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18 incredible national parks around the world that you should visit in your lifetime

Summary List PlacementFOLLOW US: Insider is on Facebook Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya will let you see local wildlife. There is so much to explore outside all over Africa, but Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya should be at the top of your list.  It's located on the floor of the Great Rift Valley, and while it's considered a little small for African standards, there is so much to see. The park is home to lions, leopards, hippos, and flamingos, to name just a few of the wild animals you might spot. Because of the size, you'll get a more intimate safari. Kakadu National Park...

torres del paine national park

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Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya will let you see local wildlife.

There is so much to explore outside all over Africa, but Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya should be at the top of your list. 

It’s located on the floor of the Great Rift Valley, and while it’s considered a little small for African standards, there is so much to see.

The park is home to lions, leopards, hippos, and flamingos, to name just a few of the wild animals you might spot. Because of the size, you’ll get a more intimate safari.

Kakadu National Park in Australia is huge.

Kakadu National Park is full of history, as it has been home to Aboriginal people for over 65,000 years and is the oldest living culture on Earth.

The park is also gigantic at 20,000 square kilometers, so there is a ton of exploring to be done. You can get a taste of culture by viewing Aboriginal Rock Art, and you can also see some stunning views of rivers and wetlands.

Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand, has hundreds of species of birds.

Doi Inthanon National Park is known as “The Roof of Thailand,” and is located near the Himalayan Mountains just outside of Chiang Mai. The park is famous for its gorgeous views of waterfalls, caves, and mountains.

There are over 360 species of birds that call it home, making it a bucket list destination for bird-watchers.

If you visit during late January and early February, you’ll get to see the blossoms of Siamese sakura flowers covering the trees in pink. It’s something that only lasts a few short weeks, but is a huge seasonal attraction.

Vatnajökull National Park in Iceland is home to the country’s highest mountain peak.

While in Iceland, you might want to make time for Vatnajökull National Park, home to the country’s highest mountain peak — in other words, you’ll get some stunning views.

This is a huge park that will also give you a good look at glaciers. According to Topdeck Travel, it’s perfect for anyone looking to find peace in nature, especially during the summer and early fall months.

Banff National Park in Canada has some of the most beautiful bodies of water.

You don’t need to travel across the world to see a gorgeous national park outside of the US, and Banff National Park is proof of that.

This is Canada’s first national park and the flagship of the nation’s park system, and it’s also part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain parks UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There is so much to see, like some of the most turquoise water you may ever see at Lake Louise, a glacier-fed lake.

Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is filled with wildlife.

If you want to see as many wild animals as possible, take a trip to Serengeti National Park.

It’s arguably the best wildlife sanctuary in the world and has the greatest concentration of plains game in Africa.

At 5,700 square miles, it’s huge, and it’s full of wildlife: hyenas, elephants, hippos, lions, giraffes, monkeys wildebeest, zebra — the list goes on and on. 

Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile has incredible icebergs.

According to the official website, Torres Del Paine National Park was declared the eighth wonder of the world in 2013, as well as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. 

There are gorgeous turquoise lakes, icebergs, rivers, lengas forests, and amazing hiking trails. The glaciers in the Southern Patagonia Ice Field alone are worth a trip.

Fiordland National Park in New Zealand is perfect for kayaking and hiking through nature.

Fiordland National Park in New Zealand is over 1.2 million hectares in size and gives you views of mountains, lakes, rainforests, and fiords.

There are so many plants and animals that are completely unique to the area. You can hike or kayak through the fiords and under waterfalls.

Arenal Volcano National Park in Costa Rica has an active volcano.

Arenal Volcano National Park in Costa Rica is located within the larger Arenal Conservation Area that protects reserves along the Tilaran and Guanacaste mountain ranges.

You’ll see, of course, the Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica’s most active volcano with consistent lava flows since July 1968. There are also many plants and animals to spot, like monkeys, snakes, and birds.

Kruger National Park in South Africa is home to many rare animals.

Kruger National Park is located about 260 miles northeast of Johannesburg, and is nearly 5 million acres.

It is also considered one of the best places to see wild animals in Africa. If you’re looking to see The Big Five (buffalo, elephants, leopards, lions, and rhinos), you’ll likely find them in this park. There are also Nile crocodiles, hippos, and very rare birds to spot.

Aside from animals, there’s also a lot of history, as Kruger is home to the Albasini and Masorini ruins, where Portuguese colonists and members of the indigenous Ba-Phalaborwa ethnic group once lived and worked. 

Iguazu National Park in Argentina and Brazil has giant waterfalls.

This park is unique, as it sits right on the border of Argentina and Brazil. It also offers a stunning waterfall view.

According to the official website, Iguazu National Park is “among the world’s visually and acoustically most stunning natural sites for its massive waterfalls.”

Aside from the river and the waterfalls, you can get a glimpse at the Atlantic Forest, which is known for its diversity of species, plants, and animals.

Göreme National Park in Turkey looks like something out of a fairytale.

Göreme National Park is a unique volcanic landscape sculpted by erosion in the central Anatolia plateau.

Erosion has formed these mountain ridges, valleys, and pinnacles known as “fairy chimneys” or hoodoos. 

Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park in Panama has underwater sites to explore.

The Bastimentos Island National Park is Panama’s first marine park and protects over 32,000 acres of land and sea.

The Cayos Zapatillas (two islands) are known for snorkeling and diving. There are coral gardens and underwater caves to explore, where you can see hundreds of different fish species, as well as sharks and sea turtles.

Chubu Sangaku National Park in Japan has magnificent snowy mountains.

Located in the Northern Japan Alps, Chubu Sangaku National Park is on a volcanic mountain range that includes incredibly high peaks and stunning hiking trails.

Topdeck Travel says it offers some of the best skiing in the world. If you’re looking to do a more relaxing activity, there are also hot springs and beautiful mountain scenery to take in.

Snowdonia National Park in Wales, United Kingdom has the tallest square-towered lighthouse in the UK.

Snowdonia National Park is best known for its hiking, and you can also see gorgeous lakes, waterfalls, and streams, as well as get a good dose of history.

Bardsey Island has ruins of sixth-century monasteries, as well as the tallest square-towered lighthouse in the UK. The Llechwedd Slate Caverns bring you 500 feet underground to the steepest mining cable railway in Europe. 

Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia is ideal for anyone who loves lakes.

Plitvice Lakes National Park is Croatia’s first national park. It’s located in the mountainous region of Croatia.

The process of tufa formation makes tufa, or travertine, barriers and resulted in the creation of lakes that are incredibly gorgeous. You can visit the lake zone to see the unique landscape or go on a walking trail to explore.  

Canaima National Park in Venezuela has plants unique to the region.

Located in southeastern Venezuela along the border of Guyana and Brazil, it’s known for flat-topped mountain formations called “tepuis” and the Angel Falls that go into Devil’s Canyon. It’s the highest waterfall in the world.

There are also five endangered species that call the park home: jaguars, giant anteaters, giant river otters, ocelots, and giant armadillos.

According to the site, a third of the plants are unique to the region and can’t be found anywhere else.

 

Jiuzhai Valley National Park in China has everything from lakes to snow-covered mountains.

Jiuzhai Valley National Park in China has gorgeous natural views.

It’s located in Jiuzhaigou County and is regarded as a holy mountain and watercourse by the Tibetan people. There are waterfalls, blue lakes, forests, and snow-covered mountains. The area is also rich in history of the Tibetan and Qiang people. 

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