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The Best National Parks to Visit By Month of 2024 and The Best Time to Visit Zion National Park


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Mountains, volcanoes, rivers, lakes, arches, wetlands, and more make up the diverse environment of the 63 US national parks. With beautiful scenery, important history, and unique geology creating these national parks, it’s hard to choose where to visit and when!

While many of these parks are accessible year-round, the different months offer a better visitor experience in certain parks. From the best weather to avoiding the crowds and finding the best time to visit Zion National Park, use this guide to choose the best national parks to visit each month of 2024!

Looking to check a ton of National Parks off your bucket list this summer? Check out our Colorado National Park Tour, Arizona National Park Tour, California National Park Tour,  or Utah’s Mighty Five Itinerary with a Salt Lake City start.


Biscayne National Park, Florida

Escape the cold of winter and head to Biscayne National Park. Here you can snorkel around coral reefs, boat near mangrove forests, and explore islands.

This national park gem is located in the northern Florida Keys, and more than 90% of the park is overwater. Look out for pelicans, dolphins, turtles, and other marine wildlife. If you’re a scuba diver, explore shipwrecks on the Maritime Heritage Trail.

Biscayne National Park is so close to Miami that you can see the skyline from the islands. A January visit to Biscayne means you’ll experience the most comfortable temperatures, avoid crowds, and miss hurricane season.

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Visit Big Bend National Park in Texas in January to avoid the heat and the crowds. January is a great time to visit after the busy holiday season.

Explore the land of the Chisos mountain range and the Chihuahuan Desert, home to a variety of desert wildlife. And, of course, you don’t want to miss exploring Santa Elena Canyon, carved out by the Rio Grande. Hike, kayak, raft, or join a ranger-led tour to explore the magnificent desert wonder of Big Bend National Park.


Death Valley National Park, California

A woman walking in Death Valley National Park in California.

Explore sand dunes, canyons, desert peaks, and salt flats in the driest desert in the United States. Death Valley’s elevation ranges from 11,043 feet high at Telescope Peak to -282 feet at Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America.

February brings perfect weather to Death Valley National Park. Temperatures average in the 70s, and crowds are minimal. Whether you prefer hiking or a scenic drive, Death Valley offers many options. Don’t miss a few highlights, including Zabriskie Point, Badwater Basin, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Artist Drive, and Furnace Creek.

Haleakala National Park, Hawaii

February is the best time to visit Haleakala National Park in Hawai’i. Temperatures are comfortable in February, averaging in the 70s to 80s along the coast. Temperatures are a bit cooler at the summit of Haleakala, which stands 10,023 feet tall. So don’t forget your jacket!

Haleakala National Park is quite diverse. Catch sunrise atop Haleakala and explore the crater and unique volcanic geology. Spend another day driving the Road to Hana to the Kipahulu District while taking in the beautiful Maui coastline.


Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Trees in Joshua Tree National Park in California.

Wander among gigantic boulders and along trails lined with Joshua trees and cacti in Joshua Tree National Park. Whether you are hiking, rock climbing, or taking a scenic drive, Joshua Tree offers opportunities for all visitors. March brings comfortable temperatures and the start of wildflower blooms.

While visiting Joshua Tree National Park, check out Skull Rock, Keys View, the Hidden Valley Nature Trail, and Barker Dam.

Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park in Utah. This is one of the most popular National Parks in America.

Zion National Park offers ample opportunities for exploration, and spring is the best time to visit Zion National Park. Wander among the deep red and orange canyons carved out by the mighty Virgin River. From emerald-colored pools to flowing waterfalls, overhanging gardens, wading through deep chasms, and relaxing alongside the river, Zion is one of the most popular national parks in the country. Once you visit, you will see why this is the best time to visit Zion National Park.

March is the best time to visit Zion National Park. As one of the most popular parks, you’ll beat the crazy summer crowds. Plus, March temperatures are perfect for hiking before the heat of summer!


Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park in located in Moab, Utah. The best time to visit this national park is spring.

Arches National Park is home to the densest concentration of natural sandstone arches in the world. And it has more than just arches, there are pinnacles, fins, balanced rocks, and more!

Arches is a small park that gets crowded (and very hot) in the summer. April is a great time to avoid the intense heat and craziest traffic on the trail and while driving through the park.

