The concept of creating national parks has been called “America’s best idea.” The U.S. is often credited with starting the movement to protect natural spaces and outdoor places in order to preserve them for future generations to enjoy too. The truth is, other parts of the world were already taking strides to create national parks long before Yellowstone was officially designated as such back in 1872. In fact, Mongolia’s Bogd Kahn Uul National Park was established nearly a century earlier. Since then, national parks have sprung up in nearly every corner of the globe, with more than 4000 of them now in existence and more coming all of the time. So which of those places is amongst the very best? That’s exactly the question that the team at Men’s Journal asked when coming up with its definitive list of the absolute best national parks in the world.
All told, MJ‘s list includes just nine national parks from a variety of places across the globe. Yes, it is true that a number of the parks on the list are located inside the U.S., but there are also entries from Australia, Norway, Chile, Sri Lanka, and Canada too. Some of the locations are famous and well known, while others are more hidden gems. For instance, the Great Smoky Mountains make the cut, and as most people know it is the most visited park in the U.S., drawing more than 11 million visitors on an annual basis. On the other end of the scale is Yala National Park in Sri Lanka, which is more off the beaten path but renowned for its wildlife. Other highlights from the Men’s Journal list include Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska and Jasper National Park in Canada.
I won’t spoil the rest of the list for you, but perhaps more interesting to me is not which parks made the cut, but which ones were left off. For instance, you won’t find the aforementioned Yellowstone on the list, nor is Yosemite listed there either. Personally, I’d rather visit either of those locations over the Great Smoky Mountains, but that is just me. The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is one of my favorite places on Earth as well, and it doesn’t get a mention either. Naturally, with so many great parks to choose from it’s tough to narrow them down to such a small list. Still, I’m a little surprised at which parks made the cut and which ones didn’t.
Check out the list here and leave a comment on which park is your favorite.
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