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9 Finest Nationwide Parks to Go to in December » Native Adventurer


In search of the most effective nationwide parks to go to in December?

Since we stay within the Southwest, December is the right time to discover close by Nationwide Parks. Some parks within the US flip into winter wonderlands, whereas others are lastly bearable with cooler temps. Minus the vacations, you additionally get to benefit from the parks with fewer crowds.

9 Best National Parks to Visit in DecemberPin

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Final Up to date: November 10, 2022

Earlier than we get into it, we wish to remind everybody to discover the parks responsibly utilizing the 7 Depart no Hint Ideas. Have a plan, keep on established trails, perform something you carry in, go away what you discover, decrease campfire influence, respect wildlife, and be thoughtful of others.

In regards to the Nationwide Park by month Collection

To place collectively this listing, we’ve mixed our private experiences and ideas we gathered from locals and cross-referenced them with the climate, accessibility, native boards, seasonal points of interest like fall foliage or wildflowers, and particular occasions taking place within the space. We additionally thought-about any distinctive adventures solely supplied at sure instances of the yr to search out essentially the most optimum months to go to every Nationwide Park. Phew! that was so much!

It took me an entire week of analysis, however since I’m a maximizer, it was price having a year-round calendar of adventures (publishing that quickly!). Additionally, try our full listing of all of the nationwide parks and nationwide park items that embrace soon-to-be nationwide parks.

We additionally selected to depart out the hardest-to-access nationwide parks on this sequence.

Nationwide Parks By Month – Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec | Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | Might | Jun | Jul

Is December a Good Time to Go to Nationwide Parks?

Sure! Although summer season is the preferred time to journey, and fall often has the right temps, sure nationwide parks are perfect for visiting in December.

Plan on visiting greater than two nationwide parks this yr? Decide up an America the Lovely annual go to save cash (entrance charges to every park are, on common, $30-35 per car). Plus, you might be serving to assist the Parks that at all times want funding.

19 Finest Nationwide Parks to Go to in December

To Escape the Chilly

1. Biscayne Nationwide Park, Florida

9700 SW 328th St, Homestead, FL 33033, map

Common Temperatures: 68°F / 62°F

Why Go to: The perfect climate in Biscayne Nationwide Park begins in December, which is able to make it busier, however the delicate temperatures are price it. Since 95% of the park is within the water, get able to spend time in a ship or the water. Don’t overlook to look out for manatees!

Finest For / High Actions: Swimming, Snorkeling, Fishing, Mountaineering

Don’t Miss:

  • To Do – Boca Chita Key, Fowey Rocks Lighthouse, Snorkeling, Jones Lagoon
  • Wildlife – Sea Turtles, Manatees, Spiny Lobster, Snapper, Grouper
  • What number of days do you want? 2-3

Professional Tip: 90% of tourists enter the park by way of boat, so plan accordingly!

See Associated – 7 Outstanding Issues to Do in Key West Florida

Biscayne National Parks in FloridaPin

2. Everglades Nationwide Park, Florida

40001 State Hwy 9336, Homestead, FL 33034, map

Common Temperatures: 78°F / 60°F

Why Go to: December is the dry season in Everglades Nationwide Park. You get cooler temps, and also you’ll discover fewer mosquitos, and wildlife might be extra energetic and ample.

Finest For / High Actions: Boating, Tenting, Kayaking, Bicycling, Fishing, Mountaineering, Excursions

Don’t Miss:

  • To Do – Shark Valley, Anhinga Path, Eco Pond, Snake Bight, 9 Mile Pond
  • Wildlife – Alligators, Raccoons, Opossums, Bobcats, Grey Fox, Leopard Frogs, Roseate Spoonbill, Manatee
  • What number of days do you want? 2-3

Professional Tip: Since visiting through the dry season is standard, make superior reservations for tenting, lodging, and excursions.

See Associated – 7 Enjoyable Issues to Do in Sarasota Florida

things to do in everglades national parkPin

For the Cooler Temps

3. Demise Valley Nationwide Park, California

36.4799715,-118.1707461, map

Common Temperatures: 65°F / 39°F

Why Go to: Possibly it’s as a result of we get sufficient of the scorching warmth in Vegas, however I cannot contact Demise Valley till winter. December is among the finest instances to go to Demise Valley, with heat temperatures through the day for hikes. At night time, temperatures drop considerably, so pack layers. It’s the desert manner.

Finest For / High Actions: Hikers, Backpackers, Scenic Drive, Images

Don’t Miss:

Professional Tip: The park is gigantic. We had been stunned at how lengthy it took to drive from one spot to the subsequent. Give your self loads of journey time. Additionally, remember that the times are shorter in December.

