5 Under-the-Radar National Parks

The US National Park system boasts protected lands with astonishing nature and rich history in every corner of the country. While some parks may host a million visitors each year, the visitors to these hidden national parks can be counted in the thousands. Take a break from the traffic and crowds, and appreciate the unspoiled beauty at 5 of the country's least-visited national parks.

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Deer are among the many animals you can spot in Washington's Olympic National Park. 960 1280

  

Owls may also give you a long look in Olympic National Park. 960 1280

  

Bighorn sheep are among the largest animals in Montana's Glacier National Park. 960 1280

  

Watch out! In Florida's Everglades National Park, the crocodiles have big mouths. 960 1280

  

For elk-watching, you can't go wrong at Glacier, Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Park. 960 1280

  

There are many places to see moose. Try Yellowstone, Katmai, King Salmon, Grand Teton, Isle Royale or Denali National Park 960 1280

  

Golden Eagles soar at Olympic National Park. 960 1280

  

Go north to Glacier Bay or Katmai National Park in Alaska for a sea otter fix. 960 1280

  

Grizzly bears and their cubs hang out in Denali, Grand Teton and Glacier National Parks. 960 1280

  

Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are the places to go for bison-watching. 960 1280

  

Caribou roam at Katmai and Denali National Parks. 960 1280

  

Photos

Backcountry Camping: Glacier National Park

Backcountry Camping: Glacier National Park

Each year, Glacier National Park updates its Backcountry Camping Guide, a necessary accessory for backpackers who plan to spend the night at one of the remote campsites. Primitive campsites have a spot for a tent, pit toilets, as well as an area to prepare and store food. 960 1280
Backcountry Camping: Glacier National Park

Backcountry Camping: Glacier National Park

Serious hikers rave about the looming mountains and alpine lakes that make up Glacier National Park's million-plus acres of natural wonderland. To fully appreciate the park's beauty, load your backpack for a multi-day back-country adventure. 960 1280

Education Images, Getty Images  

Forest Camping: Bryce Canyon National Park

Forest Camping: Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is famous for its tall rocky spires known as hoodoos, but its elevation creates 3 unique forest areas. As the park reaches 2,000 feet, there are distinct forest areas with spruce, Ponderosa pines and Pinyon pines. 960 1280

Ethan Miller, Getty Images  

Forest Camping: Bryce Canyon National Park

Forest Camping: Bryce Canyon National Park

There are 2 campgrounds in the park, and the Sunset Campground is located just west of some of the park's best easy-to-moderate hiking trails that begin at Sunset Point. 960 1280

Ethan Miller, Getty Images  

Beach Camping: Assateague Island

Beach Camping: Assateague Island

At Assateague Island you can feel the sand under your feet -- and under your sleeping bag, too -- when you pitch your tent at an ocean-side site on this barrier island. The campsites are just steps from the water where you can spend the day swimming, fishing, collecting shells or just lounging in the sand. 960 1280

The Washington Post, Getty Images  

Beach Camping: Assateague Island

Beach Camping: Assateague Island

Although the park is located in both Maryland and Virginia, camping is only available in Maryland. In addition to the camping basics, bring along firewood, long tent stakes to steady your tent from strong breezes and extra bug spray as the mosquito populations thrive during the warm summer months. 960 1280

Maddie Meyer, The Washington Post, Getty Images  

RV Camping: Yosemite National Park

RV Camping: Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a great option for car campers and road-tripping RVers who don't want to leave behind all of the comforts of home. The park has 10 campgrounds with ample space for RVs and trailers. 960 1280

RiverNorthPhotography/Getty Images  

RV Camping: Yosemite National Park

RV Camping: Yosemite National Park

In Yosemite Valley, RVs can unpack and settle in Upper, Lower and North Pines campgrounds and enjoy great views of the towering rock formations and easy access to hiking trails to Lower and Upper Yosemite Falls. 960 1280

Pacific Press, Getty Images  

Isolated Camping: Voyageurs National Park

Isolated Camping: Voyageurs National Park

If you're searching for a remote campground with few neighbors, Voyageurs National Park just might be your spot. However, you will need your own boat to access any of the 200 remote campsites. 960 1280

GeorgeBurba/Getty Images  

Isolated Camping: Voyageurs National Park

Isolated Camping: Voyageurs National Park

Each site is equipped with a food locker, fire ring and picnic table so you can enjoy dinner under the stars. Be sure to double-check your packing list as there are no nearby shops to pick up forgotten essentials at these isolated camping spots. 960 1280

StevenSchremp/Getty Images  

Alaska Railroad's Coastal Classic

Alaska Railroad's Coastal Classic

Hop aboard the Coastal Classic in Anchorage for a scenic four-hour ride to Kenai Fjords National Park. Along the coast you'll pass a stretch of Cook Inlet known as the Turnagain Arm, before greeting the snow-capped Kenai Mountains. 960 1280

By Frank Kovalchek from Anchorage, Alaska, USA (Our Alaska Railroad train to Spencer Glacier) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Alaska Railroad's Coastal Classic

