The Top National Parks in the World – Sail+Leisure
Home Editor's Picks The Top National Parks in the World

The Top National Parks in the World

by Ingrid Hale
best national parks

National Parks provide a sense of freedom through their wide open spaces and big blue skies. After feeling cooped up after months of lockdown, travellers have been seeking out sprawling plains—and these national parks have delivered. Trip Advisor travellers have rated these the best. 

 best national parks
The Maasai call the plains of Serengeti National Park “the place where the land moves on forever”—so prepare to be astonished by its vastness. Here you can witness the famous Serengeti annual migration, the largest and longest overland migration on earth.
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best national parks
Situated in Nainital district of Uttarakhand, Corbett has long been a haunt for tourists and wildlife lovers. The oldest national park in India, Corbett, has over 400 different species of flora and over 550 different species of fauna.
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Maybe your local zoo has lions, leopards, zebras or elephants. Maybe they even have wildebeest. But we bet they don’t have 1.3 million wildebeest—never mind 1.3 million wildebeest in migration, with predators in hot pursuit. It’s one of the most awesome sights.
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best national parks Grand Tetons
Situated near famed Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park’s crown jewels include the Cathedral Group of peaks and the majestic Snake River. The dramatic spires that inspired Ansel Adams rise straight from valley floors, providing awe-inducing views.
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The largest game reserve in South Africa, Kruger National Park is basically a synonym for the word “safari.” The Kruger is home to over 500 bird species, 100 reptiles, nearly 150 mammals, multiple archaeological sites, and a stunningly diversity of trees and flowers.
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If waterfalls, hot springs, wildlife and volcanoes are your thing, then Arenal Volcano National Park will take your breath away. As one of the world’s most active volcanoes, it burps tufts of smoke in the background as you make your way through forests and old lava.
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The Grand Canyon is on almost every traveler’s bucket list. Theodore Roosevelt called it “the one great sight which every American should see.” The Bright Angel and South Kaibab Trails offer stunning views.
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The spectacular rock formations, rugged canyons, tumbling rivers and pine-blanketed peaks of Zion National Park provide a southwestern wonderland for unparalleled camping, hiking, canyoneering and climbing.
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Torres Del Paine National Park’s beauty lies in its diversity. Located in Chile’s Patagonia region, the area is home to sparkling ice fields, blue-green lagoons, golden pampa grasslands, and quiet river villages.
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Hailed by Rudyard Kipling as “the eighth wonder of the world,” the breathtaking Milford Sound is the star of glacier-carved Fiordland National Park, providing an emerald-green and waterfall-rich backdrop for hiking, biking and kayaking.
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One visit to the Yorkshire Dales and it’s easy to understand why the unspoiled countryside is the setting of so many novels. Must-see sights among the land’s lush woodlands and expansive moors include Hardraw Force (the longest single-drop waterfall).
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 best national parks - tanzania

Centering around massive Kilimanjaro (Africa’s highest peak and the world’s tallest free-standing mountain, rising to nearly 20,000 feet), the national park protects the area above 8,850 feet. On ascent, the mountain’s foothills morph into lush forests.
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Leopards, white tigers, and spotted deer. These are just a few of the 22-plus species of mammals found at Bandhavgarh National Park. Added to that potential line-up are 250 different types of birds. Guests can cruise the park via jeep or elephant.
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Named for the river that runs through its stunning landscape, the Tarangire National Park offers visitors a unique experience of Tanzania. The park is home to the country’s largest population of elephants (during the dry season you can see herds of 300 digging in the mud.
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The karst formation of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park has evolved since the Paleozoic (some 400 million years ago) and so is the oldest major karst area in Asia. Subject to massive tectonic changes, the park’s karst landscape is extremely complex.
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Denali National Park and Preserve is most famous for being the home of Mount McKinley, also called Denali, meaning “The Great One.” At 20,320 feet, Mount McKinley is the highest peak in North America. The park is larger than the state of Massachusetts.
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The largest national park in Europe, Vatnajokull combines thick blue ice caves, black sand beaches, waterfalls, and even lush green fields to create an otherworldly landscape that begs to be explored. Ásbyrgi is a canyon known for its distinct horseshoe shape.
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Visit the Freycinet peninsula (home to the national park of the same name), and it’s clear why this area is known as the “jewel of Tasmania’s coastline.” The land’s scenic beauty showcases warm white beaches and deep azure waters.
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There are many different reasons to add Yala National Park to your must-see list: the chance to go on safari and see a wild boar or majestic Sri Lankan leopard, the winding trails, and the fact that in some places the park even touches the Indian Ocean.
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Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is a national treasure. Located primarily in Wyoming, the park also extends into Montana and Idaho. Yellowstone has active geothermal features with geysers and boiling mud pots throughout the park.
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The bubbling, turquoise crystalline pools of Plitvice Lakes National Park comprise one of Croatia’s most popular tourist destinations. Just a two-hour drive from Zagreb, the national park offers 50 acres of forest and lakes to explore.
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When thinking of Westland Tai Poutini National Park, one word should always come to mind: glacier. The speedy Fox and Franz Josef glaciers (both move up to 13 feet each day) are two popular sights.
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With Cascade Mountain to the north and Sulphur Mountain to the south, the town of Banff boasts a magnificent Canadian Rocky Mountain setting. Travellers are spoiled for choice by the irresistible combination of luxury lodges, and perfect powder.
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When it comes to outdoor activities, the Peak District National Park is the whole package. Located in the north of England, the park offers everything from horse riding to rock climbing, windsurfing to paragliding, plus walking trails galore.
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This is where you can  find breathtaking waterfalls, glowing natural pools, and mind-boggling rock formations. The park is located in the centre of Brazil, and is known for its trails (Sete Quedas, dos Saltos, dos Cânions, and da Seriema).

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