20 Stunning State Parks Across The USA

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Playgrounds, green pastures and playful pups; these are a few of the things we first think of when we hear the word "park." Not that these associations aren't on point, but there are more than 7,500 state parks plotted across the U.S., all of which feature attractions that reach beyond your typical interpretation of a picturesque park.

Aside from the federally run national parks, each of our 50 states is home to an elaborate park system of its own, all designed to preserve the most environmentally significant and historic lands of the area. According to the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD), each year more than 720 million Americans visit state parks and generate more than $20 billion in revenue for local communities.

With gems like North Dakota's rugged Little Missouri State Park and West Virginia's historic Cass Railroad State Park strewn across the states, a visit to one of our nation's state parks opens up opportunities that extend far beyond picnicking and playing fetch with Fido.

This list of noteworthy state parks was compiled by the people who know them best: the directors and managers whose job it is to run and maintain them. Lewis Leford, executive director of the NASPD, called upon deputies from an assortment of states in order to gather their expert recommendations.

While The Active Times couldn't include a park from every single state, we're still confident that we've painted a quality picture that highlights a good deal of our country's best state parks.

Most popular national parks:

  • High Point State Park , N.J.
  • Custer State Park, S.D.
  • Bogue Chitto State Park, La.
  • Cape Henlopen State Park, Del.
  • Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tenn.
  • Indiana Dunes State Park, Ind.
  • Monmouth Battlefield State Park, N.J.
  • Little Missouri State Park, N.D.
  • Antelope Island State Park, Utah
  • Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, West Va.
  • Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Fla.
  • Roan Mountain State Park, Tenn.
  • Jockey's Ridge State Park, N.C.
  • Kanapolis State Park, Kan.
  • Long Beach Island, N.J.
  • Hunting Island State Park, S.C.
  • High Bridge Trail State Park, Va.
  • Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park, N.M.
  • Liberty State Park, N.J.
  • Hanging Rock State Park, N.C.

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