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3. Olympic National Park, Washington

Exploring Olympic’s dynamic landscape is like visiting three parks in one. The high mountains offer snow, glaciers, deep wilderness, and—if you time it right—acres and acres of wildflowers. The lush, verdant Hoh Rainforest is unlike anything else in the Lower 48, and home to Roosevelt elk, black bears, mountain lions, and other charismatic wildlife. And the park’s stunning coast offers some of the country's wildest and most spectacular beaches, dotted with tide pools and sea stacks. Visitors can now see where park staff recently removed two large dams, letting the Elwha River flow freely again for the first time in more than 100 years. Tucked away in the remote Northwest near Canada, this park can be hard to reach—but it’s worth it.

Photo © TK.

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About the Author

Editor of Online Communications Jennifer Errick