Spring is coming which means no more winter blues, blossoming flowers, and the perfect weather to get outside and explore. You might be considering a beach vacation for spring break, but what about a national park? A lot of parks reach their peak season in the spring when the wildlife is blooming. Start planning your trip now!
These 10 National Parks Are Incredible In The Spring
1. Joshua Tree National Park, California
Joshua Tree might seem like a just a stretch of desert, but during the spring, it's actually full of vitality. The Joshua Trees begin to bloom with large, creamy flowers in late February, and in April and May the cacti start bursting with their bright flowers. Spring is also the best season for birdwatching. Birds flock to the area to get ready to nest. They also love the weather. With temperatures reaching 85 degrees in the afternoon and 50 in the evenings, we like it too.
2. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Spring is all about new life, and Shenandoah National park comes alive with red maples and vibrant wildflowers. Choose either to take the scenic drive along Skyline Drive or explore the park by foot. Everywhere you look you'll see gorgeous plants or maybe a deer or migrating bird. Pink azaleas bloom in May and mountain laurel follows in June. You'll also have plenty of opportunities to go birdwatching, hiking, biking, and fishing.
3. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
Carlsbad Caverns is technically located over 700 feet below sea level holding a total of 116 caves and famous for protecting the 3rd and 7th largest cave chambers in the world. Explore giant rooms of limestone, cave pearls and underground lakes, and learn which ones are stalagmites and stalactites. Hint: stalagmites "mite" reach the top while stalactites hold "tite" to the ceiling. Spring is the perfect time to visit Carlsbad Caverns because the bats are especially present in April and May. You might see Mexican Free-tailed Bats emerge from caves in groups and fly up and counter-clockwise for up the three hours!
4. Redwood National Park, California
Redwood National Park is known for hosting the country's tallest trees, and if you come in the springtime you'll also see a forest of wildflowers and a whale sighting or two. Everything is in bloom and the forest is full of life. In April and May, the forest floor will be covered with violets, trilliums, and rhododendrons, and in early spring, migrating gray whales can be spotted along the coast. A visit in the spring also means avoiding the heat and crowds.
5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee & North Carolina
Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 800 miles of trails for walking, hiking, and mountain biking. What better way to celebrate the snow melting and temperatures rising? Maybe fishing and camping too. Spring brings over 1660 kinds of blooming wildflowers, more than any other national park in North America. Many of which can only be seen for a few months. A group of flowers known as spring ephemerals appear in early spring, flower, fruit, and die within a 2-month period. These include trilliums, orchids, violets, and iris, which bloom from February to April. Every year, the park also hosts the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, a week-long festival of programs and guided hikes that explore the life in the park.
6. Saguaro National Park, Arizona
The giant cacti that give Saguaro National Park its name are synonymous with the American West, but are actually only found in a small portion of the United States. They provide shelter and water for much of the wildlife in the park, and bring beautiful flowers in the spring. Other flowers of the desert are also in bloom like Mexican poppy, penstemons and marigolds. Even trees and shrubs are in bloom like creosote bushes and chollas.
7. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
This park is calm, serene, and the perfect place to enjoy the natural beauty of wildflowers and waterfalls. Hike to the 60-foot Brandywine Falls and then find a shady spot for a gorgeous afternoon picnic. Everywhere you look will be covered with green with the unmistakable titter of newborn animals. Spot animals on a nature hike, learn about the history of the area on a scenic train ride, or take a guided tour for birdwatching. If all of that isn't enough, the park is also great for camping, boating, canoeing, and horseback riding.
8. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
There's no doubt that Minnesota gets cold. That makes springtime especially welcome when the snow and ice melts away to reveal new growth and life. A third of Voyageurs National Park is made of water, so it's especially beautiful and accessible in the spring. Narrow waterways connecting the park's four main lakes open up for boaters to explore, and hiking enthusiasts can travel uncharted territories. Traditional campgrounds are available but why not try camping in a houseboat? That will be a unique experience your family will never forget!
9. Zion National Park, Utah
Zion is most popular in the summer, so spring is the perfect time to get in before the crowds. You'll be blown away by massive canyon walls stretching for miles into the sky. There are a variety of trails allowing you to explore the canyons and sandstone cliffs ranging from beginner to the most advanced. Even taking the free shuttle through the park and back is a great way to appreciate the park's beauty. Spring weather can be a little unpredictable in the spring, so check the weather reports for a rain-free day. Rainy days aren't all bad because the rain helps spring flowers bloom. Look up for a chance to see the canyon walls covered in hanging gardens of wildflowers.
10. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Alaska is home to some of the world's most stunning scenery, much of it still untouched by man. Glacier Bay National Park offers a rare glimpse of tidewater glaciers, deep fiords and freshwater lakes and rivers. Take a boat tour where your guide will point out marine life, or explore the rugged terrain by foot. Other activities include cruises, kayaking, hiking, backpacking, rafting, and mountaineering. Hike some of the least climbed mountains in the country or take a sea kayaking trip along the Alaskan coastline. It's sure to be an adventure like no other.
This article was written by Lauren Gaw.