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Here are our top five favourite US National Parks.

1 Acadia, Maine

Hugging the rugged Maine shoreline, Acadia National Park is one of the most recreationally diverse retreats in the US. Here, you can scale pink granite cliffs, venture across islands, canoe up quiet creeks, hike bald mountains, or sea kayak through rocky isles. Even when it freezes, you can try cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or ice fishing.

Encompassing more than 47,000 terrifically diverse acres on Mount Desert Island, just off the coast of Maine, Acadia is not only a playground for outdoors enthusiasts, it’s also a haven for wild- and sealife. Everything from white-tailed deer to moose and whales frolic in its ocean, woodlands, peaks and glacial lakes.

The park is best explored over a couple of days, pitching a tent at the Seawall campground, and hiking its stunning trails, then diving headlong into more adventurous pursuits.

For a meaty 17km hike, try the route on the island’s eastern half, linking the peaks from Gorham Mountain to Norumbega Mountain, beside Somes Sound Fjord. Alternatively, an early morning trek to Sargent Mountain  will reward you with arresting sunrise views.

For something more sea-level, take an 18km Seal Cove to Clark Cove kayak tour in Southwest Harbour, where the rugged granite coast is dotted with pristine coves to explore.

You can also dabble in some rock climbing – lessons are available – or hire a bike and cruise the park’s historic carriage roads, stopping for a regionally famous pick-me-up, ‘popovers’ – a buttery kind of Yorkshire pudding – along the way.

Finally, take a whale-watching boat tour, floating along the ocean surrounded by Maine’s famous lighthouses. Spot
one of the giant mammals and it will rank among your journey’s highlights.

nps.gov/acad

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Top five best US National Parks
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