A Fun, Fresh Approach to US National Parks

Do your summer plans include scratching a national park or two off your must-visit list? Make your trip unique and unforgettable by exploring the parks and their surroundings in ways you never imagined.

Most Americans have a common item on their traveling wish list: visiting as many US National Parks as possible. And why not? Our national park system is the envy of the world, featuring 63 parks scattered throughout thirty states and two territories. With a rich history dating back to 1872 when President Ulysses S. Grant approved the establishment of Yellowstone National Park, today's park system offers inexpensive exploration of everything from craggy coastlines and magnificent red rock monuments to volcanic craters and soaring mountain ranges.  

While visiting a national park is always guaranteed to be memorable, more travelers are taking their explorations to the next level by incorporating a powersports adventure into their itinerary to get off the beaten path and experience their destination in unexpected ways. What exactly is a powersports adventure? Riding ATVs, side by sides, motorcycles, and three-wheeled roadsters—all designed to deliver maximum recreational fun for individuals and families.  

If you’re interested in making your next trip to a national park truly unforgettable, check out the following roundup of adventures—spanning the country from Alaska in the northwest to Florida in the southeast.

Alaska: Denali National Park

Visit Denali National Park in Alaska

Laying claim to North America’s tallest peak, Denali National Park spans 6 million acres, most of which is devoid of human development, including any lodging (though there are six campgrounds in the park). The only access to the park is on the east side. From May 20 through the middle of September, privately owned vehicles can drive the first 15 miles of the park road to Savage River. Photography, hiking, ranger-guided walks, wildlife sightings, and cycling are a few of the more popular activities within Denali. 

Next-Level Adventures

  • Denali Toy Rentals offers off-roading fun on trails that weave through the Boreal Forest, cruise along the edge of the Taiga, and cross silty waterways. You can rent a Polaris RZR equipped with a pre-loaded navigation system to explore the majestic Denali backcountry. Be sure to stop in the historic mining community of Healy for some delicious food before or after your ride.

Rent an ATV at Denali Toy Rentals Alaska

Montana: Glacier National Park

Visit Glacier National Park in Montana

Featuring 700 miles of trails, the “Crown of the Continent” has alpine meadows, pristine lakes, dramatic valleys, historic lodges, and the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road. No wonder the park is extremely busy during the summer months. If you’re heading to Glacier this summer, be sure to visit the park website to check on construction, backpacking permits, shuttle services, and other logistics that can make or break your visit.

Next-Level Adventures

  • A quick one-hour drive to Action Adventures in Olney will make you feel like a brilliant traveler. Action Adventures is located in the heart of the Kootenai National Forest and can outfit you with Polaris side by sides and ATVs for off-roading adventures or get you behind the wheel of an open-air Polaris Slingshot roadster for the best road trip experience you’ve ever had.

Rent a Polaris at Action Rentals in Olney Montana

Wyoming: Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park

Visit Yellowstone National Park

Hiking, boating, floating, fishing, wildlife viewing, camping, ranger talks, and more are waiting for you in Grand Teton, one of the most striking landscapes in the world. You can also explore old homesteads and cattle ranches and hike on trails used by Native Americans and fur trappers long ago. Located on the western edge of Wyoming, Grand Teton is often included in itineraries with a visit to Yellowstone National Park, which is 107 miles away. Yellowstone, of course, is famous for the Old Faithful geyser and renowned hiking opportunities. Tip: Purchase your park entrance pass online prior to your visit.

Next-Level Adventures

  • Scenic Safaris in Jackson is less than an hour away from Grand Teton. With a full fleet of latest-model Polaris RZR and Ranger side by side vehicles, you’ll explore the Jackson Hole area, including the National Elk Refuge and Antelope Flats. Keep your eyes peeled for moose and bison! River crossings add to the thrill of this backcountry off-roading adventure. This guided tour is available as both a half- and full-day adventure, making it the perfect add-on to a trip to Grand Teton or Yellowstone.

Wyoming UTV Rentals at Scenic Safaris
  • High Mountain Adventures in Island Park, Idaho, is only 30 minutes from Yellowstone National Park. This ride-in-ride-out facility sits at the base of hundreds of miles of recreational off-roading trails. The Island Park & Yellowstone Off-Road self-guided tour will take you through lush forests and meadows of wildflowers and wildlife. Traveling with the family? The Polaris Ranger side by side can accommodate six people.  