Alaska Railroad's Coastal Classic

After a series of tunnels and a harrowing single-track switch, it's onward through the land of glassy lakes, waterfalls and glaciers to the end of the line in Seward. 960 1280

By Nils Öberg (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Grand Canyon Railway

Grand Canyon Railway

Your 65-mile, two-hour journey to the Grand Canyon on this vintage steam train starts in Williams, Ariz. 960 1280

By DXR (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Grand Canyon Railway

Grand Canyon Railway

Coach seats are bench style in Pullman cars from the roaring 1920s, the club car has a mahogany bar, first class enjoys captain-style seats, and a double-decker dome car offers passengers a bird's-eye view. 960 1280

By Drew Jacksich [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Amtrak's Empire Builder

Amtrak's Empire Builder

This giant diesel-engine locomotive begins its journey at Chicago's Union Station and runs west along the original route of the Great Northern Railway to Glacier National Park in Montana. 960 1280

Douglas Rahden [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons  

Amtrak's Empire Builder

Amtrak's Empire Builder

During the next two days, you'll stop at the Glacier Park Lodge & Resort, the  Historic Belton Chalet and the Izaak Walton Inn. 960 1280

By Andrew Balet (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Coast Starlight

Coast Starlight

The Coast Starlight travels the coast between Los Angeles' and Seattle. The first park on the route is the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area with over 153,000 acres of beaches, mountains and a working movie set, Paramount Ranch. Klamath Falls, Ore., is the jumping off point to visit Crater Lake National Park. The train stops at Portland's historic Union Station before ending in Seattle, an hour and 45-minute drive to Mt. Rainier National Park 960 1280
Coast Starlight

Coast Starlight

First-class ticket holders can enjoy the luxurious Parlor Car, and there's also a car designated just for kids. 960 1280

By donielle (Flickr: pacific parlour car) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Alaska Railroad's Denali Star

Alaska Railroad's Denali Star

Your 7 1/2-hour trip to Denali National Park on this refurbished blue-and-yellow train begins in Anchorage. 960 1280

By Nils Öberg (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Alaska Railroad's Denali Star

Alaska Railroad's Denali Star

Equipped with a dome car, a fine dining car and student tour guides, the Denali Star travels through seven tunnels and over 8 miles of bridges. Other stops include Wasilla, Talkeetna, Nenana and Fairbanks. 960 1280

By Len Turner from Lufkin, TX, USA (Alaska 02-013Uploaded by Arsenikk) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes National Seashore

Just 35 miles northwest of San Francisco, Point Reyes is a popular escape for hiking one of its many trails and kayaking the shores of Tomales Bay and the coast. It's also known for wildlife -- making it one of the best places for bird watching and spotting Northern Elephant Seals (during winter months). 960 1280

Getty Images   

Juan Bautista de Anza Trail

Juan Bautista de Anza Trail

The Mission San Antonio de Padua was founded in 1771 and is a designated stop on the Juan Bautista de Anza Trail. In 1775, Anza led more than 240 men, women and children from Nogales, AZ, to settle in San Francisco. 960 1280

Ed Bierman, flickr  

Muir Woods

Muir Woods

Sunlight shines through 240 acres of Coastal Redwood trees at Muir Woods, 12 miles north of San Francisco, and one of the few remaining forests in the Bay Area. 960 1280

Justin Kern, flickr  

Fort Point

Fort Point

Constructed during the height of the California Gold Rush, Fort Point's master masonry has been called "the pride of the Pacific." Overlooking the majestic Golden Gate, Fort Point protected the San Francisco harbor from attack during and after the Civil War. 960 1280

California Bear, flickr  

Port Chicago Naval Magazine

Port Chicago Naval Magazine

WWII's worst homefront disaster took place on the evening of July 17, 1944, when 320 Americans were instantly killed by an explosion of 2 ships loaded with ammunition. Reservations are required to visit the site and must be made at least 2 weeks before your visit to the Memorial. 960 1280

Bruce C. Johnson Jr.  

Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island

The infamous federal prison often overshadows the natural side of "The Rock," but whether you go for the fort's storied history, the West Coast's oldest operating lighthouse or unmatched Bay views -- it's worth the ferry ride. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Golden Gate National Rec Area

Golden Gate National Rec Area

How's this for impressive statistics: The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is one of the largest urban parks in the world with nearly 60 miles of California coastline, over 13 million visitors a year and no access fees. Of course, the crown jewel of the Bay area's "backyard" -- and its most beautiful and recognizable landmark -- is the bridge itself. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site

Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site

Tao House, located in Danville, CA, is the Monterey Colonial hillside home of America's only Nobel Prize winning playwright, Eugene O'Neill. While O'Neill and his wife only lived in the home for 7 years, it was where he wrote his final and most memorable plays: The Iceman Cometh, Journey Into Night and A Moon for the Misbegotten. 960 1280

Eugene O’Neill Foundation  

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