• Menu
  • Menu

9 Best National Parks to Escape Winter

We’ve ranked the 9 best national parks to escape winter in case you’re like us and dream of warm, sunny places each winter.

Best National Parks in Winter

virgin islands national park palm trees
Virgin Islands National Park | Best National Parks Winter

The holiday season is lovely and all, but very year come Winter we find ourselves pining for the days of warm Summer. Sure it’s nice to bundle up, sip warm hot cider, play in the snow, gather round a fire. But what if we want to go someplace where it is warm and sunny?

It turns out there’s a place for that. And it’s right here in your own backyard, the National Parks! We’ve ranked the 9 best national parks to escape winter in 2020. If you’re looking for the best parks to embrace winter for all it’s beauty you should check out our post, Best National Parks for Winter 2020.

Our Criteria

You’re probably wondering how exactly we chose to rank the 9 best national parks to escape winter. Well, we rated based on a few key factors:

  • Warmth & Sunshine – How warm is the park during the winter seasons and how much sun does it receive. This is probably the main factor in deciding our best winter escapes as it’s what we’re all looking for. Give us that sunshine and turn up that heat!
  • Location – The more exotic the better; make us think of anything other than cold. We’re thinking Mai Tais. With that being said, if it’s relatively easy to get to that’s going to score bonus points.
  • What’s Open – Many parks have facilities that close seasonally, especially during winter. We want parks where all the options are still on the table.

9. American Samoa National Park

american samoa national park
Best National Parks in Winter (Courtesy NPS) | American Samoa

Winter National Parks: American Samoa

Clocking in at number nine, American Samoa National Park is all the island beauty one could ever ask for. Palm trees, tropical waters, lush jungle foliage, and island beauty comprise this gem of a National Park. Located in the South Pacific, American Samoa is a once in a lifetime sort of Winter vacation.

One major downside, however, is cost. Getting to American Samoa from mainland America can run tourists anywhere from $1200 to $2500 per ticket!


8. Dry Tortugas National Park

dry tortugas national park best national parks to escape winter
Dry Tortugas National Park | Best National Parks Winter(Courtesy NPS)

Best Winter National Parks: Dry Tortugas National Park

Clocking in at number eight, Dry Tortugas National Park is a remote Florida park located in the keys. In fact, Dry Tortugas is only accessible by plane or boat so be sure to book reservations in advance prior to traveling, like way in advance.

Ferry tickets to the park book out six months in advance!

But don’t let that stop you from visiting the island destination. Camping out here is on many park-goers bucket list for good reason. The park has incredible snorkeling/underwater opportunities and historic Fort Jefferson.

RELATED: ALL of Florida’s National Parks Ranked


7. Biscayne National Park

biscayne national park best national parks to escape winter
Biscayne National Park (Courtesy NPS) | Best National Parks in Winter

Biscayne National Park

Clocking in at number seven, Biscayne National Park is another Florida park located near Miami. This is one of the most unique parks in the entire national park system as it is almost entirely water! Visitors to Biscayne can enjoy warm temperatures even in Winter with averages around 75 in January.

If you’re visiting Biscayne be sure to try and arrange a boat tour or have a game plan as to how to navigate this watery wonderland!


6. Everglades National Park

best national parks to escape winter
Courtesy NPS

Everglades National Park

Where better to escape the dreary winter months than Florida’s Everglades National Park! Nothing says warm weather quite like the American Alligator. Well, we think so anyway.

This park is almost always warm if not hot and has so much to explore. From kayaking through mangroves swamps, to gator-filled boardwalks, to wild fan boat rides through the beautiful coastal ecosystem this park is one-of-a-kind.


5. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Coming in at number five, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is located on the big island of Hawaii. It doesn’t get much better than Hawaii in the Winter. Warm temperatures with less humidity than Summer, long nights, beautiful sunsets, and fiery volcanic beauty comprise this stunning park.

Visitors to Hawai’i Volcanoes should read up on how the park has changed since the 2018 eruption. Activities include exploring Thurston Lava Tube, seeing the Kilauea Crater, driving the Chain of Craters Road and more!

RELATED: 10+ (JAW-DROPPING) Things to Do in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park


4. Saguaro National Park

sunset saguaro national park arizona
Winter National Parks | Saguaro National Park

Best National Parks in Winter: Saguaro National Park

If there’s one thing two things that southern Arizona has in abundance it’s sunshine and cacti, none more famous than the Saguaro whose namesake park (Saguaro National Park) is an excellent place to escape winter.

Sunsets here are worth the trip alone, seemingly lasting hours and filling up the sky with magnificent yellow, orange, and deep purple hues.

In the winter months, average high temperatures range in the mid 60s and sunshine is no stranger!


3. Haleakala National Park

Haleaka National Park

In the remote reaches of the island of Maui in the heart of the Pacific Ocean you will find this tropical paradise.

Here you can journey to the house of the sun and discover ancient volcanoes steeped in legend, rugged mountains, dense rainforests, hidden beaches, and the last wild home to spectacular wildlife.

The park is a feast for the eyes from the coast to the summit and is bound to leave you breathless (quite literally at the summit area).


2. Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Choosing between the top two best parks to escape winter was a really difficult task for us and could have gone either way but we decided to drop Death Valley at the number two spot this year. Situated in the Mojave Desert, Death Valley National Park is the hottest place on earth in Summer soaring to temperatures in the 130s! But winter in Death Valley is a different story altogether.

Average winter high temperatures are in the 70s in Death Valley National Park which makes for incredible adventure weather. Despite the morbid name this park has an unbelievable amount of things to see and do as the largest national park in the contiguous united states.


1. Virgin Islands National Park

francis bay from america hill ruins virgin islands national park st john
Best National Park in Winter | Virgin Islands

Virgin Islands National Park

Nothing quite says forget all your troubles (including cold weather) and relax like the island paradise that is Virgin Islands National Park. With average high temperatures in the 80s in the winter months, it’s nearly impossible to beat this park for a winter escape.

Beautiful white sand beaches, turquoise water, sea turtles, palm trees, abandoned ruins to explore, and more makes Virgin Islands National Park the best to escape winter.


Best National Parks in Winter: Our Conclusion

The holiday season is lovely and all, but very year come Winter we find ourselves pining for the days of warm Summer. Sure it’s nice to bundle up, sip warm hot cider, play in the snow, gather round a fire. But what if we want to go someplace where it is warm and sunny?

It turns out there’s a place for that. And it’s right here in your own backyard, the National Parks! We’ve ranked the 9 best national parks to escape winter in 2020. If you’re looking for the best parks to embrace winter for all it’s beauty you should check out our post, Best National Parks for Winter 2020.


The 9 Best Parks to Escape Winter 2020

  1. Virgin Islands National Park
  2. Death Valley National Park
  3. Haleakala National Park
  4. Saguaro National Park
  5. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
  6. Everglades National Park
  7. Biscayne National Park
  8. Dry Tortugas National Park
  9. American Samoa National Park
Will Pattiz

Co-founder of More Than Just Parks. Husband. Conservationist. Currently living in NYC.

View stories

Leave a Reply

error: Content is protected !!