Do you love spring travel and are seeking the best national parks to visit in March? This post will showcase 15 amazing US parks to visit in March, why you should visit each, and what to do during this time of year.
March is when tourism starts to increase again in the US national parks as kids and college students go on spring break in the USA and these national parks are all fantastic choices for places to visit during those school holidays.
We picked a variety of national parks to visit in March and springtime. If you have a favorite US park you have visited during this time of year, or even a recommendation of a wonderful place to visit in the USA in March, please leave a comment letting us know!
US National Parks in March Worth Visiting
1. Zion National Park
March Average Temperature: highs around 66F and lows around 39F
Go there for: guided canyon trail hikes, ranger-led programs, and evening walks
The heat can be the greatest problem for visiting Zion National Park in spring and for this main reason, it is better to visit the park as early in spring as possible!
Guided canyon trail rides and hikes with skillful guides and gorgeous horses is the best way to explore every single inch of the park. Trails can be both short and long, but they are very fantastic and time well-spent.
Ranger-led activities in the park are provided daily, starting from late March. There is far more to do in the park in spring than if you are visiting Zion in winter.
These Zion spring activities include evening walks, trail and hiking opportunities, 20-30 minute long chats, and special programs for children provided by the National Park.
READ MORE: Best national parks to visit in February
Rangers are ready to have chats on several topics such as geology, animals, and natives who used to live in the park. Children’s programs also include games and informative tasks.
Zion National Park is one of our top recommended national parks to visit in March for those looking for hiking, family-friendly activities, and more!
2. Channel Islands National Park
March Average Temperature: highs around 63F and lows around 40F
Go there for: sailing, camping, walking along the coast
The weather in Channel Islands National Park in March may vary, but it is an exceptional US national park to visit in March. One huge plus to visiting Channel Islands National Park in spring – wildflowers!
Since the national park consists of 5 different islands, you can choose which island specifically you want to travel to. There is a ferry schedule that you can check out on our Channel Islands National Park travel guide and you can explore them with ease.
Camping is free once you’re in Channel Islands NP, pending you have your own equipment and tent. There are some really epic hikes in the Channel Islands that will take you to some fantastic campsites.
What can be more admirable than walking on the coast and gazing at the beautiful dolphins in the ocean? This park is known for its amazing wildlife and March is a great time to witness it.
3. Shenandoah National Park
March Average Temperature: highs around 46F and lows around 26F
Go there for: wildlife, panorama viewpoints, springtime hiking
For those in Washington DC with a car, Shenandoah National Park is one of the best places to visit on a weekend as it is only 70 miles away. It is also an ideal weekend getaway from Charlotte, Charleston, and parts of Eastern Tennessee.
Even though it is chilly, visiting Shenandoah National Park in March has some advantages. Spring is the season that everything blooms around the park. Colorful plants and different animals will make you feel comfortable in this area and it certainly gives off a different vibe than visiting Shenandoah in winter!
There are approximately 75 panorama viewpoints in Shenandoah. Some of them are very close to the road and all you need is to stop and enjoy the view as you’re cruising along Skyline Drive, one of the most beautiful road trips in America.
Hiking in March is also popular in Shenandoah NP. There are a lot of trails, and one for all skill levels. Most of the trails are quite narrow, and some of them are really ideal for motorcyclists and cyclists.
We highly suggest Shenandoah as one of the best national parks to visit in March simply for its introduction into a warmer season! It is an easy weekend trip from Pittsburgh, Washington DC, Richmond, and more!
4. Saguaro National Park
March Average Temperature: highs around 75F and lows around 46F
Go there for: cacti, petroglyphs, fantastic hiking opportunities before the heat sets in
Even though the entire state of Arizona is teeming with cacti, there is only one park that is named for one – Saguaro National Park. Some of the cacti inside are around 200 years old and worth seeing in person.
One of the best ways to really see the wildlife and flora in the parks is to partake in one of the many hikes in Saguaro National Park. There are trails for all skill levels and it will give you fantastic opportunities to see the park in its entirety.
Traces of ancient civilizations are also found in Saguaro National Park. The western part of the park, which is called “the mountainous part” is famous for its petroglyphs. These petroglyphs belong to Hohokam Natives. They are about 800 years old.
5. Sequoia National Park
March Average Temperature: highs around 42F and lows around 19F
Go there for: forests (especially sequoias), caves, diverse wildlife
This US national park is primarily known for its giant sequoias. There are two different types of sequoias growing in the park: giant and evergreen and you can visit them on your Sequoia hiking adventures!
Apart from sequoias, however, there are also a number of tunnels and caves. Some of the caves are quite deep and need some time and planning to thoroughly explore.
Most of them are available for tourists, but some of them are accessible only for specialist speleologists.
READ MORE: Best national parks to visit in May
Sequoia National Park is also home to many species of animals: black bears, coyotes, moose, and white-tailed deer, etc. Animals are very safe to be photographed but be sure to keep your distance and respect them!
