15 Best National Parks to Visit in August (+ Travel Tips!)

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Are you booking an end-of-summer trip and looking into some of the best national parks in August as a destination? This guide showcases 15 incredible US national parks to visit in August that you should consider for your trip!

August can be a bit of a hectic month in terms of tourism. The United States is wrapping up its summer season, and everyone wants that one final summer vacation. Many parks are too hot to visit in the summer, but some are ideal.

This guide will detail our favorite picks for US national parks in August and why you should visit each of them – including average temperatures and summery things to do!

We tried to pick a variety of them – covering the least visited national park in the US (and it’s fairly difficult to reach) to some of the most popular US national parks.

If youʻre looking to visit cities and towns – check out our guide to the best places to visit in August in the USA instead!

Did we miss your favorite national park in the summer? Please let us know in the comments and why we should add it to our summer bucket list. Thanks!

Best National Parks in August

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Location: California
August Average Temperature: highs around 75F and lows around 38F
Go there for: hiking opportunities, wildflowers, and visiting the lakes in comfortable temperatures

Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the best places to visit when you’re in California. There is so much to do, no matter the season… but visiting Lassen National Park in August is a far better choice than during the middle of winter!

Camping and hiking are among the most popular activities to do in Lassen, including in the Manzanita Lake Area, Southwest Area, Butte Lake Area, and Warner Valley.

At Juniper Lake, you can go swimming, kayaking, and spend some time on the beach. Some other summer activities include ranger-led programs, field seminars, and the Highway ParkCaching GPS Challenge.

Also, be sure to check out the site for all the fun events planned each summer! People also love to check out the wildflowers, which are in full bloom in August.

Denali National Park

Location: Alaska
August Average Temperature: highs around 54F and lows around 36F
Go there for: hiking opportunities, ranger-led programs, best temperatures

Denali National Park
Denali National Park

Denali National Park is especially known for its stunning scenery and wildlife and it is definitely one of the best places to visit in Alaska. It’s a place where travelers go to explore and have a great time admiring North America’s largest mountain.

There are all kinds of activities to participate in, especially in the summer when there is no longer snow or ice to worry about. Photography is a popular activity because of all the stunning views, and you can learn more about how to properly photograph the wildlife.

Hiking is also a popular activity, and the park provides the opportunity to hike with a ranger if you visit Denali in August.

If you enjoy camping, the Alaska national park has six campgrounds for you to camp in a tent, car, or an RV. Be sure to also check out the fun programs for kids if you’re planning on traveling with any!

North Cascades National Park

Location: Washington
August Average Temperature: highs around 54F and lows around 30F
Go there for: hiking, fishing, and visiting one of the most remote parks in the US

North Cascades National Park
North Cascades National Park

Only three hours away from Seattle is North Cascades National Park, which is the perfect site for hiking, camping, boating, and any outdoor activities you can think of!

August in North Cascades is particularly one of the best times during the year to hike, backpack, and climb, but be aware that some of the higher elevation trails might still have snow on them.

Stehekin Valley is especially loved among travelers as this is the link between Washington’s wilderness and the beautiful Cascade Mountains.

You can only access the valley by foot, boat, or plane, and you can participate in activities such as hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing. Be sure to make lodging reservations before you arrive so you don’t miss out on this trip to one of the most beautiful parks in the US!

Yellowstone National Park

Location: Idaho, Montana, Wyoming
August Average Temperature: highs around 71F and lows around 33F
Go there for: wildlife watching, thermal features, and comfortable temperatures

Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park

You’ve most certainly heard of famous Yellowstone National Park, which is one of the most popular and beautiful national parks in the United States.

You can check out the thermal basins, including its hot springs, mud pots, fumaroles, and geysers. It’s actually estimated that the park is home to 10,000 hydrothermal geologic wonders!

Many people also enjoy hiking on the thousands of miles of trails, watching wildlife, taking photographs, biking, fishing, boating, swimming, and soaking.

Visitors can also ride horses – either on their own or on guided rides. If you want to relax in nature, you can camp in one of the park’s 12 campgrounds or 300 backcountry campsites… camping is a must on any Yellowstone itinerary!

Also, the park is home to 52 picnic areas for a relaxing lunch. If you want to learn more about nature, you can participate in ranger programs, too. Yellowstone shuts down quite a bit during winter so visiting in August is a fantastic time to see the park fully open.