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

The best time to visit Canyonlands National Park is in the spring.

Canyonlands National Park is another Utah national park with great springtime weather—and it’s just a short drive from Arches National Park! Explore deep layers of canyons, rivers, needle-like pinnacles, arches, and more.

Enjoy a scenic drive and short hikes throughout the Island in the Sky district. Or head out on an off-roading adventure in the Maze district. The Needles district is a must-stop for aspiring backpackers. And if water is your thing, join a commercial rafting trip in the River district!


Redwood National Park, California

Redwood National Park in California is home to thousands of ancient redwood trees.

Head to Redwood National Park to explore California’s dense coastal redwood forests and take in ocean views. Spring is an incredible time to visit. In May, the forests are lush and green and far less crowded than during the summer.

It still rains a bit in May, but temperatures are comfortable. The flourishing green mosses, lichen, and trees are worth a few hours of rain to make this park pop! The park is littered with plenty of scenic drives and hikes, so all visitors can enjoy their time here.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee.

May is also a great time to explore the East Coast. Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee is the most visited national park in the United States. Visiting in May before Memorial Day Weekend helps you beat the crazy summer crowds.

The Smoky Mountains are known for their stunning animal and plant life and layers of ancient mountains spanning the horizon as far as the eye can see. Hike up mountains or out to waterfalls while visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park.


Channel Islands National Park, California

Most of California’s national parks are in the mountains or desert. Channel Islands National Park features a different geology with a landscape of ocean cliffs and bays. Channel Islands National Park is a series of five ecologically rich islands off Southern California’s coast. This national park is home to various rare bird life and is a popular place to spot marine wildlife.

Channel Islands National Park is perfect for kayaking, snorkeling, diving, birding, or hiking. This makes June the perfect month to visit.

Sequoia National Park, California

Redwood National Park is home to some of the largest trees in California.

Home to the largest trees in the world, Sequoia National Park is a bucket list park. Walking amongst the giant sequoias will make you stare in awe. June is the perfect time to visit for pleasant temperatures following a cold, snowy winter.

Cannot-miss spots like General Sherman Tree, Moro Rock, and the Tunnel Log are all accessible throughout the summer. Higher elevations in the park will still have snow in June, but this shouldn’t affect most visitors’ trips.


Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Mount Rainier National Park, near Seattle.

Wait for the snow to melt and for the wildflowers to bloom, and visit Mount Rainier National Park in July. Mount Rainier, a 14,411-foot Cascade Volcano, is the most glaciated peak in the US.

Mount Rainier National Park offers plentiful opportunities for hiking, scenic river strolls, drive-up viewpoints, mountaineering, and more! Visitors can enjoy reflections in roadside lakes, hike to a waterfall, or climb to the mountain’s summit.

Denali National Park, Alaska

The best time to visit Denali National Park in Alaska is the the summer.

Alaska’s famous Denali National Park is home to Mount Denali. Mount Denali is 20,310 feet tall, making it the highest point in North America. Of course, seeing the summit is a different story, as clouds often obstruct our view of it. July offers some of the best opportunities to see the summit of Denali and all park roads open following an intense winter.

Many hiking options range from short strolls to remote multi-day backpacking trips to hikes up to the summit for experienced mountaineers.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

rocky mountain national park colorado campervan

Rocky Mountain National Park is another great July destination. By July, most snow had melted off, at least on common trails, and all park roads were open and accessible.

Hike in the alpine or drive Trail Ridge Road through the park. Reaching 12,183 feet high is the country’s highest continuous paved road. Wildlife and wildflowers are abundant in this Colorado National Park throughout the summer. This and the comfortable July temperatures make it a perfect time to visit.


Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana

Bison, moose, elk, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, wolves, black bears, and grizzly bears roam the landscape. Diverse volcanic geology, including Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs, Grand Prismatic Spring, and Yellowstone Lake, make up the scenery.

Yellowstone National Park is the first US national park home to many wonders you can’t see elsewhere. In the Northern Rockies, August is a great time to visit the park for comfortable temperatures and minimal snow. Yes, it can be crowded, but it’s a large park, so start your day early.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Escape Camper Van in Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is adjacent to Yellowstone National Park, making it the perfect park to tick off next on your bucket list. Home to the giant Teton peaks towering high above the landscape, the rugged and stunning scenery of the alpine environment can’t be missed.

