O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Katherine Lee Bates was atop Pikes Peak in Colorado when she had the inspiration to write 'America The Beautiful'. The wide-open natural spaces all across America can do that to you! For over a century now the National Parks Service has preserved expansive pockets of untouched landscape throughout the country to make them accessible to all. A road trip is the best way to enjoy and admire America's scenic beauty and ecological diversity. We have listed ten road trips that take you across amazing national parks in the USA.

1) Glorious Geysers and Grand Teton

This picture of Mt. Moran was taken from the Oxbow Turnout in Grand Teton NP.    To learn how to take pictures like this, read my educational blogs at www.sharetimsphotos.com.
Photo by Tim Peterson / Unsplash

If you are the kind who wants to pack in the most for every mile, then this road trip across Wyoming is the one for you. At every turn, you will witness geological wonders and breathtaking alpine scenery. Start your road trip across the Grand Teton National Park where the showstopper is the mighty 13,770 feet tall Grand Teton itself. Go down the Teton Park Road that circles the mountain base and offers 20 miles of awe-inspiring mountain scenery.

I had been visiting the national park with my friend few weeks ago, we saw a lot of nice things but that one is gorgeous !
Photo by Nicolasintravel / Unsplash

Head on to Yellowstone National Park, and just a few miles into the park and you will feel as if the very land you are on is alive, and rightly so! Yellowstone has over 10,000 hydrothermal features which hiss and puff and let out water in the form of geysers. Explore the colorful hot springs and time your watch to the Old Faithful geyser, and keep your eyes on the road – you might come across a Grizzly Bear or Bison.

Nearest Major City: Salt Lake City
Approx. Loop Distance from nearest major city: 750 miles

2) Magical White Sands and Magnificent Saguaros

White Sands and Blue Mountain
Photo by Anchor Lee / Unsplash

The white sand dunes in New Mexico shimmer under the golden sun and sparkle under the full moon, creating an alluring landscape that seems straight out of a fantasy. The White Sands National Park is the world’s largest gypsum dune field where the gypsum sand dunes tower 60 feet high. Driving through the Dunes Scenic Drive is an unforgettable experience as you can stop to trek or slide down these beautiful sand dunes.

Photo by James Lee / Unsplash

Drive westwards towards the great Sonoran Desert where the Saguaro National Park in Arizona is home to some of the world's tallest cacti. As you head into the park, you will be welcomed by towering Saguaros that grow almost 12 metres high! Take the Cactus Forest Scenic Loop Drive through scenic vistas where the Saguaro stand as sentinels to time.

Nearest Major City: Phoenix
Approx. Loop Distance from nearest major city: 1,000 miles

3) Red Arches and Ravishing Rocks

Photo by Jakob Køhn / Unsplash

A road trip through Utah feels much less a journey into the wilderness than a trip to another planet. The otherworldly landscapes of Utah are an artist's delight and a philosopher's escape. Each region is unique and ecologically critical that they have been designated into five national parks, also called the Mighty Five.

Deep Canyon
Photo by Patrick Boucher / Unsplash

Arches National Park has over 2,000 arches small and big and driving across the expanse, you can spot the iconic structures like Delicate Arch, Balanced Rock, Fiery Furnace and the 306-foot colossal Landscape Arch. A drive through Bryce Canyon National Park feels like a drive through a rock forest where the wind has transformed rocks into pillars called hoodoos. The forces of nature have created incredible formations at Canyonlands National Park, where you can spot towering Mesas, pinnacles, and spires.

Good Morning
Photo by Stephen Wheeler / Unsplash

Step back millions of years as the Earth existed before life at the Capitol Reef National Park. Here you can find Moenkopi sedimentary rocks created over the course of 225 million years! And finally, drive through Zion National Park where a sheer 1,000-foot red rock canyon invites you to explore its depths.

