Of 8 Croatian National parks, 4 are in close proximity to Zadar:
With its exceptional natural beauty, this area has always attracted nature lovers, and already on 8 April 1949, it was proclaimed Croatia’s first national park. The process of tufa formation, which results in the building of the tufa, or travertine, barriers and resulted in the creation of the lakes, is the outstanding universal value, for which the Plitvice Lakes were internationally recognised on 26 October 1979 with their inscription onto the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Krka National Park lies within Šibenik-Knin County, and covers a total area of 109 km² of the loveliest sections of the Krka River, and the lower course of the Čikola River.
The national park is a vast and primarily unaltered area of exceptional natural value, including one or more preserved or insignificantly altered ecosystems. The purpose of the park is primarily to serve science, culture, education and recreation, while tourism activities have also been introduced for its visitors.
The Kornati archipelago of Croatia, also known as the Stomorski islands, is located in the northern part of Dalmatia, south from Zadar and west from Šibenik.
With 35 kilometres length and 89 islands, some large, some small, in a sea area of about 320 square kilometres, the Kornati are the densest archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. From northwest to southeast (from the island of Balabra to Samograd), and from northeast to southwest (from Gangarol to Mana) they stretch for 13 km (8 miles).
Due to its unique natural features, magnificent forests and extraordinary geomorphologic structures, the area of Velika and Mala Paklenica was proclaimed a national park in 1949. The main reason for proclaiming this area a national park was the protection of the largest and best-preserved forest complex in the territory of Dalmatia, which was threatened by overexploitation. The Paklenica National Park on the area of 95 km2, and includes the highest peaks of the Velebit Mountain – Vaganski vrh (1752 m a.s.l.) and Sveto brdo (1753 m a.s.l.).
It covers the area of torrent flows of Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica, and their distinctive canyons carved vertically into the southern slopes of the Velebit Mountain as well as their surrounding area. The relatively small area has an abundance of geomorphological phenomena and forms, diverse flora and fauna, attractive landscapes and intact nature. Different habitats in the area of Paklenica National Park, along with elevation stratification, provide an important home for diverse flora and fauna.