The United States is home to 59 national parks, each more spectacular than the last, spread across 27 states. One superlative after another describes the hidden treasures of these parks and nature reserves. The good news? You can discover many of them at your trip to the USA with a simple ESTA, whether you’re planning to visit the US East Coast, Florida, the American West or even Hawaii and Alaska. It’s in these wide open spaces that the American dream lies, and your travel permit is your pass.



California has the most national parks: 9 in all, including Yosemite National Park. Lovers of nature and trekking can’t help but admire this park of exceptional beauty in the heart of the Sierra Nevada. Imposing granite cliffs such as El Capitan or Half Dome, majestic waterfalls including Yosemite Falls, one of the world’s highest (739 metres), the giant redwoods of Mariposa Grove, and more.

If you’re fascinated by giant sequoia trees, Sequoia National Park is the place to go: 85-meter-high redwoods await you… As well as a few black bears! Don’t miss the General Sherman Tree, the starting point of a magnificent hiking trail: the Congress Trail. Not to be outdone, Redwood National Park’s yew-leaf redwoods are among the tallest trees on the planet: Hyperion measures 115.5 meters.

In a completely different style, made up of two deserts (the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert), Joshua Tree National Park is a place of spiritual and artistic discovery. And let’s not forget Death Valley, the hottest desert in the United States.


Alaska has no fewer than 8 national parks – no surprise, of course, as Alaska represents nature in its raw state.

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve lives up to its name by being located beyond the Arctic Circle, making it the most northerly nature park in the USA. It’s also the second-largest park, with a surface area of 3,428,701 hectares, 6 rivers, a mountain range and, above all, exceptional wildlife: brown bears, black bears, grizzly bears, polar bears, wolves, lynx, coyotes, foxes, caribou and more.

If you’ve got a hankering for the fjords, head for Glacier Bay National Park, 20% of which is a marine reserve home to protected species such as the humpback whale. There’s a wealth of marine life, including sea lions, whales, orcas and sea lions.


The Mighty 5 are the pride of Utah: Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capital Reef and Zion.

As its name suggests, Arches National Park is packed with surreal natural arches and balancing red rocks that will make you question the laws of gravity. At sunset, its colors offer a fantastic spectacle.

Bryce Canyon, voted the most beautiful national park in the USA by the National Park Service, offers a unique landscape with hundreds of fairy chimneys, also known as hoodoos, and multicolored rocks.

Not far from Bryce Canyon lies Zion National Park, combining sandstone cliffs, canyons and rock formations in reds and oranges. It is an unmissable destination for hikers and trail runners.


Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park: its immensity will leave you speechless. And if you want to associate it with another American classic, remember that the famous Route 66 passes through the south of the park.

Another park that needs no introduction: Yellowstone National Park covers three states (Wyoming, Idaho and Montana). It is the world’s first national park and one of the most visited. The Yellowstone caldera, or “Yellowstone supervolcano”, is world-renowned for its geothermal phenomena, with two-thirds of the planet’s geysers and numerous hot springs. It is also one of the world’s best preserved ecosystems. Its flora and fauna are of course extremely rich.

It’s impossible to mention a volcano without paying tribute to Hawaii and its Volcanoes National Park. It’s a unique experience that awaits the traveler day and night, with incandescent lava, petroglyphs, ocean flows and more.

Special mentions also go to the Everglades, Big Bend and Mesa Verde.


To make the most of America’s national parks, a little preparation goes a long way. Find out the best times to visit protected parks, as well as opening times and any annual or exceptional closures.

Remember to book in advance if you plan to go camping or stay in a lodge. The protected parks are very popular and, depending on the season, you may encounter availability problems.

If you’re planning to visit several American national parks, opt for the annual “America the Beautiful” pass. All protected parks have an entrance fee, so you might as well save money: $80 per vehicle (the parks are difficult to reach by public transport), valid in all states for one year. You can buy them online or at the first park you visit. Note that this pass is reserved for national parks. It will not give you access to State Parks or parks managed by indigenous peoples, notably the Navajos.

Always visit the Visitor Center for a map and the latest information on trail conditions, weather, ranger activities and more.

We remind you that all these wonders are within reach withESTA travel authorization and the right passport. Apply for an ESTA by filling out the online form on the official U.S. government website, or use the services of our partner.