If you're looking to get away from the hustle of the cities in the U.S., you might consider going to a national park. The National Park System in the country is made up of over 60 locations across the states, where people enjoy things like camping, hiking, stargazing, and more. Although these activities are typically done in warmer weather, there are plenty of things to do in the winter as well — so, we've rounded up some of the best national parks to visit in the winter.
In fact, the snow crunching under your boots at these national parks can be just as fun as camping under the summer moon. If you're looking to chill out at one this winter, you've got a few different options.
Here are the best national parks to visit in the winter.
Yosemite National Park, California
The website for Yosemite National Park in California has a whole winter activities section. You can get your heart pumping with things like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, ice skating, sledding, and more. And if you aren't the best at those kinds of sports, no problem. The park also offers lessons and equipment rentals. Taking part in any of these may be the most scenic way to get around the park and they are eco-friendly.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
The Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico is known for its limestone formations that have become a beautiful attraction to see over the years. Because the weather in the winter isn't too hot or too cold consistently, this is the perfect time of the year to see them.
There are guided tours, but you can also go on your own and even choose which trail you want to take. One of them takes you on a longer journey of about 1.5 hours to walk through. The shorter one is 45 minutes.
Death Valley National Park, California
Margherita and Nick of The Crowded Planet visited Death Valley in the winter. Although they noted some drawbacks to it, like there being fewer hours of sunlight and some things being closed, the positives "more than outweighed" all of them. For one, they enjoyed how quiet it was. And they say that the temperature in the park during that time of the year is "actually bearable."
As for what the park itself offers, Death Valley has beautiful sunrises and sunsets. With fewer hours during the day, you don't have to stay out as late to see the sun go down. Plus, with the snowfall, the dunes will be blanketed. Combine that with the stars overhead and there must be nothing else quite like it.
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska
If you're a fan of snow, you don't even have to wait until the winter months to take a trip to the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska. Snow falls in the area every month of the year. But if you're looking to see the Aurora Borealis, it's easiest to spot from November through March.
That said, if you visit in the winter, be careful. The weather in this park during the winter can be unpredictable — quickly rising waters and unexpected rainstorms are common.