  • Summit All-Terrain – Big Sky (in Gallatin Gateway, Montana) is a 90-minute drive north of Yellowstone National Park. Rent a Polaris RZR and you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views of mountains: the Spanish Peaks to the north, Sphinx Mountains to the west, and Taylor Peaks to the south. Spend the night in nearby Bozeman and check out the city’s up-and-coming restaurant scene.  

  • Tread ‘N’ Trails in Cooke City, Montana, is four short miles from the entrance to Yellowstone—but seems a world away from the park’s notorious summer crowds. Rent a two- or four-seat Polaris RZR or six-seat Polaris Ranger to ride through the scenic trail system featuring unspoiled wilderness, wildlife, old mining sights, and more.

Utah: Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, Capital Reef, Zion National Parks

Visit Arches National Park in Utah

Utah’s famed Mighty Five national parks are all in the southern part of the state within a few hours of each other by car—busy summer roads notwithstanding. The Mighty Five deliver spectacular scenery and are enormously popular throughout the year but particularly in warmer months when hiking and exploring the endless trails becomes more viable. As with most national parks, it’s wise to check their respective websites for road construction closures, hiking passes, parking permits, and other details that will help you maximize your visit.

Next-Level Adventures

  • Rose Ranch Resort in Marysvale, Utah, offers wonderful stay-and-play vacations in the middle of the Mighty Five action. Rent Polaris off-road vehicles to ride the Paiute trail system for fabulous desert and mountain views. You can hike and fish here, too.  

  • The Old West Ruins Guided ATV Tour available through Tucker High Adventure Tours in Beaver, Utah, will have you passing through mahogany-covered hills in a Polaris side by side. You’ll also stop to explore the remnants of an old miner’s cabin built into a giant boulder.  

  • Utah ATV Rentals has locations in Panguitch Lake, Brian Head, and Duck Creek Village—all within an easy drive of the Mighty Five. At Brian Head, you can enjoy an off-road rental to reach heights you couldn’t otherwise, including scenic stunning scenic overlooks.  

  • Moab is the only town in Utah located on the Colorado River, and a trip to Outlaw Adventure Tours located right off Main Street will get you high and low among the desert rock on an all-new Polaris RZR side by side.  

  • Aptly named Beyond Zion Tours and Rentals in Mt. Carmel gets you beyond the crowds to take in the area’s stunning beauty as you explore slot canyons and red rock formations. Choose from guided or self-guided tour options.

Zion National Park ATV Rentals
  • East Zion, Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyon, and Inchworm Arch are just a few of the highlights you’ll marvel at while on an off-road adventure with Kanab Tour Company. And check out the other activities you can add to your off-roading, including guided canyoneering and hiking.  

  • Mad Moose is a highly reputable outfitter with two locations in southern Utah. Choose the Hurricane location for a Polaris RZR guided tour through red rock formations and over sand dunes or choose the Quail Creek location and rent a RZR from two to 24 hours to explore Painted Mountain, Toquerville Falls, and more stunning landscapes on your own or with a guide. 

  • Heading to beautiful Bryce Canyon? Mystic Adventures is located just a few miles from the entrance to the park. This go-to Outfitter can set you up, whether you want to explore the region’s backcountry in off-road vehicles or explore the open road in high-performance, two-seater Slingshots.

California: Joshua Tree National Park

Visit Joshua Tree National Park in California

The Mojave and Colorado deserts meet dramatically in Joshua Tree National Park in southern California. The park is open 24 hours a day (good news for stargazers), seven days a week, 365 days a year. Temperatures are most comfortable in the fall and spring—summers here are notoriously hot, but people are still encouraged to visit to enjoy the driving tours, short hikes on trails like Hidden Valley Nature Trail, and explore the four visitor centers.

Next-Level Adventures

  • When the weather is comfortable, Joshua Tree National Park is a fabulous destination for motorcyclists. You can drive through the park in less than two hours, making it a doable day trip from Indian Motorcycle Redlands, which is just an hour away. Rent an Indian Motorcycle for a few days and add the San Bernardino National Forest and other Southern California destinations to your itinerary.

