Whoever listed only seven world wonders must have seen a very small fraction of the planet. With natural curiosities on every continent, there is a lifetime of new things for every traveller to explore. National parks are a fantastic way to see the world, as their preservation also serves to showcase the unique natural history of that area.
So if you are looking for a few ideas on where you can go, here are 10 of the best from the guys at The Caravan Club. Get packed and grab your keys. Let’s explore!
The world’s top 10 must-see National Parks
10. Sweden: Sarek National Park
Tucked away in the Scandanavian Mountains, Sarek is known as one of the world’s precious few almost completely untampered-with stretches of natural beauty. Sarek National Park is just under 2000 square kilometres of varied geological formations and uninhibited wildlife. The park, in which there are no trails or buildings, envelops some of the highest altitudes in Sweden, and several major rivers. Because there are no buildings within the park, camping or off-site lodging are the only options for overnight trips.
9. United Kingdom: Dartmoor National Park
Dartmoor is an ideal location that is not too far away from London. The area is iconised by its tors, the exposures of the area’s natural history in the form of round granite boulders. The moorland is largely grassy, but several rivers run through the park, including the River Dart and River Erme. Dartmoor’s unique landscape makes it an excellent choice for rock climbers, horseback riders, hikers, and nature aficionados alike.
8. Italy: Mount Etna
Italy has long been the destination for beach goers, fashion lovers, and religious pilgrims, but it is also the location of exciting geological events. Located in the island region of Sicily is one of the world’s best places to view a volcanic eruption. When Mount Etna is not blowing its top, the soil characteristic to the slope of an active volcano fosters some incredible wildlife. The privately owned hotels surrounding the mountain are frequently under €75 a night.
7. Tanzania: Serengeti
The Serengeti has long been a premier safari destination. It serves as the home of the Serengeti plains, which play host to massive herds of zebra, buffalo and antelope. Looking west, we find the Grumeti River and its Nile crocodiles. Local accommodations are camping lodge-type buildings.
6. USA: Redwood National and State Parks
Between the unique convergence of diverse ecosystems found here and conservation efforts by the park authority, the Redwood Forest continues to harbor some of the West Coast’s dwindling animal species, and is home to bald eagles, several deer species, black bears, ravens, Steller’s sea lion, and a variety of threatened saltwater fish: the parks end at rocky cliffs descending into the Pacific Ocean. Accommodations range from average American hotels to designated campground sites.
5. England: The Lake District
England’s most vast and well-known national park is a perfect preservation of both natural and cultural history. The area offers a variety of tiny villages, lakes, and mountains. Popular activities include boating, hiking, and visits to the home-turned-museum of Beatrix Potter, author and illustrator of the Peter Rabbit books. Lakeland accommodations range from campsites to bed and breakfasts and inns.
4. New Zealand: Fiordland National Park
It may be New Zealand’s largest national park, but Fiordland is one of the world’s best condensed varieties of natural wonder. A composition of steep mountains, rivers, and ocean, Fiordland offers much to do on your next vacation. The distinct geology here allows for some of the world’s most breathtaking climbs, boat rides, and dives. Explore Milford or Doubtful Sounds, the lake and cave of Te Anau, or meet deep-sea creatures without journeying to the bottom of the ocean. Local stargazing makes camping a popular lodging option, but hotels in the area tend to stay under €50 per night.
3. South Africa: Kruger National Park
Quite possibly the best place to see large African mammals in their natural habitat, Kruger is carefully maintained as a “game reserve” or haven for these species to thrive. There is a small danger factor to visiting the home of some of these animals, but it is highly unusual that a safari goer is injured. The park is home to lions, cheetahs, zebras, black and white rhinoceros, wildebeest, spotted hyenas, leopards, impalas, hippopotamus, African wild dogs, and giraffes. Lodges are popular.
2. Ecuador: Galapagos
Galapagos was made famous by the explorer and evolutionist Charles Darwin, and the animals he studied are alive and well since the voyage of the Beagle. The island chain plays host to a calibre of animals not found anywhere else on the planet, including massive marine iguanas, ancient tortoises, and myriad enigmatic birds. The geology is not only responsible for the distinct life found here, but is a curiosity in itself. Though many visitors to the Galapagos Islands come while on a cruise, hotels in the area are reasonable.
1. Peru: Machu Picchu
Nearly everyone knows someone whose life has been “forever changed” by a pilgrimage to the Inca ruins, but a visit there will turn anyone into a believer. Even without a knowledge of the ancient religion, visitors can be awed by the way the Inca learned to work with nature. The ruins are situated upon and within a steep, equatorial mountain range, and have been built to weather the landslides and erosion of the area. It is safe to say that the ancient engineering worked. In the two-thousand years since the site was constructed, the ruins have blended into the landscape, an accidental comment on the Inca relationship to the natural world. Tours are suggested for first-time visits.