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After sifting through millions of valuable reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travelers, the world’s largest travel site recently announced the winners of its Travelers’ Choice Attractions awards. Among them: the Top Ten U.S. Parks for 2013. You’ll find biking, hiking even rock climbing in these urban wonders—along with plenty of cultural food for thought.

Comment below to add your favorite park to the list!

  1. Central Park, Manhattan, NYC. A public park at the center of Manhattan in New York City, it initially opened in 1857, on 778 acres of city-owned land (it is 840 acres today). In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won a design competition to improve and expand the park with a plan they entitled the Greensward Plan. Construction began the same year, continued during the American Civil War, and was completed in 1873. Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States.
  2. Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado. This public park was designated a landmark in 1971, and designated as a Great American Public Place of 2011 by the American Planning Association. The park is popular for hiking, technical rock climbing, road and mountain biking and horseback riding. It attracts more than two million visitors a year and becomes the city’s most visited park. It has more than 15 miles of trails with a 1.5 trail running through the heart of the park that is paved and wheelchair accessible.
  3. High Line, New York City, NYC. The High Line is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It is owned by the City of New York, and maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line. Founded in 1999 by community residents, Friends of the High Line fought for the High Line’s preservation and transformation at a time when the historic structure was under the threat of demolition. It is now the non-profit conservancy working with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to make sure the High Line is maintained as an extraordinary public space for all visitors to enjoy.
  4. Millennium Park, Chicago, IL This public park located in the Loop community area of Chicago and originally intended to celebrate the millennium. It is a prominent civic center near the city’s Lake Michigan shoreline that covers a 24.5-acre section of northwestern Grant Park. The area was previously occupied by parkland, Illinois Central rail yards, and parking lots. The park, which is bounded by Michigan Avenue, Randolph Street, Columbus Drive and East Monroe Drive, features a variety of public art.
  5. Balboa Park, San Diego, CA. Balboa Park is a San Diego must-see, just minutes from downtown, and ranked as one of the Best Parks in the World. The Park is home to 15 major museums, several performing arts venues, lovely gardens and many other cultural and recreational attractions, including the San Diego Zoo. With a variety of cultural institutions laid out among its 1,200 beautiful and lushly planted acres, Balboa Park is the nation’s largest urban cultural park.
  6. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA. This large urban park consists of 1,017 acres of public grounds. Configured as a rectangle, it is similar in shape but 20 percent larger than Central Park in New York, to which it is often compared. It is over three miles long east to west, and about half a mile north to south.With 13 million visitors annually, Golden Gate is the fifth most-visited city park in the United States.
  7. Boston Public Garden, Boston, MS. The Public Garden was established in 1837 when philanthropist Horace Gray petitioned for the use of land as the first public botanical garden in the United States. Boston’s Public Garden is the groomed and formal younger cousin to the more casual and boisterous Boston Common. The first public botanical garden in America, its form, plantings, and statuary evoke its Victorian heritage. This green and flowering oasis in the heart of a great metropolis has become a Boston icon. No visit would be complete without a stroll in the Garden and a voyage on one of its Swan Boats.
  8. Forsyth Park, Savannah, GA. This large city park occupies 30 acres in the historic district of Savannah, Georgia. The park contains walking paths, a café, a children’s play area, a Fragrant Garden for the blind, a large fountain, tennis courts, basketball courts, areas for soccer and Frisbee, and home field for Savannah Shamrocks Rugby Club. From time to time, there are concerts held at Forsyth to the benefit of the public.
  9. Falls Park on the Reedy, Greenville, SC. Far more than a nature lover’s paradise, Falls Park on the Reedy, located in downtown Greenville’s Historic West End, is one of Greenville’s greatest treasures. The park serves as an oasis within the city—a place where people gather to work, play and celebrate life. The multi-use facility lends itself to a wide variety of activities for people of all ages and interests.
  10. Forest Park, Saint Louis, MO. This park attracts more than 12 million visitors a year, and is an active participant and catalyst in the St. Louis community. Monuments, historic buildings, wildlife, waterways and landscapes combine to form a unique cultural institution that is vitally important to the entire St. Louis region. It’s also home to the region’s major cultural institutions—the Zoo, Art Museum, History Museum, Science Center and the Muny Opera—and serves as a sports center for golf, tennis, baseball, bicycling, boating, fishing, handball, ice skating, roller blading, jogging, rugby and more.

Whether you travel by road or by air, take along your SkyMed membership—in case of a critical accident or illness, we’re there to take you all the way home.

 Photo credit: thekenyeung via photopin cc

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