the City Hall, the Tower of London and The Shard. Cross over to get an incredible view of the Thames River.
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Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Located in the middle of the Bolivian Andes, in southwest Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni is every photographer’s paradise. The Salar is the world’s largest salt flat and its bright-white salt surface spans over 3,900 square miles (10,000 square kilometers). Its unique formation is a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes. On the surface, there are few meters of salt creating its flatness. The rainy season, which is from December to April, is the best time to visit the salary to witness the mirror effect and, of course, take amazing photos. This mirroring phenomenon happens because the nearby lakes overflow and a thin layer of water transform the flats into a reflection of the sky. Thanks to its endless horizon, Salar de Uyuni’s allows travelers to take creative pictures by playing with depths and perspective, and it soon became one of the most Instagrammable places in the world. Curious fact: in 2017 it was one of the film locations for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Havana, Cuba

People fly to Cuba from the farthest parts of the globe to see the colorful streets of Old Havana. Havana was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century and was a very important location for the Spaniards during the conquest. Over one million international tourists visit Havana a year to not only experience the city’s lively culture but also to see its eclectic charm. Havana harbors richly-decorated mansions, colorful houses with Moorish-style roofs, and Art Deco constructions, such as the Fausto Theatre on Paseo del Prado. And, like many of the Instagrammable places on this list, Havana was also the location for many films, such as Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, and Buena Vista Social Club: Adios. Travelers can rent one of the colorful vintage cars and take a ride while snapping pics of the old town.
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Palm Islands, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Have you ever seen anything like this? Consisting of three artificial islands, the Palm Islands is a very popular tourist attraction to see in Dubai, especially up from the sky. The creation of the artificial islands began in 2001, and it required 5.5 million cubic meters of rock brought from 16 different quarries in Dubai, 700 tons of limestone, and 94 million cubic meters of sand from deep sea beds placed 6 miles from the coast of Dubai. Often regarded as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ the Palm Islands are the largest human-made islands in the world and created to drive more attention to Dubai. Also known as Palm Jumeirah, the islands are home to thousands of waterfront apartments, residential villas, some 60 luxury hotels, spas, and dive sites. If you go to Dubai, we recommend taking your bravery up to new heights and going skydiving above the islands.
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Batu Caves, Malaysia

Who wouldn’t want to get a picture in front of the rainbow steps leading up to Batu Cave? Located in Kuala Lumpur the 272 steps lead to the caves which also serve as a temple. The golden statue is the Hindu deity Lord Murugan, who stands to protect the temple and stairway. It is truly a bucket list spot to visit.
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Blue Lagoon, Malta

Known for its crystal blue waters and incredible views, the Blue Lagoon is Malta’s most famous and popular attraction. Visitors can rent a boat for the day or take a ferry to spend hours exploring the bay and Comino Island, which lies between Malta and Gozo Islands. If you like to swim, there is no better place to do explore the coves and caves of the island.

Sintra, Portugal

Sintra’s castle lives above the clouds. Located in the region of Lisbon, Sintra is very famous for its many UNESCO World Heritage sites and its castles and palaces. This cultural landscape is a hot spot not just in Portugal, but all of Europe. Everyone who visits calls this romantic village a fairytale, and once you go you’ll see why.

Bamboo Forest, Kyoto, Japan

Have you ever been to Kyoto’s incredible Bamboo Forest? Get lost in a sea of greenery and bamboo stalks that extend hundreds of feet into the sky. While the whole walk can be done in one hour, visitors often spend hours in the forest admiring the natural park. Be sure to add it to your Japanese bucket list. You also have to try the delicious teas in the nearby tea houses.

Cappadocia, Turkey

If you have ever dreamt of taking a hot air balloon ride, there is no better place to experience it than in Cappadocia, Turkey. People folk there to get beautiful colorful photos on top of the “fairy chimney” mounds and beautiful balloon backdrop. Turkey has so many unique places to explore so be sure to add Cappadocia to the list.

Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia

Bondi Beach is easily one of the most instagrammable places to visit in Australia. Visitors can surf, whale watch, and enjoy views of the gorgeous blue waters from the pool that appears as if it is in the ocean. Explore and discover Sydney’s other picture-perfect locations when visiting the pristine Bondi Beach.

Egyptian Pyramids, Giza, Egypt

The Egyptian Pyramids in Giza are the last remaining original wonder of the world. The first mention of the pyramids dates as far back as the Early Dynastic Period. History says the actual pyramids are from the 3rd dynasty. They are truly a world wonder demonstrating the sheer strength and capability of humans from such an early point in time. The pyramids were originally built as tombs for the pharaohs and are now visiting by millions of tourists a year.

Blue City, Chefchaouen, Morocco

One of Morocco’s most visited locations is the gorgeous blue city of Chefchaouen. It is located in the northwest part of Morocco and is near Tangier, one of Morocco’s more connected cities to Europe. When the Jewish people were trying to escape the Spaniards in 1492, they flocked to Chefchaouen. It was then that they began painting the walls blue and it remains a tradition ever since. Tourists love exploring the blue town in search of the perfect nook to snap their shot with no one around.

Northern Lights, Iceland

Millions of people visit Iceland, Norway, Canada, Sweden, and more every year to have the opportunity to see the Northern Lights. But Iceland offers something truly spectacular and from winter to spring you can stay up all night to take in the spectacular green, blue, purple, and yellow colors. It is truly a once in a lifetime experience.

Skyline Queenstown, New Zealand

Enjoy a panoramic view of Queenstown from the Skyline Complex. Visitors can take a short gondola ride up to the structure to dine with a view of the city, mountains, and  Lake Wakatipu. While you can choose to hike or take the gondola up, to go down you have to try the luge. A visit to this incredibly Instagrammable location pairs well with adventure.

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

Located in Page, Arizona, horseshoe bend is one of the most famous parts of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon. Sit above the clips to get the best photo of the river as it winds around the bend. You can arrive to have the photo opt by climbing a 1.5-mile hike. The view is breathtaking, especially at sunset.

Parc Güell, Barcelona, Spain

Visitors come to Barcelona every year to admire the incredible colorful artwork by Antoní Gaudi. Parc Güell is one of Spain’s most favorite parks and tourist attractions. The park has been open since 1926 and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Located on Carmel Hill, there is no better place to get a breathtaking view of the entire city stretching out to the beach. One could simply spend hours exploring the park and all of its architectural designs.

Gates of Heaven, Bali, Indonesia

Although the entire island of Bali is filled with instagrammable places, the Gates of Heaven is a must-visit for that once in a lifetime photo. The “gates” are part of the Pura Penataran Agung Lempuyang in Karangasem. While many people often criticize influencers and tourists for visiting this spot for the photo, one can’t help but admire its beauty and incredible natural backdrop. Our tip? Be extremely respectful and learn a thing or two about how to contribute to the preservation of Bali’s holiest locations.

Istanbul, Turkey

From the opposing and breathtaking mosques to the culture and colorful streets, Istanbul is a place unlike any other. It serves as both a cultural and historic center for Turkey. Originally named Byzantium and Constantinople, it is the largest city in Europe and the seventh-largest city in the world. If you are looking to learn about the ancient Europan history and its connection to Asia, while getting your picture-perfect moment, then Istanbul is the perfect place for you.

Supertree Grove, Singapore

You cannot visit Singapore without taking a picture of the Supertree Grove. This man-made forest is unique for its tree-like towers and verdant greenery. The trees are between 80 to 160 ft tall and belong to the Gardens by the Bay nature park. The park welcomes over 50 million guests a year and serves as a symbol for enriching the quality of life in Singapore. If you are looking for one of the most instagrammable places to visit, this is definitely a fantastic option.

