1) Badlands National Park (South Dakota)
Maybe the Midwest's most well known National Park, "the rugged beauty of the Badlands draws visitors from around the world. These striking geologic deposits contain one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Ancient horses and rhinos once roamed here. The park’s 244,000 acres protect an expanse of mixed-grass prairie where bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets live today."
2) Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)
Visit Ohio's Cuyahoga Valley National Park, "though a short distance from the urban areas of Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park seems worlds away. The park is a refuge for native plants and wildlife, and provides routes of discovery for visitors. The winding Cuyahoga River gives way to deep forests, rolling hills, and open farmlands. Walk or ride the Towpath Trail to follow the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal."
3) Gateway Arch National Park (Missouri)
A National Park right in the middle of Downtown St. Louis? That's exactly what Gateway Arch National Park is, "The Gateway Arch reflects St. Louis' role in the Westward Expansion of the United States during the nineteenth century. The park is a memorial to Thomas Jefferson's role in opening the West, to the pioneers who helped shape its history, and to Dred Scott who sued for his freedom in the Old Courthouse."
4) Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)
Beautiful, lush nature with deep history, "Hot Springs National Park has a rich cultural past. The grand architecture of our historic bathhouses is equally matched by the natural curiosities that have been drawing people here for hundreds of years. Ancient thermal springs, mountain views, incredible geology, forested hikes, and abundant creeks – all in the middle of town – make Hot Springs National Park a unique and beautiful destination."
5) Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (Indiana)
About an hour away from Chicago, "Indiana Dunes National Park hugs 15 miles of the southern shore of Lake Michigan and has much to offer. Whether you enjoy scouting for rare species of birds or flying kites on the sandy beach, the national park's 15,000 acres will continually enchant you. Hikers will enjoy 50 miles of trails over rugged dunes, mysterious wetlands, sunny prairies, meandering rivers and peaceful forests."
6) Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)
Far away from the busyness of Detroit, "explore a rugged, isolated island, far from the sights and sounds of civilization. Surrounded by Lake Superior, Isle Royale offers adventures for backpackers, hikers, boaters, kayakers, canoeists and scuba divers. Here, amid stunning scenic beauty, you'll find opportunities for reflection and discovery, and make memories that last a lifetime."
7) Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)
The namesake park for the inventor of the National Parks System, "when Theodore Roosevelt came to Dakota Territory to hunt bison in 1883, he was a skinny, young, spectacled dude from New York. He could not have imagined how his adventure in this remote and unfamiliar place would forever alter the course of the nation. The rugged landscape and strenuous life that TR experienced here would help shape a conservation policy that we still benefit from today."
8) Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)
Vast, beautiful islands in the land of lakes, "with 218,055 acres, "Voyageurs National Park is an adventure wonderland all year long full of exposed rock ridges, cliffs, wetlands, forests, streams and lakes. This is a place of transition between land and aquatic ecosystems, between southern boreal and northern hardwood forests, and between wild and developed areas. Whether you are exploring by land, water or ice there is something for everyone."
9) Wind Cave National Park (South Dakota)
One of the country's oldest National Parks, view Wind Cave National Park's wildlife, "bison, elk, and other wildlife roam the rolling prairie grasslands and forested hillsides of one of America's oldest national parks. Below the remnant island of intact prairie sits Wind Cave, one of the longest and most complex caves in the world. Named for barometric winds at its entrance, this maze of passages is home to boxwork, a unique formation rarely found elsewhere."