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The Grand Canyon, Arizona.

Seven best USA national parks that will take your breath away

Air New Zealand’s non-stop flights to the USA are making that bucket-list visit to its spectacular national parks easier than ever before.

It’s difficult to capture in words the magnificence of the United States’ national parks. A phrase like ‘totally unforgettable’ only scratches the surface. Sure, a picture paints a thousand words, but there’s no substitute for actually standing in the midst of such an epic landscape – the beauty takes your breath away.

In 2019 Grand Canyon National Park officially turned 100, a mere blink in its history considering it’s home to a huge range of fossils. One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon never fails to impress visitors who flock from all over the globe to explore its hidden treasures by foot, boat and aerial tours.

Other popular national parks include Zion (a short flight from LA), which in keeping with its “heavenly” name, is blessed with dramatic red cliffs and emerald pools; Yosemite (a four-hour drive from San Francisco), famous for its iconic granite rock formations and giant sequoias; and Yellowstone in Wyoming, a volcanic hotspot featuring canyons, alpine forests, hot springs and geysers.

Related article: Why the USA's East Coast should be your next holiday

Yellowstone, Wyoming.

Among the country’s not so famous, but fabulous, national parks is Indiana Dunes, just an hour’s drive from Chicago. It was endowed with the status in February 2019 due to its stunning dunes, wetlands and woods.

If it’s vast deserts and magical mountain ranges you’re after, take an hour’s flight from Houston and enjoy the solitude of Big Bend National Park. For those into caving, Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky is your mecca. It boasts the longest cave system in the world with over 400 surveyed caves – and many more waiting to be discovered… 

When planning your trip, remember to factor in the abundance of lesser-known state parks that are equally likely to quench Kiwis’ thirst for the great and glorious outdoors. Whatever geography takes your fancy, with Air New Zealand’s non-stop flights to the USA, now is the time to get into the wilderness and personally experience these soul-restoring natural wonders.

Yosemite, California.

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Fly non-stop to the USA with Air New Zealand, visit airnewzealand.co.nz/usa-the-kiwi-way

Air New Zealand offers non-stop flights from Auckland to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Chicago and (from 29 October, 2020) New York*. Connections available from Air New Zealand serviced domestic airports and beyond into the USA with alliance partner United Airlines. Fly Economy, Economy Skycouch, Premium Economy or Business Premier. Visit airnz.co.nz to book.

*Subject to final regulatory approvals and crewing agreements.