Some of the most beautiful destinations in the world are national parks, protected and preserved for their unparalleled landscapes—oceans, lakes, forests, jungles, mountains—with unique flora and fauna that only entice us more.
Banff National Park, Canada. The oldest national park in Canada, Banff National Park is also the most beautiful. Its lakes—including famous Lake Louise—take the spotlight, with teal-blue waters comparable to those found in the Caribbean. There’s hiking in the summer, skiing in the winter and scenic drives any time of year, with wildlife sightings almost guaranteed. You can also soak in the soothing waters of Banff Upper Hot Springs. If you want to splurge, book a stay at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, located right on the lake.
Doi Inthanon National Park, Thailand. Photos of Doi Inthanon National Park are enough to make anyone drop what they’re doing and research flights to Thailand. Located just outside of Chiang Mai, Doi Inthanon is the highest mountain in Thailand, commanding jaw-dropping views of the valley below. Visits to the park include tours of its ancient temples along with hikes to its many waterfalls. Canyoning and whitewater rafting excursions are also available.
Mungo National Park, Australia. Australia’s Mungo National Park is composed of sand dunes and dried-up lakes. The most famous landmark is the Walls of China, a series of sand dune towers best seen by bike or on foot with an Aboriginal guide. You can also view the Walls of China and get some great photos from the Mungo Lookout—especially beautiful at sunset. Various camping areas in the park are available, with tent sites and cabin options.
Jim Corbett National Park is a wildlife sanctuary, particularly for tigers. Endangered Asiastic elephants also call this national park, the oldest in India, their home. There are several tourist/safari zones in the park, which you can explore via a Jeep tour. While tiger sightings can’t be guaranteed, you’ll likely see other wildlife such as deer, crocodiles and otters. The lush vegetation, including flowering trees, only adds to the beauty.
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.Torres del Paine National Park is a bucket list destination for any adventurous traveler. A visit to this park in Chilean Patagonia brings travelers into a world of blue glaciers, glistening lakes and fjords, and jagged mountain peaks. Hike the Circuito W to get a piece of it all, either on your own or with a tour that includes meals and assistance from a guide. Accommodation options include hotels, campgrounds and even luxury yurts