See Associated – 15 Unbelievable Issues to Do in Demise Valley Nationwide Park

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes in Death ValleyPin

4. Joshua Tree Nationwide Park, California

6554 Park Blvd, Joshua Tree, CA 92252, map

Common Temperatures: 61°F / 37°F

Why Go to: We love Joshua Tree in December for the climbing. For many who don’t climb, it’s nonetheless a good time to get photographs of Joshua timber, rock piles, and epic sunsets. There isn’t as a lot to do on this park should you’re not into climbing, nevertheless it’s price visiting not less than as soon as. When the temps drop at night time, it’s good for sitting across the campfire in case you are fortunate sufficient to get a tenting spot.

Finest For / High Actions: Mountaineering, Backpacking, Stargazing, Tenting, Scenic Drives, Climbing

Don’t Miss:

  • To Do – Arch Rock, Cholla Cactus Backyard, Halls of Horror, Cranium Rock
  • Wildlife – Bobcat, Mountain Lion, Coyote, Grey Fox, Desert Equipment Fox, Black Bear, Bighorn Sheep, Desert Cottontail
  • What number of days do you want? 1 or 2-3 should you climb

Professional Tip: The park will get busier through the cooler seasons, so guide your web site early should you’re hoping to camp.

See Associated – 11 Superb Issues to Do in Joshua Tree Nationwide Park

Belle Campground Joshua TreePin

5. Mammoth Cave Nationwide Park, Kentucky

37.1879181,-86.1028107, map

Common Temperatures: 49°F / 38°F

Why Go to: Winter is the off-season at Mammoth Cave, making December the most effective time to keep away from crowds. The cave stays the identical temperature year-round (54° F or 12 °C). You’ll get to discover the caves in smaller teams. Will probably be chilly should you plan on exploring any floor trails, however if in case you have the suitable gear, you’ll be good to go.

Finest For / High Actions: Mountaineering, Bicycling, Cave Excursions, Kayaking

Don’t Miss:

  • To Do – Mammoth Cave, Doyel Valley Overlook, Sundown Level, Inexperienced River
  • Wildlife – Bats, White-Tailed Deer, Coyote, Black Bear
  • What number of days do you want? 1-3

Native Tip: They provide fewer cave excursions through the winter however don’t guide up shortly like they do in the summertime.

See Associated – Full Nationwide Parks Listing by State


6. Saguaro Nationwide Park, Arizona

2700 N Kinney Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743, map

Common Temperatures: 65°F / 39°F

Why Go to: Cool days make December among the best instances to discover Saguaro Nationwide Park. Should you go to in early December, the crowds are manageable, however the park’s busiest time is between Christmas and New 12 months.

Finest For / High Actions: Mountaineering, Scenic Drive, Images, Tenting, Ranger Applications

Don’t Miss:

  • To Do – Valley View Overlook Path, Cactus Forest Drive, Bajada Loop Drive, Sign Hill Path, Desert Museum
  • Wildlife – Bats, Bobcats, Javelina, Mountain Lions, Grey Fox, Coyotes, Ringtail
  • What number of days do you want? 1-3

Native Tip: The park has an East and West portion separated by town (roughly 30-45 minutes). Whenever you plan your journey, take note of the place every path is.

See Associated – 11 Lovely Issues to Do in Saguaro Nationwide Park

Saguaro Cactus in Sunset + 11 Beautiful Things to Do in Saguaro National Park ArizonaPin

7. White Sands Nationwide Park, New Mexico

19955 US-70, Alamogordo, NM 88310, map

Common Temperatures: 57°F / 22°F

Why Go to: December is a superb time to go to White Sands Nationwide Park because it’s a a lot quieter time of yr. You may even camp underneath the celebs however be ready with cold-weather tenting gear since temperatures are freezing at night time.

Finest For / High Actions: Mountaineering, Bicycling, Backcountry Tenting, Images, Stargazing, Sledding

Don’t Miss:

  • To Do – Sledding, Dune Life Nature Path, Alkali Flat Path, Playa Path
  • Wildlife – American Badger, Apache Pocket Mouse, Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Bobcat, Coyote, Equipment Fox
  • What number of days do you want? 1-2

Native Tip: Preserve your eye on path markers once you’re climbing. It could actually get disorienting in a short time. We discovered our manner again utilizing the path of the solar setting. It additionally helps to obtain an offline model of google maps of the world.

See Associated – 5 Unbelievable Issues to Do at White Sands Nationwide Park

Popular White Sands in New MexicoPin

For Winter Actions

8. Nice Sand Dunes Nationwide Park, Colorado

11999 CO-150, Mosca, CO 81146, map

Common Temperatures: 36°F / 12°F

Why Go to: We have to return to see the good dunes lined in snow through the winter. The park utterly transforms, and as an alternative of sandboarding, you’ll be able to sled or snowboard on the dunes. Snow usually falls as soon as per week on the dunes and mountains in December.

