Best National Parks to Visit in the Spring
America’s national parks are some of the most beautiful natural places that one can find. As the weather warms up, spring can be the best time to visit these gorgeous places. Many parks don’t hit their busy season until the summer when schools let out. With most of these parks located in the southern states or deserts, spring also often provides some of the best temperatures. Here, we will discuss which national parks are ideal to visit in the spring, as well as where to stay in your RV and whether or not there are any nearby and open campgrounds during the spring months.
Located in sunny California, Yosemite is a top tourist destination from May through September. During those months, a reservation is required to enjoy almost anything, including driving into the park. Visiting during the spring can allow for the majority of the park to be accessed with much shorter wait times, but still perfect hiking weather. Some of the most cherished activities include hiking and camping, with scenic cliffs being some of the top attractions.
Yosemite has ten total campgrounds that can accommodate RVs. However, a few of them are only open during the summer. The rest are open year-round with all amenities available. Additionally, there are several incredible Harvest Hosts locations located within one hour of the park.
Also located in California, Joshua Tree National Park is much further south than Yosemite. Anyone who has visited southern California knows that things heat up pretty quickly between late April and early May. For this reason, early spring may just be the perfect time to check out Joshua Tree and to engage in a variety of outdoor activities. Hiking, biking, rock climbing, and stargazing are some of the top activities to enjoy here in the spring, as well as, of course, seeing the Joshua trees, of which the park is named after.
All of the campgrounds within Joshua Tree National Park allow RV camping. As with most national parks, there are different RV length limits for each of the campgrounds, so be sure to research those first when planning your trip. There are a few Harvest Hosts locations near Joshua Tree, and adding on Boondockers Welcome can maximize your nearby potential RV camping spots.
With an intimidating name like Death Valley National Park, many tourists have avoided this California park since its founding. However, tourism here continues to climb every year due to its hidden treasures, just waiting to be discovered. At -282 below sea level, this park sets the record as the lowest point in the US, while also maintaining record high temperatures, as well. Sightseeing, hiking, backcountry drives, and night explorations are some of the top activities to enjoy in Death Valley.
Furnace Creek Campground is open year round but requires reservations for any trips scheduled after mid-April. This campground offers numerous RV spots and even some spots with hookups. There are also a few Harvest Hosts locations nearby, and some nearby but just over the border in Nevada.
Zion National Park is located in Utah and remains many travelers’ favorite park. Spring is a prime time to visit this amazing park due to its temperate weather and avoidance of the flood season. The lush greenery speckled across awe-inspiring canyons and packed with rushing rivers will make any Zion trip completely unforgettable. This park is famous for its Angel’s Landing hike, which some visitors find scary due to the sheer cliffs and lack of handrails. However, the reward of the view at the end outweighs the journey to get there by a landslide.
The Watchman Campground is open year-round and is the only campground within the park that allows RVs. Luckily, there are also several nearby campgrounds outside of the park and even some Harvest Hosts locations within close proximity to the park.
Arches and Canyonlands
Most RVers have either been to Moab, Utah, at some point or have planned to visit sometime in the future. After all, it’s an outdoorsy paradise with gorgeous sandstone formations everywhere you look. The tiny town of Moab is also home to two incredible national parks: Arches and Canyonlands. Arches National Park offers stunning geological features such as sandstone arches, while Canyonlands offers sweeping vistas. Arches tends to be the busier of the two parks, but both are certainly worth visiting.
Between the available boondocking on BLM land and nearby campgrounds, the shortage of RV campgrounds in these park are hardly missed. While there are no Harvest Hosts locations directly in Moab, there are plenty along the way and in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Not nearly as popular as other Utah parks, Capitol Reef can be great to visit almost anytime of the year. However, spring allows for more optimal temperatures throughout this desert landscape. Hiking is one of the best ways to enjoy this park, allowing for close proximity to the petroglyphs, slot canyons, and landmarks.
Fruita Campground is the only developed campground within the park that also allows RVs. There are also several nearby campgrounds outside of the park, as well as plenty of opportunities for boondocking on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). At the time this article was written, there is only one nearby Harvest Hosts location, but there are also a few located en route to this park.
