What are some of your favorite National Parks/Lakeshores/Monuments? We all know of the most popular ones, and while they are popular with good reason, I prefer less people in my nature! That's not to say we're not going to enjoy our trip to Zion next summer, but as we continue to explore these parks, we're creating a "must-do" list that's not necessarily comprised of all the most popular.
I love, LOVE, l-o-v-e Great Basin National Park. Got a parking spot at the busiest trailhead on a holiday weekend in the late morning, with plenty of parking spaces to spare.
Crater Lake NP is quieter too. With the Cascades National Recreation Area surrounding it, there is also plenty of gorgeous Forest Service to play on!
Channel Islands is a personal favorite. If you can only go once I'd skip the closer islands (Anacapa and Santa Cruz) and head out to Santa Rosa or San Miguel. Book your campsite and boat ride way in advance or you'll get frozen out.
Agree that Channel islands, especially the outer islands, is a great destination. One of the best ways to visit either santa Rosa or SanMiguel is as a park volunteer on one project or another.
There are many park areas with outstanding features. The hike to Keet Seel Ruin at Navajo National Monument is abulous as is Canyon de Chelly National Monument, with outstanding ruins and great scenery, as well as accomodating Najajo hosts..
Been to a few, but for true adventure (so far) Big Bend National Park. Remote as all get out. Trails to yourself, other than mountain lions and javelina. Stunning views, with a sense of danger