Shelikof Strait, Katmai National Park
Photograph by Roy Toft, National Geographic
Fog nearly obscures a brown bear on the shore of Katmai National Park in Alaska. The park is home to several large lakes and miles of stretching Shelikof Strait coastline. The largest population of protected brown bears in North America—some 2,000—is often found fishing in salmon-filled Brooks Falls, a visitor favorite.
Rio Grande River, Big Bend National Park
Photograph by Ian Shive, Aurora
Natural hot springs in Big Bend National Park, Texas, provide a warm vantage point for watching the sun set over the Rio Grande river. The river winds south along the Texas-Mexico border, passing through three major canyons and lush floodplains within the park on its way to the Gulf of Mexico.
Volcanic Coast, Haleakala National Park
Photograph by Paul Chesley, National Geographic
Sea and mist swirl through an ancient lava flow, a legacy of Haleakala volcano on the northeast coast of Maui, Hawaii. According to legend, it is here where the demigod Maui snared the sun, releasing it only after it promised to move more slowly across the sky.
Diving, Virgin Islands National Park
Photograph by David Doubilet, National Geographic
A school of silverside fish envelops a night diver in Virgin Islands National Park. The warm Caribbean waters around St. John island are home to fringing coral reefs—beautiful, complex, and exceedingly fragile communities of plants and animals, upon which St. John's famous beaches depend.
Fort Jefferson National Monument, Dry Tortugas National Park
Photograph by Mike Theiss, National Geographic
Historic Fort Jefferson towers over Florida’s Dry Tortugas National Park. This archipelago, made up of seven low-lying islands, is home to some of the healthiest coral reefs remaining off North American shores. Only 40 acres (16 hectares) of the park's 100 square miles (260 square kilometers) are above water, creating a marine life sanctuary.
Ocean Cliff, Channel Islands National Park
Photograph by Phil Schermeister, National Geographic
Five separate pieces of land surrounded by a vast swath of sea make up California’s captivating Channel Islands National Park. A unique array of wildlife lives in its marine sanctuary, including the only colony of northern fur seals south of Alaska.
Bear Lake, Kenai Fjords National Park
Photograph by James Forte, National Geographic
An ice bridge towers over kayakers in a Kenai Fjords National Park glacial lake. Water is everywhere in the smallest of Alaska's national parks—the land challenges the sea with talon-like peninsulas and rocky headlands, while the ocean itself reaches inland with long fjords and hundreds of quiet coves and bays.
Kilauea, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
Photograph by Art Wolfe, Getty ImagesKilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, erupts over Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Kilauea shares the island with another of the world’s most active volcanoes, Mauna Loa, which at 19,000 cubic miles (79,195 cubic kilometers) in volume, makes it the biggest mountain on Earth. The ocean laps against the base of these explosive giants.
Otter Cliffs, Acadia National Park
Photograph by Ian Shive, Aurora Photos
At sunset, fog swirls around mossy rocks at the base of Otter Cliffs, one of the highest coastal headlands north of Rio de Janeiro. Most of Acadia National Park is located on Mount Desert Island, Maine, a wooded piece of land surrounded by bays, harbors, and an island-dotted seascape.
Coral Reef, American Samoa National Park
Photograph by Randy Olson, National GeographicAmerican Samoa National Park’s two coral atolls and five volcanic islands are treasures highly regarded by the people of Polynesia’s oldest culture, who help manage the park. Samoa is also home to miles of pristine beach on the sparsely populated island of Ofu, fringed by a 350-acre (140-hectare) coral reef.
High Bluffs, Redwood National Park
Photograph by National Geographic
The Pacific laps at rocky bluffs that lead up to the giant trees of Redwood National Park in California. At the turn of the 20th century redwoods were threatened by logging, but the trees are now protected for the fascination of future generations. The park also includes several beaches where visitors can find solitude even on a crowded day.
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