Rent a Motorcycle in Joshua Tree National Park
  • Happy Trails Rental is located in the Mojave Desert an hour from Joshua Tree National Park. Visit the park on your own, then head to Happy Trails to explore a 100,000-acre playground of open trails punctuated by vast valleys, sandy washes, rocky buttes, and sand dunes. They even have a star gazing tour—the perfect option for ending your day of desert exploration.

Arizona: Grand Canyon National Park

Visit Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona

If you’re planning a trip to the Grand Canyon, you’re in good company—more than 6 million people visit this majestic national park every year. Established in 1919 and spanning 1.2 million acres, the Grand Canyon lures people not only with its magnificent vistas, but also with mule rides, helicopter tours, river rides, hiking, and stargazing. The park officially became an International Dark Sky Park in 2019 by converting thousands of lights to dark-sky compliant options, making for fabulous “star parties” with telescopes set up for free use and astronomer talks.

Next-Level Adventures

  • Located on the South Rim of the canyon, Grand Canyon Rentals Adventures is your ticket to exploring at your own pace, with rentals of Polaris RZRs available by the hour, half day, full day, or multiple days to explore Yaki Point, Navajo Point, Grandview Lookout, historical sights, and more. The team at GCRA has pre-planned itineraries that they can plug into the onboard navigation system—or just go wherever the trails and your spirit of adventure take you.

Grand Canyon ATV Rentals
  • Since many visitors to the Grand Canyon fly into Las Vegas, it’s worth mentioning the fabulous off-roading adventures available at Vegas Off-Road Tours, located just minutes from the Vegas Strip. (Who knew you could explore the Mojave Desert so close to all the glitz and glamour of Sin City?)

South Dakota: Badlands National Park

Visit Badlands National Park in South Dakota

When you visit the Badlands, you’re visiting one of the world’s richest fossil beds as well as a thriving modern ecosystem where bison, prairie dogs, bighorn sheep, and other wildlife live amongst the park’s 250,000 acres. The park’s name derives from the Lakota moniker, mako sica, which literally translates to “bad lands” because the topography was so hard to travel across. However, those jagged canyons and buttes are also what make this national park so beautiful. Be sure to visit nearby Mount Rushmore as well!

Next-Level Adventures

  • In a part of the country so rich in places to see, Spearfish Canyon Lodge in Lead, South Dakota, makes for a perfect base camp. This beautiful resort is located an easy two-hour drive from Badlands National Park and not only features excellent lodging options but also offers backcountry ATV tours and Slingshot rentals. The latter are especially popular with people who want to travel the area’s countless scenic byways and highways in a fun, sporty, open-air roadster.

Slingshot Rentals in South Dakota
  • Indian Motorcycle of Sturgis can set you up on a high-performance motorcycle for 24 hours with unlimited mileage to see Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Devils Tower, Badlands National Park, and much more. Plan ahead and reserve bikes for the world-famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally that takes place every August.  

  • With two locations just 15 minutes apart, Adventure Rentals delivers big-time fun no matter what your crew is looking for. At the Custer location, you can go on an off-road tour of the Black Hills or rent a sleek Polaris Slingshot for the ultimate joyride on the countless winding roads that bisect the region. The newer Hill City location is your key to exploring 4,000 acres of off-road trails leading to national monuments and historic gold mines. You can also pick up a Slingshot for open-aired, unobstructed views as you create your own journey on paved roads.

Minnesota: Voyageurs National Park

Visit Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota

Travelers to this far-flung destination in northern Minnesota are rewarded with something quite rare when it comes to national parks: peace and quiet. You won’t find millions of visitors at Voyageurs—just northern hardwood forests, soaring bald eagles, pristine bodies of water, and a guaranteed sense of tranquility that will stay with you long after you head back to reality.   

Next-Level Adventures

  • If you’re driving all the way to the northern tip of the Land of 10,000 Lakes to visit Voyageurs National Park, it only makes sense to include a two-hour jaunt to the gateway of the famous Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Ely Off-Road Tours lets you rent a Polaris RZR or General to enjoy the Prospectors Loop from downtown Ely throughout the North Shore or along the Taconite Trail.

Minnesota ATV Rentals Ely

Ohio: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a natural treasure tucked away—surprisingly—in a populated part of the country near Cleveland and Akron. Many flock here for the 125 miles of hiking trails that put visitors in close proximity to native plants and wildlife. Rolling hills, deep forests, and open farmlands are also on the menu, with the beautiful Cuyahoga River gently winding its way through all the natural splendor.

