I’ve never been to Yellowstone National Park.  I’ve been close.  I’ve visited Grand Teton and Glacier National Parks.  I buy a yearly Idaho State Park pass.  For some inexplicable reason, I’ve never made the four-hour foray to Yellowstone.  It’s near the top of my bucket list.

National Parks have grown so popular many park managers are now asking that you make reservations in advance of your visit.  I’m more of a spur-of-the-moment guy.  However, this summer the crowds could be thinned if all the warnings about gasoline prices play out as predicted.

The Granddaddy of Them All

Yellowstone is celebrating a sesquicentennial.  National Geographic is highlighting the birthday with some very special pictures from the last 150 years.  You can get a taste by clicking here.  Recently, the park has experienced some rather unusual seismic activity but nobody expects a super eruption for another few thousand years.  If it does suddenly happen while you’re there, chances are you won’t feel a thing as you’re instantly vaporized or blown to smithereens!

Geographically the Park System is Small

America has a fascinating national park system, but if you add up all the total acreage, the footprint is quite small across the lower 48 states.

Yellowstone was the first national park not only in the United States but anywhere around the world.  The birthday is officially March 1st.  Traveling through the park at this time of year is limited.  Most of the roads are limited only to snow machines.  Details are available on Yellowstone’s website.

RANKED: Here are the most popular national parks

To determine the most popular national parks in the United States, Stacker compiled data from the National Park Service on the number of recreational visits each site had in 2020. Keep reading to discover the 50 most popular national parks in the United States, in reverse order from #50 to #1. And be sure to check with individuals parks before you visit to find out about ongoing, pandemic-related safety precautions at www.nps.gov/coronavirus.

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.