Have you ever enjoyed a scenic road trip through, or actually set up camp in one of our nation’s national parks? If so, you can thank President Ulysses S. Grant! Back in 1872, he signed a bill creating the country’s very first national park: Yellowstone. After a government expedition, geologist Ferdinand Hayden, accompanied by a photographer and a landscape artist, presented Congress with visual proof of the beauty and resources out west. President Grant designated over 1.2 million acres to be “preserved from injury and spoliation of all timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities, and wonders within.” Luckily, in spite of the westward-ho land-grab that took place at the time, the idea of preserving large tracts of land as public domain caught on over the years—including more than 800,000 acres of Grand Canyon later designated by President Theodore Roosevelt. Today, we can enjoy dozens of national parks all across the country. Next time you’re planning a vacation, you might want to bypass the sprawling cities and overcrowded theme parks, and head for the natural beauty of the great outdoors. Check out this state-by-state list to find the national park nearest you!