It might be hard to believe, but snow still falls on trails at higher elevations in August. August is also a great time to swim in cold freshwater lakes, look out for wildlife, and go hiking.

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park in Montana

Glacier National Park is about 6 hours north of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National park. Located so far north, Glacier National Park receives snow for many months, but August brings some of the warmest days, sun, and snow has melted! The famous Going to the Sun Road usually opens in July, so by August, it’s accessible with permits.

Enjoy the park’s dramatic scenery, which includes pristine lakes, alpine meadows, and glacially carved valleys.


Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

The best time to visit Shenandoah National Park in Virginia is in the fall.

Located only 2 hours from Washington, D.C., Shenandoah National Park is a gem of the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia. The rolling mountains have stunning vistas, wildflowers, waterfalls, and forests. You’ll surely enjoy your time here, home to various mammals and birds.

Visit after Labor Day in September to avoid the crowds and take in the park’s serenity. Take a hike or drive the famous Skyline Drive to take in all the scenic views of Shenandoah National Park!

Yosemite National Park, California

Escape Camper Van in Yosemite National Park, the perfect detour for a Los Angeles to San Francisco road trip.

Yosemite National Park is California’s most visited park, and it’s easy to see why. A glacially carved valley meets visitors with smooth domes and jagged peaks that coexist with tall waterfalls and dense forests.

September is a great time to visit Yosemite because the summer crowds are gone, and park temperatures are comfortable. The whole park is accessible as winter snow has melted. Explore Yosemite Valley, Tioga Pass Road, Glacier Point, and more. Whether you prefer a scenic drive, a chill stroll through the meadows, or an intense day of hiking, Yosemite offers it all!


Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park in Maine

Hop on the leaf-peeping train and head to Acadia National Park in October for a stunning experience. The first couple of weeks of October are usually the best time to see the leaves changing colors in Acadia National Park, and you don’t want to miss out!

While visiting the park reserve a permit to drive up to Cadillac Mountain or hike to the top! Or continue on another scenic hike like the Precipice Loop Trail or to Jordan Pond. Or just drive around the park; there are impressive mountain and coastal views everywhere you look!

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona

October is one of the best months to visit Grand Canyon National Park. The crowds are much smaller than in summer despite offering much more comfortable temperatures, especially later in October.

Enjoy the park in all its color and glory as the Cottonwood trees’ leaves slowly change colors, a beautiful contrast to the red rock. October is still a comfortable time to take a dip in Colorado. Overall, the park’s temperatures are moderate, both at the rim of the Grand Canyon and down the Colorado River.


Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

Texas is always a good option in November. You can avoid the heat of the summer and the crowds while exploring Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Temperatures are comfortable whether you choose to hike to the summit of Guadalupe Peak or explore the Salt Basin Dunes and rich grasslands.

The park is very diverse, ranging from dry and arid to dense coniferous forests, offering visitors a variety to take in.

White Sands National Park, New Mexico

White Sands National Park in New Mexico

One of the newest US national parks, White Sands National Park, is a can’t-miss when road-tripping through New Mexico. And it’s a great November park option! November offers temperatures in the 60s to 70s during the day with cool nights. The crowds are much smaller than in a summertime visit when the sand gets too hot to walk on!

Start your day at the visitor center to learn about park geology, history, and the environment. Then, walk the Interdune Boardwalk and Dune Life Nature Trail. Catch sunset on a backcountry trail and, if you have time, spend a night camping and stargazing.


Everglades National Park, Florida

Everglades National Park is famous for its impressive animal and plant biodiversity and is home to many endemic species. The landscape includes grasslands, swamps, wetlands, prairies, and forests.

Stroll along boardwalks while looking out for native birds and alligators. Or go kayaking to a chickee over the water hut.

December is the perfect time to visit the Everglades to avoid the unbearable summer heat and hurricanes. December offers a less crowded visit than the fall and spring.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Escape the cold of winter and head to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for pleasant weather while exploring the phenomenal geology of the park. Home to two of the most active volcanoes in the world – Kilauea and Mauna Loa, the landscapes will blow you away here.

Mauna Loa reaches 13,680 feet tall, so you’ll need a jacket at any time of year! You can learn about how the volcanoes shaped the land, their role in human history, and the unique ecosystems in the park.

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