Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends


Note: All travel is subject to frequently changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state and local advisories before scheduling trips. 

In light of the recent explosion of domestic travel and a renewed love of the great outdoors, Some National Parks enjoyed near record attendance this year. And the onset of winter doesn’t have to mean the end of exploring these natural wonders. So if you want to still get away in nature this season to check out snow-capped hoodoos or even plan a temporary snowbird getaway, look no further than these 10 superb National Parks that really shine winter.

RELATED: Take the quiz: How well do you know your National Parks?

Bryce Canyon, UT

Once described by its namesake pioneer as “a helluva place to lose a cow,” Bryce Canyon is absolutely magic anytime you visit. But the famous “hoodoo” spires that rise from the ground like living red rock take on a whole new look when topped with snow. It’s easily one of the most otherworldly parks in the nation, plus nearby accommodations are plentiful.

Yellowstone, WY

When Johnny Mathis first sang “Winter Wonderland,” he could have easily been talking about Yellowstone in winter. The valleys, lake, canyon, hot pools, and geysers are especially mesmerizing this time of year. Even better, the wildlife are extra active, and in winter the crowds are the lightest you’ll find all year-round. Find a place to cozy up nearby right here.

Carlsbad Caverns, NM

Want to be indoors for winter while still exploring nature? Look no further than Carlsbad, one of the largest caves in the world and one of the highest rated of any National Parks. At 56 degrees year round, the temperature is almost as nice as the scenery. Book your home base here.

Death Valley, CA

In summer, this is the hottest place on Earth and certifiably deadly during the day, at least without sufficient water and shade. In the winter, however, you can enjoy the surreal rocks, sprawling desert basins, and famous Titus Canyon without the extreme temperatures. Plus, you won’t have any problem finding a place close by to rest up.

ALSO: Orbitz Rewards treats you to Orbucks, good toward hotels—it’s free to join!

Dry Tortugas, FL

Only accessible by a two-hour boat from Key West, Dry Tortugas is undeniably one of the most remote National Parks in the lower 48. Once here, however, you can enjoy its famous fort, beaches, and coral reefs in midwinter temperatures that can reach 80 degrees. As a bonus, en route to Key West you’ll probably need to drive the bucket-list beautiful Overseas Highway.

Grand Canyon, AZ

Although more well-known for its stunning cliffs in summer, Grand Canyon is just as good in winter, if not better when you factor the fewest crowds in an otherwise crowded National Park. And just in case you didn’t know: Yes, it snows here, and it’s an inviting icing whenever it does. Look here to find a good deal on a hotel not too far away

Rocky Mountain, CO

Ask 10 people to name their favorite National Park in winter, and a lot of them will probably mention this one. Although parts of the park are closed for snow, you can still see some of the most scenic areas looking their best, such as Peak to Peak Drive, Emerald Lake, and Longs Peak. Stay in Estes Park for easy access and a wide variety of accommodations.

Saguaro, Arizona

This park’s most famous residents are alive anytime you visit, even if they never move. But the towering cacti appear even more spellbinding when dusted with snow. For the highest concentration of them, be sure to visit West Park, in addition to the East Park Visitor Center. Recover from your hike with some pampering at one of Tucson’s many rejuvenating resorts.

Everglades, Florida

If you want to experience America’s most famous wetlands with less sweating and fewer bugs, go during the winter “dry” season. Although winter is the most popular time to visit, you still won’t feel crowded and you’ll enjoy temps in the upper 70s. Go for the amazing marsh, stay for the wildlife. Find hotels for all budgets here.

Yosemite, California

Like Rocky Mountain National Park, parts of Yosemite are closed in winter. But if you can put up with select road closures and have four-wheel drive, you’ll be treated to a land of enchantment, serene valleys, and towering granite cliffs. Although always a tranquil valley, it is especially quiet in winter. Enjoy the silence, and then rest up at a nearby retreat.


Tagged: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Miami, National Parks, Southwest, Top 10 Lists, Utah, Wyoming

Note: Orbitz compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Blake Snow

Blake Snow

Blake writes for fancy publications and Fortune 500 companies as a seasoned writer-for-hire and energetic travel columnist. He lives in Provo, Utah with his loving family and loyal dog, and hopes to visit all seven continents someday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *