Are you on the hunt for the best national parks to visit in July? This guide has you covered – these are the best national parks in July… from Alaska to Maine (and beyond)!
We give you insight into why you should visit these US national parks, what to expect in July, and things to do in each.
I don’t love scorchingly hot weather, so these parks are comfortable temperature-wise compared to many of the blistering parks in the southwest, which we prefer during the winter months. And one of the parks on the list is the least visited national park in the US!
Let us know your favorite national parks to visit in July and why you recommend them to other travelers!
Traveling to cities instead? Check out our guide to the best places to visit in the USA in July!
Best US National Parks to Visit in July
1. Gates of the Arctic National Park
July Average Temperature: highs around 60F and lows around 42F
Go there for: accessibility during the summer, wildlife, pure nature (watch for mosquitoes though)
Considered the US’s second-largest and northernmost park, Gates of the Arctic National Park will indeed expand your perspective on the real and untouched nature.
Approximately 8.5 million acres of undeveloped land don’t necessarily offer you any trails or roads, but instead, it gives you the chance to discover Alaska’s wild nature at its finest.
Be ready to plan your escape to this spectacular place of natural wonders through a flight or a hike to witness some of the most breathtaking scenery in the United States, which includes majestic rivers, forests, rugged mountains, treeless slopes, tundra peaks, and so much more.
Gates of the Arctic National Park’s wilderness recreation opportunities are mountain climbing, dog mushing, hiking, mountaineering, skiing, etc.
Make sure to join guided trips organized during the summer months to enjoy rafting, fishing, backpacking, camping, or hiking on miles-long valleys while admiring abundant wildlife. Click here to see how you can visit Gates of the Arctic National Park in Alaska.
Some things to watch out for are summer thunderstorms during July as well as heavy rainfalls. Mosquitoes are also problematic during the warmer months.
2. Indiana Dunes National Park
July Average Temperature: highs around 82F and lows around 64F
Go there for: picnicking, beautiful sunsets, unique scenery
Keen to experiencing unforgettable adventures amidst a peaceful setting? If so, then Indiana Dunes National Park, nestled on the southern shore of Lake Michigan and full of rugged dunes, prairies, wetlands, and serene forests, has you covered with its wide range of outdoor activities.
From swimming to fishing in summer and snowshoeing to cross-country skiing in winter, adventure opportunities are endless in Indiana Dunes National Park.
However, when visiting during the summer months, especially during July, you can admire gorgeous views of Lake Michigan’s sunsets or have a scenic bike on The Calumet and Porter Brickyard Bike Trails.
Overnight summer camping at the dunes under a starry sky will make you appreciate the park’s true beauty. Some of the summer activities you need to add to your summer bucket list when visiting are beach-going, sunbathing, bird watching, boating, hiking, horseback riding, picnicking, hiking, and more!
3. Acadia National Park
July Average Temperature: highs around 76F and lows around 55F
Go there for: hiking trails, rich wildlife, comfortable temperatures
As one of the US’s top 10 most visited national parks, Acadia National Park is the treasure of the North Atlantic Coast, as it protects the highest rocky cliffs along the coastline.
The stunning Maine destination is a natural habitat for the area’s rich wildlife, where you can also witness powerful cultural heritage through visiting abundant historical sites.
Ignite your adventurous spirit while enjoying a variety of challenging activities that Acadia National Park has to offer. It provides miles of historic carriage roads along with 150 miles of hiking trails.
During the summers, some of the popular activities to enjoy in Acadia are swimming, boating, kayaking, tide pooling, horseback riding on carriage roads, and rock climbing.
4. North Cascades National Park
July Average Temperature: highs around 53F and lows around 29F
Go there for: camping opportunities, hiking, fewer crowds than other parks
Challenge your sense of natural wonder in North Cascades National Park, which is home to mesmerizing waterfalls, deep forests, rugged peaks, and over 300 glaciers.
Be ready to enjoy hypnotic vistas at every turn, along with exploring rich fauna and flora, a variety of recreation activities of all kinds, and many educational opportunities. Visit the Washington national park from mid-June to late September to rediscover the magic of camping in plenty of scenic campsites offered throughout its 684,000 acres of land.
