The 9 Best U.S. National Parks to Visit in August, Experts Say — Best Life (2022)

The month of August rounds out the summer travel season, arriving before the school year kicks off and cooler temperatures creep back in. If you're looking to book an outdoor adventure before the end of the season, consider a visit to one of the extraordinary U.S. national parks. Experts have specific recommendations for which parks to visit next month, and that might help you squeeze in a last-minute excursion. Read on to find out the nine best national parks that provide the ideal August vacation.

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The 9 Best U.S. National Parks to Visit in August, Experts Say — Best Life (1)

A less widely known stop, Voyageurs National Park is nestled up north in Minnesota, near the Canadian border. Several national parks are busiest during the summer, Kassidy Olson, writer for Kassidy's Journey, a travel blog about Minnesota, says—but that isn't a concern at Voyageurs.

"Voyageurs is really one of the best national parks to visit in August because it's not busy and there are awesome activities to check out during the summer," Olson explains. This park offers typical national park activities like hiking, kayaking, and canoeing, but Voyageurs sets itself apart, as nearly 40 percent of the park is covered by water, according to Olson, with some areas strictly accessible by boat.

And you may also want to seek out Voyageurs for optimal stargazing. "On a clear night, you might see the Milky Way above the park, which sees little light pollution and is peaceful at night," she adds.

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The 9 Best U.S. National Parks to Visit in August, Experts Say — Best Life (2)

Looking to head to the Pacific Northwest? Be sure to check out Olympic National Park in Washington. This is another park that you'll find to be less crowded in August, compared with those in the "top 10," Carly Brown, travel blogger and owner of Seek Out Serenity LLC, says. But thanks to all this park has to offer, it probably shouldclaim a spot among the elite.

"Along the Pacific coastal beaches in Olympic National Park, visitors are encouraged to explore the colorful marine life that exists within the tide pools, and August falls within the best time of year for this activity," Brown tellsBest Life. "Vibrant wildflowers in full bloom cover the mountainsides and valleys during the month of August as well."

And while you may be wary about the grey weather associated with this region, Brown dispels those fears. "The month of August offers the driest and sunniest climate for the year, allowing visitors to fully embrace all of the outdoor adventurers this park has to offer," she says.

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The 9 Best U.S. National Parks to Visit in August, Experts Say — Best Life (3)

One of the bigger names to make the list, Zion National Park in Utah is actually a great destination for the late summer months.

"It might seem counterintuitive to visit Zion in August because Utah can get pretty hot during the summer,"Taylor Beal, owner and author of the travel blog Traverse With Taylor, says. "However, this is the absolute best time to hike the Narrows, one of the most famous hikes in the United States."

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According to Beal, the water of the Narrows "is warm enough not to be frigid" in August, offering "a cool respite from the heat." Water is also a bit calmer, as this area can get choppy and flooded in the spring.

Not sure where you want to stay? Consider setting up camp. "What better way to spend a weekend in August than to hike in refreshing water all day long, and then enjoy the coolness of the night sky in the evening?" Beal asks.

The 9 Best U.S. National Parks to Visit in August, Experts Say — Best Life (4)

Frequently recommended by travel enthusiasts and bloggers alike is North Cascades National Park in Washington.

"This is one of the least visited national parks, but in my opinion, [it] is the prettiest park in the country,"Chantelle Kincy, owner and author of the Flannels or Flip Flops travel blog, tellsBest Life. Check out mountain peaks and over 300 glaciers at this sprawling park, which also provides different options to camp and magnificent views from the Diablo Lake Overlook.

According to Kincy, there are limited times to visit North Cascades, thanks to the heavy snowfall it experiences annually. "Snow often lingers into late summer, and comes early in the fall, making August one of the best time of year to experience all that the park has to offer," she explains.

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The 9 Best U.S. National Parks to Visit in August, Experts Say — Best Life (5)

If you're California dreamin', you might want to check out Redwood National Park next month. According toWill Pattiz, co-founder of the website More Than Just Parks, not only is Redwood significantly less crowded than other parks, but you can enjoy cooler weather beneath the shade of these enormous trees.

"While August is one of the hottest months in the country, Redwood National Park stays cool with high temperatures reaching the mid-70s," Pattiz says. This is particularly beneficial for families with youngsters, as they can explore the trails without running the risk of overheating.

And similar to Voyageurs National Park, Pattiz explains that Redwood offers incomparable views of the night sky. The park is "typically known for its foggy conditions," he says, but stargazing is optimal with clearer summer skies.

The 9 Best U.S. National Parks to Visit in August, Experts Say — Best Life (6)

Head to Glacier National Park in Montana this August and explore glacial lakes, peaks and valleys, and waterfalls. Many of these sites are only open and accessible in the summer, Sean Lau, founder of the travel and outdoor blog LiveOutLau, explains.

"August is a particularly good time to visit Glacier National Park because all the features of the park are open and the weather is least likely to interrupt your plans," Lau says. "Visitors can drive along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, hike along the continental divide at Logan Pass, and attempt some of the harder treks in the park without worrying about bad weather."

This park is another excellent option if you want to beat the heat, Alex Schnee, of Alex on the Map, tellsBest Life. "Glacier is cooler temperature-wise than most parks in the summer because of its higher elevation, and with its iconic views, you're certain to come home with some incredible photos," she says.

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The 9 Best U.S. National Parks to Visit in August, Experts Say — Best Life (7)

If you've been waiting to book your trip to Yosemite, you might want to consider setting a date in August. According to Michelle Steinhardt, founder of the luxury travel blog The Trav Nav, there are fewer visitors to Yosemite later in the summer.

