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I've visited nearly every US National Park. These 7 are perfect if you don't like to hike.

Emily sits on rocks near the water at Virgin Islands National Park. There are mountains covered in greenery in the distance.
There are many ways to experience the beauty of the national parks without hiking.

National parks are hotter than ever. In fact, the National Park Service saw over 325 million visits in 2023 — the highest visitation since 2017. However, not everyone who visits the parks likes to hike.

Although most national parks offer a variety of activities, some are definitely more hiker-friendly than others.

As someone who's been to almost every US national park, I've found that many have incredible hiking opportunities as well as some of the best views from viewpoints or parking lots.

Here are the parks I'd recommend for travelers who don't like to hike.

Dry Tortugas National Park offers great opportunities for relaxation.
On the left is a long brick building with openings for windows. On the right is beautiful turquoise water and a brick wall in the water.
Dry Tortugas National Park is located about 70 miles west of Key West, Florida.

Dry Tortugas National Park is a cluster of seven small islands about 70 miles west of Key West, Florida. This park is unique because it's only accessible by boat or seaplane.

While Fort Jefferson, located on Garden Key, offers some walking opportunities, most of your time in Dry Tortugas National Park will likely be spent lounging on the beach or snorkeling.

The waters around the park are home to some of the most vibrant coral reefs in the Florida Keys, making visiting a once-in-a-lifetime experience — and no hiking is required.

It's easy to visit Grand Canyon National Park by shuttle or personal car.
Emily stands on a rock overlooking the Grand Canyon at sunset.
Hiking into the Grand Canyon is a bucket-list experience for many people.

Although hiking into the Grand Canyon is a bucket-list experience for many — and a great way to see the impressive canyon from a different perspective — you can still experience the grandeur of this iconic park without getting on a trail.

Instead, visitors can easily take a shuttle or personal car and get out near the South Rim to see the incredible views from above.

You don't have to hike to experience the beauty of Yosemite National Park.
Emily, wearing a red flannel, black leggings, socks, and boots, poses near a small body of water and rock formations at Yosemite National Park.
Many of Yosemite's incredible views are accessible without stepping foot on a trail.

Although Yosemite is undoubtedly home to some of the best hiking and backcountry trails I've ever experienced, many of the incredible views are accessible without stepping foot on a trail.

For example, the iconic Tunnel View comes into sight after driving through the Wawona Tunnel. The Merced River also flows through Yosemite Valley, just a few steps away from the lodges, restaurants, museums, and bus stops.

Many visitors will likely want to spend some time on the trails, but those who don't can still enjoy some of the country's most beautiful views.

There's so much to do in Maine's Acadia National Park.
Emily poses on rocks near the water in Acadia National Park. There are pine trees in the distance.
Even if you don't like to hike, there's lots to see at Acadia National Park.

Like many parks on this list, Maine's Acadia National Park offers incredible hiking opportunities. But you can still see a lot if you're not in the mood for the trails.

For a unique experience, drive directly to the top of Cadillac Mountain, which sees the first sunrise in the United States between October 7 and March 6 (with a timed entry permit).

I also recommend lounging on Sand Beach, driving the 27-mile Park Loop Road, getting out on the water for a guided boat tour, or having lunch at the historic Jordan Pond House — all of which can be done without getting on a trail.

You can visit Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park by boat.
Emily poses on the balcony of a cruise ship with glaciers in the background.
Because most of Glacier Bay National Park is water, many visitors travel there by boat.

Because most of Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park is water, many visitors travel there by boat. Only two cruise ships are allowed into the park's waters per day, and park rangers climb aboard to lead programs and provide commentary.

For many visitors, the most walking they'll do will be from their cabin to the decks. From there, it's easy to watch the towering, icy glaciers calving into the sea and look for whales and other wildlife among the stunning Alaskan scenery.

Death Valley National Park offers many incredible scenic drives.
Emily does a handstand on the sand in Death Valley National Park. There are mountains behind her.
You can visit Badwater Basin without leaving your car.

Death Valley National Park has several scenic drives that take visitors past spectacular sights. These include Dante's View, which offers panoramic views from 5,575 feet up, and Artist's Drive, which offers views of the colorful hills.

I recommend walking out onto the vast salt flats of Badwater Basin, which is located 282 feet below sea level, making it the lowest point in North America. And don't forget to stay until the sun goes down for some truly epic stargazing.

Virgin Islands National Park is perfect for nature lovers who don't want to hike.
Emily sits on rocks near the water at Virgin Islands National Park. There are mountains covered in greenery in the distance.
Unlike many national parks, Virgin Islands National Park is located on an island.

Virgin Islands National Park is truly a paradise for nature lovers who don't necessarily enjoy long hikes. Unlike many national parks, it's on an island and offers a variety of ways to experience its beauty off-trail.

Visitors can relax on a pristine white-sand beach with calm, clear waters or go snorkeling and scuba diving among incredibly vibrant coral reefs.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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