The Grand Canyon, Arches, Yosemite, Yellowstone. There’s little doubt that if you were asked to name some National Parks those would probably be near the top of your list. 

After all, everyone knows those.

But what about the other 57 in the National Parks System? While you could probably list a few more, we’d guess there is a handful of National Parks you never knew existed. 

These are some of the best-hidden gems in the system. And in this post, we’re going to share some of our favorite secret National Parks.

Biscayne National Park

Headed to Miami? Go south, towards Homestead. You’re less than an hour from Biscayne National Park. From there, you’re in the perfect spot to explore the various sections of the park and Biscayne Bay.

What makes this park unique is that 95% of it is underwater. The park runs from a mangrove swamp to the shoreline and then to a coral reef. You can go swimming, fish, or go scuba diving to inspect some of the many shipwrecks in this area.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

 Dark black walls in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park has quite a name, but that goes with the spectacular scenery this park provides visitors. Montrose, CO is about two hours north of Silverton, and the drive to get there will take you through parts of the San Juan National Forest. 

As for the Black Canyon, this park will introduce you to some of the steepest and craggiest rocks in the US. The Gunnison River has flowed through this canyon for an estimated two million years, cutting through the rock face. 

North Cascades National Park

Less than two hours from Seattle you’ll find North Cascades National Park. This park has a very special claim to fame. It’s home to over half of all the glaciers in the lower 48 states, over 300 of them.

You can visit the park year round, with 400 miles of trails, there are plenty of spots to hike to and absorb the beautiful views. Or you can head to the Stehekin Valley which is only accessible by foot, boat, or plane. 

Voyageurs National Park

lots of greenery inside the Voyageurs National Park. Blue skies and deep blue waters

Two and a half hours straight north of Duluth you’ll find some of the most pristine land and lakes in America. That’s where Voyageurs National Park is tucked away. It’s right on the Canadian border and is an outdoors person’s paradise.

The park itself is really an interconnected series of waterways that wrap around the shoreline and a number of small islands. Bring your own canoes and kayaks or rent some on the premise. You can also take a tour boat run by the park. 

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Most people don’t think mountains when Texas is brought up. But, then you’d be missing out on the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The peaks here top out at just under 9,000 and many of the caves were home to indigenous peoples for 10,000 years. 

The park is just under two hours from El Paso and is right on the border with New Mexico and abutting Carlsbad Caverns National Park. So you could hit up two parks in just one trip and double your time outdoors!