One of the best things about winter is getting some time off in December. If you’re looking to spend your winter vacation outdoors, here are 10 national parks to visit in December!
Arches National Park
Arches National Park is a great park to visit regardless of the weather. Snow looks magical falling on the Arches, and warmer weather gives you a great opportunity to go for a hike.
With unique rock formations and iconic arches, it offers beautiful views like the Balanced Rock, Windows Arches, and Turret Arch. If you enjoy hiking, the Devils Garden provides you with a chance to see eight arches in one hike!
Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is made up of districts. To escape the cold, you can stick to the Needles district and go hiking. It is typically less crowded and includes zebra-striped sandstone spires to observe!
While the Island in the Sky district is located at a higher elevation, it’s a lovely sight with snowfall. It also offers the Mesa Arch, Upheaval Dome, and many other beautiful views.
Capitol Reef National Park
The Capitol Reef National Park offers a wonderfully scenic drive. In fact, most people drive through it to take in the sights. However, venturing farther has its benefits, such as hiking trails and impressive views as well as historical landmarks!
Virgin Islands National Park
For warmer weather, the Virgin Islands National Park is perfect. It’s located in the US Virgin Islands and offers a warm beach destination for you to enjoy.
Whether you’re relaxing on a beautiful beach, sipping cocktails, checking out sea turtles, or going for a hike, this park is a getaway unlike any other. While December is busy, the warm weather is well worth it to go snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking.
Biscayne National Park
Protecting one of the largest reef systems in the world, Biscayne National Park is best explored by boat. Cruising around, you can enjoy warmer weather activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming, making this another great option in December if you’re not a fan of the cold.
Everglades National Park
As one of the largest national parks in the United States, the Everglades is a great park to visit for shorter hiking trails. You can get in touch with your wild side by observing the wildlife, such as manatees and crocodiles. The Everglades also offer a chance to go on an airboat ride!
Zion National Park
In early December, Zion National Park is usually pretty quiet, allowing you to fully enjoy it. December is also one of the three months you can drive on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive in your own car! Low visitation also means it’s a lot easier to get a permit to hike Angels Landing.
Grand Canyon National Park
One of the more popular parks, the Grand Canyon National Park, is a great choice for December. An already magical place, the Grand Canyon receives an added layer of magic during snowfall and sunrise.
With the South Rim viewpoints and hiking trails like the South Kaibab Trail and the Bright Angel Trail, you can spend hours enjoying this park and experiencing all of the special things it has to offer.
Death Valley National Park
Don’t let the name fool you — Death Valley National Park is gorgeous. With barren salt flats, towering mountains, sailing stones, sand dunes, rainbow-colored mountains, and canyons, Death Valley National Park is not a park to miss.
Visit Racetrack Playa to learn how boulders slide across the desert. Stand on the United States’ lowest point at Badwater Basin. Hike on hills made out of borax. Slide down sand dunes. The possibilities are endless here.
Dry Tortugas National Park
While most of this park is made up of water, it also houses coral reefs, bird nesting grounds, and Fort Jefferson! You can enjoy an empty beach or go snorkeling or swimming, but Loggerhead Key also offers opportunities to go camping and kayaking.
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