Nearest Major City: Salt Lake City
Approx. Loop Distance from nearest major city: 1,000 miles

4) Deep Canyons and Dizzying Peaks

Photo by Jon Hieb / Unsplash

This road trip across Colorado promises to be one rollercoaster of a ride, as you drive through high altitude mountains to vertigo-inducing canyons. Start at the Rocky Mountain National Park where the Trail Ridge Road is one of the USA's highest roads at an elevation of 12,183 feet. The park's road offers thrilling views of the Rockies and the Eastern and Western slopes of the Continental Divide. The sheer magnitude of the view will leave drivers breathless – literally too!

Photo by Vincent Ledvina / Unsplash

Head down the mountains to the deepest parts of the state to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. The Gunnison River has had over 2 million years to wear down the Earth into deep ravines and steep cliffs. One of the most dramatic canyons, the Black Canyon is known for its narrowness and darkness- it takes a long time for even the sun rays to reach its depths!

Desert in Colorado 
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Photo by Yaroslav Muzychenko / Unsplash

Move on to Great Sand Dunes National Park to feel the air again in a completely different ecosystem. The sand dunes here are over 750 feet tall and the tallest in North America. Make a pit stop and stay overnight to watch the starry skies or even a glimpse of the Milky Way.

Nearest Major City: Denver
Approx. Loop Distance from nearest major city: 780 miles

5) Emerald Islands and Evergreen Wetlands

I came across this 14 ft mud covered beast sunning himself in Everglades National Park
Photo by Bradley Feller / Unsplash

This Florida road trip is a perfect weekend trip, it may be short, but it surely packs a punch. Start in the Everglades National Park a rich wetlands preserve made of marshes and mangroves. Make a pit stop at the Anhinga Trail where you can spot alligators just feet away from you! Next, head to the Shark Valley 65-foot observation tower from where you can see the entire Everglades.

Seven mile bridge
Photo by Chase Baker / Unsplash

Head up to the Biscayne National Park next, which preserves the spectacular Florida Coral Reefs. A snorkeling trip along the Maritime Heritage Trail will take you to shipwrecks and colorful marine wildlife. Extend your journey and head on to Key West along the 113 miles Florida Keys Highway, an impressive engineering feat.

Nearest Major City: Miami
Approx. Loop Distance from nearest major city: 400 miles

6) Mossy Rainforests and Mammoth Peaks

Photo by Zetong Li / Unsplash

Can you make a Washington State road trip in days? Sure. Can you spend weeks? Definitely. Can you spend months and never tread the same roads? Absolutely! For nature and outdoor lovers, the Pacific Northwest is the ultimate destination, and a road trip affords you the chance to explore the land in a few days. With multiple scenic drives, the national parks have carved out roads that reach incredible spots that are a sight for sore eyes.

I really like the view
Photo by Pavł Polø / Unsplash

Start with the Olympic National Park, which has everything from stunning beaches to mystical rainforests. Make stops at Ruby Beach, Shi Shi Beach, Hoh Rainforest, Lake Quinault and Lake Crescent to get a peek into the rich ecology. Head on to North Cascades National Park, home to more than 300 glaciers, and take a trip down the North Cascades Scenic Byway for a window into the Alpine wonderland.

Mount Rainier
Photo by Gibran Hamdan / Unsplash

Let Mount Rainier National Park be the cherry on the cake for your trip as you watch the 14,410 feet active volcano loom into your view.

Nearest Major City: Seattle
Approx. Loop Distance from nearest major city: 700 miles

7) Awe-Inspiring Redwoods and Astonishing Volcanoes

I was traveling around Lassen Volcanic National Park for a few days, and each day I went back to this spot because it would look drastically different throughout the day and I was captivated by it. First I took all the photos with my GoPro, but when I saw the lake this time it was so calm and simple and I wanted a smoother shot and thought I would use my DSLR.
Photo by Anna French / Unsplash

A fantastic road trip for families, this is great for curious folks who want to learn everything about volcanoes. You can view the entire life cycle of volcanoes on this trip which will take you through the best Oregon and California offers. Start at the Lassen Volcanic National Park whose focal point is the Lassen Peak, the world's largest plug dome volcano. View the spewing mud pots, steaming fumaroles and hot springs in the area and beware – the fumes at Sulphur Works smell like rotten eggs!

