Bucket List of National Park Service Units

Yosemite National Park (Photo by Guy Francis via Wikimedia)

National parks are popular destinations on many travelers’ bucket lists. It seems that everyone who has been to a national park has a secret desire, or sometimes a very public intention, to visit every national park. All 59 of them, from Acadia to American Samoa, from Gates of the Arctic to Virgin Islands, and all the parks between, big and small, famous and obscure.

But what about other places in the national park system? After all, national parks amount to less than 15% of the 413 units under the care and supervision of the National Park Service. I haven’t seen any bucket lists intending to visit all 413 of these park service sites, and I am not proposing such an ambitious undertaking. But what about a list that includes at least one place in each of the 20 different categories of National Park Service units?

To get you started on a National Park Service Units Bucket List, here is a quick rundown on the 20 different categories of Park Service designations, listed in order from the most to the least number of units included in each category, with some suggested destinations:

Which sites would you include in your bucket list of National Park Service Units to visit?

References for National Park Service units:

Unit designations of the National Park Service: https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/news/upload/Site-Designations-08-24-16.pdf


“Nomenclature of Park System Areas”: https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/hisnps/NPSHistory/nomenclature.html

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