There's nothing more beautiful in this wonderful country of ours than the National Parks. Unfortunately, everyone and their brother is visiting them during the summer months. Fodor's has produced some tips to help you avoid the throngs of tourists at 4 of the nation's busiest parks-
Grand Canyon National Park - Take U.S. 89 to U.S. 64 to the South Rim from Flagstaff and stay off AZ 64 and U.S. 180. Also, come very early or very late to avoid the lines. If you've got time to spare head to the North Rim where only about 10% of the summer visitors end up. Don't be afraid to use the free shuttles, they can save you a lot of time.
Yellowstone National Park - Don't bother if you don't get here before 9 in the morning. Head to places like Fairy Falls, Point Sublime, Yellowstone Lake, and Lone Star Geyser during the heart of the day when the park is full of tourists.
Yosemite National Park - Get up before the crack of dawn in order to beat the crowds into the park and make your way to Yosemite Falls for a spectacular sunrise. This park is usually packed in summer but head toward Hetch Hetchy Valley for some relative peace and beautiful scenery.
Zion National Park - Avoid the south entrance all together and take Utah 9 to the east entrance instead. This park also features a shuttle service to keep more cars off the roads. To really avoid the tourists come in the winter time, because between April and October there are an average of 400,000 visitors a month in the park.
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Related travel guides: Nature and Wildlife in Alaska • Nature and Wildlife in Hawaii • Nature and Wildlife in Mid-Atlantic • Nature and Wildlife in Midwest-States • Nature and Wildlife in New-England • Nature and Wildlife in Rocky-Mountain-States • Nature and Wildlife in Southern-States • Nature and Wildlife in Southwestern-States • Nature and Wildlife in Western-States
Tourist attractions / highlights of the region: Glacier National Park - Montana • Blue Ridge Parkway - North Carolina / Virginia • Crater Lake National Park - Oregon • New River Gorge National River - West Virginia • Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area - Oregon • Bear Lake State Park - Utah