Great National Park Destinations for Summer
Did you know the National Park Service is comprised of 423 national park sites across the United States and U.S. territories? That’s a lot of destinations to put on the bucket list, and while they all boast their own specialties, there are some that are perfectly suited for a summer visit. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite national parks below. Some you’ll recognize, and some are hidden gems – see what inspires your next trip down the road!
National parks in Alaska are, understandably, best visited in summer. While Glacier Bay National Park and Denali National Park and Preserve probably pop to mind when you think of our northernmost state, consider a trip to Kenai Fjords National Park. From June to September you’ll find perfect summer temperatures, wildflowers, easier access to the backcountry and so much more. Nearly 40 glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield, Kenai Fjords’ crowning feature.
You’ll find thriving wildlife and lush forests in the area. If you’re a fan of hiking, there aren’t a lot of maintained trails in the park, but the ones available boast beautiful scenery. You can also take a boat tour of the park, during which you’re likely to spot whales, puffins, bald eagles and more. There are other unique activities at Kenai Fjords, including an aerial adventure tour or a wilderness dog sled tour.
Summer is also a great time to visit Mount Rainier National Park, since much of the park is usually not accessible until June due to heavy winter snowfall. At 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier is an active volcano and an icon in the Washington landscape.
Known for being a true hiker’s paradise, Mount Rainier National Park has an abundance of wildflowers in the summer months, including an impressive array of subalpine wildflowers, offering up postcard-worthy photo opportunities. Whether you’re looking for waterfalls or a perfect place to view the sunrise, the park is home to a variety of exploration areas.
While you’re in the northwest, check out Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. A violent eruption 7,700 years ago triggered the collapse of a tall peak – now fed by rain and snow, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the U.S. and truly a unique sight.
Crater Lake is one of the snowiest places in the country, averaging 43 feet of snow per year, so it makes sense to plan a visit here in the heart of the summer. The famous rim road around the park is 33 miles long and typically opens in July. Featuring 30 roadside viewpoints, five picnic areas and access to hiking trails, the road is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace to take in all the beautiful sights along the way.
If you’re interested in volcanoes, check out Lassen Volcanic National Park in California. Somewhat of a hidden gem, the park is full of things to do during summer months. Lassen’s volcanic activity provides a unique look at the land’s geology and provides beautiful views.
Come in August for the Dark Sky Festival. Join nightly presentations and constellation viewing, hosted by professional astronomers. You can also bring your own telescopes for great viewing opportunities. During the day, summit the park’s namesake peak in a five-mile round-trip trail that doesn’t require any special skills and is well traveled.
Escape the summer heat at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. Here, more than 400 miles of caves have been explored so far. The cool, dark passages in the world’s longest cave system offer a nice getaway from hot temperatures. Rangers lead a variety of tours including the “Wild Cave Tour” where explorers will climb, crawl and squeeze through remote sections of caves.
There is a diverse variety of plant and animal life in the park, which includes rolling hills and deep river valleys. If you’re looking for aboveground activities, you can boat, canoe, kayak and fish.
There are plenty of other amazing national park destinations for summertime. Visit the National Parks Service website for the latest information and tips on many more destinations. And if you’re heading to a national park this summer, we’d love to share your journey – tag pictures from your RV road trip with us on Instagram or Facebook by using the hashtag #AXLhappycampers.
But before you go, be sure your RV is ready for the rigors of summertime road trips. It’s always best to check all RV components like fans and ACs before starting off on any road trip, to make sure you won’t have problems on the road. Afterall, warmer temperatures may be nice for outdoor activities, but excessive heat inside your RV can result in an utterly uncomfortable situation.
From Maxxair find covers for rooftop vents (Maxxair II) and high-powered fans (Fanmate) that permit their use in all weather conditions and when the RV is in motion. This helps prevent interior heat build-up and allows RVers to maintain cooling airflow no matter the exterior conditions.
For those with air conditioners on board, be sure your unit is ready to perform in summer heat. Because of increased demands on AC units during the summer, energy efficiency becomes a priority lest an overworked unit overloads your RV power system. Coleman-Mach now offers a soft start kit that can be installed into your existing Coleman-Mach air conditioner to reduce start-up power surges and lower overall power consumption. So, you can use your AC without worry on all your summertime travels.