This summer Americans are eager to get back out and see the gorgeous landscape of the USA. Many Americans will choose a domestic vacation this summer as opposed to traveling abroad. As a result, the US National Parks are expecting record numbers of visitors this year. The majority of the US National Parks will be open this spring but with modified operations and facilities schedules. Due to the increased demand this year, it is best to make a reservation for passes, camping and lodging as soon possible.
Below is a list of some of country’s most popular national parks and when and how to visit in 2021.
National Parks in the East
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park in Maine is open for 2021. Visitors must have online vehicle reservations for Cadillac Summit Road beginning May 26th until October 19th , Visitors must have a park entrance pass (weekly, annual, or lifetime pass) displayed on their windshields from May 1st to October 31st. The park entrance passes can be purchased online or in person at Hulls Cove Visitor Center.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Enjoy nature and wildlife at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Be sure to visit the must see Newfound Gap and Cades Cove. There is no entrance fee but there is a charge for camping and picnic areas. Reservations are required for camping and lodging and should be made as soon as possible.
Everglades National Park
Spend some time in the largest tropical wilderness in Florida this summer at Everglades National Park. Spend some time at Shark Valley or HM69 Missile Base, or do some boating and bird watching. Due to COVID-19, the park is currently under limited operations. Passes are available online or at Coe Visitor Center.
National Parts in Mountain Range
Yellowstone National Park
If you are looking to head out to Wyoming this summer to see Yellowstone, be sure to check the National Park website often for updates on closures. Reservations are not needed to enter the park, but you must have reservations for camping and lodging. These can be purchased online starting June 1st. The spectacular landmarks at the park such as Old Faithful and the Yellowstone Grand Canyon are waiting for your visit this summer.
Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park continues to stay open year round 24 hours a day. The facilities in the park are opening at various times, so it is best to check the website for the dates of these openings. Come out to see Jackson Hole National Monument and the abundance of wildlife and gorgeous mountains all around at Grand Teton National Park.
Rocky Mountain National Park
In northern Colorado, visit Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the highest national parks in the United States. Here you can’t miss a hike on Trail Ridge Road and see the magnificent view at Longs Peak which at 14,259 feet, is the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. In 2021, visitors enter the park with a time entry permit system. Reservations will be required to enter the park from May 28th until October 11th.
National Parks in the West
Redwood National Park
Just outside of San Francisco, see the massive forest at Redwood National Park. All outdoor areas of the park are currently open and ready for visitors. Enjoy the beautiful weather as you hike on James Irvine Trail to Fern Canyon and ride the trees of mystery. Entrance to the park is free, but reservations are needed for any of the nearby campgrounds and lodging. The opening times for the visitor centers and campgrounds vary by season, so check the website for the schedule.
Crater Lake National Park
In Oregon, take a drive on Crater Lake Rim Drive and see the spectacular views of Sinnott Memorial Overlook, Discovery Point and Devils Backbone, plus much more. Crater Lake National Park is open year round, but occasional road closures happen due to weather conditions. You can purchase a pre-paid park pass or pay the entry fees when you arrive.
Grand Canyon National Park
This park in Arizona is one of the most popular in the United States. Although in summer the weather is very hot and sunny, most visitors will no doubt flock to the park this year. Due to COVID-19, operations of the park will differ for the 2021 season. The North Rim will open for the season with gates reopening on May 15th. The South Rim remains open year round with modified shuttle services. Check the website often for updates and to purchase passes.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories