America is a pretty beautiful place. But with so many square miles and so little free time, it's understandable that we tend to stick with the tried-and-true vacation locales. However, the folks at Country magazine went off the beaten path for the June issue, selecting the "Hidden Gems of the National Park System."
To be included, the parks had to be gorgeous as well as under visited. Breathtaking nature and no crowd of people to share it with? Sign me up.
Only one park in the Lone Star State made the cut: Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas. Writer and photographer Tim Fitzharris describes the allure of Big Bend thusly:
Everywhere, stunning subjects appear before my lens, from the sunbaked and cactus-studded Chihuahuan Desert to the Rio Grande winding a green ribbon between dark, narrow canyons. Inside the Chisos basin, a steep waterfall fools you into forgetting, for a moment, that you’re deep inside an arid region. Always, Mexico’s verdant mountains dominate the southern horizon.
Fitzharris goes on to say that Big Bend "might be the foremost place to experience the best of North, Central and South America combined."
If you're looking to get out of Texas, Country recognized other pretty, uncrowded parks in Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Utah, Virgin Islands and Washington State.