"Visitors can enjoy the park highlights without jockeying for position on a trail or competing with one another over the best places to take an Instagram-worthy photo," Steinhardt says, adding that the weather is great for both hiking and exploring.

And if you're looking to take in a gorgeous California sunset, Jenny Ly, professional travel blogger and entrepreneur at Go Wanderly, recommends the Tunnel View, accessed via the southern entrance to the park.

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The 9 Best U.S. National Parks to Visit in August, Experts Say — Best Life (8)

This island is described as both "rugged" and "isolated," per the Isle Royale National Park website, and comes highly recommended for those looking to explore the Great Lakes region. Only accessible by ferry, seaplane, or watercraft, the park is a bit off the beaten path.

"Isle Royale is located in the middle of Lake Superior, so the weather is very unpredictable during much of the year,"Samantha Meabon, owner and creator of PA on Pause, explains. And as the park is only open from mid-April through October, planning a late-summer trip is ideal.

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"Since the best thing to do in this national park is explore the backcountry and camp, you'll want to visit during the best weather," Meabon says. Looking to check out the island's moose population? According to Meabon, August is a great time for a trip, as you'll be getting there before mating season begins in late September.

The 9 Best U.S. National Parks to Visit in August, Experts Say — Best Life (9)

Great Sand Dunes—officially designated a national park in 2004—is a perfect option for adventurers, according to Ly. And with the cool Colorado climate in the summer, consider visiting in August. "This national park offers a wide range of sand sledding and sandboarding activities," she says. "Additionally, it provides you with opportunities to go hiking, swimming, and ride a horse."

This park offers the tallest sand dunes in all of North America. And if you opt to visit on a moonless night, Great Sand Dunes is another go-to destination to see star-studded skies at Dark Sky Park.

FAQs

What is the best month to visit Glacier national park? ›

For most people, late June through mid-September is the best time to visit Glacier, because they want to drive the Going to the Sun Road, raft and fish the rivers, hike the trails, visit the backcountry Chalets, and explore several areas of the park, on both sides of the Continental Divide.

What is the number one most visited national park? ›

Top 10 national parks
  • Grand Canyon National Park: 4.53 million.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park: 4.43 million.
  • Acadia National Park: 4.06 million.
  • Grand Teton National Park: 3.88 million.
  • Yosemite National Park: 3.28 million.
  • Indiana Dunes National Park: 3.17 million.
  • Glacier National Park: 3.08 million.
Feb 16, 2022

Which is better Grand Canyon or Yellowstone? ›

So, if you're interested in seeing geysers, hot springs, and wildlife, then Yellowstone is the better. So, if you're looking for a place to hike, the Grand Canyon is your best bet. If you want to see some amazing geothermal features, then Yellowstone is the place for you.

What is the least popular national park? ›

1. Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska: America's least-visited national park contains no roads or trails. It's a true wilderness experience.

What are 7 national parks? ›

Seven National Parks in India
  • Jim Corbett National park, Uttrakhand. ...
  • Dudhwa National Park, Uttar Pradesh. ...
  • Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan. ...
  • Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal. ...
  • Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh. ...
  • Kaziranga National Park, Assam. ...
  • Greater Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh.

How crowded is Glacier National Park in August? ›

The summer also brings big crowds to places like Logan Pass, Lake McDonald, and Many Glacier. Approximately two-thirds of the park's roughly three million visitors each year come during the summer. July and August are the peak season for visiting Glacier National Park.

Is August a good time to go to Glacier? ›

The best time to visit Glacier National Park is in July and August. This is the peak season for visitors, with daytime temperatures averaging in the low 80s and nighttime temps dipping into the 40s (pack layers, as well as a good rain jacket).

Is Glacier National Park or Yellowstone better? ›

Which is better Yellowstone or Glacier? Glacier is much more rugged than Yellowstone. Hiking will demand much more physical ability and skill. The whole park is much higher than Yellowstone, so animals and plant life will be quite a bit different than what you find in Yellowstone.

What is the number one park in America? ›

Coming in at the top spot with a whopping 12.1 million visits, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the country's most-visited national park. Crossing North Carolina and Tennessee, this park is known for its wildlife, waterfalls, and fog-covered mountains.

Which is better Yosemite or Zion? ›

In 2018, Zion ranked fourth among America's most visited national parks, ahead of Yellowstone (fifth) and Yosemite (sixth). Only Great Smoky Mountains, the Grand Canyon and Rocky Mountain parks were more popular.

Is Yosemite or Yellowstone better? ›

The verdict: This is a tough one as both parks have magical waterfalls. Yellowstone gets an extra point as the waterfalls run all year round, whereas Yosemite's dry up in the summer leaving only a trickle. If you're looking for massive cascades that leave you speechless, Yosemite wins the prize.

What is the number one national park in the United States? ›

1. Grand Canyon National Park, AZ. As one of the top natural wonders of the world, this is also one of the most visited parks in America.

Which one is better Yellowstone or Yosemite? ›

The winner: The opportunities for wilderness adventure in Yellowstone are many, but Yosemite has it all, from gentle trails along the floor of the valley to spine-tingling ascents of its rock faces. Plus, Yosemite remains open to many activities through the winter, while Yellowstone goes into bear-like hibernation.

Is Yellowstone or Glacier National Park better? ›

Which is better Yellowstone or Glacier? Glacier is much more rugged than Yellowstone. Hiking will demand much more physical ability and skill. The whole park is much higher than Yellowstone, so animals and plant life will be quite a bit different than what you find in Yellowstone.

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