With a proper permit, the North Cascades allows boat-in and wilderness camping, along with providing 2 bicycle campsites. Summer months expand the park’s recreation activities, which include picnicking, ranger-led programs, nature tours, boating, fishing, horseback riding, and hiking and biking opportunities along scenic trails.
Explore the area’s rich biodiversity and culture through various educational programs organized in the North Cascades Institute.
5. Fjords National Park
July Average Temperature: highs around 50F and lows around 35F
Go there for: wildlife spotting, comfortable temperatures, easy accessibility
Have you ever wanted to escape to somewhere majestic and wild, far from services and crowds? If yes, then Kenai Fjords National Park, nestled on the edge of the Kenai Peninsula, offers you that opportunity.
The Alaska National Park has it all, from lush forests to vast Alaskan glaciers and tranquil waters to abundant wildlife. One of the reasons to visit the park is to witness Harding Icefield and Exit Glacier’s jaw-dropping scenery.
Take a unique boat cruise to discover Kenai Fjords National Park from the water and admire glaciers along with rich wildlife of sea otters, seals, and sea lions sunbathing on the rocky shores.
The park is accessible throughout the year, but if you are keen to discover its full potential, then surely visit during the summer months as it is one of the best places in Alaska.
Kenai Fjord’s summer recreation activities include mountaineering, fishing, hiking, backpacking, kayaking, plus it offers scenic flight tours to admire the views from above and ocean cruises in fjords to get up close with massive icebergs and, if lucky enough, witness wildlife.
6. Kings Canyon National Park
July Average Temperature: highs around 71F and lows around 33F
Go there for: hiking trails, stargazing, can visit Sequoia NP without a fee
Home to the US’s deepest canyon and the world’s largest surviving grove of Sequoia trees, and often compared to Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon National Park is the ideal location for admiring awe-inspiring natural attractions and discovering nature’s full potential.
Discover the California national park by hiking along the 800-mile-long scenic trails where you will be able to get up close with abundant wildlife while marveling at the mesmerizing views of deep canyons, sky-piercing Sequoia groves, cliffs, the majestic Kings River, and vast caverns.
Adventure lovers will certainly appreciate the park’s range of recreational activities, which are mostly available from late spring to early fall.
While at Kings Canyon NP, horseback riding, spelunking, backpacking, rock climbing, fly fishing, or simply stargazing are only a few of the adventure activities available to you and your loved ones to admire its dramatic landscape.
Also, be sure to spend a day in Sequoia National Park nearby – it is included in the entrance fee!
7. Mesa Verde National Park
July Average Temperature: highs around 84F and lows around 55F
Go there for: hiking trails, history, and a lot more
Established in 1906 and home to 5,000+ documented archeological sites, awe-inspiring Mesa Verde National Park offers you the opportunity to discover the unique history of the ancestral Pueblo people.
Take either ranger-guided or self-guided tours to witness Balcony House, Cliff Palace, Long House, or Step House dwellings, along with other preserved cliff dwellings done by ancient civilizations.
Get educated about the powerful heritage and culture of the Pueblo people in Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum. From there, start the 2.4-mile Petroglyph Point Trail loop trail, which provides breathtaking views of Spruce and Navajo Canyons along the way and leads to an astounding petroglyph panel.
Go on a 6-mile scenic drive on Mesa Top Loop road to stop by and discover 12 stunning archeological sites along with desert wildlife up close. Spice up your dining experience and eat like a local in the Metate Room restaurant, which overlooks Mesa Verde National Park’s scenic landscapes.
8. Isle Royale National Park
July Average Temperature: highs around 74F and lows around 55F
Go there for: hiking trails, lack of crowds, water activities
Escape to the wilderness and renew your adventurous spirit at Isle Royale National Park, accessible only by boat or floatplane.
The Michigan national park featuring three historic lighthouses is considered one of the US’s least visited national parks due to its lack of accessibility (and closure during the colder months).
Surrounded by Lake Superior, Isle Royale is home to pure and untouched wilderness, where you will find lush forests, crystal clear waters, explore diverse wildlife and get to know the islands’ main inhabitant, the moose.
The park is where adventures meet wild nature. Grab your hiking boots and be prepared to spend a whole day hiking on the scenic 43-mile-long Greenstone Ridge Trail.
