Are you one of those special people who just absolutely loves to be in a new destination that is just filled with masses and masses of people? New strangers to meet and friends to create? Yeah, me neither. Luckily for us there are still beautiful destinations that we can retreat to in an effort to become a wandering hermit on our next vacation. Thanks to recently released statistics, we can now pinpoint the (read: best) least visited National Parks in the US.
Turtles Not Tourists
Off the coast of Florida find an escape from the hoards of Miami in the Carribean islands of the Dry Tortugas National Park. Swim in turquoise waters, dive to sunken ships and coral reefs, or climb the lighthouse and get a better view of how absolutely alone you are. (Do you hear that? It’s heaven calling.) With only around 55,000 visitors a year, set sail on empty waters and embrace the bliss of finally being alone. And what’s better than a day of being alone than a night of solitude? Overseas is one of the exclusive few to have a contract for clients to overnight in the turquoise waters.
Ten (Thousand) Things I Hate About You
Arrive to Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska and take in the true joy of nature: utter solitude. Watch large families of brown bears catch salmon in the rivers, walk across sprawling lava fields, and visit the famous region known as the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Embrace your inner mountain man and avoid a packed hotel full of scrubs by staying in a luxury yurt with you, yourself, and nobody else. The main draw to this region though is Brooks Falls where you can get up close and personal to brown bears catching salmon as they migrate upriver. Take your time touring the region and don’t worry about irritating crowds as less than 38,000 people visit the park each year.
Beaches Without Bitches
Nothing is worse than seeing hundreds of beautiful, tanned, flawless bodies taking selfies on the beach when you’re just trying to forget about the last six months you’ve spent holed up in fluorescent lit office avoiding the sun. Skip the crowds in Hawaii and go straight to the isolated National Park of American Samoa located in the middle of the Pacific, thousands of miles away from anyone else. While you may have to fly for about fifty hours to get there, once you arrive you will be rewarded with an oasis that sees less than 30,000 visitors each year — which is perfect for those seeking palm trees, blue skies, and utter silence. Don’t worry about fighting over the last beach lounger in the sea of thousands, and instead kick back, sip your drink, and discover nirvana.
A Nation of Isolation
Don’t want to fly for fifty hours but still want to pretend like you’re the sole survivor of a nuclear winter? Then drive three hours from Seattle and head to North Cascades National Park where less than 30,000 people visit each year to see hundreds of lakes, glaciers, and stunning mountains. This park is the closest thing in the US to visiting the Alpine valleys of Switzerland, but better as they are blissfully devoid of people frolicking and singing the Sound of Music through the meadows — because who needs (or more specifically, wants) that. And with the ability to climb glaciers, kayak through topaz waters, or hike along rocky crests — who wouldn’t want to travel here?
I Don’t Caribou About You
Are you one of those (amazing) people who cries when an animal in a movie dies but are totally fine with literally anything else befalling the main characters? Well, Kobuk Valley National Park is the place for you and happens to be the second great Alaskan wilderness to make our list. With half a million caribou wandering about on their migration, and less than 15,000 people visiting a year, the odds are stacked in your favor for having a blissful vacation in a vacant park. Besides the caribou, bare witness to the largest active sand dunes in the Arctic, and hike along the tops of the massive geological remnants of the last Ice Age.