Are you a spring traveler and looking for the best national parks to visit in April? This post details 15 fantastic US parks to visit in April, why you should visit each of them, and things to do.
Spring in the United States’ National Parks brings a new life to many of them. Winter is (mostly) officially over and animals are emerging out of their dens and the wildflowers are in bloom.
In addition, many of the parks that are located in arid areas of the United States are not really comfortable to visit during the summer months, so April is one of the last months you can truly enjoy the parks. And, it is much cheaper than taking a trip to Europe in April!
School holidays also make April a fantastic time to visit the US National Parks.
We chose a variety of national parks to visit in April for this list. If you have a favorite US national park to visit in spring, please leave a comment letting us know!
US National Parks in April Worth Visiting
Joshua Tree National Park
April Average Temperature: highs around 78F and lows around 47F
Go there for: wildflowers, perfect temperatures, zero rain, and the best time for activities and hiking
Whenever you’re in the vicinity of Joshua Tree National Park, don’t hesitate to spend at least one day in Joshua Tree! The place is not overhyped despite its popularity, and there is a lot to see and do in this California national park.
Some of the most popular activities in Joshua Tree include numerous hiking opportunities, visiting palm oases, and taking advantage of the incredible hiking trails in Joshua Tree National Park.
Spring is one of the best seasons of the year to visit Joshua Tree. It’s the time when the wildflowers are blooming and the breathtaking views of the park are accompanied by the enjoyable scents coming from the flowers.
If you’re a hiking enthusiast, then definitely Joshua Tree National Park in April because it’s the best time for various types of hikes and rock climbing.
The only slight disadvantage of visiting Joshua Tree in spring is that there are many visitors there then. However, if you opt to visit during the middle of the week as opposed to the weekend, you will be in much better shape!
Grand Canyon National Park
April Average Temperature: highs around 83F and lows around 55F
Go there for: fewer crowds, comfortable temperatures
One of the best national parks to visit in April is definitely Grand Canyon National Park.
The top reason that you should opt to visit the Grand Canyon in April is that it is far less crowded than other times of the year. The temperatures are also more desirable in April and this allows visitors to embark on some of the epic hiking opportunities at the Grand Canyon.
Reaching the Grand Canyon is not difficult – you can take a road trip from California to Arizona or simply visit from Las Vegas, Phoenix, or any of the other cities in the American Southwest.
One thing to be aware of is that the Grand Canyon is significantly warmer inside of the canyon than it is from the South Rim. So, prepare by bringing warm layers and something to hold them in as you take them off.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
April Average Temperature: highs around 58F and lows around 30F
Go there for: highest sand dunes in North America, stargazing, tolerable temperatures, and beautiful drives
Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado contains the highest mountains of sand in all of North America. The millions of years of formations led to picturesque views and very unique patterns, making it one of Colorado’s most mesmerizing sights.
Aside from admiring the dunes, the visitors of the park can go picnicking, take to the horseback-riding trails, go hiking, enjoy camping, or partake in some really challenging scenic drives on Medano Pass (and more)!
READ MORE: Best national parks to visit in December
So dark-sky-loving stargazers, the park is really great as it has an elevation of 8,200 feet and a remote location. Unfortunately, the astronomy programs at the park don’t start until May (and last until September), but you can still go stargazing independently.
Visiting Great Sand Dunes National Park in April (and in spring) is great for children, as well, as there is a special Junior Ranger program where kids ages 3 to 12 can participate in educational and fun tasks.
Olympic National Park
April Average Temperature: highs around 42F and lows around 36F
Go there for: the best time of the year to view wildlife, many hiking opportunities
Spring is definitely one of the best times to visit Olympic National Park. The main reason is that the wildlife is in abundance during this time of the year and you have a chance to see gray whales, bears, banana slugs, and more.
In addition, you may encounter deer, bobcats, bald eagles, and elk on the many hiking trails in Olympic National Park. So, if you’re into wildlife – this is definitely the US national park to visit in April!
Olympic National Park is renowned for its diversity and various ecosystems. You can find rainforests (like the Hoh Rainforest), glacier-capped mountains, wild beaches, and more in this Washington national park.
While Olympic NP can be colder and rainier than other national parks, if you dress accordingly, you will still have an amazing time visiting Olympic National Park in April!
Redwood National Park
April Average Temperature: highs around 58F and lows around 30F
Go there for: some of the most famous trees in the world, fewer tourists, tolerable temperatures
Redwood National Park is located in California, about 325 miles north of San Francisco. It’s widely known for a large number of big, coastal redwood trees, but apart from that, the park also features giant sequoia trees.
People usually associate this park with the fact that it has the tallest trees in the world, but it has so much more to offer! The California national park contains vast prairies, approximately 40 miles of rugged coastline, oak woodlands, and wild riverways.
According to various studies, people have lived in this area for millions of years, making it a really remarkable place that is as historically as epic as it is beautiful.
