State parks in the US tend to get overlooked when people are searching for ideal nature exploration. Because national parks have so much hype, state parks sometimes get left out. But this doesn’t mean they don’t offer just as much, if not more, than their national park counterparts.
A day spent in a beautiful park surrounded by nature is ideal for many people. However, nothing seems to ruin a day of getting back to nature quicker than large crowds of people and the feeling of being rushed through the experience by others.
Although national parks certainly are popular for a reason, they also attract swarms of people throughout the year. This means that you will likely encounter a big crowd when visiting them, whether it’s the busy season or off-season.
There are countless state parks all across the country just waiting to be explored. Do a little digging, and you might find one closer to you than you think. If you don’t feel like doing the research yourself, we’ve rounded up some of the most stunning and spectacular state parks in the US so you can get back to nature.
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park – California
Technically, this park is managed by the national park that pops into everyone’s mind when they think of redwoods – Redwood National Park. But Prairie Creek is a lesser-known and separate area that offers just as much beauty without the crowds, really allowing you to get back to nature.
Taking a road trip up the coast to Humboldt County can lead you to this stunning state park, filled with beautiful redwoods and idyllic meadows. Just be sure to look into car insurance in California before you hit the road to make sure you’re covered, just in case.
Providence Canyon State Park – Georgia
When it comes to state parks in the US, this one should not be overlooked. Dubbed Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon,” Providence Canyon State Park offers incredible views and fascinating history. Unlike Arizona’s Grand Canyon, a natural wonder, this canyon exists due to poor farming practices in the 1800s, causing the erosion seen today.
No matter the season you choose to visit, be it the summer heat or Georgia’s fall season, you will not be short on breathtaking views and incredible history at this park, which offers hiking, camping and even the unique attraction of an abandoned homestead.
The site is filled with old, rusty trucks and cars deemed unable to be moved by park officials. So they stay for visitors to see during their time at the park. With phenomenal views and interesting attractions, Providence Canyon is sure to wow anyone who visits.
Camden Hills State Park – Maine
This breathtaking state park offers 30 miles of hiking trails for visitors along with year-round fun. In the warmer months, hiking, camping and horseback riding are available for those looking to enjoy the scenery. In the winter months, the park has options for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Bordering Penobscot Bay and with mountain peak views to be found throughout the park, Camden Hills offers a multitude of fantastic sights for its visitors. And with trails ranging from moderate to easy, there is something for everyone here.
Even if the outdoors aren’t your cup of tea, New England offers incredible views right from the comfort of your own vehicle. Simply make sure you’re covered with car insurance and hop in the car for a stunning road trip through one of the country’s most scenic locations.
Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park – Montana
Montana is a state certainly not lacking in beauty and incredible views. It is home to multiple national parks, after all. But those parks are likely to attract an abundance of visitors no matter the season.
A lesser-known gem waiting to be discovered in Montana is Lewis and Clark Caverns. This state park has the largest limestone caverns in the Northwest, with guided tours available for visitors to explore. The park also offers stunning hiking, biking and camping opportunities. There’s no shortage of beauty waiting around every corner here.
Mohican State Park – Ohio
If your idea of taking in scenic views involves floating down a river, look no further than Mohican State Park. Noted as one of the best canoeing spots in the state, Mohican has many locations to rent a canoe or kayak, plop yourself in the water and soak in the views. Many places are dog-friendly, so your fur-babies are welcome as well.
If you’re not one for the water, or the weather simply doesn’t permit, have no fear. Mohican is much more than just canoeing. The park offers more than 12 miles of hiking trails, some ending in marvelous lake views and gorge overlooks.
There are many amenities at the park as well, such as a lodge, cottages and campsites. Visitors can stay overnight and enjoy the beauty and serenity of the area.
Goblin Valley State Park – Utah
Comparing a location in the US to the surface of Mars may seem a little crazy, but once you see Goblin State Park, you might begin to understand why. This valley is unlike any other due to its sandstone formations resembling goblins, hence its name.
If you’re feeling adventurous, the park offers guided rappelling tours into Goblin’s Lair, a 70-foot natural sandstone cave. If rappelling perhaps isn’t your idea of a good time, the park offers various hiking trails, all about 1.5 miles each in length. There are also mountain biking trails and horseback riding available, making this park a must-visit.
You can also drive down Scenic Byway 24 and see the sights of this breathtaking park from the road. You can take a long trip seeing all the interesting spots this location has to offer – just be sure you have the right car insurance coverage if something happened to go wrong on your trip.
State Forest State Park – Colorado
Truly ideal for nature lovers, this park offers a long list of activities for any outdoor enthusiast, such as camping, hiking, four-wheeling, horseback riding, skiing, snowshoeing, telemarking, snowboarding, snowmobiling, fishing, hunting, birding, wildlife viewing and geocaching.
This state park is also considered the moose viewing capital of Colorado, with more than 600 observed each year. Between the stunning mountain views, the endless activities, the rugged terrain options and the amazing wildlife, State Forest has so much to offer its visitors.
Valley of Fire State Park – Nevada
If you’re ready for a social media detox, getting outdoors is the perfect escape. Valley of Fire State Park offers visitors a chance to really be wowed by natural wonder. When visiting this state park, you won’t find difficulty in determining where its name came from. Dubbed the Valley of Fire due to its bright red sandstone formations, when the sun hits them just right, they can actually appear to be on fire.
There are several hiking trails available through the gorgeous park, ranging from hard to easy, meaning there is something for every skill level. There are also camping sites and picnic areas available for those looking to enjoy even more of the scenic views.
McKinney Falls State Park – Texas
Located near Austin, McKinney Falls State Park is perfect for anyone looking to cool down from the Texas heat. The park has many stunning trails, some including hiking through water, so make sure you bring water shoes. There is also the park’s namesake, McKinney Falls, which offers a gorgeous waterfall for visitors to enjoy.
Along with hiking, you can find some areas for swimming and biking to enjoy the extraordinary sights this park has to offer.
Wawayanda State Park – New Jersey
This state park includes a spectacular lake perfect for boating or swimming. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful day on the water surrounded by lush forest views. Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy the 19-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail running through the park.
With so many options and so much scenery to take in, Wawayanda State Park surely won’t leave visitors wanting. And for those who aren’t quite ready to leave the peace and quiet, the park offers campsites for an overnight stay.
This article was contributed by Alexandra Arcand, who writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, FullCoverageAutoInsurances.com. Alex lives in Ohio and enjoys exploring new state parks each time she travels.
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