When we think about national and state parks, we don’t consider the newest national parks out there. After all, “new” is something most people don’t expect. Oftentimes, we think about these parks as older, more established, historic sites that have been there forever.
For instance, some of the oldest national parks are still must-see destinations on many people’s bucket lists. These include both Yellowstone and Yosemite. Some of the best places to take an RV rental are some of these older national parks.
People love the stunning backdrops because they offer something unique to visitors as they explore the land. Still, some of the newest national parks deserve a spot on your bucket list as well.
These lesser known sites often don’t make the cut because people don’t know about them. Well, we’re here to fix that! As we work through this list of the newest national parks in the United States, remember that a Houston RV rental is a great asset for a road trip out into the wilderness.
Here are the 9 newest national parks to add to your bucket list.
White Sands National Park in New Mexico
Added in 2019, New Mexico’s White Sands National Park is a great new addition to our lineup of national parks. However, it’s not all that new to the National Park System. In fact, this gorgeous area was a already a national monument for 86 yers before the NPS upgraded it to a park.
The gypsum dunes of White Sands glisten in the sun, changing colors as the day rolls on. From orange and bright white to a softer lavender, they offer a truly stunning sight. A favorited daytime activity here is sand sledding. In the evening, they offer ranger-led full moon walks as well as meteor watch parties.
Missouri’s Gateway Arch National Park
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, is a site people across the country recognize. However, only in 2018 did it become a national park. Today, people love to visit the city simply to see this incredible structure and learn about its symbolism.
When you visit this park, you have the opportunity to check out an underground museum located beneath the arch. There, you learn more about the structure, its construction, and why it exists in the first place.
After you visit the museum, you can also ride to the top of the structure in a unique system of elevators. Additionally, these grounds house the Old Courthouse, which is a great place to learn more about westward expansion in the United States.
Great Dunes National Park in Colorado
Not all of the newest national parks were just instated. For Great Dunes National Park, we go back to 2004. Initially, the NPS granted the site a national monument status back in 1923, and it was never as popular as many other national parks.
However, to some that’s a bonus! When you roll out in your RV to get away from the crowds, this is a great destination to consider. Similar to White Sands in New Mexico, this park boasts amazing dunes that are great for sand sledding. Moreover, it boots snowcapped mountain backdrops and Medano Creek. This creek is a great place to splash around in the summer.
Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Back in 1974, Cuyahoga Valley became a “national recreation area.” In 2000, NPS upgraded the site to a national park.
Set near two major cities in Ohio, this park is almost an urban oasis. Still, this park is peaceful and beautiful with lovely waterfalls, despite its location close to these bustling cities.
The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is an amazing ride for families with young children. It also boasts great hiking and biking trails for the more adventurous.
Pinnacles National Park in California
Let’s jump around a bit and head to 2013 when Pinnacles became a national park. It took a little over a century, but this national monument finally got an upgrade.
Among the newest national parks, this spot boasts some incredible spires and an inactive volcano. Moreover, it has some interesting caves to explore.
Additionally, this area is home to numerous different animals with a large bat population. People love this area for rock climbing and hiking. Kids also love the area because they get to explore some of the cavern entrances along some of the trails.
Indiana Dunes National Park in (You Guessed It) Indiana
Another 2019 addition to the newest national parks, Indiana Dunes has the honor of being the FIRST national park in Indiana. Set out on the shore of Lake Michigan, it became a national lakeshore in 1966.
After over 50 years of effort, it finally earned its upgrade. The dunes themselves deserve the status and protection that comes with it. With diverse plants and animals living in the park, it’s hard to know how many habits exist out on the dunes.
Moreover, the lake itself is a lovely area of the park, offering visitors somewhere to cool off after a hike.
Congaree National Park in South Carolina
Congaree National Park earned its status in 2003. Originally, it had protection as a national monument in 1976. Shortly after that, it earned a designation as a Unesco biosphere reserve in 1983. This is absolutely a place worth protecting and visiting.
As one of the newest national parks, it is also one of the last examples of old-growth bottomland hardwood forests. Beautiful in an unusual way, it boasts some lovely yet strange natural sculptures. They crop up out of giant cypress trees across the park.
At the boardwalk, visitors have a lovely way to see the park. However, a canoe is another great option.
West Virginia’s New River Gorge National Park
So, among these…what’s the NEWEST national park? Joining the lineup in 2020 is New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia. It’s important to point out that it gained “national river” status in 1978.
This stunning area offers plenty of opportunity for recreation, from kayaking and rock climbing to camping and hiking. Truly, this is a great destination for outdoorsy individuals out on the road in an RV.
This park is absolutely stunning. In addition to the aforementioned recreation, it offers beautiful views and outdoor history exhibits. More yet, the upgrade to national park status is sure to see new features added to this natural space.
Explore the Newest National Parks in an RV Rental
When you’re ready to explore the newest national parks, there’s no better way than a road trip in one of our rentals! With the cleanest RVs in Houston, we offer a broad range of motorhomes and trailers. Surely, there’s something perfect for everyone.
If you want to turn your next vacation into an adventure, check out our Houston RV rentals!
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