Due to low rainfall levels and warm temperatures, summer is considered to be the best season for this park. But, visiting Redwood National Park in April is still a great time if you’re not scared of the rain.
Averaging 11 rainy days during the month of April, Redwood National Park has great hiking opportunities, wildflowers, and fewer crowds than the summers. It’s definitely one of the best national parks to visit in April as a result!
Haleakala National Park
April Average Temperature: highs around 61F and lows around 44F
Go there for: springtime is the best time to visit Maui
Most people cite spring as the best time to visit Maui and Haleakala National Park is no exception.
Haleakala National Park is a diverse national park that is known for having some of the best sunrises in the world! You need to reserve your spot in order to head there for sunrise, but it will inevitably be worth it.
READ MORE: Best national parks to visit in January
This Hawaii national park is teeming with volcanoes and is also one of the best places to go stargazing in the United States. There is even an observatory located there that you can visit.
If visiting Haleakala National Park in April, you will want to take to the many trails in the park, rent a bike, or take advantage of the ziplining and paragliding opportunities there.
Yosemite National Park
April Average Temperature: highs around 65F and lows around 37F
Go there for: powerful waterfalls, wildflowers galore, and hiking opportunities
Yosemite National Park is known to leave its visitors with a “wow” reaction, and it’s a result of the park’s exceptional nature and views. The many waterfalls, enormous valleys, old sequoias, and granite monoliths are what Yosemite is primarily renowned for.
April starts the season of wildflowers blooming at Yosemite. Some of the varieties you might see on your trip are California poppies, redbuds, and dogwood.
Hikers also can find a plethora of trails and things to do in Yosemite in April. Some of the areas of the park, like Yosemite Valley, Wawona, and Hetch Hetchy are snow-free most of the time during the months of April and May.
However, just like visiting this popular US national park during the winter, backpacking options are rather limited.
Everglades National Park
April Average Temperature: highs around 83F and lows around 65F
Go there for: amazing weather with little rain, unique wildlife opportunities, fewer mosquitoes
Everglades National Park is home to numerous endangered and rare species like the Florida panther, manatee, American crocodile, etc. The park is also known to be the largest subtropical wilderness and wetland not only in Florida but also in the whole United States.
The Everglades are unique in a way that it does not experience any harsh differences in the 4 seasons of the year; instead, what is visible is the changing water levels with dry and wet seasons.
READ MORE: Best national parks to visit in February
Visiting the Everglades in April is perfect as you’ll be heading there during the dry season which means fewer mosquitoes and rain!
If you take a trip to the Everglades, many of the best activities, restaurants, and boat tours take place at the Homestead entrance of the park.
The entrance area has an abundance of tasty experiences like the Fruit and Spice Park, Schnebly Redland’s Winery, Knauss Berry Farm, and more. The latter is quite popular for its strawberry milkshakes and Florida’s best cinnamon rolls.
The Everglades is definitely one of the best US national parks to visit in April.
Kenai Fjords National Park
April Average Temperature: highs around 31F and lows around 17F
Go there for: whale migrations, few crowds, cheaper prices in Seward
Kenai Fjords National Park is a fantastic place to visit in April in the United States.
While Alaska may not be on everyone’s radar as a spring destination, it is one of the best times to witness wildlife and in particular, whale migrations!
The gray whales pass through Kenai Fjords NP beginning at the end of March as they make their way north. You will also see humpback and fin whales in abundance and the seas are alive during spring in Kenai Fjords National Park.
In addition, there are hardly any tourists in Seward and Kenai Fjords National Park in April. You will find cheaper hotels and Airbnbs in Seward, as a result.
Kenai Fjords may be one of the least visited national parks in the United States, but it has more to offer than just about any of them!
Death Valley National Park
April Average Temperature: highs around 75F and lows around 51F
Go there for: tolerable temperatures (summer is too hot), hiking opportunities, amazing stargazing
Death Valley National Park is the largest national park located south of Alaska. Death Valley is widely known for its extremes.
Not only is it It is North America’s driest place, having fewer than 2 inches of rainfall each year, but it is also the hottest spot!
The highest recorded temperature there is 134F… but thankfully, that was not during April! Visiting Death Valley in winter, spring, and fall is recommended, as a result.
Aside from the unbearable heat that Death Valley is associated with, the park is also known for being the lowest in elevation (282 feet below sea level).
Even though the park’s name sounds ominous, not many people have actually died there. The name was given by a group of pioneers who got lost in the park in the winter of 1849-1850.
As the Death Valley National Park is well-known for its intense summer temperatures, the best time to visit is mid-October to mid-May, which is considered a low season in most of the other parks. But, we think April is the ideal month as it has a lot to offer.
Capitol Reef National Park
April Average Temperature: highs around 64F and lows around 37F
Go there for: perfect temperatures, hiking opportunities, scenic drives, and the start of camping season
Expanding for almost 100 miles, Capitol Reef National Park is located in the south-central part of Utah. It’s a vast area of canyons and cliffs, where every corner is worth stopping and staring at.
