Tired of visiting crowded national parks during the high summer season? There are beautiful, lesser-known parks that definitely deserve your attention too! Consider a trip to each of these five most underrated national parks in the U.S. and you’ll enjoy some peace, quiet, and some of the most beautiful sights our country has to offer!
Isle Royale National Park
We’re starting off this list of underrated national parks with good and bad news! The good news is that Isle Royal National Park is located right here in Michigan! It is secluded, quiet, and absolutely beautiful and is an adventure unlike anything you’ll find anywhere else in the state! The bad news is that you can’t take your RV to the island!
While we really want you to get the most fun out of your RV, sometimes you just have to rough it, and this park is definitely worth it! You’ll feel a sense of total relaxation as you gaze out over the beautiful blue waters of Lake Superior, and there are so many incredible things to do! Hike around Windigo and Rock Harbor and you’ll be breathless from the gorgeous views! To see what lies below, go scuba diving and see incredible intact shipwrecks. This park is perfect for families too, with guided tours, kid’s programs, kayaking, boating, fishing, and more.
You’ll see an abundance of wildlife like squirrels, several species of bats, and snowshoe hares, but you may have the rare opportunity to see river otters, red foxes, beavers, or the majestic moose or scarce and elusive gray timber wolf. Just make your way through the lush vegetation, take the time to breathe all the beauty in, and enjoy getting closer to nature!
As we mentioned before, there is simply no way to bring your RV to the island as it is only accessible by boat or seaplane, so this is a tent camping adventure! You’ll need to obtain a permit before you explore Isle Royale National Park’s 36 different campgrounds. It’s best to take an extended stay here, and hike from campground to campground to see and do as much as you can while visiting this gorgeous island!
Big Bend National Park
If you’re looking for a getaway to the Lone Star State, a visit to Big Bend National Park is essential! The beautiful desert vistas will give you the chills, despite the warm, arid climate, making it the perfect destination for photographers and those who love hiking! From absolutely magnificent mountains to lovely basin plains, down to the stunning Rio Grande, every turn in this national park is a photo-worthy sight!
Not only can you explore the park your way by hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, or taking a scenic ride, you’ll see incredible wildlife along the way! Dozens of bird species call this park home, from hummingbirds to hawks, and even the greater roadrunner (meep meep!), and you’ll likely see one of the 31 species of snakes that are active in the sunny hours, or perhaps a curious lizard! Take some time to admire the lovely prickly pear and cholla cactuses, and if you’re visiting in the spring or late summer, you’ll get to enjoy the colorful wildflowers that spring up throughout the park!
There are three wonderfully developed campgrounds within Big Bend National Park, so you are more than welcome to bring your RV along for the adventure! All campgrounds are open year round, but do not offer hookups. Cottonwood Campground is tents-only, and Chisos Basin Campgrounds recommends that trailers over 20 feet and RVs over 24 feet aren’t suitable for the narrow and winding roads. If you have a larger RV, Rio Grande Village is your best bet, complete with a camp store, 43 sites, dump station, and more!
Grand Teton National Park
While Yellowstone gets all the attention and glory, Grand Teton National Park sits quietly nearby, surrounded by equally beautiful views and is an adventure all its own! Because Yellowstone is so popular, Grand Teton tends to be a lot less busy, but is a similar experience that any nature lover will appreciate. Whether you visit in the summer to hike through the wildflowers, in the fall to see the vistas bathed in golden brown turning leaves, or snowshoe the tranquil snowy trails, there’s always something fun to do in the Grand Tetons!
This national park is also a great location for mountaineers and climbers, with the breathtaking Teton Range just begging to be scaled. It’s a great park for families too, with a fun Junior Range program, ranger led programs, and plenty of wildlife sighting opportunities. Just be sure everyone knows proper bear safety procedures, as black and grizzly bears roam Grand Teton National Park!
There are several campgrounds located throughout Grand Teton National Park, including backcountry camping with a permit, but you’ll be the most comfortable in one of the RV parks. Colter Bay RV Park offers comfortable wooded sites with full hookups, bathrooms, laundry facilities, and more so you’ll have all your creature comforts while still in a rustic setting! It looks like the campgrounds are filling up fast this season (maybe Grand Teton isn’t as underrated as we thought!), so make your reservations now.
North Cascades National Park
Because of its northwestern location, North Cascades National Park doesn’t see as many visitors as other national parks, despite being only a few hours outside of Seattle! It’s just as beautiful, if not more so, than other parks too, with the gorgeous Cascade Mountains as the perfect backdrop! This is a photographer’s dream, with breathtaking reflective lakes, snow-capped mountain peaks, and the occasional moose, elk, mountain goat, or even black bears and cougars (hopefully at a distance).
You can adventure whatever way you’d like to, with hiking and biking trails, fantastic boating and fishing opportunities, horseback riding, and for the more daring, spectacular places for climbing! What’s more, North Cascades National Park is home to incredible glaciers, which you won’t find in just any national park!
There are several opportunities for camping in North Cascades National Park, but Newhalem Creek Campground is the best for RVers, which is more accessible for larger RVs up to 45-feet long! Bathrooms, a dump station, and recycling services are all available, however showers and hookups are not offered so make sure your RV is dry-camping ready! Reserve your site ahead of time so you can stay in the perfect spot.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve
Last, but certainly not least, is the incredible Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, which is the largest national park in the country with over 13,000 acres! Look at any picture and you’ll ask, “Why is this park underrated? It’s beautiful!” It’s all about location; although this national park is nothing short of gorgeous, it's located all the way up in Alaska, which tends to deter a lot of American explorers from visiting. But don’t let that stop you! Pack up the RV and take a trip up the Alaskan Highway, which is an adventure in its own right, then dedicate a good chunk of time exploring this vast and pristine park!
There is just so much to see and do here! It features four major mountain ranges, including its namesake ranges of Wrangell and St. Elias. Mt. St. Elias, located here, is the second highest mountain peak in the U.S., and Mt. Wrangell, also here, is one of the largest active volcanoes in all of North America. There are entire cities to explore within the park’s borders, and you’ll get to see glaciers, explore mines, view and photograph incredible wildlife including caribou, moose, and sea lions. Whether you want a getaway in the mountains or a coastal adventure, you can see it all in one grand trip. This is really a spectacular place that you need to visit in your lifetime!
Honestly, because Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is so vast, there are countless RV parks and campgrounds throughout that it's hard to recommend just one! Plan out your trip in advance and find some campgrounds in the areas you'll be visiting! That's what's so great about this national park: there's so much to see and do, and you can explore on your own terms!
Who’s ready for an adventure? These fantastic underrated national parks in the U.S. definitely need to be added to your bucket list if they aren’t already! Start your adventures off the right way with a visit to Hamilton’s RV. We have perfect RVs for sale near Lansing, with rugged toy haulers with tons of cargo space for adventurers, sturdy fifth wheels that will still let you have your homey comforts, and even compact pop-ups that can go where other RVs can’t! Stop by today and take advantage of our deep discounts!
Which of these national parks are you most excited to visit? Leave us a comment and let us know, or share your memories if you’ve already visited these gorgeous parks!