national parks on the east coast

National Parks on the East Coast

By on July 17, 2017

National Parks on the East Coast

Recently, I received a National Parks passport book as a gift and I’ve made it a goal to get all of the passport stamps.  However, when I pulled out a map of the National Parks I realized that a lot of the them are on the West Coast and in the Southwest region of the United States.

Even though there aren’t many parks near me here in NYC there are still a few great National Parks on the East Coast to visit!  I’m going to share some basics (and photos – not mine) of the National Parks on the East Coast and I’ll return for a more detailed post after I visit each of them!

Acadia National Park

acadia sunsetsource: NPS


Acadia National Park can be found in beautiful Maine and is the oldest National Park east of the Mississippi River.  Acadia has a variety of terrains including mountains, lakes, woodlands, wetlands, and shores (including islands).

There is a lot of wildlife within the park including bobcats, moose, and black bears so make sure to be cautious when visiting.  Also, if you’re a bird watcher, Acadia is considered to be one of the best areas for bird-watching (over 300 bird species encountered)!

  • 47,000 acres


acadia national parksource: flickr // Lee Coursey


Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park is in South Carolina and filled with tons of biodiversity.  There are water sources coming from two different rivers which brings in a lot of aquatic and other varieties of wildlife.  According to the NPS, it is the “largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest ” that remains in the USA.

Congaree National Park is about 60% designated wilderness.  This is a great park to come hike, camp, canoe, or kayak but according to visitors’ reviews, make sure to bring bug spray because all the humidity, water sources in the park, and heat of South Carolina means the perfect recipe for bugs.

  • 27,000 acres


congaree national parksource: flickr // Hunter Desportes


Shenandoah National Park

shenandoahsource: NPS

I’ve driven through Shenandoah and it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been – even in late spring when the vibrant colors have disappeared.  Shenandoah National Park is along the Blue Ridge Mountains, named appropriately for their apparent blue hue in the distance.  This park can be found in Virginia and it includes a large section of the infamous Appalachian Trail.

About 40% of Shenandoah is designated as a protected wilderness area.  There is also plenty of wildlife across this national park including bears.  Skyline Drive runs through Shenandoah and is a popular scenic route through Virginia (we drove it moving from AZ to NYC).

  • 200,000 acres


shenandoah park national parks on the east coastsource: NPS


Great Smoky Mountains National Park

great smokies

The Smoky Mountains are among the oldest mountains in the world!  Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most biodiverse national park with over 19,000 species documented.  The climate and terrain is a large contributor to the biodiversity; the Great Smokies is quite humid, with high amounts of rainfall, and about 95% forested.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is between Tennessee and North Carolina.  With nearly 11 million visitors in 2016, it is America’s most visited national park.  It may surprise you that this number is almost double the annual visitors of the Grand Canyon.  Similar to Shenandoah, this national park also includes some of the Appalachian Trail which sees many hikers each day.

  • 500,000+ acres



What National Parks are near where you live?

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  1. Reply


    July 19, 2017

    Acadia National Park is actually on the top of my list for east coast parks! It’s absolutely beautiful!

    cabin twenty-four

    • Reply


      July 19, 2017

      I would probably put that at the top of my list as well!

  2. Reply


    July 20, 2017

    I wish there were more national parks in the East Coast… but at least what we lack in quantity, we make up for in quality! Acadia National Park is so beautiful. I’ve visited that park in the summer and wintertime.

    • Reply


      July 21, 2017

      I haven’t been there yet! 🙁

  3. Reply


    July 27, 2017

    Acadia National Park looks so cool! Some of these parks are so close to me in NC and I’ve never been! It’s good to know about them for future trips!

    • Reply


      August 15, 2017

      You should get out to some parks near you – NC is so beautiful and full of wilderness!

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New York, NY

I am Rachel, an early 30's Midwestern girl residing in NYC with my husband and dog. I have learned to appreciate the city but am also a huge adventure girl. Follow along with my outdoor adventures as well as my city adventures and fitness journey. I'm an advocate of empowering other petite women not to be limited by our size!


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