6. Acadia National Park
March Average Temperature: highs around 38F and lows around 20F
Go there for: camping, wild gardens, carriage roads, awesome late winter and early spring hiking
Acadia National Park is ideal to visit in March for families and those who enjoy camping as there are spacious wooden areas that are suitable for tents.
Most Acadia campsites have their own picnic table, restrooms, and running water. Comfortable buses are ready to take you to camping spots every ten minutes. There are also many Acadia Airbnbs available during this time of the year.
Another favorite spring activity for tourists is visiting the wild gardens that are created after a long winter in Acadia.
In Sieur de Monts Spring, you can find Acadia’s wild gardens. Pine needles and stone paths run through a dozen small gardens, each filled with plants found in different local habitats. It is also a wonderful place to see birds.
READ MORE: Best national parks to visit in January
Acadia is renowned for its cross-country skiing opportunities and while visiting Acadia in spring may not be ideal for the optimal amount of snow, you might get lucky and still have ample opportunities to try your hands at the sport.
Acadia is not only one of the best places to visit in Maine, but it is also one of the best national parks to visit in March and the spring for East Coasters.
7. Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Location: New Mexico
March 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). It is not too far from Ruidoso, NM.
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 March 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.
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 March is that the park undergoes a transformation and everything starts to bloom, from yuccas, chollas, mescal bush, and more! It is one of the coolest places in New Mexico!
8. Great Basin National Park
March Average Temperature: highs around 42F and lows around 40F
Go there for: Lehman Cave tours, stargazing, astronomy programs, hiking opportunities
The renowned Lehman Cave keeps its ‘doors’ open all year round to those visiting Great Basin National Park. It works daily, offers some tours.
It should be noted that one can enter Lehman Cave only with a guided tour. Tours can be either 60 minutes long or 90 minutes long, with tickets purchased beforehand.
Great Basin National Park really comes to life at night, however. Whether you’re visiting Great Basin National Park in spring or at another time of the year, you will likely find some of the best skies in the US.
In order to make your stargazing informative, you can study planet viewing guide or satellite flyover times before heading there.
In addition to stargazing, some astronomical tours are also possible at this park. Ranger-led astronomy programs are free for everybody, but the day of the tour should be checked in the calendar provided on their webpage.
Great Basin National Park truly is one of the best places to visit in Nevada and should be on everyone’s itinerary!
9. Arches National Park
March Average Temperature: highs around 60F and lows around 34F
Go there for: otherworldly geologic formations, stargazing
Some people say that stones have their own stories. In Arches National Park, there are a lot of stones and their stories date back to over 65 million years ago. Once being a dry sea bottom, the stones received their shape from water.
In this US National Park located near Moab, another unusual formation of stones with large holes in them. These types of formations are called tafoni. One can see ancient arches, visit a geological museum, go hiking on the salt marsh.
There are several things to do in Arches National Park for any type of visitor! And, you will be able to beat the cooler temperatures during winter in Arches NP.
Another popular thing to do in Arches in March is to go stargazing. While this is a popular activity all year-round, the park still has fewer people during March than other months of the year and you will be blown away at the night skies there. It is one of the most popular US national parks.
Looking for unique accommodation near Arches National Park? There are plenty of unique places to stay and Airbnbs in Moab, Utah right next door!
10. Glacier Bay National Park
March Average Temperature: highs around 32F and lows around 26F
Go there for: cruise ship excursions, boating opportunities, hearing the voices of Glacier Bay
Spending a day on a ship cruise is a true dream for some travelers, particularly when the place you’re visiting is as beautiful as Glacier Bay National Park!
If you’re visiting Glacier Bay National Park in spring, you can expect to see a bit of the park’s wildlife, such as bald eagles, mountain goats, seabirds, and more.
Glacier Bay National Park also grants visitors the chance to hear the ‘bay voices’ which will give you the chance to hear the different wildlife sounds in different clips.
You get the chance to hear what a harbor seal, sea otter, and more sound like to the human ear. This is a great US national park to visit with kids on spring break as it truly gives an interactive experience to guests!
11. Great Sand Dunes National Park
March Average Temperature: highs around 50F and lows around 25F
Go there for: hiking, horseback riding, photography
The weather in March in Great Basin National Park varies quite a bit. Most days are windy and snowy in the afternoons but some springs are super mild and lack snow.
So, one should be ready for every weather condition, because the weather in that region is quite unpredictable! Great Sand Dunes National Park is one of the rare parks that are open year-round- 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
March means that hiking is back and even though you can hike in this park during winter, it definitely becomes a far more comfortable experience during the spring months. Along with these trails, you can sometimes see elk and other wildlife. It truly is the perfect stop on an LA to Denver road trip (or one from anywhere, for that matter)!
