The National Park Service states that the United States parklands are 52 million acres of land holding about 5,399 species of vertebrates. With so many animals living in the borders of the United States, there’s no need to travel to Africa for a safari or swim with the animals in the Galapagos Islands. You can find everything you need right at home. However, you have to know where to go and what you’re looking for. If you’re ready for your next wildlife spotting trip, check out one of these national parks, where you’ll get up close and personal with some of the nation’s most beautiful animals.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Although most people know Yellowstone for Old Faithful and many of its other geysers, the park is also known as the American Serengeti. This name was bestowed upon the park because of its extremely rich wildlife and gorgeous landscape. Yellowstone is 2.2 million acres and contains about 67 different mammal species – the largest of any national park. On a trip here, you can easily spot animals such as bison, elk, coyotes, wolverines, gray wolves, mountain lions, and black and grizzly bears. If you’re looking for some of the big animals, check out Hayden Valley or Lamar Valley for the best view of the park’s infamous wolves.
Everglades National Park, Florida
The southern part of Florida is home to the largest subtropical wilderness in the entire country. At about 1.5 million acres, the Everglades combines freshwater, seawater, and terrestrial ecosystems to provide you with an immense variety of animals. It is the particularly known as the only place in the country where you can spot crocodiles in their natural habitat. You will also see alligators, ibises, flamingos, bobcats, manatees, and the Florida panther. To make the best out of your trip, you should get closer to the wildlife on a riverboat, canoe, or kayak through the Everglades.
Channel Islands National Park, California
Encompassing five islands and their adjoining ocean, Channel Islands National Park is full of natural resources and beautiful views that you won’t find anywhere else. The park’s land has been isolated for thousands of years and therefore is home to many unique animals and plants that you can’t find anywhere else on the planet. Visitors here often spot common dolphins and the rare Pacific white-sided and bottlenose dolphins. During the winter, gray whales migrate and pass through the park’s channel and you can see them among humpbacks, blue, orca, and fin whales. You will also see sea lions, the Island Fox, Island Deer Mice, Townsend’s Big-Eared Bat, and the Island Night Lizard. If you’re interested in animals of the past, check out some of the archeological digs on the islands. There is an incredible collection of pygmy mammoth fossils, which represent an extinct animal that hasn’t been found anywhere else in the world.
If you're looking to get up close and personal with the animals, these locations and tips will help you find the best spot. You'll become introduced to some animals you'll never see anywhere else and become exposed to some of the most amazing views in the United States.