Travel + Leisure Readers’ 25 Favorite National Parks of 2024

National parks in the U.S. received stellar reviews from readers in our "World’s Best Awards" survey for 2024.

<p>Daniel Ribar/Travel + Leisure</p>

Daniel Ribar/Travel + Leisure

If a national park is meant to protect and provide access to special places, then it's undeniable the most special places in our nation are found in the western part of the U.S. From geysers and alpine lakes to red rock arches and pinnacles, Travel + Leisure readers raved about national parks in states like Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, and Alaska — including only five parks in non-Western states.

How Voting Works

Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more.Over 186,000 T+L readers completed the 2024 survey. A total of more than 700,000 votes were cast across over 8,700 properties (hotels, cities, cruise lines, etc.).

U.S. national parks were specifically rated on the criteria below:

  • Natural attractions

  • Activities

  • Lodging

  • Wildlife

  • Accessibility

  • Cleanliness

For each characteristic, respondents could choose a rating of excellent, above average, average, below average, or poor. The final scores are averages of these responses.

What Readers Loved

It was all about the West in this year’s 2024 World’s Best Awards survey —  with all but five top-scoring national parks located in the western part of the U.S. (The results were similar in 2023 and 2022.)

T+L readers called the landscape of Montana’s Glacier National Park (No. 4) “by far the most beautiful,” claiming it to be “one of the most picturesque places on earth.” One reader said, “It was like entering a different country/world when we drove through the entrance of the park. We were only there for a day, but it was a day I will never forget.”

But as travelers know, the landscape in the West is not singular. The glacier-carved peaks of Glacier National Park couldn’t be more different than the steep red cliffs surrounding Zion Canyon in Zion National Park (No. 7), or the watery hike up The Narrows, a Zion river gorge with thousand-foot-tall walls. One reader called out the park’s “almost surreal landscapes,” while another explained that “the canyons' views are absolutely stupendous. The Narrows was the single best hike I've had for variety and spectacular views.”

Outside the West, readers favored parks in Tennessee, Maine, Virginia, and Texas, along with Virgin Islands National Park on St. John.

The Winner

Yellowstone National Park: Wyoming, Idaho, Montana

<p>Daniel Ribar/Travel + Leisure</p>

Daniel Ribar/Travel + Leisure

America’s first national park is also its best — at least according to the World’s Best Awards results from the last three years. More than 150 years after becoming the nation’s first national park, Yellowstone continues to be a favorite. It’s giant, at 2.2 million acres, so there’s a lot to see, including “geysers to mudpots, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, waterfalls, [and] rock formations at Mammoth Hot Springs,” said one reader.

The park sprawls across the state lines of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, but is predominantly located in the former. Due to its size, a multiday visit is a must and guests can stay in one of the nine lodges or 12 campgrounds located inside the park.

It’s impossible to talk about the wonders of Yellowstone without mentioning the wildlife, which is abundant. The park is home to hundreds of species, including bison, bears, wolves, elk, and antelope. One reader, who visited in the winter, said, “Saw wolves, elk, buffalo, fox, coyote, and moose. ... No traffic, clean, quiet, and pristine.” During the summer, the park can be busy, so come expecting a crowd — though multiple readers said it was worth it. One noted, “Everyone should visit Yellowstone at least once in their lifetime,” while another said, “Yellowstone is a natural wonder! It is a must see for anyone in the world.”

"Yellowstone is a natural wonder! It is a must see for anyone in the world."

The Full List

1. Yellowstone: Wyoming, Idaho, Montana

Reader Score: 90.79

2. Grand Teton: Wyoming

Reader Score: 88.94

3. Yosemite: California

Reader Score: 88.34

4. Glacier: Montana

Reader Score: 87.20

5. Kenai Fjords: Alaska

Reader Score: 86.73

6. Rocky Mountain: Colorado

Reader Score: 86.21

7. Zion: Utah

Reader Score: 85.62

8. Great Smoky Mountains: North Carolina and Tennessee

Reader Score: 85.41

9. Katmai: Alaska

Reader Score: 85.10

10. Denali: Alaska

Reader Score: 85.00

11. Mount Rainier: Washington

Reader Score: 84.62

12. Virgin Islands: St. John's, U.S.V.I.

Reader Score: 84.33

13. Grand Canyon: Arizona

Reader Score: 84.30

14. Olympic: Washington

Reader Score: 83.99

15. Redwood: California

Reader Score: 83.30

16. Sequoia: California

Reader Score: 83.18

17. (tie) North Cascades: Washington

Reader Score: 82.10

17. (tie) Glacier Bay: Alaska

Reader Score: 82.10

19. Hawai’i Volcanoes: Hawaii

Reader Score: 81.95

20. Acadia: Maine

Reader Score: 81.87

21. Bryce Canyon: Utah

Reader Score: 81.00

22. Shenandoah: Virginia

Reader Score: 80.48

23. Arches: Utah

Reader Score: 80.17

24. Big Bend: Texas

Reader Score: 79.88

25. Haleakalā: Hawaii

Reader Score: 79.83

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