Acadia National Park

Location: Maine
August Average Temperature: highs around 75F and lows around 55F
Go there for: see the first sunrise in the US, hiking opportunities, charming coastal scenery

Best national parks in August - Acadia National Park
Best national parks in August – Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is also one of the most-visited national parks in the country. Located along the Atlantic coast in Maine, visitors can participate in a wide variety of activities such as hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, and more!

You can also rent a canoe, kayak, sailboat, or motorboat for more water adventures. August is part of the park’s peak season, so be sure to consider that before your visit.

Cadillac Mountain is the park’s tallest mountain and best site, as it’s known for being the first point in the US to see the early sunrise. There are also cruises and boat tours from Bar Harbor, where you can participate in a whale watch or puffin cruise. 

Mammoth Cave National Park

Location: Kentucky
August Average Temperature: highs around 88F and lows around 64F
Go there for: cave tours, fishing opportunities, a lot of hiking trails

Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park

As the name suggests, the main attraction at the Mammoth Cave National Park is Mammoth Cave itself, where visitors can take tours to learn more about this natural wonder.

Tours are planned for the entire first half of August, so be sure to check them out during a trip to Kentucky.

In addition, visitors to the national park can participate in activities such as ranger-led programs, bicycling, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, boating, fishing, horseback riding, and even stargazing at night.

There are over 80 miles of trails in the park that you can explore, and the Green and Nolin Rivers provide plenty of opportunities for all waterfront activities. This is a wonderful weekend getaway from Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

Isle Royale National Park

Location: Michigan
August Average Temperature: highs around 71F and lows around 55F
Go there for: the park is not open during the winter, water and land opportunities

Isle Royale National Park
Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park is one of Michigan’s true treasures.

In order to reach it, you have to travel across Lake Superior after passing through many small Michigan towns along the shores. Then, you can explore the island on land or water and participate in many exciting activities.

In particular, most visitors prefer backpacking and camping due to the trails and stunning landscapes. You can also go day hiking around Rock Harbor and Windigo.

If you want to learn more about Isle Royale, you can also participate in any of the ranger programs for a talk, guided hike, or evening program.

Fishing, scuba diving, canoeing, kayaking, and guided boat tours are also among the favored activities. There is also plenty to do for kids.

Gates of the Arctic National Park

Location: Alaska
August Average Temperature: highs around 48F and lows around 37F
Go there for: not easily accessible during winter, hiking trails for the extreme traveler

Gates of the Arctic National Park - NPS Photo by Sean Tevebaugh
Gates of the Arctic National Park – NPS Photo by Sean Tevebaugh

Gates of the Arctic National Park is truly the place to go if you want to get away from your daily life because it’s completely remote and far away from all your daily stressors.

If you don’t have experience being fully immersed in the wilderness, don’t worry- there are still plenty of activities here for you. You can float in rivers, as well as camp on the lakes and gravel bars.

If you’re a backpacker, you have over 8.4 million acres of land to check out. Go on flight-seeing trips in an air taxi, or check out the sand dunes in the nearby Kobuk Valley National Park.

You can also go fishing at an alpine lake or picnic by a wild river. In short, you’re never going to get bored here in nature. This park is in Alaska’s north and is the least-visited US national park. Beware – there will likely be mosquitoes in August and it will be brutal.

Haleakala National Park

Location: Hawaii
August Average Temperature: highs around 67F and lows around 49F
Go there for: epic sunrises, hiking trails, diverse landscapes of Maui

Haleakala National Park
Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park in Hawaii must be on your travel list this August! Here, you will have plenty of opportunities for adventure and sightseeing.

The national park is home to rainforests, a rocky coastline, and a beautiful volcanic landscape. People especially love visiting to watch the sunrise in the Summit District or go stargazing at night.

The Kipahulu District is another popular vacation spot due to its waterfalls and ocean vistas, but especially because there are many opportunities to experience the native Hawaiian culture. Here, you can take hikes, go camping, and participate in ranger-led activities.

Mesa Verde National Park

Location: Colorado
August Average Temperature: highs around 81F and lows around 53F
Go there for: historical UNESCO site, several hiking trails, cliff-dwelling tours

Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park is also among the most popular national parks in the United States due to the famous communities that were built on the mesas and cliffs by the Pueblo Natives.

You get to experience this ancient culture and society for yourself during your trip to the national park. You can take self-guided hikes to spots such as Park Point, the Spruce Tree House, Far View Sites, Cliff Palace Loop Road, Mesa Top Loop Road, and Cliff Palace.

In May through October, the Step House, Long House Loop, Badger House Community, and Nordenskiold Site #16 trails are open for hiking so August is definitely a prime time to check it out! You can also stargaze, camp, and go on a cliff-dwelling tour during August.

New River Gorge National Park

Location: West Virginia
August Average Temperature: highs around 79F and lows around 60F
Go there for: rock climbing, hiking, whitewater rafting, fishing

New River Gorge National Park
New River Gorge National Park

New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia is every outdoor activity lover’s dream. Here, visitors will be able to participate in activities like climbing, biking, hiking, whitewater rafting, birding, and camping.

It’s also the perfect spot for a day trip to relax and enjoy a picnic by the water. There are around 100 miles of hiking trails to choose from, so you will certainly find the perfect trail for your abilities.

There are also more than 1,600 climbing routes here, making it one of the most popular climbing locations in the US. Another popular activity here is fishing, especially along the New River.

If you’re into whitewater rafting, the New River is repeatedly one of the top spots in the US to enjoy the thrilling activity.

Grand Teton National Park

Location: Wyoming
August Average Temperature: highs around 76F and lows around 39F
Go there for: beautiful mountains and lakes, hiking, no snow

Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park

Located in Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park is another popular spot because of its stunning views and all of the activities visitors can participate in when they visit.

If you want a bit of an adventure and have experience, hiking is a great option, but you want to check with the visitor center first to see what the conditions are like.

Boating and floating are some of the favorite activities on the Jenny, String, Leigh, and Jackson lakes. Because of the stunning mountains, climbing, mountaineering, wildlife viewing, scenic drives, exploring the backcountry, and camping are visitor favorites, too. 

Rocky Mountain National Park

Location: Colorado
August Average Temperature: highs around 66F and lows around 44F
Go there for: some of US’ best hiking, tolerable temperatures, mountain views

Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park

During your trip to Colorado, be sure not to miss out on Rocky Mountain National Park. Here, you can enjoy the spectacular mountain views and Trail Ridge Road, which crests at over 12,000 feet.

The national park also offers more than 300 miles of trails to check out the wildlife and other activities. Scenic drives are among visitors’ favorites because you will be able to experience views unlike anything else.

The 355 miles of hiking trails means that you can choose something that is suitable for you. There are plenty of picnic areas throughout the park that are open from dusk to dawn.

You will also find ranger-led programs throughout the summer where you can learn more about the Rocky Mountains and some of the nearby towns and sights.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park 

Location: California
August Average Temperature: highs around 70F and lows around 32F
Go there for: hiking trails, one entrance fee for two parks

Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park

Kings Canyon National Park includes Kings Canyon and nearby Sequoia in one entrance fee.

The park(s) consists of five areas: Foothills, Mineral King, Giant Forest and Lodgepole, Grant Grove, and Cedar Grove. Giant Grove, Giant Forest and Lodgepole, and the Foothills are open in the summer.

Giant Forest is home to the world’s largest living tree, General Sherman, which is one of the park’s most popular destinations. You can also check out the hiking trails, including ones perfect for children and people with limited mobility.

There are some camping sites throughout the park, as well as the Giant Forest Museum if you’re seeking more information about the park’s natural history.

Great Basin National Park

Location: Nevada
August Average Temperature: highs around 76F and lows around 51F
Go there for: birdwatching, mild temperatures, hiking season starts

Teresa Lake in Summer in Great Basin National Park in Nevada
Great Basin National Park

A very underrated national park to visit during August is Great Basin National Park in Nevada.

Many people associate Nevada with scorching deserts, but Great Basin will grant you just the opposite – a raw and relatively untouched mountainous landscape in the northern part of the state. You will find caves, amazing hiking opportunities, and the famous Wheeler Peak.

There is no entrance fee for Great Basin National Park but you will need to reserve for cave tours and you will need to arrive early if you want to get a campsite.

There are plenty of hiking trails in the park, such as the Wheeler Loop and a trip to gorgeous Stella Lake. Be sure not to miss out on the Lehman Caves when there!

These are our favorite national parks in August. Are there any national parks to visit in August that you’d recommend to other travelers? Let us know in the comments!

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