So you’re not a fan of snow, but you are a fan of exploring national parks all year round. I know, I hear ya too! A few years ago, I ended up with an extra week of vacation. But the catch was I had to use it from October to March. I wasn’t equipped or even enthused about snowshoeing. But I wanted to spend my vacation in nature. I decided on Big Bend National Park, and it became my favorite national park…well if I had to pick one. So I’ve compiled a list of my favorite national parks to visit in winter.
There are quite a few national parks that are perfect for a winter adventure, and that is the best time to visit them. Take Death Valley for example. It’s the hottest place on earth, so the colder months are definitely the best time to visit. The only reason it’s not on my list of favorite national parks to visit in winter is that I haven’t personally visited it…yet.
Other national parks to visit in winter
Two more parks I haven’t visited yet but are on my list are Everglades National Park and Congaree National Park. Both are swamps and a quick Google Image search of Congaree will bring up its mosquito meter. I am not a fan of mosquitos, so those places I’ll visit in the wintertime.
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park showcases the beauty of the border region between Mexico and the United States. The park definitely makes the list of best national parks to visit in winter because in the summer it can get dangerously hot. Take advantage of milder temperatures in the winter.
The unique aspect of Big Bend National Park is that it is three ecosystems in one! You have the river, the desert, and the Chisos Mountains. There’s so much to explore in this area.
Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon is another park that can get dangerously hot in the summer. However, with the South Rim at an elevation of 7,000, it can get fairly cold in winter too. However, the snow in the desert is something special to see.
Like Big Bed, the Grand Canyon also has a diverse ecosystem. It’s nice to hike along the rim of the canyon and then hike down into the canyon. Compare the flora and fauna between the two areas and take note of how life varies in the desert.
Hot Springs National Park
Hiking in the leave-off season is a great time to check out Hot Springs National Park. With trails that climb up and over the city of Hot Springs, hiking in the leave-off season allows you to see far and wide through the trees. Leaves in the warmer months block the view.
Hot Springs National Park is the only national park where you can drink a craft beer brewed from the spring water of the park. Tasty craft beer is a great way to end a day of hiking in the chilly cold of winter.
The temperature inside a cave stays the same all year round. So I guess exploring inside of Carlsbad Caverns would be a nice way to beat the summer heat in the hot desert, but it’s also a way to beat the bitter cold of winter.
Carlsbad Caverns lies under the Chihuahuan Desert and the Capitan Reef, which is one of the best-preserved and exposed Permian-age fossil reefs in the world. With nearly 120 known caves as parts of Carlsbad Caverns, the national park has some of the biggest and longest caves in the world.
My favorite national parks to visit in winter
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to stay hold up in your house! Explore places that are further south and are not that desirable to visit in the summertime. I’m not saying it won’t be cold. It snowed on me when I visited the Grand Canyon and Big Bend National Parks. However, it won’t be nearly as cold as it would be if you visit places like Yellowstone.