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Take a Virtual Visit to a National Park 

by Rebecca Watson

Got a bit of downtime? Take a trip to a national park from wherever you are! Many national park sites across the country offer digital tours and experiences that you can access anytime, anywhere. From digitally diving under the sea to watching the cherry blossom trees bloom, there are countless ways to enjoy a park experience online.

Virtual Tours

Get up close and personal with parks through virtual tours. Learn more about the history of these legendary places and how their protection and preservation is essential in ensuring these sites are enjoyed for generations to come.

Clara Barton National Historic Site

Interior of a wood paneled home with a staircase and a Red Cross flag hanging on bannisters
Clara Barton National Historic Site (NPS Photo / Flickr)

A U.S. Patent Office clerk turned field nurse, Clara Barton was the founder and first president of the American Red Cross. Her life and legacy are celebrated at Clara Barton National Historic Site, the Glen Echo, Maryland house that was her home for the last 15 years of her life, as well as the national headquarters of the American Red Cross, a dormitory for staff, and a warehouse for relief supplies.

In a virtual tour, explore the house’s many rooms and hallways, including twelve restored rooms. Hear the “voice of Clara Barton” provide descriptions in her own words and navigate the tour with your mouse to see 360-degree views. Younger virtual visitors can enjoy educational, interactive learning activities, and print out a personalized certificate upon completion.

Hot Springs National Park

Historic Bath House Row
Bathhouse Row at Hot Springs National Park (iStock / Tizod)

The thermal waters of Hot Springs National Park have drawn visitors for centuries. Originally a site for American Indians to quarry novaculite, the area’s hot springs soon became a favored destination for those seeking health treatments. Now nicknamed “the American Spa,” the park preserves more than 20 miles of trails, 40 hot springs, and the historic Bathhouse Row – a stunning showcase of Gilded Age architecture.

Take a virtual tour of the park’s historic Bathhouse Row district in an interactive map – presented by the Midwest Archeological Center, the National Park Service, and the Southeast Archeological Center. View 360-degree photographs of the bathhouse interiors and learn about the importance of these 20th century buildings.

Virgin Islands National Park

Annaberg School Ruins at Virgin Islands National Park (NPS Photo / Anne Finney)

Two-thirds of the island of St. John in the Virgin Islands is a national park. Virgin Islands National Park features gorgeous sandy beaches and palms, as well as a rich marine life in underwater coral reefs. But the park boasts more than just beautiful beaches – ancient petroglyphs, carved by the Taino people, can be spotted along the Reef Bay Trail, and plantation ruins tell the stories of when the sugar industry dominated life on the island.

Discover this park on a virtual tour of its historic windmills and plantations. Or take a virtual 3-D tour of the Annaberg Sugar Plantation, one of the finest remaining examples of the Danish Colonial Era industrial agriculture in the Virgin Islands.

Exploring this park, be it virtually or in-person, can be an exciting and educational experience. In 2015, NPF supported Friends of Virgin Islands National Park in transporting 4th and 5th grade students to the unique mangrove habitat in Coral Reef National Monument, maintained by Virgin Islands National Park. Students were able to boat, kayak, snorkel, and explore the abundance of marine and coral life in this unique ecosystem.

Hamilton Grange National Memorial

A formal dining room table is set with a vase of white flowers and long white taper candles. On the pale yellow walls hang two portraits.
Dining room at Hamilton Grange National Memorial (NPS Photo)

The final home of one of our nation’s founding fathers, Hamilton Grange National Memorial tells the story of Alexander Hamilton – from his humble beginnings as an orphan in the Caribbean to acting as the country’s first Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton commissioned architect John McComb Jr. to design this home for an estate in upper Manhattan, and it was here that he lived the final years of his life.

Follow along with Jordan Fisher as he tours the house with Ranger Vlad in a video produced by the National Park Foundation and the National Park Service. Together they explore the rooms of Hamilton Grange, including the formal dining room Hamilton used to entertain guests and his personal study where he would read and write.

