There are so many ways to see the United States of America. You can head to major cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, or the resort destinations like Las Vegas, Miami and Orlando.  But one of the most beautiful ways to experience the U.S. is through its natural landscapes. Here are  the quintessential national parks of America.

Yosemite

Rocky monoliths are reflected in the river Mersed in Yosemite park

Set in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, Yosemite draws nature enthusiasts to its towering sequoias and the world’s most daring climbers to granite cliffs like El Capitan. When you visit Yosemite, epic views of the valley, sleeping under the stars and awe-inspiring hikes will help make it a trip that you’ll never forget.

Yellowstone

The Emerald Springs of Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park.

Sprawling 3,500 square miles across Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, Yellowstone National Park is one of the most sought after natural destinations in the world. Its most famous attraction, Old Faithful, is one of many spouting geysers set throughout the park with rivers, canyons, and hot springs surrounding. Plus, it’s where the buffalo roam, and the deer and the antelope play.

Smoky Mountains

Sunrise Landscape Great Smoky Mountains National Park Gatlinburg TN and Oconaluftee Valley Cherokee NC

Smoky Mountains National Park hugs the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, inviting travelers heading down the East Coast a magnificent refuge from the road. Part of the Appalachian Mountain chain, the park’s greatest attraction is its hiking, with nearly 900 miles of trails and astonishing views from Mount Leconte and the famous Chimney Tops peaks. It’s the most visited park in the NPS system.

Rocky Mountains

A calm alpine lake with a small island

Set on the Front Range of Colorado’s iconic Rocky Mountains, this National Park is the epitome of the state’s wondrous outdoors. A great place to hike and backpack with dynamic terrain and grand open fields, the park also lends to wintertime activities like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Be on the lookout for elk and beavers as well.

Grand Canyon

Sunset View of the Grand Canyon with the Indian Watchtower at Desert View (1932), Stands at the Eastern End of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

One of the seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon is arguably our country’s most well-known national park. From horseback tours to back-country hiking to simply flying over it in an airplane, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the grandeur of this giant crater. River trips are said to be the best way to explore the area, but beware, they must be booked well in advance.