7 Amazing National Parks in Winter

 7 Amazing National Parks in Winter

Many U.S. National Parks in winter make great destinations. So cold weather doesn't mean you have to park your RV! There's some spectacular scenery to see.

Reasons are aplenty: less crowds, beautiful landscapes, and weather conditions (and way less bugs) in some places that are actually more desirable during winter, as noted by Travel + Leisure.

Additionally, many of the National Park Service’s winter activities are in full swing by mid-December, with plenty of opportunities to hike, ski, or snowshoe through all the landscapes the parks have to offer. Be sure to check out our “10 National Park Adventures Perfect for Winter.”

In short, there’s no need to wait until next summer to explore our national parks — make plans to visit these winter wonders in the near-term.

Everglades National Park in Florida

December through March at Everglades National Park means a subtropical dry season marked by sunny skies, 70-degree days, and reprieve from the blood-sucking bugs that plague South Florida’s wetlands during the rest of the year. With less rain, your chances increase of finding wildlife congregating at watering holes — perfect for spotting the Everglades’ iconic alligators and wading birds like the bright pink roseate spoonbill.

Here's a Video of our recent National Parks in Winter visit to Flamingo Campground in the Everglades.

Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah

CLICK HERE to read an account of our RV Lifestyle visit to Bryce

Bryce Canyon National Park’s gravity-defying limestone spires (hoodoos) appear even more delicate when snow dusts the reddish-orange rocks. Feeling adventurous? Consider joining a ranger-led full moon snowshoe hike (November through March, snowpack permitting).  

For some truly spectacular views, consider timing your visit during a new moon phase for world-class stargazing beneath some of the West’s darkest skies. And like all national parks in winter, there are fewer people you'll encounter.

For more details on Bryce Canyon National Park, along with others in the region, consider our “Southern Utah Travel Guide” available now in the RV Lifestyle store. 

 

An image of Bryce Canyon, one of many national parks to visit in winter.
Bryce Canyon in the winter. Photo by Pedro Lastra on Unsplash

Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho

Our RV Lifestyle Fellow Travelers may know how much we love Yellowstone. In fact, we wrote a book about it called The “Yellowstone National Park Travel Guide” that you can download now from the RV Lifestyle store.

At the top of every RVers bucket list, it is a place so majestic, so wild, and so big that it calls us to return, to explore, to get to know the diversity of its land and animals over and over again.

Everywhere you look are waterfalls, fast-moving rivers, geysers, sheer rock faces, towering lodgepole pines, all framed by mountains under the bright blue cloudless sky.

It’s spectacular for those who love the wilderness and getting up close and personal with it. When you are looking for awesome scenery at national parks in winter, Yellowstone has to go to the top of your list.

Winter brings a whole new level of bizarre and beautiful landscapes at Yellowstone as scalding geothermal features collide with single-digit winter air. Visitors also can glimpse frozen waterfalls, and watch the world’s most famous geyser with barely a soul in sight.

Check out the official Yellowstone webpage for more details.

An image of rime ice on trees near Canary Spring - Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone is another great National Parks in Winter location. This is Rime ice on trees near Canary Spring – Mammoth Hot Springs. Photo by Jim Peaco

Acadia National Park in Maine

In an average year, 5 feet of snow blanket Acadia’s evergreen forests and rocky headlands. As a result, the park’s scenic loop drive and winding carriage roads are transformed into a paradise for cross-country skiers and snowshoers. Adventurous types and early-risers can climb Cadillac Mountain to be the first in the country to catch the sunrise.

The Acadia Winter Festival usually is held in early February, where naturalists of all ages can participate in winter ecology hikes, birdhouse building, dutch oven cooking, and more.

We love Acadia National Park.

CLICK HERE to read our account of a family visit to Acadia

Saguaro National Park in Arizona

If you love autumn, consider Saguaro National Park, where daytime temperatures average a comfortable 65 degrees from November through March. Visitors can learn about desert-dwelling critters on a ranger-led nature walk, take in a stunning Sonoran sunset, or check out the park’s namesake cacti, which can grow to be more than 45 feet tall and age more than 200 years.

An image of Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park is a popular winter destination. Photo by Raychel Sanner on Unsplash

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado

The vertigo-inducing depths of this remote, rocky chasm in west-central Colorado take on a whole new dimension with snow involved. Adventurers will be happy to learn that from December through April, they can ski or snowshoe the six-mile South Rim Drive to peer from clifftops to the Gunnison River nearly 3,000 feet below.

CLICK HERE to read an account of our visit to Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks in California

Winter at Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks offers visitors a chance to hike in snow-dampened silence to the General Sherman Tree, which is among the world’s largest living things. Looking for more adventure? Park your RV and make the strenuous six mile-trek into the backcountry to overnight at the cozy Pear Lake Winter Hut.

EXTRAS: Want to visit these national parks in winter? CLICK HERE for what you need to know about winter camping.

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And here's a video we did on how to do winter camping the right way:


 

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7 Amazing National Parks in Winter

Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at RVLifestyle.com. He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.

1 Comment

  • I just ordered your Yellowstone packet even though we’ve been there 3 times. I love Yellowstone as you do and we’ll go back. But we are planning a whirlwind trip the end of March taking our granddaughter with us to see Mesa Verde National Park and the Native American cave dwellings. We have a short time to get there from CA, see the sights and get back for her school in 10 days. Do you have any recommendations of things to see and do in that area? Dinosaur bone digging would be fun but I think that’s further north in CO. Not sure what campgrounds will be open that time of year and during the Covid, either. Any suggestions will be helpful! Love reading your blogs when they hit my mailbox. Have a Happy Holiday season!

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Join the RV Lifestyle community!

Subscribe to the newsletter and get a free Packing List for your next trip + free perks, discounts and exclusive RV travel tips!



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