September 22nd marked the autumnal equinox, the first official day of fall. It’s a season synonymous with many things, from pumpkin spice lattes and apple orchards to Halloween and soccer. Here, at The world of the runnerwe think state parks should be added to the list.
With cooler temperatures (in most parts of the country), fall is the best time to get outside and explore the great outdoors ahead of the shorter days and colder winter months.
Whether you enjoy running, hiking, camping, or biking, state parks offer beautiful scenery and a natural retreat without the crowds who often accompany national parks – a trend that started in the pandemic.
And with 10,336 state parking lotsthe possibilities are seemingly endless… so how should you choose where to go?
Google Maps made the decision making a little easier. By analyzing star ratings and reviews, they named the 10 highest rated state parks in the United States.
At the top of their list are the cascading waterfalls of Bond Falls scenic site in Michigan — a state that claims two spots on the list. California graces the top 10 list the most with three state parks, all with forests of towering redwoods.
Top 10 State Parks in the USA
- Bond Falls scenic site (Michigan)
- Avenue of the Giants (California)
- DTE Energy Foundation Trail (Michigan)
- Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (California)
- Sinks Canyon State Park (wyoming)
- Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park (California)
- Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park (Arizona)
- Grayson Highlands State Park (Virginia)
- Waimea Canyon State Park (Hawaii)
- Upper Falls in Letchworth State Park (New York)
Building on the top 10, Google Maps also determined the top rated state park in each state by looking at those with the highest star rating and at least 250 reviews. The list included parks like Alaska Denali State Park and Colorado’s Eldorado Canyon State Park. In addition, Google Maps named the best state parks near national parks and the best hiking areas or viewpoints in state parks.
If you’re excited about a fall visit to a state park but prefer to stay at parks near you, the Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) can help. your website “Find a Park” This feature allows you to view a list of all parks in your state or a map of parks closest to your current location.
If you like national parks or want to combine a visit to a national park with a state park, you’ve come to the right place. Check out our top picks for national parks as well as tips for traversing.
As you prepare for your outdoor adventure, be sure to check the opening hours and entrance fees for your destination, as both can vary by location and time of year. You can also check Air Quality (AQI) via Google Maps’ new mobile Air Quality layer, like the existing Wildfire layer.
And if you’d rather not travel in person, you can always visit one of these parks virtual via Google Earth.
Stephanie is a freelance writer and running enthusiast from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania who specializes in writing about health and fitness best practices, elite runners and inspiring competitors for publications such as Runner’s World, The Guardian, Women’s Running, PodiumRunner, Wingfoot and Competitor to report magazines. When she’s not writing, she’s running the trails with her two Vizslas or traveling with her husband to races around the world in the constant pursuit of a personal best
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