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.