What makes Capitol Reef especially unique is the Waterpocket Fold, a geologic monocline, or a “wrinkle”, that was formed millions of years ago.
Spring in Capitol Reef National Park is just perfect for hiking, camping, biking, picnicking, horseback riding, and enjoying some wildlife viewing opportunities. There are endless things to do in Capitol Reef National Park!
In the lower elevations of the park, spring starts quite early. For example, spring comes early in Hanksville, which lies at an elevation of 4,300 feet. Capitol Reef National Park in April is an amazing time to visit as it is not too hot, nor is it too cold.
Places that are worth a visit are Hanksville-Burpee Dinosaur Quarry, Mars Desert Research Station, Horseshoe Canyon (located in Hanksville and Canyonlands National Park), and more.
This is one of the best places to visit in Utah and one of the best national parks in April.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Location: Tennessee and North Carolina
April Average Temperature: highs around 57F and lows around 37F
Go there for: wildflowers and festivals about the wildflowers, comfortable temperatures for hiking, fewer crowds
If you like to spend your spare time in the great outdoors, then Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an excellent choice for you! Especially as so many parks on this guide are located in the west – this is an exception!
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the #1 most visited US national park and is a wilderness wonderland. Apart from that abundance of waterfalls, scenic drives and challenging climbs are among the list of the park’s great features.
This park has so many wildflower species (more than 1,500) that instead of its original name, it’s also referred to as “Wildflower National Park“. In fact, it has more flower species than any other national park in North America.
In the springtime (usually the end of April), there is a special event, called “Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage“, which is a week-long festival of programs and festivities where visitors are welcomed to go on some hikes and guided walks in order to get acquainted with the wild diversity of the park.
Saguaro National Park
April Average Temperature: highs around 83F and lows around 52F
Go there for: desert wildflowers, tolerable temperatures, best hiking weather
Tucson, Arizona is the home of the nation’s largest cacti, called the Saguaro. Saguaro National Park is a well-known symbol of the American West and one of the best places to visit in Arizona.
The giant saguaro is the widely acknowledged symbol of the American West. It was designated as a national park in 1976 and it remains one of the most underrated national parks in the US. It’s a fantastic place to visit and enjoy some southwestern landscapes and unforgettable sunset views.
READ MORE: Best national parks to visit in March
The elevations at Saguaro National Park range from 3,000 feet to over 8,000 feet in only about 15 miles.
Adventurous hikers will for sure enjoy the various types of trails in Saguaro National Park. One of the easiest trails to access is the Douglas Spring Trailhead. There is also one named Italian Spring Trailhead, which has stunning views and moderate difficulty.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Location: New Mexico
April Average Temperature: highs around 72F and lows around 47F
Go there for: fewer crowds, perfect temperatures, and spring programs, return of the bats
Known for its unique natural beauty and special geologic features, Carlsbad Caverns National Park is located in the Guadalupe Mountains, which is in southeastern New Mexico (and parts of Texas).
The park holds more than a million cultural artifacts, skeletons, and ancient fossils and it truly is one of the best national parks to visit in April and any other time of the year!
Those traveling to Carlsbad Caverns claim that visiting the park itself might be challenging; however, the efforts are for sure worth it because the memories of those extraordinarily beautiful landscapes and underground formations stay with you for the rest of your life.
While many people don’t consider spring as the ‘high-season’ for the park, there is still plenty to do and the crowds are fewer. There are special programs, including the Bat Programme that starts in late April into early May and lasts through the summer into fall.
During spring, the Brazilian free-tailed bats return and that is why it is one of the best times of the year to visit Carlsbad Caverns.
The best reason to visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park in April is that the park undergoes a transformation and everything starts to bloom, from yuccas, chollas, mescal bush, and more!
Shenandoah National Park
April Average Temperature: highs around 56F and lows around 36F
Go there for: fewer crowds, wildflowers in bloom, wildlife returns, and many hiking opportunities
Situated in western Virginia, Shenandoah National Park has an abundance of waterfalls, panoramic views, and extraordinary wilderness. It consists of 500 miles of trails and 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail.
The Virginia national park is an excellent choice for travelers who want recreational opportunities for the entire family to unwind themselves and get some energy from the awe-inspiring nature. It is also an ideal day or weekend trip from Charlotte, Washington DC, Richmond, and more.
The best season to visit this park is spring. Even though the month of April can be a bit chilly, it’s still promising remarkable views of the blooming of wild mountain flowers and the dense forests coming back to life. The bears are also out of hibernation and roaming the park!
While many don’t think to visit Shenandoah National Park in winter or spring, you can definitely beat the crowds by doing just that!
What is your favorite US national park to visit in April? Leave us the best national parks to visit in April in the comments – we hope this guide inspired you to put some of these on your USA bucket list!
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