Rio Grande River, Big Bend National Park
hot springs in Big Bend National Park, Texas, provide a warm vantage
point for watching the sun set over the Rio Grande river. The river
winds south along the Texas-Mexico border, passing through three major
canyons and lush floodplains within the park on its way to the Gulf of
Coral Reef, American Samoa National Park
Photograph by Randy Olson, National Geographic
American Samoa National Park’s two coral atolls and five
volcanic islands are treasures highly regarded by the people of
Polynesia’s oldest culture, who help manage the park. Samoa is also home
to miles of pristine beach on the sparsely populated island of Ofu,
fringed by a 350-acre (140-hectare) coral reef.
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Shelikof Strait, Katmai National Park
Photograph by Roy Toft, National Geographic
nearly obscures a brown bear on the shore of Katmai National Park in
Alaska. The park is home to several large lakes and miles of stretching
Shelikof Strait coastline. The largest population of protected brown
bears in North America—some 2,000—is often found fishing in
salmon-filled Brooks Falls, a visitor favorite.
Fort Jefferson National Monument, Dry Tortugas National Park
Fort Jefferson towers over Florida’s Dry Tortugas National Park. This
archipelago, made up of seven low-lying islands, is home to some of
the healthiest coral reefs remaining off North American shores. Only 40
acres (16 hectares) of the park's 100 square miles (260 square
kilometers) are above water, creating a marine life sanctuary.
Volcanic Coast, Haleakala National Park
Photograph by Paul Chesley, National Geographic
and mist swirl through an ancient lava flow, a legacy of Haleakala
volcano on the northeast coast of Maui, Hawaii. According to legend, it
is here where the demigod Maui snared the sun, releasing it only after
it promised to move more slowly across the sky.
Otter Cliffs, Acadia National Park
Photograph by Ian Shive, Aurora Photos
sunset, fog swirls around mossy rocks at the base of Otter Cliffs, one
of the highest coastal headlands north of Rio de Janeiro. Most of
Acadia National Park is located on Mount Desert Island, Maine, a wooded
piece of land surrounded by bays, harbors, and an island-dotted
High Bluffs, Redwood National Park
Pacific laps at rocky bluffs that lead up to the giant trees of
Redwood National Park in California. At the turn of the 20th century
redwoods were threatened by logging, but the trees are now protected
for the fascination of future generations. The park also includes
several beaches where visitors can find solitude even on a crowded day.
Diving, Virgin Islands National Park
school of silverside fish envelops a night diver in Virgin Islands
National Park. The warm Caribbean waters around St. John island are
home to fringing coral reefs—beautiful, complex, and exceedingly fragile
communities of plants and animals, upon which St. John's famous