Amsterdam Canals, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Take a walk down the charming streets of Amsterdam on your next trip to the Netherlands. The entire city is a collection of Instagrammable places, such as channels, canals, and small elongated houses. Many of the houses have the appearance that they are leaning. This was done on purpose to avoid a collision. Bike culture is very popular in Amsterdam. So hop on a bicycle and snap a few epic photos of the colorful city along the way.

New York, New York

In New York City, at almost every corner you’ll find an Insta worthy place. And, especially during the summer, New York boasts an irresistible and lively atmosphere, which makes travelers want to capture every single moment. The warm weather provides New York with special sunlight, which makes it even easier to appreciate the beauty of the city. In case you’re looking for the most Instagrammable places to take amazing pictures in New York City, a great tip is to start with the basics. You can head over to the verdant Central Park, or photograph the city’s iconic skyline, which is dotted with high-rise constructions, such as the Empire State Building.

But, if you’re looking for off the beaten track Instagrammable places in New York City, make your move to cool photo spots such as Williamsburg, a hype neighbouhood filled with industrial buildings, vintage shops, hippie-chic cafes and elegant speakeasies.

Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro

When it comes to Instagrammable places to visit during summer, Rio de Janeiro is undoubtedly one of the best. This beautiful Brazilian city is a quaint paradise, dotted with forested mountains, beaches, and rich architectural heritage. Some of the most Instagrammable spots in Rio de Janeiro include the Arpoador Rock, the colorful Escadaria Selaron, the Plage Cafe located in Parque Lage, and the Sugarloaf Mountain, which rises 396 meters above the Gulf of Guanabara. When in Rio, also make sure to visit the picture-worthy Christ Redeemer, a giant statue listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena is a true profusion of colors. Placed on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, this historic city founded in the 16th-century displays a showcase of scenic historic buildings, cobblestone streets, colorful colonial houses, and bougainvillea-laced balconies. Not by chance, Cartagena is one of the most Instagrammable places in the world, so you might wanna take advantage of the summer season, which is when the city is the most beautiful. Some worthy places for taking Instagram photos are the walled Old Town of Cartagena, filled with cultural sights, and the lively Getsemani Neighbourhood, known for its colorful houses and street art murals.

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles may not be the first destination that comes to mind when you think of the most Instagrammable places in the world. But, interestingly, it is. In fact, Los Angeles is home to some of the most Instagram worthy spots in California. In case you want to photograph iconic places in Los Angeles, make sure to include the Hollywood Sign, the Beverly Hills Hotel, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame in your itinerary. Los Angeles also plays host to cool artsy Instagrammable places, like The Broad, a contemporary art museum in Downtown Los Angeles, and the Urban Light, a large-scale artwork placed outside of LACMA.

When traveling around Los Angeles during the summer, you can also head over to other amazing photo spots, like the Santa Monica Pier, which is framed by the Pacific Ocean, and the quirky Venice Beach.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is one of the most Instagrammable places in the world at any time of the year. During the late fall and winter, the city boasts a glittering Christmas decoration, with magical open-air markets being held in some of the city’s most iconic areas, such as the Old Town Square and the Wenceslas Square. During spring, Prague gets dotted with cherry blossoms, and in the summertime, the sun illuminates Prague’s ancient buildings, which become even more beautiful and picture-perfect.

So, if traveling to Prague in summer is on the books for you, you might wanna know where to go to take the most amazing photos of the city. The number one photo spot is the Prague Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site founded in around 880, and the largest ancient castle complex in the world. Europe, by the way, is home to thousands of magnificent castles, and you might want to include some of them on your list of the most Instagrammable places to visit.

In Prague, make sure you also make your move to other photo spots, such as the Charles Bridge, spanning the River Vltava, and the quirky Dancing House placed right on the Vltava riverfront.

Now that you know the most Instragrammable places to visit, start planning a trip to capture them all. CuddlyNest has everything from hotels to homes, and everything in between to provide you with the perfect place to stay.

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