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The Best National Parks Outside of the USA

The Best National Parks Outside of the USA

We all know the US has beautiful National Parks. Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon are just a few of the incredible natural wonders inside the US borders. But obviously, nature’s gifts aren’t limited to only this country. That’s impossible. There’s a whole planet out there.

International national parks offer equally amazing wonders with the added thrill of new cultures and topography. If you travel for adventure, the unknown, or diversity, it’s time to explore your abroad options.


Serengeti National Park

Location: Tanzania, Africa

Why You’re Going: The Big 5 (AKA elephants, cape buffalo, leopards, rhinoceros, and lions)

The Serengeti National Park is home to 5700 sq. miles of African wilderness. World renowned for its wildlife, the park is divided into three geographically distinct regions, each with its own topography, flora and fauna: the Northern Serengeti, the Serengeti Plains, and the Western Corridor. The Northern Serengeti predominantly consists of hills and woodlands where you can expect to see zebras and migrating wildebeest. The Western Corridor is swampy and covered with black clay. Denizens include crocodiles and hippopotamus. The Serengeti Plains are where most of the action takes place due the almost treeless grasslands that stretch on for miles. It’s the spot to see the Big 5. Link


Fiordland National Park

Location: The South Island of New Zealand

Why You’re Going: Epic Hikes

Located in the Southwest corner of New Zealand’s South Island, Fiordland National Park offers 4800 square miles of jaw dropping terrain. It’s one of the more remote locations in the world and has massive fjords, snowcapped peaks, and rain forests. We weren’t expecting rain forests in Norway but there they are. There are over 500 km of trails throughout the park as well as huts for lodging.  New Zealand is known for multiday hikes and three of the most famous trails run through Fiordland National Park. If you’re looking for a walkabout but aren’t sold on the traditional idea of Australia, Fiordland is a great alternative. Link


Galapagos National Park

Location: Galapagos Island (600 miles west of Ecuador)

Why You’re Going: In the name of Darwinism

Naturally isolated and containing a plethora of unique flora and fauna, the ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands is unique. Charles Darwin explored these islands in the mid 19th century and their inhabitants sparked the initial idea that eventually became his Theory of Natural Selection, which he wrote about in his book On the Origin of Species. A snorkeling and diving paradise, the fact that many of the animals don’t have natural predators allows people to get close and personal with the wildlife. Giant tortoises, cormorants, and the blue-footed bobby are just a few of the animals these life-altering islands host. Link


Vatnajökull National Park

Location: Iceland

Why You’re Going: To experience Fire and Ice

Vatnajokull National Park is one of the largest national parks in Europe and accounts for 13% of Iceland. A massive glacier, the largest outside of the arctic, covers the majority of the park and offers incredible ice climbing, hiking and snowmobiling. Beyond that, volcanic activity, rivers, waterfalls, and lagoons add a dramatic range of landscapes to be explored. There’s a weird mix of landscapes here, so take a few days and see as much as you can. Not many other places offer such geographic diversity. Link


Pantanal Matogrossense National Park

Location: Brazil (along the Bolivian border)

Why You’re Going: To see the wonders of the Amazon

The Amazon rainforest is one of the most amazing ecological areas in the world. Its biodiversity is such that more than 10% of the global plant and animal species reside in this single environment. The Pantanal offers the highlights of the Amazon without a direct dive into the bush. A sprawling 335,000-acre wetland largely devoid of human activity, presents an unspoiled area where tapirs, anteater, deer, jaguars and more than 600 species of birds can be observed. However, this vacation’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s difficult to traverse dense and unfriendly jungle and be sure to book your trip in the dry season (June to September). But if you’re confident and experienced enough to make it, you’ll be rewarded. Link


Swiss National Park

Location: Switzerland

Why You’re Going: To hike the Alps

The Swiss National Park is a great option for those just starting the adventure lifestyle. Originally created in 1914 and comprising more than 42,000 acres, the only national park in Switzerland contains all of the best geographic offerings of this beautiful region. Majestic peaks, beautiful glacier carved valleys, and ideal alpine scenery make these mountains storybook beautiful. Over 50 miles of trails range in difficulty and are the best way to experience one of the most beautiful, iconic mountain ranges in the world, the Alps. Link


Göreme National Park

Location: Turkey (Central Region)

Why You’re Going: Rock Formations and Ancient Culture

The Goreme National Park is located in the central region of Turkey called Cappadocia. Centuries of water and wind have carved the stalagmite formations (often called fairy chimneys) out of sedimentary rock. Due to the secluded nature of the region and the relative softness of the rock, subterranean cities were carved under the rock formations and in the rock chimneys as early as the 4th century. A spectacular combination of adventure and culture, this region is best seen from a hot air balloon during the golden hour. Link


Komodo National Park

Location: Indonesia

Why You’re Going: To find a modern day Dragon

Komodo National Park refers to three islands in the Indonesian archipelago: Komodo, Rinca and Padar. The park was originally created to protect its most famous inhabitant, the Komodo Dragon and protection has been slowly extended to cover the Islands’ and surrounding water’s other inhabitants. There’s no question that the Komodo Dragon is the star attraction of the park, but the area also offers unparalleled diving and snorkeling. Other highlights include coral reefs, dugong, sharks, manta rays, whales, dolphins, and sea turtles. An airport expansion has made visiting the other side of world just a little bit easier for those so inclined. Link

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