Protected and preserved for their majestic landscapes and rich ecosystems, national parks present one of the quickest and best ways to realize how amazing and awe-inspiring our planet truly is. They also represent some of the most spectacular destinations in the world, which is why they attract so many travelers. In fact, in 2017, there were more than 330 million visitors to the National Park System’s 417 areas, which covers every state in the U.S., the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Beyond the U.S., there are so many other national parks around the world that are sure to take your breath away. From the plains of Africa and the reefs of Ecuador to the powdered peaks of Snowdonia and the Arctic Seas of the Svalbard islands, here’s our list of the top five national parks that you need to add to your bucket list.
Kruger National Park, South Africa
As South Africa’s first ever national park, Kruger National Park is arguably the top safari destination in the world. The park is home to hundreds of animals, including the world-famous Big Five: the Lion, the African Elephant, the Leopard, the Rhinoceros and the Cape Buffalo. Kruger National Park also has more species of large mammals than any other game reserve in Africa. Visitors can choose from a variety of accommodation options, including opulent suites, intimate lodges, classic family retreats and luxurious private hotels. The best way to experience the park is through a guided tour with a reputable tour company that cares about environmental issues and employs knowledgeable guides.
Galapagos National Park, Ecuador
Visitors to Galapagos National Park will be able to see the wildlife that sparked Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, including rare endemic species like giant tortoises, iguanas, penguins and sea lions. It has been described as one of the most unique, scientifically important and biologically outstanding areas on Earth. The eco-luxe Pikaia Lodge, the only hotel on the island, offers a private boat yacht for personal scuba diving excursions around the coral reefs. Many travelers describe their time in the islands as a life-changing experience.
Yellowstone National Park, U.S.A
From the Grand Canyon to Yosemite, America is home to some of the most incredible national parks on Earth, and the top spot has to go to Yellowstone National Park. Having opened in 1872, it’s the world’s first ever national park. Yellowstone is also home to the world’s largest active geyser field, Old Faithful, as well the world’s biggest herd of free-roaming bison. Explore mountains, lakes and forests. Watch wildlife and witness the drama of the natural world unfold. You can stay in one of the nine lodges in the park, or go camping in one of the park’s 12 campgrounds and truly immerse yourself in nature. Whatever you choose, be sure to plan at least a week’s stay, so that you can have the opportunity to thoroughly experience this massive area. Yellowstone encapsulates the essence of the American West and is a place that every traveler should visit, at least, once.
Snowdonia National Park, Wales
With rugged landscape, craggy mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and foggy valleys, Snowdonia National Park is the stuff of myths, legends and medieval folklore – a place that looks and feels like a real-life embodiment of a J.R.R Tolkien novel. In fact, legend has it that King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur, can be found at the bottom of one of the park’s lakes. In addition to its lore, Snowdonia National Park is known for its hiking trails, waterfalls, lakes, world-class mountain biking and vintage steam railway that climbs to the top of Mount Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales. With historic castles and charming villages, visits to Snowdonia are truly enchanting.
National Parks of Svalbard, Norway
With the summer midnight sun and polar bear nights in the winter, the National Parks of the Svalbard Islands is a nature photographer’s dream. Located in the Arctic Ocean, halfway between the North Pole and mainland Norway, the Svalbard Islands are a haven for polar bears, walruses and harbor seals. The National Parks of Svalbard are home to seven Norwegian national parks: Forlandet, Indre Wijdefjorden, Nordenskiöld Land, Nordre Isfjorden, Nordvest-Spitsbergen, Sassen-Bünsow Land, and Sør-Spitsbergen. You’ll find experience untouched arctic wilderness and unique wildlife in an environment that is both rugged and fragile. Plus, because Svalbard is a certified Sustainable Destination, you can feel good about traveling there knowing that your trip is supporting the area’s works to systematically reduce the negative impact of tourism.
These places are just a few of the breathtaking national parks that you can find all over the world. Travelers are truly spoilt for choice!
Wherever you decide to travel to, EmpireCLS’ chauffeur service can help take you there safely, comfortably and in style. Our chauffeur service gives you the same hospitality experience that you expect from five-star hotels, and the diversity of our fleet means that we can serve an array of travelers, from solo globetrotters and couples to families and large groups.
Whether you’re heading to the airport to catch a flight for a family vacation at Yellowstone or going to a pier to catch a cruise to Norway for a visit to the Svalbard Islands, EmpireCLS’ chauffeur service can get you to wherever you need to go with plenty of time to spare before your departure. We want to make sure that you have the chance to chill out and relax before you leave on your adventure.
You can also take the opportunity to experience completely stress-free travels by reserving our Airport Greetings service. Through this special program, we’ll give you expedited transit, and other benefits, that eliminate the unnecessary hassle of travel through over 450 airports and destinations around the world. It’s like having your own personal travel assistant!
In addition to chauffeur service to the airport, with EmpireCLS’ Airport Greetings, you’ll experience:
- Greeter assistance throughout the departure process, from check-in until your plane leaves the gate
- Private check-in and priority boarding for departing flights
- A fast-tracked process for passport control and customs clearance, where applicable
- Carry-on luggage assistance for departing flights and connecting flights
- Speedy cart service ushering you through terminals to your gate or to baggage claim
- Connections assistance, in which a Greeter will meet you as you exit the skyway and help you with making your next flight
- Curbside pick-up and Greeter assistance throughout your arrival, from the plane to your chauffeur
- Porter service for assistance with getting luggage to check-in or from baggage claim to your vehicle
Whatever national park you visit, EmpireCLS can help make your trip so much more memorable.