The concept of national parks usually brings to mind wide open spaces and views that go on for miles – but what about those who live in cities? They must have to drive for hours just to get to these locations, right? Not necessarily. Below is a list of prominent national parks located in or around major American cities.
National Mall – Washington, DC
The National Mall in Washington, DC packs more of a punch than can be imagined. While there, visitors can see the multiple memorials that line the two-mile promenade, and each March and April, the cherry blossom trees look spectacular.
If you’re looking to do a bit more than sightseeing, there are also physical activities available, including golf and tennis. You can even take a paddleboat out on the Tidal Basin!
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area – Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles is one of the biggest and busiest cities in the world. As such, those who live there can’t be blamed for wanting to get away from it all sometimes. Luckily, they have the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area right in their backyard.
The massive park offers visitors the opportunity to hike or hit the beach. They can also spend time watching the amazing wildlife that lives in the area. While they may not want to encounter one, hikers may even see a mountain lion!
Independence National Historical Park – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
For the first years of its existence, Philadelphia was the capital of the United States. As a result, much of the country’s early history happened there. People can visit multiple early American sites at the city’s famed Independence National Historical Park.
The 55-acre area includes the City Tavern, where the Founding Fathers drank; Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed; and the Liberty Bell. There is also ample park ground, where visitors can sit and have a nice picnic.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park – Cleveland, Ohio
When people think of Cleveland, nature isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind. However, right outside the city lies the stunning Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The area features impressive wildlife, including beavers and eagles. Brandywine Falls is one of the most impressive attractions of the park, and there are also a number of hiking and paddling trails.
Gateway National Recreation Area – Queens, New York
Those in Queens and the surrounding area are familiar with the Gateway National Recreation Area. The main calling card of this nature site is its wildlife. Visitors can look for rare species of birds, along with diamondback terrapins and horseshoe crabs.
Saguaro National Park – Tucson, Arizona
Arizona is dotted with national parks, and the people of Tucson don’t have to go far for their shot at serenity, as right outside the city is Saguaro National Park. The location is huge, offering visitors 165 miles of hiking land. It also features traditional desert fauna, such as the giant cactus it’s named for, and animals like desert cottontails, cougars and bobcats.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area – Las Vegas, Nevada
When tourists visit Las Vegas, they’re most likely to focus on gambling, eating or seeing a show. However, if one was to get bored of the excitement the city has to offer, they could check out the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
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The location features plenty of activities, such as hiking, biking and rock climbing. Of course, you don’t have to be overly active, as there are a number of beautiful rock formations to check out.