With everything from vast deserts and gorgeous beaches to sprawling mountain ranges, America is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful countries in the world — and nowhere is that more evident than in the national parks.
The US National Park Service oversees 401 areas throughout the US and US territories and has nearly 300 million visitors each year.
In honour of National Park Week, which runs through April 26th, we found some spectacular pictures of national parks, monuments, seashores and heritage areas around the country that will make you appreciate how beautiful the US really is.
Anmargaret Warner contributed to an earlier version of this post.
Visitors come to hike the granite peaks, swim on the beaches, and even get married in Acadia National Park, Maine, the first national park east of the Mississippi River.
Hoodoos, or pillars of weathered rock, fill Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. The area has some of the best air quality in the world, and on a clear day the visibility can exceed 100 miles.
At the Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland and Virginia, wild horses roam freely along the white sand beaches.
More than five million visitors come to Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, each year. If you're looking for an area with less tourist activity, head to the more remote North Rim.
Noted for world-renowned trout fishing, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, offers miles of hiking trails, climbing routes, as well as scenic drives.
Two of the world's most active volcanoes sit within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. Lava flow activity constantly changes accessibility to sites, so be sure to check before visiting.
At Glacier National Park, Montana, visitors can cruise the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which winds 50 miles through the park's interior, or hike along some of the 700 miles of trail.
In addition to being a national landmark, Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, New York, is an important site for hydroelectric power.
Yosemite National Park, California, offers some of the best rock climbing in the world in areas like El Capitan, Half Dome, the Royal Arches, the Three Brothers and Cathedral Rocks.
With over 800 miles of hiking trails, 700 miles of fishable streams, and more flowering plants than any other American national park, Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Tennessee and North Carolina) is also America's most visited national park.
Each of the five regions of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, California, has its own climate and features. The park is famous for its giant sequoia trees.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore, in North Carolina, was the first national seashore. Visitors can go crabbing, collect shells, relax on the beach, or check out one of the three operating lighthouses.
The volcanic basin of Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, formed nearly 8,000 years ago. At almost 2,000 feet deep, the lake is the deepest in the US.
Many people forget that the two-mile stretch of the National Mall, in Washington, D.C., between the Capital and the Potomac River is national park land.
Six million acres of land are inhabited by a diverse group of wildlife in Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska, from grizzly bears and caribou to chickadees and arctic ground squirrels.
The Gulf Islands National Seashore is a protected region along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Florida, where visitors can camp and enjoy the sandy white beaches.
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