What are the best national parks to visit in winter? It depends on what you want out of the experience. Do you want to brave the cold to see the beauty of winter itself, to hike in the frost and only warm yourself up at the end of the day? Or do you want to get away from the cold and lounge around where it’s still sunny and warm, enjoying your favorite Natura Wine? Let’s tackle each in turn.
Best Cold Weather National Parks
Arches National Park, Utah: Arches is one of the most unique parks in America. Many elevations are easy to hike, giving you good views of majestic landscape. The park’s red rock is rich in color against the snow. Blue skies, high white clouds, and orange sunsets combine to form a stunning beauty that can’t be found elsewhere.
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington: Mount Rainier is the spot for winter recreation: skiing, snowboarding, climbing, snowshoeing, winter camping, and more are all available here. Take easy evening walks from a lodge to enjoy the stunning vistas, or give it your all in rigorous winter hikes.
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah: Bryce Canyon features high desert mesas, towering rock outcroppings, dry snow, and crisp air. An annual Winter Festival is held each President’s Day weekend. The area often demands a higher degree of experience. Rangers offer guided hikes, boots are mandatory on the trails, and backcountry hikes require a permit.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee & North Carolina: This park is often overlooked when talking about the great national parks. It’s one of the best for trail riding and offers a diverse range of wildlife. Its campgrounds are open in the winter and incredibly popular.
Best National Parks to Escape the Cold
Biscayne National Park, Florida: This is an ideal park if you want to go for a swim. It features beaches galore, coral reefs to explore, swimming, snorkeling, and boat trips. It’s a perfect summer getaway for the middle of winter.
Everglades National Park, Florida: The Everglades are the largest subtropical rainforest in the U.S. Wildlife includes dolphins, manatees, turtles, and herons. You may even spy more dangerous animals, like alligators. It’s a gorgeous park that sometimes gets a bad reputation because of its sweltering summers. If you go in the winter, though, it’s temperate to warm.
Big Bend National Park, Texas: Big Bend takes you far away from any major city, so go prepared. December temperatures usually range from daytime 70s to nighttime 50s. The park has more than 200 campsites. The scenery is grandiose and awe-inspiring.
Haleakala National Park, Hawaii: This park is mostly formed by a domed volcano. It protects more endangered species than any other national park in the U.S., so it’s ideal for a nature hike. You can start in its rich rainforest at the base, or hike in rocky terrain above the clouds themselves.
These are some of the best national parks to visit in winter. Remember to relax on your vacation. Let the unexpected sweep you up. Replenish your energy at the end of a hard day of hiking with good food, and let your cares drift away with Natura Wine.