Top 10 Lists

Check back here often as we continue to rank our favorite parks, activities, and attractions managed by the National Park Service (NPS),* as well as books to read and movies to watch about the parks.

*Note: There are 420+ units in the NPS system, 63 of which are called National Parks.

PARKS

Top 10 of the 63 National Parks

10. Wrangell-St. Elias (Alaska)

9. Grand Canyon (Arizona)

8. Everglades (Florida)

See the entire list

Top 10 National Monuments

10. John Day Fossil Beds (Oregon)

9. Organ Pipe Cactus (Arizona)

8. Statue of Liberty (New York, New Jersey)

See the entire list

Top 10 National Historical Parks

10. Manhattan Project (Tennessee, New Mexico, Washington)

9. Lewis and Clark (Oregon, Washington)

8. Dayton Aviation Heritage (Ohio)

See the entire list

Top 10 National Historic Sites

10. Grant-Kohrs Ranch (Montana)

9. Golden Spike (Utah)

8. Weir Farm (Connecticut)

See the entire list

Our Favorite NPS Site in All 50 States

Alabama – Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site

Alaska – Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve

Arizona – Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Arkansas – Buffalo National River

See the entire list or search by map

ACTIVITIES

Top 10 of the 63 National Parks for Social Distancing

10. White Sands National Park (New Mexico)

9. Great Basin National Park (Nevada)

8. Badlands National Park (South Dakota)

See the entire list

Top 10 NPS Sites for Social Distancing

10. Ozark National Scenic Riverways (Missouri)

9. City of Rocks National Reserve (Idaho)

8. Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail (Mississippi-Alabama-Tennessee)

See the entire list

Top 10 of the 63 National Parks for Wildlife Watching

10. Theodore Roosevelt (North Dakota)

9. Virgin Islands (U.S. Virgin Islands)

8. Rocky Mountain (Colorado)

See the entire list

Top 10 NPS Sites for Wildlife Watching

10. Ozark National Scenic Riverways (Missouri)

9. Big Thicket National Preserve (Texas)

8. Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument (U.S. Virgin Islands)

See the entire list

Top 10 NPS Sites for Kayaking

10. Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument (U.S. Virgin Islands)

9. Ozark National Scenic Riverways (Missouri)

8. Biscayne National Park (Florida)

See the entire list

Top 10 NPS Sites to See America First

10. Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

9. Bandelier National Monument (New Mexico)

8. Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida)

See the entire list

ATTRACTIONS

Top 10 Waterfalls at the 63 National Parks

10. Rocky Mountain (Colorado)

9. Katmai (Alaska)

8. Mount Rainier (Washington)

See the entire list

Top 10 Waterfalls at NPS Sites

10. Lake Chelan National Recreation Area (Washington)

9. Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park (New Jersey)

8. Buffalo National River (Arkansas)

See the entire list

Top 10 Sand Dunes at NPS Sites

10. Cape Lookout National Seashore (North Carolina)

9. Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana)

8. Salt Flat Dunes at Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Texas)

See the entire list

Top 10 Caves at NPS Sites

10. Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (Hawai‘i)

9. Oregon Caves National Monument (Oregon)

8. El Malpais National Monument (New Mexico)

See the entire list

Top 10 Forts at NPS Sites

10. Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (Maryland)

9. Fort Pulaski National Monument (Georgia)

8. Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site (Colorado)

See the entire list

Top 10 Native American NPS Sites

10. Hopewell Culture National Historical Park (Ohio)

9. Pipestone National Monument (Minnesota)

8. Poverty Point National Monument (Louisiana)

See the entire list

Top 10 Desert NPS Sites

10. Saguaro National Park (Arizona)

9. Mojave National Preserve (California)

8. White Sands National Park (New Mexico)

See the entire list

Top 10 World War II Sites in the 63 National Parks

10. Yosemite National Park (California)

9. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)

8. Olympic National Park (Washington)

See the entire list

Top 10 World War II NPS Sites

10. World War II Memorial (District of Columbia)

9. Gateway National Recreation Area (New York-New Jersey)

8. American Memorial Park (Northern Marianas Islands)

See the entire list

Top 10 Civil War NPS Sites

10. Antietam National Battlefield (Maryland)

9. Pea Ridge National Military Park (Arkansas)

8. Manassas National Battlefield Park (Virginia)

See the entire list

Top 10 Museums at the 63 National Parks

10. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennesee-North Carolina)

9. Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)

