15 Best National Parks to Visit in July & Beat the Heat (2023)

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Check out this list of the best national parks to visit in July!

The summer months are the perfect time to get outside and explore the great outdoors! July is a particularly great month for campers, hikers, and outdoor lovers because it’s warm and there are no park closures.

Whether you’re looking for an adventure-filled weekend or a peaceful retreat into nature, these parks are sure to please. From coastal wonders to mountain escapes and everything in between, let’s explore which national parks should make your July vacation list!

Here are the best national parks to visit in July.

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Best National Parks to Visit in July

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Big sand dunes under a blue sky.

Great Sand Dunes National Park is one of the most unique national parks in the United States – and a great place to visit in July! Located in south-central Colorado, the park is home to the tallest sand dunes in North America!

The summer months bring warm temperatures perfect for spending time outdoors – whether you’re looking to explore pristine landscapes on foot or take in 360-degree views from atop one of the park’s most giant sand dunes.

July brings even more attractions: starry nights and clear skies for stargazing, fly fishing opportunities at Medano Creek, and an abundance of wildflowers blooming throughout the park.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable outdoor experience this summer, Great Sand Dunes National Park should be at the top of your list!

Kings Canyon National Park, California

A river rushing through a forest under a blue sky.

King’s Canyon National Park is a stunning landscape located in California. The park has an incredible variety of wildlife and vegetation, making it one of the best national parks to visit any time of year.

However, July is especially great for visiting King’s Canyon since the temperatures are still relatively mild, and there are plenty of activities to enjoy during your trip. The days in July are warm but not overly hot, allowing visitors to explore comfortably without getting overheated or sunburnt.

Be sure to not miss out on the popular General Grant Trail, an easy 0.7-mile trail that only takes about 15 minutes to complete. You’ll go through the beautiful Grant Grove, filled with sequoias.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

large amphitheater of red and orange hoodoos under a blue sky.

Bryce Canyon National Park, located in the scenic state of Utah, is undeniably one of the best national parks to visit in July! (There’s a reason that it’s our favorite park.)

This captivating park offers a unique and breathtaking landscape that is unlike any other, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Filled with glorious hoodoos and lesser visited than nearby Zion, it’s easy to see why locals love this park so much.

Bryce Canyon is renowned for its extraordinary hoodoos—tall, slender rock formations that create a surreal and otherworldly landscape. During July, the park offers extended daylight hours, allowing visitors to witness magnificent sunrises and sunsets that cast a warm, golden glow over the unique geological formations.

Plus, July is a prime time for camping and outdoor activities, and Bryce Canyon offers several campgrounds that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the park’s beauty. Whether you choose to camp under the starlit sky or relax in cozy accommodations, Bryce Canyon offers a range of options to suit every visitor’s preferences.

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Blue lake surrounded by mountains.

Crater Lake National Park in Oregon is a top choice for a July visit due to its stunning natural beauty, favorable weather conditions, and wide range of outdoor activities. The park’s main attraction, Crater Lake, is at its most vibrant and pristine during this time of year. The deep blue color of the lake against the backdrop of the surrounding cliffs creates a breathtaking sight.

July offers pleasant weather in Crater Lake National Park, making it an ideal time for outdoor adventures. Boating and fishing enthusiasts can take advantage of the calm waters and engage in recreational pursuits such as boat tours or fishing for trout. These activities allow visitors to immerse themselves in the tranquility of the lake and create unforgettable memories in this majestic setting.

Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

Blue lake with mountains around it.

Lassen Volcanic National Park is a great destination to visit in July for its unique landscapes, wildlife, and activities. Visitors will find a wide range of geological wonders including lava beds, lakes, and cinder cones that are sure to wow.

Finally, there are plenty of activities available at Lassen Volcanic National Park during the summer months. Campers can take advantage of multiple campsites spread throughout the park while day-hikers have their pick from miles of trails winding through lush forests and stunning landscapes.

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Aerial view of a blue lake in the middle of the forest.

Mount Rainier National Park in Washington is a stunning destination all year long, but summer months offer unique opportunities to experience the park. July is especially ideal as visitors can appreciate the region’s wildflower bloom along the many trails in the park.

The panoramic views of Mount Rainier from Sunrise Visitor Center are particularly majestic during this time of year and other treks in the area offer breathtaking scenes including waterfalls, meadows, and old-growth forests

With warm days, cool nights, and little chance of rain, July is an excellent month to take advantage of outdoor activities like camping, hiking, horseback riding, biking, or fishing at Mount Rainier National Park.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado

Small river running through a dark canyon.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a great destination for July, offering a wide range of activities and attractions. With its unique geologic features, the park is a great place to explore the forces of nature that shaped it.

There are various trails to explore, from easy walks along the rim to more difficult climbs down into the depths of the canyon itself. If you’re anything like us, when you visit this park, you’ll be in absolute awe of its beauty… it’s unlike any other national park out there and isn’t super far from the city of Denver.


