Discover the 6 Best National Parks in the Northeast

Written by Jeremiah Wright
Published: April 17, 2022
Image Credit EWY Media/Shutterstock.com
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Home to 11 states, each with remarkable landmarks, the Northeast region is certainly known for having America’s most iconic attractions. These iconic attractions include Philadelphia’s historical museums, the busy streets of New York, and of course, national parks.

From rivers and waterfalls to forests and mountains, it is no surprise that the northeastern part of America is also home to a wide variety of wildlife. The diversity in the present habitats of this region provides a home for different species of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and other native animals.

If you are someone who loves adventure, then the Northeast is definitely for you. Before you drift off on your wild and fun journey to the Northeast, here are some of the six best national parks and places you can find and visit.

1. Great Falls National Park

Great Falls National Park
Great Falls National Park provides a habitat for different bird species, such as the great blue heron, red-tailed hawk, blue jays, and robins.

Hiram Rios/Shutterstock.com

Great Falls National Park
Size800 Acres
Animal to SeeWhitetail Deer
Attraction to SeePotomac River

The Potomac River and its hiking trails make the Great Falls National Park in Mclean, Virginia, a popular tourist destination for those who want to experience the beauty of its unique geological features, vibrant environment, and diverse wildlife.

The park’s 800-acre land is primarily forested, and that is why it is home to 150 different bird species, such as the great blue heron, red-tailed hawk, blue jays, robins, and thirty-five different species of warblers. With this, the park has also been a famous bird-watching place.

Other than birds, native animals also thrive in the forests of Great Falls National Park, such as the mostly-seen white-tail deer, squirrels, coyotes, bats, and chipmunks. If you’re lucky enough, you might have a chance to see a few beavers along with your visit to this majestic place. What makes this park even more fascinating is that it also fosters rare species of plants.

The park’s hiking trails vary, but most are entirely safe and harmless for kids. One of the park’s trails offers a walk along the Potomac River or within the woods to provide a glimpse of this place’s beautiful and natural scenery. Staying on the trail during a hike is essential because it is strictly prohibited to interact with any wild animal or plant along the way.

2. Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is home to 40 species of mammals, 29 species of freshwater fish, and 338 bird species.

Eric Urquhart/Shutterstock.com

Acadia National Park
Size49,075 Acres
Animal to SeeFox
Attraction to SeeCadillac Mountain

Deemed as the crown jewel of the North Atlantic Coast, Acadia National Park’s 3.5 million visitors per year can easily say that this place is the nation’s most beloved park. In its 49,075-acre area, there are countless things that you can encounter. These include its highest point, which is Cadillac Mountain, its three central regions where you can choose where to explore, trails, sand beaches, carriage roads, and amazingly diverse wildlife.

It would not be a surprise to many if it were mentioned that this national park is home to 40 species of mammals, 29 species of freshwater fish, and 338 bird species. Some of the most commonly seen animals here are the fox, otters, porcupines, beavers, alewives, passerines, shorebirds, and many more. In rare cases, seals and porpoises can also be spotted in some parts of the park.

The park’s 27 miles of motor roads, 158 miles of hiking trails, and 45 miles of carriage roads offer adventurous experiences for tourists of all ages. Pets and children are even allowed in specific places, but overall, this is one excellent way to connect with nature while also connecting with your family.

3. Assateague Island National Seashore

Assateague Island National Seashore
Assateague Island National Seashore is situated along the coastlines of Maryland and Virginia.

Dennis W Donohue/Shutterstock.com

Assateague Island National Seashore
Size41,320 Acres
Animal to SeeWild Horse
Attraction to SeeAssateague Beach

Assateague Island National Seashore is situated along the coastlines of Maryland and Virginia. This beautiful island consists of sandy beaches, coastal bays, forests, and a wide range of wildlife to offer its tourists. It is well-known for having wild horses roaming freely in its lands and over 200 species of birds, such as shorebirds, waders, and red-winged blackbirds, that can be freely sighted in each part of the national park.

There are many things to do at Assateague Island National Seashore, such as hiking on its trails, fishing and swimming on its beaches, roaming on its unspoiled beaches with the Over-Sand Vehicle, biking through its tracks, and taking wildlife photos. The vast range of activities and sights present in this place can let you rest, relax, and recreate moments with your family, friends, or yourself.

4. Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Appalachian National Scenic Trail
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail extends through all the states of northeastern America, from Maine to Georgia.

EWY Media/Shutterstock.com

Appalachian National Scenic Trail
Size250,000 Acres
Animal to SeeBlack Bear
Attraction to SeeMount Katahdin

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is a 250,000-acre long public footpath that extends through all the states of northeastern America, from Maine to Georgia. This footpath includes mountains, forests, and other attractions across the states it traverses, making it a popular destination for hikers, bikers, and tourists.

Due to its vast environment, wildlife along the path includes different varieties of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Mammals such as medium-sized black bears, moose, whitetail deer, bobcats, and raccoons are just some of the many animals found while hiking or biking along the tracks within the mountains.

This public footpath is an excellent place if you are looking for a calm and relaxing adventure while appreciating the beauty of nature. You can go there by car, bike, or even on a simple hike.

5. Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park is home to different hiking trails, waterfalls, fields of wildflowers, and wildlife.

Jon Bilous/Shutterstock.com

Shenandoah National Park
Size199,200 Acres
Animal to SeeOpossum
Attraction to SeeSkyline Drive

You can definitely feel nature’s calling here in the Shenandoah National Park! This wide 199,200-acre natural environment is home to different hiking trails, waterfalls, fields of wildflowers, and wildlife.

When talking about wildlife, this national park serves as a haven for many animals. Over 190 bird species, 50 mammal species, 20 reptile and amphibian species, 40 fish species, and an uncountable number of insects and other invertebrates are included in the designated wilderness, making up 40% of the park. The most commonly seen animals would be the predators, such as coyotes and black bears, and common fish species such as the native eastern brook trout, mottled sculpin, and bluehead chub.

This place is the go-to for outdoor activities, recreation, and relaxation. Activities such as driving Skyline Drive to breathtaking viewpoints or participating in ranger programs can give you a fantastic experience of getting to know nature better.

6. New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve
New River Gorge National Park and Preserve serves as one of the most relaxing places in the northeast.

Zack Frank/Shutterstock.com

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve
Size72,808 Acres
Animal to SeeGroundhog
Attraction to SeeSandstone Falls

Endless opportunities for recreation and adventure await at the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. Home to endless possibilities for hiking trails, camping, climbing, fishing, and hunting, this national park serves as one of the most relaxing places in the northeast.

Like any other national park mentioned, a wide variety of animals live here at the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. Within the waters and lands of this majestically fascinating place, 65 mammal species, 40 reptile species, 50 species of amphibians, and 89 species of fish are found within the waters and lands. Mammals such as groundhog and bobcats and fish such as bigmouth chub and roanoke are commonly spotted by many tourists and visitors.

If you are looking for a scenic kind of adventure, maybe consider New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. Making it at the top of your bucket list would be an excellent choice for your next vacation or recreational trip.

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