Mesa Verde National Park

Top choice national park

in Southwest Colorado
Image by / Getty Images
Image by / Getty Images

A fascinating, if slightly eerie, national park. Anthropologists will love it here; Mesa Verde is unique among American national parks in its focus on maintaining this civilization's cultural relics rather than its natural treasures. About 20 miles from the park entrance, the Chapin Mesa Museum has diorama of Ancestral Pueblo life, a few artifacts and good history lessons. The park also offers plenty of hiking, skiing, snowshoeing and mountain-biking options. Visitors can camp out or stay in luxury at the lodge.

The museum's 25-minute intro film is worth it, especially for families.