Where should you travel next?

Acadia National Park, Maine

Aerial view of waves crashing up against the beach.

Acadia National Park has a lot to offer during the month of July. Its beautiful coastal views make it a perfect destination for anyone who loves nature and spending time outdoors.

The area is full of exciting activities, from exploring its trails on foot and bike to kayaking along its shoreline and taking in stunning sunsets. Don’t forget about the diverse wildlife that can be seen from various spots throughout the park.

As New England’s only national park, if you make your way out here in summer, you’ll truly be rewarded.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Calm lake surrounded by forested trees.

It’s no wonder why Grand Teton in Wyoming is a favorite amongst nature lovers. The park boasts some of the best hiking trails in the country, with many of them featuring stunning lake views and incredible panoramic vistas.

If you’re heading to Grand Teton in July, don’t miss out on the opportunity to take part in one of the park’s ranger-led programs – they’re a great way to explore the area and learn more about its natural history.

July is also an ideal time for wildlife viewing – visitors may be lucky enough to spot elk or even bison roaming the grasslands. And if you’re looking for something different than a hike, try out some of the park’s other activities such as horseback riding, fishing, and kayaking!

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North Cascades National Park, Washington

A mountain with snow stands behind a calm lake.

North Cascades National Park is a true gem in the US National Park system. With its vast and rugged mountain ranges, diverse alpine meadows, and over 300 glaciers, it’s no wonder why North Cascades has been dubbed as one of the most spectacular wilderness areas in the United States.

July is an especially wonderful time to visit North Cascades National Park. The days are long and warm. The wildflowers are in full bloom, which makes for an even cooler landscape. And due to higher elevations throughout the park, July provides respite from the sweltering summer heat found in neighboring cities like Seattle and Vancouver.

Redwood National and State Parks, California

An empty road leads through a forest of tall trees.

Situated along the coast in California, Redwood National, and State Parks is home to some of Earth’s tallest trees. This park is popular all year round, but visiting in summer is truly wonderful thanks to the coastal weather.

Fun things to do at the park include going on scenic drives, spending a night in the campground, or even going on a breathtaking walk or hike throughout the park. Many of the state parks also have great sights, like Fern Canyon at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

An icy mountain is reflected on a calm blue ocean.

Kenai Fjords National Park is an incredible place to visit in July. With its breathtaking glaciers, abundant wildlife, and stunning views of the ocean and mountains, you’ll never forget your time here.

Not only is it one of the best places for whale watching, but it has some of the best hiking trails and camping spots in all of Alaska. Enjoy a stroll along the beach as you take in the beauty of this unique park.

From kayaking around icebergs to exploring, there’s an adventure here for everyone. And if you want to get away from civilization entirely, you can book a tour down Resurrection Bay where you’ll witness some of nature’s most stunning creations up close.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

People relaxing on rocks near a turquoise lake.

Rocky Mountain National Park is an excellent destination for travelers in July for many reasons. The park’s high elevation provides cooler temperatures during the summer months, making it a welcome respite from the heat, surprisingly.

Additionally, its array of trails, lakes, and rivers offers numerous activities and adventures to explore. From fishing to hiking up to one of the park’s many peaks like Longs Peak or Mount Ida, there is something for everyone.

Plus, seeing amazing wildlife like elk or bighorn sheep is a common occurrence – if you’re lucky! While it can be crowded on weekends and holidays due to its popularity, it’s easy to find more remote areas with fewer people if you’re looking for peace and quiet.

Our fave tip is to get there super early. Remember that otherwise you will be around more people and will have to get a timed entry pass.

Channel Islands National Park, California

Close up of a dolphin in the water.

Channel Islands National Park is an ideal place to visit in July for a number of reasons. First, the park has excellent weather conditions during this time of year. Temperatures are mild and sunny, with very little chance of rain. This makes it perfect for exploring the park’s many beaches and hiking trails.

Additionally, July is the prime whale-watching season at Channel Islands National Park. With its stunning scenery, diverse wildlife, and incredible recreational opportunities, Channel Islands National Park is one of the best places to visit in July!

Glacier National Park, Montana

A blue river goes through a mountainous landscape under a blue sky.

Glacier National Park is an incredible destination for adventuring in July. This park gives visitors the opportunity to experience the beauty of nature while surrounded by some of the most majestic landscapes in Montana.

The warm summer months provide ample opportunities to hike, bike, and fish – all while appreciating the natural wonders that make up this enchanting national park. In addition, July is often when a variety of wildflowers bloom in the meadows throughout Glacier National Park.

Final Thoughts: Best National Parks to Visit in July

The summer months are the perfect time to visit national parks, as the days are longer. Whether you’re looking for a family holiday or an adventure getaway, there’s something for everyone.

No matter what kind of experience you’re looking for, a trip to a national park in July is sure to create lasting memories.

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