Next-Level Adventures

If you love to explore by motorcycle, a trip to Ohio should be on your list. Located two hours from Cuyahoga Valley National Park, North Star Polaris puts you within easy riding distance of Columbus, Ohio, and Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. This is a region rich in historical sights and interesting things to do and see, including Amish Country. Rent a latest-model Indian Motorcycle to explore Ohio and adjacent states as you ride along some of the most amazing routes in the nation.

Ohio ATV Rentals at Northstar Polaris

Maine: Acadia National Park

Visit Acadia National Park in Maine

Minutes into your visit to Acadia National Park, you’ll understand its reputation as the crown jewel of the North Atlantic coast. Acadia is one of the top 10 most-visited national parks in the US for good reason. You’ll enjoy 27 miles of historic motor roads, 45 miles of carriage roads, and nearly 160 miles of stunning hiking trails—all next to 60 miles of truly stunning coastline. Schoodic Peninsula, Isle au Haut, and the Outer Highlands are especially popular destinations within the park.

Next-Level Adventures

  • You’ve made it all the way to Maine—why not make the most of your visit? Downeast Adventures in Machias is 90 minutes away and worth every minute of the drive. This is inland Maine at its best. Ride a Polaris RZR with your family and friends on the fantastic 88-mile Downeast Sunrise Trail through woods, marshlands, and charming villages. Even better? Downeast Adventures will deliver the vehicles to you if you’re staying at Machias River Inn, Inn at Shoppee Farm, or Margaretta Inn.

Maine ATV Rentals at Downeast Adventures

Virginia: Shenandoah National Park

Visit Shenandoah National Park in Virginia

Located within an easy drive of Washington, D.C., Shenandoah National Park is a popular, worth-the-short-drive destination for visitors to the nation’s capital. The park’s 200,000 acres are home to black bears, songbirds, and deer, as well as natural treasures—cascading waterfalls, peaceful hollows, and fields of wildflowers that will be in full bloom if you’re visiting during the summer months. Skyline Drive runs through the park along the Blue Ridge Mountain crest. This gorgeous scenic drive has numerous pull-offs to explore 500 miles of hiking trails.

Next-Level Adventures

  • Two hours farther west in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, The Greenbrier is a luxury retreat holding sway over 11,000 beautiful acres surrounded by the Allegheny Mountains. Splurge on a night or two at The Greenbrier and enjoy a round of golf, fine dining, and the mineral spa, and top it all off with either a backcountry guided ATV tour or a Slingshot rental to explore the surrounding byways in style. Both activities are available directly through the resort.

UTV Rentals at The Greenbrier Resort

North Carolina: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the country’s most visited park, but in many parts of the park, you’d never know it. The endless miles of forest straddling North Carolina and Tennessee somehow retain a feeling of serenity and solitude. Highlights include Deep Creek, Cades Cove, and Clingmans Dome. Be on the lookout for sightings of black bears as you drive, bike, or hike your way through your explorations.  

Next-Level Adventures

  • Appalachian Adventure Rentals in the charming mountain town of Bryson City is a short (less than an hour) drive from Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is also close to other popular sites, including Tail of the Dragon and the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can rent a latest-model, open-air Polaris Slingshot roadster to cruise the area's beautifully maintained roads with expertly planned itineraries that will be programmed into the vehicle’s navigation system, so you can sit back and enjoy the ride without worrying about where to go next.

Slingshot Rentals in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Florida: Everglades National Park

Visit Everglades National Park

Venture to the Everglades, and you’ll be exploring the nation’s largest subtropical wilderness, home to many rare and endangered species, including the American crocodile, manatee, and the extremely elusive Florida panther. The Everglades are known as an international treasure. Since this is warm and sunny Florida, you can visit year-round with the assurance that you’ll be rewarded with amazing sights, sounds, and experiences.

Next-Level Adventures

  • If the Everglades—and southern Florida in general—are on your travel wish list, you should give serious thought to renting a gorgeous, latest-model motorcycle from Indian Motorcycle of Fort Lauderdale. Located 90 minutes from the park, Indian Motorcycle of Fort Lauderdale will rent you an iconic Indian Motorcycle for as little as a half day or multiple days so you can cruise the Sunshine State in style.

Motorcycle Rentals in Fort Lauderdale Florida