Under the Radar: 10 Underrated State Parks to Visit this Summer

Feel Free To Share:

Megan Bryant is a passionate writer and traveler who has combined her two loves to help others fulfill their traveling dreams. When she isn’t writing, she’s usually curled up with her 3 Dachshunds and a good book or planning her next adventure—wherever that may be.

When people want to head out on a trip in nature, their minds instantly spring to National Parks. But there are so many State Parks all over America that are underrated, under-visited, and in need of some recognition. 

The US is so lucky to have so many beautiful landscapes all in one country, and State Parks are a prime example of just how magnificent mother nature can be. If you’re looking to get out and about this summer, add one of these incredible State Parks to your summer bucket list. You definitely won’t regret it.

Goblin Valley State Park, Utah

Goblin Valley State Park
Image Credit: DepositPhotos.

If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you’ve stepped out onto Mars, then Goblin Valley will be right up your alley. Goblin Valley State Park in central Utah is home to tall, thin rock formations known as hoodoos. However, locals prefer to call them Goblins—hence the park’s name. 

You could spend hours strolling along the park’s hiking trails that range in difficulty. Or, if hiking isn’t your thing, you can participate in rock climbing, mountain biking, and stargazing, so there really is something to suit all types of adventurers.

Dead Horse State Park, Utah

Dead Horse State Park
Image Credit: DepositPhotos.

Utah’s alternative to the Grand Canyon is Dead Horse State Park—one of the state’s most spectacular scenic vistas. Upon arrival at Dead Horse, you’ll be greeted with miles and miles of canyons that will make your journey to the park completely worthwhile. 

In terms of things to do in the park, Dead Horse is mainly popular with photographers; however, there are hiking and biking trails that wrap around the edge of the mesa, which give you impeccable views of the surrounding landscape.

For the absolute best views of Dead Horse State Park, however, you’ll want to head to Dead Horse Point to see the Colorado River and the red rock canyons that cascade below.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California

Calaveras Big Trees State Park
Image Credit: DepositPhotos.

Everyone knows that some of the largest trees in the world grow in Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park. But Calaveras Big Trees State Park is also home to giants. 

The two larger National Parks are often overcrowded with tourists trying to get close to the giant Sequoias. And that reason, in particular, is why it’s better to instead head to the lesser talked about Calaveras Big Trees State Park to enjoy the trees in serenity without hoards of people around you.

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Valley of Fire State Park
Image Credit: DepositPhotos.

The Valley of Fire State Park in the Mojave Desert in Nevada boasts thousands of acres of red Aztec sandstone and white rock sandstone which contrasts in color. Various hiking loops take you all around the unbelievable landscape, past prehistoric petroglyphs, and natural rock basins. With summer temperatures often reaching over 100°F, it’s best to head to the State Park early in the morning, taking plenty of water along with you.

Blue Spring State Park, Florida

Blue Spring State Park
Image Credit: DepositPhotos.

Blue State Park is home to Florida’s famous manatees, and with 72°F  water, it’s the perfect place to swim, snorkel, paddleboard, and kayak. Visitors to the park usually head there for the manatees, but the springs, swamps, and forests are mesmerizing enough on their own.

Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

Silver Falls State Park
Image Credit: DepositPhotos.

The largest State Park in Oregon—Silver Falls State Park—stretches for 9,000 acres with more than 35 miles of backcountry hiking trails. But what really sets this State Park apart are the waterfalls. 

There aren’t many places where you can walk behind a waterfall, but South Falls on the Ten Falls trail creates a 177-foot curtain of water along the trail, making it truly one of a kind.

Silver Lake State Park, Michigan

Silver Lake State Park
Image Credit: DepositPhotos.

Encompassing the north shore of Silver Lake in Michigan is the Silver Lake State Park. Featuring 2,000 acres of sand dunes, mature forests, and areas for outdoor activities like boating, camping, and fishing, Silver Lake State Park is the ultimate destination for those in need of some time outdoors.

Makoshika State Park, Montana

Makoshika State Park Montana
Image Credit: DepositPhotos.

Makoshika State Park is Montana’s largest State Park and any fossil hunter’s dream. Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, and other prehistoric life’s remains have been found all over Makoshika, with some even still visible today. 

But even if you aren’t a huge dinosaur fan, Makoshika has stunning hikes, badlands, and wildlife that is just waiting to be explored.

Cloudland Canyon State Park, Georgia

Cloudland Canyon State Park
Image Credit: DepositPhotos.

Cloudland Canyon State Park in Georgia is one of those parks that you’ll wish you visited sooner. With thousand-foot-deep canyons, waterfalls, caves, and woodland, you could spend literal weeks exploring the park and all it has to offer. 

Over 60 miles of trails wind you through Cloudland to give you uninterrupted views of the geology in front of you. When planning your trip—if you can—definitely visit the park at sunset to see the sky light up vibrant shades of red, pink, purple, and orange.

Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Franconia Notch State Park
Image Credit: DepositPhotos.

New Hampshire is up there as one of the best US states to see vibrant fall colors, and what better place to witness red, yellow, and orange leaves than the Franconia Notch State Park?

Nestled in the heart of the White Mountains, Franconia Notch State Park is known for its diverse landscapes. With towering granite peaks, pristine alpine lakes, cascading waterfalls, and lush forests, the Franconia Notch State Park provides a serene environment for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Be sure to visit the park’s biggest draw, Flume Gorge—a chasm carved by ancient glaciers thousands of years ago.


11 Day Trips From Reno: Desert Stops For Everyone To Enjoy

Lake Tahoe
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Are you planning a day trip from Reno, Nevada, and looking for some exciting options? Look no further than this article, which highlights the best day trips from Reno. There’s something for everyone, from skiing in Mount Rose to relaxing in Steamboat Hot Springs. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains and beyond!

Fly-Fishing, Skiing, Hiking, and Much More: 10 Montana Vacation Spots

Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Looking for an outdoor adventure in Big Sky Country? Look no further than this article, which highlights the top vacation spots in Montana. From Yellowstone National Park’s famous geysers to Glacier National Park’s breathtaking scenery, and Bozeman’s skiing and whitewater rafting, there’s something for everyone. So, pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable trip to Montana’s beautiful wilderness, abundant animal life, and incredible national parks.

Best 16 Utah Vacation Spots

Arches National Park
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

If you’re looking for a vacation spot that offers breathtaking natural scenery and exciting outdoor adventures, then Utah is the place to be! This article highlights the top places to visit in Utah, from the stunning Zion National Park to the unique Homestead Crater. Whether you’re interested in hiking, skiing, or simply soaking in a hot spring, Utah has something for everyone. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore the diverse and awe-inspiring landscapes of Utah!

10 National Parks To Skip If You Have Young Children

Untitled design 36
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

If you’re planning a national park trip with young children, this article is a must-read! Discover the top 10 national parks to skip if you have young children, from the rugged terrain of Denali National Park to the limited access to Isle Royale National Park. Learn about the challenges and potential dangers of visiting these parks with young children and plan your trip accordingly for a safe and enjoyable experience.


Leave a Comment