Great Sand Dunes
The great state of Colorado is home to four national parks, which includes Rocky Mountain and Great Sand Dunes. Of course the picturesque Rocky Mountains are stunning and unparalleled, but, due to the high elevation and amount of snow, this park is not as great to visit until the summer. However, Great Sand Dunes National Park is fantastic location to visit in the springtime. The park is home to the tallest sand dunes in North America towering at an impressive 775 feet. Sandboarding and sand sledding are unique once-in-a-lifetime activities to do here, along with stargazing at night. There are also plenty of hiking and backpacking opportunities.
While there are no RV campgrounds located inside the park, there are several amazing options found just outside of Great Sand Dunes. Additionally, there are a few Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome locations nearby, as well.
The famous Grand Canyon is often considered to be the destination for the quintessential American family road trip vacation. With a total of five million annual visitors, tourists from all around the world also flock to this national park in order to experience its beauty and greatness. With all of these visitors, many avoid going to the park. However, spring can be a great time to beat those crowds and still experience the beauty and majesty found here.
Surprisingly enough, there are four RV-friendly campgrounds in Grand Canyon National Park. Stayin in a park campground can be a great way to help combat crowd, allowing you to wake up early, already in close proximity to popular activities, and access the park before the bulk of visitors even arrive. There are also a few Harvest Hosts locations on the way to the Grand Canyon, which can serve as a great stopping point when going to or coming from the park.
Named for the saguaro cactus, Saguaro National Park is a desert paradise. The gorgeous, tall, and special saguaro cacti dot the landscape with an even more beautoful backdrop of scenic desert mountains. In this park, hiking is typically considered to the most popular activity, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with these towering, decades-old cactuses. Since the park is located in the Sonoran desert, spring is a great time to visit to avoid the scorching heat of the summer.
Unfortunately, there are no RV campgrounds in located within Saguaro National Park boundaries. However, since Saguaro is located within close proximity to Tucson, Arizona, there are ample campgrounds to choose from just outside of the park. That also means that there are a few Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome locations, as well as plenty of choices for boondocking sites.
Yellowstone National Park spans across three states, but mostly resides in Wyoming. Because of its uniqueness and grandeur, it happens to be one of the busiest national parks. However, the busy season doesn’t start until the summer, so spring is the perfect time to visit. The thermal geological features are the main highlights of the park, which include hot springs, mudpots, fumaroles, geysers, and more.
Because of its popularity, there are several RV campgrounds within the park and even more nearby to accommodate all of the tourists. There are also plenty of Harvest Hosts locations on the way to the park, as well as some boondocking options on nearby public lands. When visiting Yellowstone, consider also stopping at its nearby sister national park, Grand Teton.
As one of the largest national parks in North America, it may be true that things really are bigger in Texas. Big Bend National Park is teeming with scenic vistas and adventure jut waiting to be had. Here, you can find plenty of amazing hikes, scenic drives, and stargazing in this massive and incredible national park.
Within the park boundaries, there is one RV-friendly campground, which is owned by a third party and offers full hookups. There are also ample RV campgrounds surrounding the park. At the time this article was written, there are currently no Harvest Hosts near Big Bend National Park. However, there are a few Boondockers Welcome locations nearby.
Our last springtime national park stop takes us all the way up to snowy Alaska. Anyone lucky enough to visit Alaska in the spring should most definitely consider a trip to Glacier Bay National Park. This park is filled with picturesque glaciers that can be experienced by land or by boat.
Since there is no vehicle camping within the park (only tent camping is allowed),many RVers tend to stay at a nearby campground in Juneau, Alaska, and take the ferry into Glacier Bay. At the time this article was written, there are no Harvest Hosts locations near Juneau. However, there are a few Boondockers Welcome locations, and other Harvest Hosts locations located along the road to Alaska.
Visiting national parks offers one of the best ways to see the natural beauty of America. For many parks, the springtime can be an especially excellent time to visit. This is due to the lesser crowds and more comfortable temperatures. The best part about visiting a national park is that it can be the vacation destination itself or a fun stop along a lengthier road trip. Add any of these beautiful parks to your spring road trip itinerary for a trip you are sure to never forget and for family vacation memories that will last a lifetime.
Have you been to any of these parks? What was your favorite part? During which seasons have you visited? Tell us all about your national park travels in the comments below!
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Great list…but you forgot to add parks in the Eastern and Central and Southern regions. Please write another review for our area. Thanks.