America’s national parks comprise some of the country’s most breathtaking landscapes. For many visitors, the only thing better than taking in views of stark mountain slopes, majestic rivers, or lush mangroves, is catching a glimpse of the fascinating creatures that inhabit them.  

These five parks offer incredible opportunities for seeing wildlife up close and personal.

Everglades National Park, Florida

The Everglades consists of 1.5 million acres of protected wetlands, so you can bet there is a wealth of wildlife to see in this unique ecosystem. Keep your eyes peeled for crocodiles, alligators, bobcats, manatees, and Florida panthers. The area is also renowned for its diverse bird life; in particular, for wading birds such as storks, herons, ibises, and flamingoes.

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Thanks to this park’s volcanic landscape, tropical climate, and isolated location, most of its plants and animals can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is excellent for spotting birds, including the state bird, the Nene; as well as the Hawaiian hawk and honeycreeper. The park is also home to carnivorous caterpillars, giant dragonflies, and hawksbill turtles.

Channel Islands National Park, California

Channel Islands National Park is best known for its elephant seals. If you hike to Point Bennett, you can see thousands of seals on the beach below. The park is also home to sea lions, dolphins, bald eagles, whales, and foxes. Sign up for a guided bird and wildlife tour to maximize your chances of seeing something amazing.

Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park comprises three distinct biomes: glacier-topped mountains, temperate rainforests, and the Pacific coastline. That means you can expect to see an enormous range of wildlife here. The park is home to the largest population of Roosevelt elk in the Pacific Northwest. Other residents include snowshoe hares, Columbia black-tailed deer, Olympic marmot seals, sea lions, sea otters, and migrating gray whales.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most popular national parks. People come for its famous geyser, Old Faithful, and to see some truly incredible wildlife. At Yellowstone, you can spot up to 67 different mammal species, including black and grizzly bears, coyotes, bison, and mountain lions. Hayden Valley is known for its views of bison, elk, and bears, while the Lamar Valley is your best bet for spotting wolves.

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