Crater Lake National Park

Phantom Ship and Mount Scott at Crater Lake National Park (NPS Photo)

Formed by a volcanic eruption and collapse, Crater Lake National Park features the deepest lake in the U.S., and one of the top ten deepest lakes in the world. While people have inhabited the lake’s shores for centuries, the park was founded in 1902 to protect its natural resources, including its fresh, clear water, and cultural resources.

Go on a tour of the park with Dierks Bentley and park ranger Charlie in this 360-degree video produced by the National Park Foundation and the National Park Service. Catch the sunrise over Garfield Peak and cruise around Phantom Ship, a rock formation that predates the lake. Watch the video on a mobile device and move around to see the remarkable vistas of Crater Lake!

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

A row of historic buildings and houses at dusk
New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park (iStock / Denis Tangney Jr)

As the capital of the 19th century whaling industry and a safe haven along the Underground Railroad, as well as the home to legendary figures such as Frederick Douglass and Herman Melville, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park preserves, protects, and interprets cultural resources within the “city that lit the world.” Located in downtown New Bedford, the park spans over 13 blocks, and includes a whaling museum, a waterfront visitor center, a custom house, and more.

Take a video tour or interactive virtual tour of the Nathan and Polly Johnson House, not normally open to the public, provided by the National Park Service and the New Bedford Historical Society. Owned by Nathan and Mary "Polly" Johnson, the house welcomed and assisted those traveling along the Underground Railroad. The house was even the first residence of Frederick Douglass after his escape from slavery in 1838.

In 2016, NPF’s transportation grants program helped the park grow its partnership with New Bedford Public Schools, supporting the transportation of local 4th grade students to the park on educational visits. Students visiting the park were able to participate in student programs that explored the lives of people connected to the park’s history, such as Nathan and Polly Johnson and Lewis Temple, the inventor of the toggle harpoon.

Live Webcams

Make your escape to a scenic vista in a national park with a live webcam. Search for wildlife or sit back and enjoy the beauty of our national parks and the landscapes they preserve.

National Mall and Memorial Parks

Cherry blossom trees flowers frame the Washington Monument across the water in the Tidal Basin
Washington Monument (NPS Photo / Victoria Stauffenberg)

A tradition in our nation’s capital for over 100 years, the annual blossoming of the cherry trees on the National Mall and Memorial Parks is a reminder of the beauty of spring. Plantings of cherry trees began in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. Equated with the evanescence of human life, the beauty of the pale blossoms epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.

This webcam from the Trust for the National Mall, EarthCam, the National Park Service, and The National Cherry Blossom Festival brings the cherished and beloved cherry trees to you, wherever you are. Each year, the Bloom Cam allows you to peer out at D.C.’s Tidal Basin, including the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and the Washington Monument. The live camera will change views every five minutes so you can enjoy these blooms from every angle.

NPF has supported many projects along the National Mall, including enhancing the monuments that serve as a backdrop for these iconic cherry blossoms every year. Since 2009, NPF has supported recycling efforts along the National Mall. In 2019, thanks to contributions to NPF from David Rubenstein and Musco Lighting, the Washington Monument installed updated lighting and a refurbished elevator system. In 2020, NPF announced a gift from David Rubenstein that will enable the creation of a state-of-the-art museum and enhanced visitor experience at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park

A waterfall cascades down a stone cliff. A brick building is nestled next to the base of the falls, and bridge looms above
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park (NPS Photo)

Established in 1792, Paterson, NJ was a planned industrial city from the minds of Alexander Hamilton and the “Society for Establishing Usefull Manufacturers.” Humble mills along the Passaic River manufactured cotton, silk, steam locomotives, rolls of paper, and even airplane engines. The Great Falls at Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park are central to the park’s story – their impressive power was the inspiration for Hamilton to establish the city in this spot.