8. Great Basin National Park (Nevada)

See the entire list

Top 10 Museums at NPS Sites

10. Colonial National Historical Park (Virginia)

9. Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park (Ohio)

8. Fort Necessity National Battlefield (Pennsylvania)

See the entire list

Top 10 NPS Campgrounds (with running water)

10. Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)

9. Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado)

8. Catoctin Mountain Park (Maryland)

See the entire list

Top 10 Primitive Campgrounds at the 63 National Parks

10. Haleakala National Park (Hawai’i)

9. Channel Islands National Park (California)

8. Joshua Tree National Park (California)

See the entire list

Top 10 NPS Sites with Designated Backcountry Campsites

10. Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

9. Canyonlands National Park (Utah)

8. Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)

See the entire list

Top 10 NPS Sites for Dispersed Backcountry Camping

10. Appalachian National Scenic Trail (Georgia to Maine)

9. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve (Alaska)

8. Buffalo National River (Arkansas)

See the entire list

BOOKS

Top 10 Guidebooks to National Park Service Sites

10. Wildlife Watching in America’s National Parks: A Seasonal Guide by Gary W. Vequist & Daniel S. Licht (2013)

9. 10 Best of Everything: National Parks: 800 Top Picks From Parks Coast to Coast by National Geographic (2011)

8. 50 Great American Places: Essential Historic Sites Across the U.S. by Brent D. Glass (2016)

See the entire list

Top 10 Novels Set in a National Park

10. Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen (2004)

9. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell (1960)

8.  Winter Study by Nevada Barr (2008)

See the entire list

Top 10 Non-Fiction Books Set in a Single NPS Site

10. Lost in My Own Backyard: A Walk in Yellowstone National Park by Tim Cahill (2004)

9. A Naturalist in Alaska by Adolph Murie (1961)

8. The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck (2015)

See the entire list

Top 10 Non-Fiction Books Set in Multiple NPS Sites

10. Hey Ranger! True Tales of Humor and Misadventure from America’s National Parks by Jim Burnett (2012)

9. My Wild Life: A Memoir of Adventures within America’s National Parks by Roland H. Wauer (2014)

8. Lassoing the Sun: A Year in America’s National Parks by Mark Woods (2016)

See the entire list

Top 10 Non-Fiction Books Set in Alaska

10. The Blue Bear: A True Story of Friendship and Discovery in the Alaskan Wild by Lynn Schooler (2002)

9. Tracks of the Unseen: Meditations on Alaska Wildlife, Landscape, and Photography by Nick Jans (2000)

8. Stalking the Ice Dragon: An Alaskan Journey by Susan Zwinger (1991)

See the entire list

Top 10 Novels Set in Alaska

10. Heartbroke Bay by Lynn D’Urso (2010)

9. Alaska: A Novel by James A. Michener (1988)

8. A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow (1992)

See the entire list

Top 10 Non-Fiction Books Set during the Civil War

10. Raising the Hunley: The Remarkable History and Recovery of the Lost Confederate Submarine by Brian Hicks and Schuyler Kropf (2002)

9. Andrew Johnson by Annette Gordon-Reed (2011)

8. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs (1861)

See the entire list

Top 10 Novels Set during the Civil War

10. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (1997)

9. Civil War Stories by Ambrose Bierce (1891)

8. Shiloh by Shelby Foote (1952)

See the entire list

Top 10 Non-Fiction Books Set during World War II

10. God Is My Co-Pilot by Col. Robert L. Scott (1943)

9. The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw (1998)

8. Going Solo by Roald Dahl (1986)

See the entire list

Top 10 Novels Set during World War II

10. The Thin Red Line by James Jones (1962)

9. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (2009)

8. The Guns of Navarone by Alistair MacLean (1957)

See the entire list

FILMS

Top 10 Films Set during World War II

10. Red Tails (2012)

9. Dunkirk (2017)

8. The Imitation Game (2014)

See the entire list

Top 10 Films Set during the Civil War

10. Gods and Generals (2003)

9. The Beguiled (1971, 2017)

8. Glory (1989)

See the entire list

BLOG POSTS

Top 10 from Our First 100 Blog Posts

10. Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Texas)

9. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (Wisconsin)

8. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (Arizona)

See the entire list

Top 10 from Our Second 100 Blog Posts

10. Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park (Hawai’i)

9. Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument (Arizona)

8. Big Thicket National Preserve (Texas)

See the entire list

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