Sign In

15 U.S. Spots with Surprisingly Large Animal Populations

15 U.S. Spots with Surprisingly Large Animal Populations

While the Galapagos gets a lot of fame, the United States is not to be underestimated. The States has numerous destinations sporting some of the largest animal populations. From birds, terrestrial animals, and even marine creatures, here are 15 U.S. spots where the animal population will blow your mind:

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Photo credit: 1Tomm via Canva Pro.

Although Yellowstone usually gets attention for its illustrious landscapes, its animal population is equally impressive. The park hosts a massive population of wolves, black bears, grizzlies, bison, cougars, American bison, elk, bighorn sheep, and moose. Yellowstone hosts the largest concentration of mammals in 48 states, so the list goes on. Other wildlife includes six reptile species, numerous amphibians, and approximately 150 bird species.

Everglades National Park, Florida

Photo credit: Maria Kraynova via Canva Pro.

There is no better place to capture the crux of Floridian wildlife than Everglades National Park. It is the largest wilderness east of the Mississippi and in the largest tropical landscape in the United States. The most famous creature here is the American alligator and crocodiles, which infest the river. Other than these, you’ll also find egrets, wood storks, anhinga, spoonbills, caimans, anole, snakes, terrapin, turtles, raccoons, opossums, river otters, gray foxes, and even white-tailed deer.

Denali National Park, Alaska

Photo credit: Cappan via Canva Pro.

Alaska has an incredible ecosystem that attracts animal and nature-loving tourists from all over the world. Denali National Park is one of the few places in Alaska and the country that hosts a diverse array of wildlife, including grizzlies, black bears, moose, caribou, and even Dall’s sheep. Smaller critters like squirrels, marmots, and arctic ground squirrels also make their home here. Denali’s bird population is equally impressive and includes gray jays, ravens, mew gulls, and ptarmigans.

Monterey Bay, California

Photo credit: fdastudillo via Canva Pro.

This Pacific Ocean Bay is an oasis for marine animals, whose presence makes Monterey Bay one of the best places for diving and snorkeling. Tourists can join guided tours to whale watch, interact with dolphins, and observe sea lions. Other creatures like Pacific seals, sea otters, brown pelicans, African penguins, bat rays, skates, squids, and even black-necked stilts make their home here.

Florida Keys, Florida

Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Another stellar destination best known for its marine population, Florida Keys is home to elusive species, some so rare they’re only seen in this area. The marine sanctuary houses reef fishes, lobsters, stone crabs, shrimps, sponges, West Indian manatees, thirteen species of whales, seven species of dolphins, loggerhead turtles, and hawksbill turtles. But don’t underestimate this destination; the Florida Keys welcomes more than 280 species of birds and endemic animals like Stock Island tree snail, Key Largo cotton mouse, Lower Keys marsh rabbit, and striped mud turtle.

Cades Cove, Tennessee

Photo credit: WendyOlsenPhotography via Canva Pro.

Cades Cove is tucked inside the Tennessee boundary of the Great Smoky National Mountain, which naturally isolates it from surrounding areas. This seclusion brings out shy animals like white-tailed deer and skunks to the open, but you’ll also find many other animals like foxes, bobcats, bears, coyotes, beavers, raccoons, and even otters. Although the number of species is low, the population for each surpasses well over a few hundred, and even a thousand for birds.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Phot credit: ZRFphoto Getty Images via Canva Pro.

Otters, foxes, minks, porcupines, and beavers are just some of the several hundred types of animals you’ll find living at Acadia National Park in Maine. Its rocky beaches attract a variety of seabirds, which accompany rare sightings of whale breaching, while granite peaks host skilled climbers and animals like bears. Closer to the forested areas, you’ll even find a massive population of moose, which occasionally thunder across the area.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Photo credit: rick734’s via Canva Pro.

Extending along the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, Shenandoah National Park brings towering cliffs and lush, dense greenery, which serve as the perfect spot for some animals. The park is a bird sanctuary, including downy woodpeckers, cerulean warblers, scarlet tanager, and peregrine falcons, all visiting and nesting in flocks of well over a few hundred. It also hosts some of the largest populations of mammals like white-tailed deer, gray squirrels, and black bears, although elusive creatures like spotted and striped skunks also live here.

Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

Photo credit: Real Window Media via Canva Pro.

Towering glaciers, pristine fjords, and snowy peaks make Kenai Fjords National Park a hub for animals, which take refuge in its cool arms. Kenai Fjords National Park has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, so tourists can spot a variety of animals like coyotes, mountain goats, beavers, grizzlies, black bears, lynx, minks, moose, shrews, porcupines, and lemmings. The national park also receives orcas, fin whales, gray whales, humpbacks, Dall’s porpoise, and Stellar sea lions.

J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Florida

Photo credit: Frank Fichtmüller via Canva Pro.

Located in Sanibel, Florida, the J.N. National Wildlife Refuge hosts an impressive number of native and migratory birds annually, including waterfowls, wading birds, raptors, passerines, osprey, herons, and black-necked stilts. It also hosts alligators, manatees, dolphins, and sea turtles. Its vast network of mangroves becomes a natural haven for mangrove cuckoos, which serenades tourists visiting the area. You can even observe sea turtle hatchlings emerge from their resting spot.

Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Photo credit: folgt via Canva Pro.

Although the beautiful features like a stunning shore, gorgeous beaches, and forests make Point Reyes a destination, it is also a haven for animals, spanning the area and making it an even more attractive spot. It is one of the few places in the country where you can see elephant seals, but it also welcomes several black bears, mountain beavers, gray whales, harbor seals, otters, tule elk, and over 400 species of birds. You’ll find sea stars and sea urchins closer to the depths, too.

Saguaro National Park, Arizona

Photo credit: CrackerClips Stock Media via Canva Pro.

The Saguaro National Park is famed worldwide for hosting many animals, some of which are restricted to Southern Arizona. You’ll be able to spot numerous commonly seen animals like bats, black bears, rabbits, bobcats, raccoons, and desert dogs like kit foxes and coyotes. Its impressive bird population also gathers naturalists and bird lovers from all over the world. But what makes it truly shine is elusive animals like Gila monsters, kangaroo rats, horned lizards, and even roadrunners.

Glacier National Park, Montana

Photo credit: DreamArtist via Canva Pro.

Glacier National Park is a delight for naturalists solely based on its look, boasting alpine meadows, carved gorges and valleys, melting glaciers, and scenic lakes. But the park is home to several animals, totaling several thousand. It hosts 6 species of amphibians, three reptiles, and more than 71 mammals. These include bears, beavers, bats, elks, bighorn sheep, lynx, mountain lions, and even elusive pikas. The park is also an excellent spot for bird lovers.

The National Elk Refuge, Wyoming

Photo credit: wanderluster via Canva Pro.

Located in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the National Elk Refuge conserves the descendants of the elk herd that migrated from North America to the West. The National Elk Refuge spans 25,000 acres and is the only winter range for the elks in the area. Tourists can observe the elks and explore their habitat through safe guide tours hosted by the National Elk Refuge and can even take it up a notch by taking sleigh rides.

Antelope Island, Utah

Photo credit: Cheri Alguire via Canva Pro.

The largest island in Great Salt Lake, Utah, Antelope Island, is a vast grassland that hides a variety of flora and fauna, including bobcats, bison, bighorn sheep, and deer. Of course, the highlight of the destination is its antelopes or pronghorns, estimated to be over 200. While the island houses many desert animals, it gets its name because earlier explorers were able to witness pronghorns numerous times.

16 Dream Destinations for Animal Lovers

Photo credit: Depositphotos.

16 Dream Destinations for Animal Lovers

Places to Get a Front-Row Seat to the World’s Largest Animal Migrations

Wildebeests are crossing a river.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

World’s Largest Animal Migrations

A woman sitting on a mountain. Behind her is a lake.
Travel Writer | Website

Emese Maczko is a travel blogger behind Eco Lodges Anywhere. Having explored several destinations around Europe, the US, Indonesia, and Australia, and resided in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Luxembourg, Emese possesses a keen understanding of diverse cultures and an appreciation for the beauty of each destination she visits. She advocates for sustainable travel and ecotourism.