As the National Park Service gears up for its centennial in 2016, it's re-branding to attract a broader audience. So far, the only major change has been to the logo, which trades the busy nature scene sketch for a single white arrowhead. Park Service representative Kathy Kupper said more changes will come, but they'll mostly take place in 2015 and won't affect the parks themselves.
"Baby boomers grew up with parks, but 50 years ago or so, distractions like Disneyland and theme parks began to pop up," Kupper said. "Now, with the internet age, we began to worry that they could be forgotten. So we're revamping a little."
While a new look is welcome, longtime park patrons known that what makes parks significant isn't the packaging, but what's inside their borders. Still, the more popular parks get crowded – Yellowstone gets an average of 26,500 visitors every day in July – so it's wise to seek out new territory. In that spirit, we rounded up 23 of the most scenic national parks and their best attractions, from the quiet lighthouses at Michigan's Isle Royale to glaciers only viewed by seaplane in Wrangell-St. Elias.
As New England's only national park, Maine's Acadia National Park is relatively small but still draws nearly three million visitors each year. Most of the park centers around Mount Desert Island which has a 20-mile Park Loop Road with fantastic views and a path to Cadillac Mountain. Fit hikers should attempt the Precipice Trail, which is the most challenging and well-known attraction in Acadia National, with an almost vertical 1,000-foot climb.
Don't Miss: The Schoodic Peninsula, the only portion of the park on the mainland, has similar scenery to Mount Desert Island but is far more secluded. In the 1930s and 1940s, some of this area was transferred to the Navy to be used as a radio communication station, but was given back to the Park Service in 2002. For easy sightseeing, take the six-mile, one-way loop of road around Schoodic to see the sea birds that call the peninsula home.
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