Google Reveals TOP 5 ‘Hidden Gem’ National Parks In The U.S. To Visit In 2024

The national park season is here and with that comes the dreadful picking of which one to visit. Naturally, the famed parks like Yellowstone are worth seeing at least once in your lifetime. But if you’re rather looking for somewhere off the beaten path yet beautiful this year, we’ve got you covered.

The following list was created by looking at Google Maps and finding national parks with a rating of 4.5 or higher and less than 1,000 reviews at the same time. That way, we can be sure something extraordinary awaits you there without the annoying crowds.

Isle Royale National Park

Set in Lake Superior in Michigan, close to the border with Canada, Isle Royale National Park is one of the least visited state parks. Mostly because of its remote location, as it’s only accessible by a plane or a boat. But in return, it will reward you with unspoiled wilderness and plenty of outdoor adventure. 

With more than 165 miles of hiking trails, it’s perfect for both day trips and backpacking adventures. However, we recommend you stay overnight. You can sleep under the stars in one of the many backcountry camping sites and enjoy the stunning show of stars in the dark skies thanks to little light pollution. Alternatively, you can stay on a boat, at Rock Harbor Lodge or the Windigo Camper Cabins.

Apart from hiking, other popular activities include kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. You can also visit several historic lighthouses.

Katmai National Park and Preserve

We will stay with the remote locations for a while. But this time, we’re going to Alaska. In the southwest corner of the state lies Katmai National Park and Preserve – home to the biggest population of brown bears in the world and impressive salmon runs.

The best place to spot them both is at Brooks Falls. Many famous photos of bears catching fish were taken there and you can snap one as well.

Another must-visit attraction is the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. It was created by the eruption of Novarupta in 1912, which is known to be the 20th century’s largest volcanic eruption. And you can explore the ash-covered landscape and see fumaroles from up close through numerous hiking trails.

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve   

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve   

When at Katmai National Park, you might as well visit the neighboring Lake Clark. This undiscovered jewel is a fantastic spot to watch bears likewise. But on top of that, it offers plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy.

Chilikadrotna, Tlikakila, and Mulchatna rivers are ideal for rafting, paddleboarding, canoeing, and kayaking. And along the lake itself, they feature outstanding fishing opportunities. Several backcountry hiking routes will take you to other lakes and rivers. And if you’re planning to stay overnight, there is a primitive camping area at Hope Creek.

Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve

Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve

The name says it all. Located in the far north of Alaska, this is probably the most remote and wild park in North America. It’s completely intact and you won’t find any trails or roads. But the experience of wandering the vast land is truly like no other.

How to access it then, you ask? The most common way is to take an air taxi or bush plane from the town of Bettles. It drops you in the park and you’re on your own. You can either walk or explore it through its river system on a kayak or canoe. 

Note that you need to be an experienced backcountry traveler and know how to survive in the wilderness to set on a trip to the Gates of the Arctic. Alternatively, you can go on a guided expedition.

Minidoka National Historic Site

Minidoka National Historic Site

Some less-traveled parks can also be found in other states than Alaska, and Minidoka National Historic Site is one of them. Set in the Idaho desert and often referred to as the Hunt Camp, during WWII, it served as a concentration camp for people of Japanese ancestry. Today, it provides an opportunity to commemorate such unfortunate events and learn a bit more about American history.

Don’t worry, the area also offers something from the positive side of things – unspoiled natural beauty. The nearby Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge is a habitat for a variety of wildlife and is perfect for birdwatching. You can also launch a boat, fish, or paddleboard on Lake Walcott.