Best national parks: Eastern United States

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Eastern US National Parks
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Best national parks: Eastern United States

Acadia National Park, Maine

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Acadia National Park, Maine

(Photo: R'lyeh Imaging/Flickr)

Acadia National Park, Maine

(Photo: Princess Stand in the Rain/Flickr)

Marsh Billings National Historical Park, Vermont

(Photo: Ken Lund/Flickr)

Marsh Billings National Historical Park, Vermont

(Photo: Powerskirt/Flickr)

The Appalachian Trail goes through Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts,Maryland,Maine,North Carolina,New Hampshire,New Jersey,New York,Pennsylvania,Tennessee,Virginia, Vermont and West Virginia 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

The Appalachian Trail goes through Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts,Maryland,Maine,North Carolina,New Hampshire,New Jersey,New York,Pennsylvania,Tennessee,Virginia, Vermont and West Virginia 

(Photo: Nicholas_T/Flickr)

The Appalachian Trail goes through Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts,Maryland,Maine,North Carolina,New Hampshire,New Jersey,New York,Pennsylvania,Tennessee,Virginia, Vermont and West Virginia 

(Photo: MiguelVieira/Flickr)

Niagara Falls, New York

(Photo: Getty Images)

Niagara Falls, New York

(Photo: Alamy)

Niagara Falls, New York

(Photo: Artur Staszewski/Flickr)

Boston Harbor Islands, Massachusetts 

(Photo: Msalib/Flickr)

Boston Harbor Islands, Massachusetts

(Photo: joyosity/Flickr)

Weir Farm, Connecticut

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Blackstone River, Massachusetts and Rhode Island

(AP Photo/Stew Milne)

Blackstone River Valley, Rhode Island

(Photo: calilily/Flickr)

Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania 

(Photo: Nicholas_T/Flickr)

Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania 

(Photo: Nicholas_T/Flickr)

Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania

(Photo: rachel in wonderland/Flickr)

Paterson Great Falls, New Jersey

(AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

Paterson Great Falls, New Jersey

(AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Piscataway Park, Maryland

(Photo: Magnunc/Flickr)

Piscataway Park, Maryland

(Photo: bjackrian/Flickr)

Chesapeake Bay, Delaware

(Photo: scott1346/Flickr)

Chesapeake Bay, Delaware

(Photo: sofafort/Flickr)

 Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

(Photo: Chad Connell)

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

(Photo: davidlind/Flickr)

Harpers Ferry Park, West Virginia 

(photo: michel/Flickr)

Harpers Ferry Park, West Virignia

(Photo: Eoghann Irving/Flickr)

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

(Photo: coloneljohnbritt/Flickr)

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

(Photo: coloneljohnbritt/Flickr)

Congaree National Park, South Carolina

(Photo: anoldent/Flickr)

Congaree National Park, South Carolina

(Photo: Duane Burdick/Flickr)

Arabia Mountain, Georgia

(Photo: Jeffgunn/Flickr)

Arabia Mountain, Georgia

(Photo: www78/Flickr)

Everglades, Florida

(Photo: Getty Images)

Everglades, Florida

(Photo: cbarbi/Flickr)

Everglades, Florida

(Photo: cherrylet/Flickr )

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By LISA KIRSHNER and MAGDALENA GUILLEN

Whether you're looking to escape the hectic workweek with a weekend getaway or have the opportunity to take a longer break, it's all about exploring the outdoors and connecting with mother nature.

If you are a thrill-seeker, water-adventurer or a camping and hiking-enthusiast, we have the perfect national park for you to explore. Below, we will be highlighting some of our favorite destinations, but click through the slideshow above to see more parks you can visit this fall.

So far our journey has included the wild west and middle America. So let's finish our road-trip across America's finest national parks with our last destination: Eastern United States.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, bordering North Carolina and Tennessee

America's most visited national park, the Great Smoky Mountains, are a mystical and breathtaking destination in our nation. Containing remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, it also boasts an incredible and world-renowned diversity of plant and animal life.

Include these on your to-do list:
  • Horseback riding is a great way to explore the beautiful scenic park trails. Ranging from 45 minutes to several hours, all guided horseback tours proceed at a walking pace, making it an ideal activity for all members of your family.
  • Hiking the Great Smoky Mountains is one of the most rewarding experiences of visiting the park. The breathtaking backcountry views change throughout the year according to the seasons, and never disappoint. The hardest part? Picking which trail to explore.
  • For the history buff, the park has over 90 historical structures -- many of them log cabins that have been preserved or rehabilitated. Self-guided tours are available, making it an ideal activity in order to explore remnants of old Southern Appalachian mountain culture.
Everglades National Park, Florida

The largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, the Everglades provide a habitat for rare and endangered species like the manatee, American crocodile, and the elusive Florida panther.

Include these on your to-do list:
  • To explore the Everglades, be prepared to be on your feet! Slough Slogging is a popular, hands-on experience the park offers to its visitors. The guided tours will give you a fascinating, up-close view of the hidden world of a cypress dome. This program has strict rules, so make sure you check out what you need for this expedition.
  • If you prefer a self-guided tour, what better way to explore the swamp lands than by kayak or canoe? Trips range from several hours to several days, depending on the complexity of the trail and your choice!
  • Biking through the Everglades provides a thrilling adventure to those who venture out on its bike trails. Ride through Shark Valley or the Flamingo Area trails for a unique scenic view, with luck you might glimpse the park's most sought after residents -- alligators.
Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, New York

What's the east coast without Niagara Falls? The iconic region is home to natural wonders, rich cultural traditions and nationally significant historical sites.

Include these on your to-do list:
  • If you are traveling with little ones, make sure to enroll them in a junior ranger adventure program. Junior rangers can learn the role that old western New York played in the Underground Railroad and the War of 1812, and dive into history at Oakwood Cemetery and Old Fort Niagara.
  • Cross idyllic bridges and visit world class attractions at the main park like the Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds, and feel the rush of the falling waters as you stroll through along the river.
  • A must-do: Niagara Gorge Trail. Immerse yourself in the extraordinary beauty of the Niagara River and Niagara Gorge. Hike along the narrow stretch of the rapids, and if you're up for a real challenge, climb the hundreds of stairs back to Devil's Hole State Park. Your reward? The breathtaking view of the Niagara River sweeping its way to Lake Ontario.
What are some other parks in the east you've visited? Tell us in the comments below.
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