When to Visit US National Parks for Year-Round Summer Weather

Nowhere better exemplifies the spoils of sunnier climes than the national parks of the United States. Spanning across the country and showcasing a variety of landscapes, these parks are a nature-loving tourist's dream. Ideally, one would want to visit all the national parks, but winter storms and the gloom of short days and long, dark nights can dampen exploration spirits.

Jan 19, 2024, is supposed to be the gloomiest day of the year, dubbed "Blue Monday," and many of us are in the midst of Dry January, so let's plan some park visits for summer-like weather to brighten the month!

Here is a guide for a year of national park visits to see averages of 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit.


Virgin Islands National Park, USVI Average High/Low: 80°/78°

What to do: With temperatures averaging 80 degrees, Virgin Islands National Park is a paradise, with incredible white-sand beaches, clear water, and lush rainforest. You can spend time on Trunk Bay Beach and Cinnamon Bay Beach, visit Annaberg Plantation, hike Salt Pond Bay and Ramhead Trails, and make reservations to get out on the water with boating outfits.

Where to stay: There are options for accommodations on St. John in the park or stay in the larger St. Thomas and take the ferry to the park.


Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii Average High/Low: 78°/63°

What to do: Haleakala National Park on Maui is stunning and has plenty of hikes in its two districts to keep your heart pumping. But many people visit the park to witness sunrise or sunset atop the 10,023 ft summit. The third-largest volcano in Hawaii, the views are stunning. The drive to the summit is otherworldly, rising above the clouds, which must be on your bucket list. Reservations are necessary to enter the park for sunrise between 3 and 7 am, but sunset requires no reservations.

Where to stay: Haleakala is on Maui, with extensive lodging options. Campgrounds and historic cabins are available to rent inside the park.


American Samoa Average High/Low: 85°/74°

What to do: American Samoa is accessible by plane or ferry from Hawaii. This is an ideal time to visit for good weather and fewer crowds. The park is across four separate islands, so Ofu, Olosega, Tutuila, and Ta'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' if you have the time, visit another. Where to stay: Stay on the main island of Tutuila at Tradewinds Hotel or Sadie's By The Sea.


Big Bend National Park, Texas Average High/Low: 84°/56°

What to do: Big Bend National Park is large, with endless options. Hike Lost Mine Trail, Santa Elena Canyon Trail, and Boquillas Canyon Trail before soaking in Big Bend's Hot Springs. Drive or float the Rio Grande for a scenic drive. Where to say: Stay inside the park at Chisos Mountain Lodge or one of the park's four campgrounds. Stay outside the park at Terlingua Ranch Lodge or retro Airstreams at Tin Valley Retro Rentals.


Yosemite National Park, California Average High/Low: 73°/42°

What to do: There are nearly endless things to do in Yosemite, with many taking your breath away. May is still a bit hit or miss with the weather, so swimming may be out, but fewer crowds and more accessible accommodations should make up for it. Watch the sunset at Tunnel View, hike Bridalveil Falls, Mist Trail, and Mirror Lake Loop, visit the massive ancient Sequoias in one of the three groves in the park, and head to Hetch Hetchy to experience a different vibe. Where to stay: Camping and lodging are inside Yosemite, but book early. Sierra Sky Ranch in Oakhurst is a favorite.


Acadia National Park, Maine Average High/Low: 71°/49°

What to do: Acadia is well-known for its striking autumn foliage, but I enjoyed the park more during the summer. The long days and warm weather are perfect for hiking, biking, and even beaching. Hike The Beehive Loop Trail, Jordan Pond (before stopping at Jordan Pond House for popovers and maybe Prosecco), and Ocean Path Trail. Head to the summit of Cadillac Mountain (with a timed entry reservation), ideally for sunrise or sunset, before heading to the lesser-visited Schoody Peninsula. Where to say: Bar Harbor has many options, from camping, glamping, and resorts to bed and breakfasts. Stay at Under Canvas Acadia or The Elmhurst Inn, within walking distance to everything in