Crater Lake in Oregon
Photo by Hasmik Ghazaryan Olson / Unsplash

Next, head on to Crater Lake where you can witness the aftermath of a volcanic eruption, one that happened 7,700 years ago! The Crater was formed when Mount Mazama collapsed and over the years filled with rain and snow. The Crater lake is one of the purest in the world, and the Rim Drive around the crater offers spellbinding views of the lake.

End your trip through the Redwood National and State Parks strung along the coast of northern California. Go through the Newtown B Drury Redwood Scenic Parkway and the Avenue of Giants for the best experience of the lofty redwoods.

Nearest Major City: San Francisco
Approx. Loop Distance from nearest major city: 1,000 miles

8) Sky-rocketing Sequoias and Scintillating Waterfalls

Yosemite Fall Colors
Photo by Rakshith Hatwar / Unsplash

If there is just one national park you can visit in California, make sure it is Yosemite. Want to make it even better? Take a road trip along the Sierra to visit three amazing national parks that promise wonder at every turn. With panoramic deep valleys and grand meadows peppered with waterfalls, it is no surprise that Yosemite National Park is a crowd favorite. You can drive to all the iconic viewpoints and view the Half Dome, El Capitan and the Yosemite Valley.

Photo by Josh Carter / Unsplash

Head south towards the Kings Canyon National Park where the General Grant Tree, 267-feet tall, has stood as a test of time for over 1,500 years. John Muir had said that Kings Canyon is a rival to Yosemite and second to none! Next on take the General's Highway and head to Sequoia National Park to witness the colossal sequoia trees. Drive through the Tunnel Log and pay homage to the General Sherman tree.

Nearest Major City: San Francisco
Approx. Loop Distance from nearest major city: 600 miles

9) Extreme Desert and Endangered Joshua Trees

Artists Palate
Photo by Carter Baran / Unsplash

Craving to get away from it all? This road trip is for you! The Death Valley National Park is a park of extremes, you will find the lowest, driest and hottest spots here. A drive through the park will take you to Badwater Basin, at 282 below sea level it is the lowest elevation in the US, and then straight on to Dante's Peak which soars over the valley at 5,000 feet! Along the way, you will spot badlands colored with mineral deposits.

Photo by David Maunsell / Unsplash

Make your way to Joshua Tree National Park, home to the last of the endangered Joshua Trees. This park is a culmination of two desert ecosystems – Mojave and Colorado. You can enjoy bouldering and hike through the rocky landscape filled with Cholla cactus and Joshua trees. Make sure you spend the night to stargaze as it is an International Dark Skies hotspot.

Nearest Major City: Los Angeles
**Approx. Loop Distance from nearest major city: **570 miles

10) Astonishing Appalachians and Awesome Scenic Drives

Fall colors
Photo by Akhila Katuri / Unsplash

The Appalachian Mountains have long drawn explorers and adventurers to unravel the mysteries hidden deep in the woods. Thanks to amazing engineers and planners' efforts, these mountains are now within reach, and this road trip will take you through the best of the mountains. Start with the Shenandoah National Park and take the Scenic Byway which runs the park's length and offers spellbinding views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Head along the mountains to the newest National Park in the US – New River Gorge National Park. Although called the New River, geologists say the river is one of the oldest rivers on the continent, and you can witness rocks dating back to pre-historic time. Don't forget to travel across the New River Gorge Bridge, the longest steel arch span in the Western Hemisphere.

Photo by Kirk Thornton / Unsplash

End your trip in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and head to Clingman’s Dome from where you can see 100s of miles and see up to seven states on a clear day! Drive through the glorious Cades Coves Valley where you can spot black bears and bison.

Nearest Major City: Washington DC
Approx. Loop Distance from nearest major city: 1,300 miles

Loved these road trips across national parks in the US? Want to go on these road trips but don’t know where to start or where to stay? Head over to voyayge.com to create custom itineraries from expert travel planners.