Uncrowded natural beauty
If you've ever tried to fight the summertime crowds in Yellowstone, Yosemite or another popular U.S. national park, you'll be happy to know there is an alternative: One of America's best kept secrets is the quality of its state parks. These state-level nature areas are not as well-known as national parks, but many have similar features like quality trails, great scenery (like the "lighthouse" formation at Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Texas, shown at left) , camping facilities and even guided hikes and educational programs. Best of all, they are often uncrowded, even during the height of summer.
Here are 10 state parks that are worth a visit. (Text: Josh Lew)