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7 National Parks You Need to Know

Isle Royale National Park, Michigan

Most of us know about Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon — three of the most famous natural places families love to visit.

But while those parks deserve their place on the “must see” list, there are many other incredibly beautiful, lesser-known, and less-visited National Parks … perhaps even one within driving distance of your home.

Below the jump I’ve shared some jaw-droppers you may not have already known about. And if you’re a fan of natural places and National Parks, here’s some great news: Coca-Cola is sponsoring a contest that will award a $100,000 grant to a park with the most votes. Help your favorite park win  — and let me know which one got your vote!

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  • Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota 1 of 7
    Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
    Ancient rocks and a series of interconnected waterways flanked by Minnesota's amazing North Woods make Voyageurs National Park park a truly special place.
  • Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, Louisiana 2 of 7
    Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, Louisiana
    Bayous, battlefields and pirate history...Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is not your typical walk in the park.
  • Channel Islands, California 3 of 7
    Channel Islands, California
    Five remote islands are home to amazingly diverse plant, animal and marine life. Channel Islands National Park takes some effort to reach, but the result is pristine, isolated natural beauty. Photo by Derek Lohuis, NPS
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota 4 of 7
    Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
    It seems fitting that a park was named after the United States' 26th President, who was a champion for preserving natural spaces. Theodore Roosevelt National Park features awesome views of this rugged landscape as well as historical sites, some dedicated to "the Conservation President" himself.
  • Isle Royal, Michigan 5 of 7
    Isle Royal, Michigan
    I've already shared my love for Northern Michigan's Pictured Rocks, but it's possible Isle Royale is even more impressive. More remote, too. You can only get to this park via seaplane or boat, which may explain its super-low numbers of visitors. Go, and you'll be among a select few to experience the unique ecosystem and natural beauty of this awesome place on Lake Superior.
  • Capitol Reef Natural Park, Utah 6 of 7
    Capitol Reef Natural Park, Utah
    Red rocks, cliffs, canyons, and domes along the Waterpocket Fold, a nearly 100-mile long wrinkle in the earth's crust...Capitol Reef National Park offers camping, hiking, fishing and more along an amazing scenic backdrop.
  • North Cascades National Park, Washington 7 of 7
    North Cascades National Park, Washington
    Experience peaks, valleys, glaciers and over 1600 species of plants. North Cascades National Park is a gorgeous, low-traffic park with endless opportunities for hiking, backpacking, boating, birding, and more.

*All photos courtesy of the National Park Service

This is sponsored content from Babble and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of Coca-Cola. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Only legal residents of the 50 U.S. (and D.C.) who are at least 13 years old and reside within the U.S. at the time of participation are eligible to vote for a Park. Participate on behalf of a Park by: July 15, 2012. The 3 most popular Parks will be offered a grant and there will be 1 Wild Card drawing at the end of the Contest to award an additional grant.  To participate, for Official Rules, and complete details including grant descriptions, visit www.LivePositively.com/parks. Void where prohibited. Click here to see more of the discussion.

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