Finest For / High Actions: Mountaineering, Sand Boarding, Off-Roading, Stargazing, Images

Don’t Miss:

  • To Do – Excessive Dune, Sand Boarding, Medano Creek, Zapata Falls
  • Wildlife – Mule Deer, Ord’s Kangaroo Rats, Black Bears, Abert’s Squirrels, Pronghorn, Pikas, Elk
  • What number of days do you want? 1-3

Professional Tip: Though it snows as soon as per week, they clear the roads shortly. Plan your visits through the afternoon for the warmest climate.

See Associated – 9 Issues You Can’t Miss at Nice Sand Dunes Nationwide Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park SandboardingPin

9. Acadia Nationwide Park, Maine

25 Customer Heart Rd, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, map

Common Temperatures: 34°F / 14°F

Why Go to: Should you love having a Nationwide Park to your self, December is the time to go. The frigid climate retains folks away, however so long as you gown appropriately, it’s a incredible time to discover. You can also get pleasure from winter actions like snowshoeing or cross-country snowboarding.

Finest For / High Actions: Scenic Drive, Mountaineering, Snowshoeing, Snowboarding, Snowmobiling

Don’t Miss:

  • To Do – Ocean Drive, Jordan Pond Highway, Thunder Gap, Sand Seaside, Beehive, Cadillac North Ridge Path
  • Wildlife – Moose, Whitetail Deer, Beavers, Seals, Harbor Porpoises
  • What number of days do you want? 1-3

Professional Tip: Customer Facilities might be closed through the winter, however they do share customer hours with the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce. Examine what’s open earlier than visiting because the park is extra restricted.

See Associated – 15 Breathtaking Issues to Do in Acadia Nationwide Park

Acadia National Park Things to DoPin

Map of the Finest Nationwide Parks to Go to in December

Need to See Extra NATIONAL Parks to Go to in December?

Should you’re a nationwide park lover like us and have completed most of the above, listed below are some extra concepts for Nationwide Parks to go to in December. Whereas December is probably not essentially the most superb month of the yr to go to these parks, it’s nonetheless worthwhile.

Suggestions for Visiting the Finest Nationwide Parks in December

  • Discover the parks responsibly utilizing Depart no Hint rules. Keep on established trails, perform something you carry in, and so forth.
  • Decide up the Nationwide Park Annual Move should you plan on visiting a number of parks throughout the yr. It saves you some huge cash.
  • It’s at all times a good suggestion to pack layers wherever you go. Some parks are heat through the day and funky at night time. Take note of the elevation change too! Some parks might be heat on the valley flooring and chilly at greater elevations.
  • You might want a reservation. See nationwide parks that now require reservations right here.
  • All the time examine the park’s web site and Guests Heart for essentially the most up-to-date info on closures.
  • Do not forget that wildlife is wild. Be accustomed to tips on how to work together with animals and the way a lot area it’s best to have between you and them.
Balcony House Tour, Mesa Verde National Park COPin

What to Pack

How you’ll pack is dependent upon which park you go to and the actions you propose, however here’s a basic information on objects we at all times attempt to pack.

Wanna know what to put on on the airport? These are my airport outfits.


Are nationwide parks crowded in December?

December is among the finest instances to go to a majority of Nationwide Parks as a result of they’re much less crowded than in the summertime, however a choose few get busier in the event that they’re unbearably sizzling in the summertime.

What time of yr is finest to go to nationwide parks?

September and October are typically the most effective instances to go to since most parks are much less crowded, however this is dependent upon the area or particular actions like leaf-peeping. Plus, it’s often cheaper, the climate is delicate, and the animals are extra energetic.

What nationwide park is finest to go to in December?

We simply made a listing of this! Test it out right here.

What’s the finest nationwide park to go to within the winter?

All of the parks on this listing are good for one purpose or one other, however our vote goes to Demise Valley Nationwide Park for its variety within the panorama and climate.

What’s Zion like in December?

Chilly and moist! Temperatures are usually 50-60°F through the day and nicely under freezing at night time. Half of the annual precipitation in Zion falls between December and March.

How is Yellowstone in December?

Yellowstone in December is chilly and snowy. The park additionally has restricted entry, which takes extra planning.

What’s Yosemite like in December?

The excessive nation is closed for the winter, however you’ll be able to nonetheless go to Yosemite Valley. It’s usually chilly and snowy, however sunny and hotter days occur too.

Is Glacier park open in December?

Glacier Nationwide Park is open all yr, however some trails and parts of the park are closed, together with Going-to-the-Solar Highway and Logan Move.

How sizzling is Grand Canyon in December?

On the South Rim, the highs are often round 45 levels Fahrenheit, and the lows are about 18.

Are you able to consider others that belong on this listing of finest nationwide parks to go to in December? Which of them are we lacking?




“Discovery consists not of in search of new lands however in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust



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