According to the U.S. National Park Service website, “The National Park Service was established on August 25, 1916. The United States was the first country in the world to set aside its most significant places as national parks so that they could be enjoyed by all. Today, we care for 401 national parks throughout the country – each one an important part of our collective identity. Some parks commemorate notable people and achievements, others conserve magnificent landscapes and natural wonders, and all provide a place to have fun and learn something.”
August 25th 2014 is National Park Service Birthday, and only 133 of our 401 National Parks usually charge an entry fee, but on this day they will ALL be free! What a wonderful way to have some fun, enjoy some family time, relax, and learn about our nation and our great outdoors! Homeaway.com has released their list of the five best National Parks to visit in August. It’s no surprise that some of the most popular parks made the list, but there are also a couple you may not be as familiar with. So if you’re planning on heading out this August to hit the road for some family travels, make sure you try to hit one of these parks if you can! Don’t forget to share your stories and/or photos with us here, or on our Facebook page. We love to hear from our RV’ing friends!
Yosemite National Park, California
One of the most breathtaking places in the country (or the world, in fact), Yosemite National Park must be on the list of best national parks to visit in August. The weather in Yosemite in August is ideal for a relaxed outdoor vacation. With so many spectacular views that beg to be hiked or photographed, you can easily spend days just to get to all of them. There are many vacation rentals in Yosemite National Park itself, or outside the park in towns like Groveland.
Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier National Park is humming in August. The weather is ideal for all outdoor activities, the rivers are flowing at their peak and the forests are alive with wildlife. August is the best month for horseback riding in the mountains. Swan Mountain Outfitters in West Glacier offers half day, two hour and one hour excursions on which you can explore the lower trails winding through the lodgepole pine and aspen forests. In August, the rivers of Glacier are at their warmest, which, to be honest, is not really warm. However, they provide whitewater rafting for families and adventurists, so don’t miss stopping in at the Glacier Outdoor Center to book a trip with the Glacier Raft Company .
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Majestic Grand Teton National Park is one of the best national parks to visit in August. The rugged peaks rising up in the brilliant Wyoming sun simply take your breath away, the flowers in the mountain meadows bloom in August and the park has some of the finest hiking trails in the country. The best hiking trails in Grand Teton National Park are around Jenny Lake , where the wildlife abounds. One of the easy hikes is the Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point Trail that you reach by taking a boat across Jenny Lake. For more of a challenge, if you push into the high mountains to Surprise Lake and Amphitheatre Lake you will get your exercise. Another more difficult hike is the Cascade Canyon Trail , the most popular in the park. You reach it by crossing Jenny Lake as well.
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
In August, the temperatures in Colorado Sand Dunes National Park, the country’s newest National Park, begin to lower to a more tolerable level, but it is still good to get out early if you want to go sand sledding or sandboarding. Before you go to the park, get your sledding gear at Kristi Mountain Sports in Alamosa. They have a variety of sandboards and sleds for rent at a very reasonable price. Hiking, swimming and horseback riding in the park are at their peak in August. You can arrange for a guided horseback ride in the park by contacting Rocky Mountain Horseback Adventures in Alamosa or the Zapata Ranch in Mosca. Zapata Ranch, owned by The Nature Conservancy , is a working bison ranch that’s home to 2,500 bison.
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Mount Rainier National Park is one of the very best national parks to visit in August because it is the sunniest time of year to explore the high mountain meadows that are still in bloom. The best wildflower display is in the aptly named park area called Paradise. You may encounter snow lingering in the subalpine meadows, even in the last days of July. August is also the best month to view the majestic old growth forest. The old growth inOhanapecosh , where the trees thrive on the normally wet climate, should be sunny and fairly dry in August. There several easy hiking trails in Mount Rainier National Park. You may see marmots on the shortNisqually Vista Trail , and the mile-long loop Sourdough Ridge Trail takes you to the subalpine meadows. For the more adventurous, the Burroughs Mountain Trail is a strenuous 7-mile loop that takes you up to the mountain tundra. Whatever trail you walk or wherever you drive, Mount Rainier itself will be visible as a beacon and reminder of why the mountains are called the Rockies.
Grand Teton Nat’l Park Photo by: Fred Stillings