The best national parks

by - 09:20

What is a National Park and what makes them special?
A national park is a park, or large area that is protected and maintained by the government due to their scenic beauty. Most National Parks display high levels of importance due to their historical past, their extravagant beauty or the unique wildlife found around the area. Members of the public are allowed to visit these national parks as they are looked after by the government. I visited the Grand Canyon a few weeks back (which you can see here) which is an example of an amazing national park that I will talk about further down.

I haven't always had such a massive interest in national parks, or understood the importance, until I was recently looking at booking a holiday in Croatia where there was a beautiful water fountain labelled "Plitvice National Park". This led me into researching other national parks around the world, to find the best ones that I would love to visit.

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
As I had already mentioned this one in my introduction, I thought that I should start off with it, so save you all wondering about it. Plitvice Lakes is North of the capital city Zadar and the main party city of Split. Unfortunately, the water is not to be swam in, but how insane do these waterfalls look. The waterfalls are dotted around the park, and are definitely one of the most amazing parts of the park. There are also walkways dotted around the area that allows you to take the most perfect Instagrams. It is the largest national park in Croatia, and definitely one of the most beautiful in Europe. There are a total of 16 lakes within the park (yes, I said sixteen) all with different altitudes. If you fancied being at a high point, then the highest point is 280m and the lowest at 380m – although the total height difference between the lakes themselves is only 135m. 

Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA
As I have previously mentioned in a blog, I have recently visited the Grand Canyon, and can say that the views are definitely an impressive geological point of interest. There are hundreds of points that you can view this Wonder of the World from, all with different views. It is understandable why 5 million tourists visit the Canyon each year, and whether it's to get an 'I've been to the Canyon' Instagram photo, or whether they want to explore the village over a couple of days, they all have taken in some of the most amazing views in the world. If you're feeling brave enough, take a photo like this one, hanging over the edge (when there's no wind obv)! I can't really express how amazing the views are, because no photo does it justice. The cutest part of the Canyon is the little village located within the park, where there are tourist shops, cafes, an art gallery and a pub, so that you can drink yourself out of the coldness.

Biscayne National Park, Florida, USA
Moving away from the cold and dry national parks, Biscayne isn't one of the regular favourites. However, the coral reef, the wildlife, and the sunshine all come together to make this landmark one of the most beautiful parks in Florida. It is full of islands and reefs that can only be accessed by boat, and offers you cool excursions such as reef diving and padding excursions. The park divides the urbanity of Miami, to the natural and rural area that is Biscayne, although it used to be the home so several nightclubs and houses that presidents such as Hoover visited. One of the areas, Stiltsville is located in the northern edge of the park and there are only 7 wooden houses left of the vibrant and unregulated community that once lived there in the 1930s. Do not be fooled that the area is strictly water and reefs, as there is also a tourist centre and several hikes that you can take on that island. Definitely a park with the best of both worlds.

Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, USA
The best thing about this park to me, is that it is a mix of both land and sea, and you can take a cruise ship through the park to get the best views of both. The glaciers that still exist in the park today are remnants of a glacial period that began about 4000 years ago, which is what interests me the most. Only two cruise ships are allowed into the park per day, and only a handful of tour boats due to the icebergs and floating ice around the sea (and nobody wants a repeat of Titanic). As a huge animal lover, what I love about this park is the amount of wildlife that you would get that you wouldn't be able to get anywhere else. Although I struggle to remember that we are going through global warming due to always being freezing cold and having to wear tens of layers, this fact from the Glacier Bay National Park website interested me is, ""Of the more than 100,000 glaciers in the state, 95% are currently thinning, stagnating, or retreating, and most of Glacier Bay's glaciers follow this trend. However, there are a few exceptions. Due to heavy snowfall in the soaring Fairweather Mountains, Glacier Bay remains home to a few healthy and advancing glaciers, a rarity in today's world."which is a reminder how global warming is ruining some amazing places.

Don't forget to follow my Pinterest for a browse of even more beautiful pictures from all of the national parks around the world:

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