Yosemite National Park
The basics: This park in California is known for stunning waterfalls, giant sequoias, grand meadows and Half Dome, a rock climber’s challenge. It is also revered as the place that nurtured naturalist John Muir’s reverence for the natural world. He, in turn, nurtured Yosemite, advocating for its designation as a national park. The landscape here inspired him to write, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.”
Visitors: 4.15 million people in 2015.
Square miles: 1,169.
More information: nps.gov/yose; 1-209-372-0200.