Just as the falls inspired Hamilton, so too have they continued to inspire artists of all kinds, from visual arts to poetry and dance. NPF has supported cultural projects in the park, including Hamilton Partnership for Paterson’s 2016 “Taste of Paterson” block party, celebrating Paterson’s past, present, and future as a multicultural city of immigrants, a 2017 Native American Heritage festival, and a 2019 hip hop program.

Get a glimpse of the Great Falls with a live webcam presented by EarthCam, the National Park Service, and the City of Paterson. Revel in the majesty of these remarkable falls and the surrounding town that fostered the American Industrial Revolution, changing the face of America forever.

Channel Islands National Park

A scuba diver explores underwater kelp forests
Inspecting kelp forests at Channel Islands National Park (NPS Photo)

Dive into the rich marine life at Channel Islands National Park. Close to California’s southern coast and encompassing of five different islands and their ocean environment, the park preserves and protects a variety of natural and cultural resources. The islands’ remote location is home to unique animals, plants, and archeological resources found nowhere else on Earth.

Go under the sea with the park’s live ocean webcam, presented in partnership between the National Park Service,, and the Ventura County Office of Education, set up in the landing cove on Anacapa Island. See how many different marine species you can spot – there are nearly one thousand documented so far!

Statue of Liberty National Monument

Statue of Liberty National Monument (Shutterstock / iladm)

A gift from the people of France to the U.S., Statue of Liberty National Monument is recognized globally as a symbol of freedom and democracy. A welcoming figure for the millions of immigrants who entered the United States through New York between 1886 and 1924, the Statue was immortalized in Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus,” later engraved on a bronze plaque affixed to the base of the statue. First illuminated in 1916, the National Park Service has been caring for this iconic landmark since 1933.

Check in with Lady Liberty on a live webcam from EarthCam, the National Park Service, and the Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island Foundation. Enjoy a live look at the New York City skyline, as well as views of the Hudson River and ships in New York Harbor.

Yellowstone National Park

Castle Geyser at Yellowstone National Park (NPS Photo / Diane Renkin)

Watching Old Faithful Geyser erupt is one of Yellowstone National Park’s most treasured traditions. However, Old Faithful is just one of nearly 500 active geysers in the park, and one of six that park rangers currently predict. While the park is also famous for its scenery and wildlife, it’s unique and dynamic geothermal features were what inspired its designation as the first established national park in the world.

Explore Yellowstone’s nine webcams – one live-streaming and eight static – provided by Canon USA, Inc. through a grant to Yellowstone Forever. Take a closer look at a few of the park’s geysers, including Lone Star, Old Faithful, and Castle Geysers, through an overview of the Geyser Basin and 3-D models.

NPF is a long-standing supporter of projects in Yellowstone National Park. From the reintroduction of wolves and restoration of native cutthroat trout in Yellowstone Lake to vital training for backcountry rangers, NPF programs have helped preserve the iconic park’s landscape and the wildlife populations that call it home, as well as enhance the experience of the many visitors who take a trip to the park.

Katmai National Park & Preserve

Bears at Katmai National Park and Preserve (NPS Photo)

Established in 1918 to preserve features associated with one of the most powerful volcanic eruptions ever recorded, Katmai National Park and Preserve protects thousands of years of human history. The park’s millions of acres serve as an important protected habitat for salmon and thousands of brown bears, which can be seen in high concentrations across the park.

Explore the park’s three bear webcams, presented in partnership with Bear cams go live each summer when the park’s bears are most active, but you can catch highlight reels from the bear cams year-round. Search for bears fishing for salmon at Brooks Falls and the Riffles, plus catch mothers and cubs on the Lower River cam. You may even catch a snorkeling bear from the River Watch cam, which provides a closer view of Brooks River.

Looking for more to explore? Check out the National Park Service’s multimedia gallery of webcams to experience other parks live, or  earn an online Junior Ranger badge from a park. Discover other ways to enjoy parks at home, or even take a peek at our Parkcade for fun, educational park activities for the whole family. Keep in touch with the National Park Foundation on social media – follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – as we share our favorite ways to make a virtual visit to national parks across the country.