READ MORE: Best national parks to visit in December
Another favorite thing to do in Great Sand Dunes National Park is to photograph the sand dunes and Rocky Mountains! The dunes make the place a perfect set-up for photos and you may even get lucky and manage to see some wildlife while there, adding a new dimension to your photos!
While there is no way to predict the weather in March in this US national park, this is the beauty of the place- it will greet you in the way it wants to and you will have to adapt accordingly.
12. Joshua Tree National Park
March Average Temperature: highs around 70F and lows around 42F
Go there for: rock climbing, birdwatching, stargazing, comfortable temperatures, ranger programs
There are many things Joshua Tree National Park is known for and one of the top things is rock climbing! Climbs come from all over the world to do a little bit of this famous activity at the California park.
One of the best times to go rock climbing in Joshua Tree National Park is in March and the spring months. The summers are far too hot and uncomfortable in the park, so climbers flock to Joshua Tree in March, April, and May while temperatures still allow the activity.
There are also many fantastic hiking trails in Joshua Tree that can be trekked on during the spring months as well as several other activities, such as birdwatching, ranger-led children’s programs, and stargazing in the evenings.
If you’re looking for the best things to do there, check out our one day in Joshua Tree itinerary for first-time visitors.
13. Hot Springs National Park
March Average Temperature: highs around 64F and lows around 40F
Go there for: thermal activities, camping, spring hiking
Hot Springs National Park doesn’t get nearly the attention that it should from outdoor enthusiasts in the United States. This Arkansas park is definitely one of the best national parks to visit in spring and into the summer.
This thermal park offers great opportunities throughout the year and it gives visitors a chance to experience the hot springs by bathing in them in the bathhouses or even trying the water. Not only does Hot Springs National Park have hot springs, but you will also find a variety of cold spring sources inside, too.
There are many campsites in this US national park. Gulpha Gorge Campground has campsites of different sizes suitable for small and big groups both.
They are very comfortable and practical because they provide both tents and recreational vehicles for those visiting. Unlike other campsites in Hot Springs National Park, this one has electricity and water sources. Please note that they only accept credit cards, however.
Visiting Hot Springs National Park in March is a great time to start experiencing the many trails and hikes the park has. It turns green and trees and flowers begin to bloom and it is extremely breathtaking during the spring months. This is truly an underrated place to visit in the US.
14. Olympic National Park
March Average Temperature: highs around 51F and lows around 38F
Go there for: wildlife, fishing, backpacking, and some amazing hiking opportunities
After a long winter, Olympic National Park in Washington greets visitors with a bit of warmth, rain, and wildlife. The emerald landscapes in the park welcome active travelers to watch the park go into a spring bloom.
One of the best things about visiting Olympic National Park in March is that the waterfalls will be at a high level from the rougher winter months. These cascades attract thousands of travelers each spring and you can watch them while scouting the park for wildlife, wildflowers, and more.
READ MORE: Best national parks to visit in April
These rainforests are absolutely spectacular and make it one of the best national parks to visit in March.
One of the best spring activities in the national park is fishing. Enthusiasts know that the best season for fishing in these parts is in early spring. Another popular activity is diving into one of the many awesome hikes in Olympic National Park.
15. Kenai Fjords National Park
March Average Temperature: highs around 51F and lows around 38F
Go there for: boating, fishing, some of the best landscapes in America
At the edge of the Kenai Peninsula, you will find Harding Icefield, an icefield encompassing almost 40 glaciers that have helped shape the Kenai Fjords.
In order to see the park in all its stunning glory, you need to get into the water! Organized boat tours make it easier to travel deeper into the park or you may fish for salmon and Dolly Varden in the park’s waters.
However, kayaking is the most exciting way to explore glaciers and see the wildlife of the Kenai Fjords. Just be sure to dress properly for this colder time of year!
Staying on land is also something you should consider when visiting Kenai Fjords National Park in spring. You can take small planes around or just hike if the trails are clear then.
During the winter months, the park is often inaccessible, thus March is the best time to visit if you’re around during spring. Also, spring brings the opportunity to see California gray whales migrating to Alaska. You definitely need to plan a trip to Kenai Fjords National Park if you love admiring wildlife!
March is an interesting month for travel in the United States as seasons are changing and are truly in their most unpredictable state!
We hope that this guide to the best national parks to visit in March at least gives some inspiration and encourages you to book a trip to some of these otherworldly and beautiful places!
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Megan is a travel blogger and writer with a background in digital marketing. Originally from Richmond, VA, she now splits her time between Frankfurt, Germany and Arctic Finland after also living in Norway, Armenia, and Kazakhstan. She has a passion for winter travel, as well as the Nordic countries, but you can also find her eating her way through Italy, perusing perfume stores in Paris, or taking road trips through the USA. Megan has written for or been featured by National Geographic, Forbes, Lonely Planet, the New York Times, and more. She co-authored Fodor’s Travel ‘Essential Norway’ and has visited 45 US states and 100+ countries.