Admire the real beauty of the Island either from the water by taking a guided ferry ride or by land by backpacking, camping, day hiking, or simply taking part in ranger programs.
Water junkies will appreciate Isle Royale’s activities offered during the summer months, which are scuba diving, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and paddling.
9. Bryce Canyon National Park
July Average Temperature: highs around 79F and lows around 47F
Go there for: comfortable summer temperatures, hiking opportunities, ranger-led programs
Mesmerizing scenery consisting of deep canyons, natural formations, hoodoos, and sandstone cliffs await you in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Visit the National Park from late spring to early fall to witness natural amphitheaters from Rainbow and Yovimpa Points in hues of red, yellow, and orange, which will make you doubt your sense of vision.
Winter at Bryce Canyon is COLD so summer is definitely the best season!
Embrace clear nighttime views and get ready for the otherworldly scenery of starry skies, where space enthusiasts will be able to spot constellations.
Get to Bryce, Sunrise, Sunset, and Inspiration Points to witness one-of-a-kind unearthly formations or see how mind-blowing sunsets meet hoodoos by making a scene as if they are on fire.
The Utah National Park offers a wide range of fun and safe adventure activities for all ages and abilities, which are a 38-mile-long scenic drive, hiking, camping, cycling, horseback riding, mountain biking, and backpacking.
Make sure to stop by the Visitor Center to see various exhibits in the park’s museum, participate in ranger-led programs, or pick a souvenir or two for your loved one. You can spend one day in Bryce Canyon or plenty more – it has something for everyone!
10. Redwood National Park
July Average Temperature: highs around 81F and lows around 65F
Go there for: unique scenery, hiking, scenic drives
Leave the city life behind and head to Redwood National Park to spend a weekend amidst breathtaking greenery. Reconnect with nature and discover the world’s oldest redwoods in this World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve, a uniquely preserved habitat of over 350 feet tall natural giants.
Take a hike or bike along one of many scenic trails to discover oak woodlands, lush forests, riverways, and rugged coastlines. The 9-mile James Irvine Trail loop hike will get you to the astonishing Fern Canyon, while a scenic drive on Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway will make you observe the park’s rich flora and fauna up close.
Another must-visit attraction in the Park is the Trees of Mystery which offers a 0.8 mile-long interpretive trail and SkyTrail gondola ride to get unparalleled views of dense forests from above.
Round off your day at one of 25 campsites available at Gold Bluffs Beach Campground around a cozy fire pit and picnic tables.
11. Mammoth Cave National Park
July Average Temperature: highs around 89F and lows around 66F
Go there for: hiking trails, UNESCO World Heritage Site, camping opportunities
Home to the world’s largest cave system, Mammoth Cave National Park should be your top pick when visiting Kentucky! It has earned the title of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve due to its rich biodiversity.
Visitors will have a chance to get to know the real history of North America’s early settlers or experience local culture in historic churches and cemeteries through ranger-led programs. Be sure to take part in different guided cave tours to explore Mammoth Cave and discover various stunning formations.
Level up your camping experience at Mammoth Cave Campground, where you will have a chance to sleep above the cave. The park has a wide range of summer recreation activities for everyone including hiking, biking, horseback riding, backcountry camping, picnicking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and boating. It truly is one of the best destinations in Kentucky!
12. Crater Lake National Park
July Average Temperature: highs around 73F and lows around 44F
Go there for: hiking trails, wildflowers, ranger-led programs
Crater Lake National Park is a fabulous place to visit no matter what time of the year you visit. If you go during winter, you better love snow but if you visit Crater Lake in July, you will be greeted with delightful weather, stunning views, and the opportunity to take advantage of the hiking trails (without snowshoes on)!
During July in the Oregon national park, you will find over 90 miles of hiking trails and many offer breathtaking views over the lake. Rim Drive, a 33-mile road circles around the lake, and you and can stop at one of the 30 overlooks to marvel at the views. You’ll also have a chance to camp, stargaze, and look at the wildflowers that have bloomed.
Children will love the ranger-led programs at Crater Lake National Park in the summer. You can even learn about the unique geology of the park on a boat or trolley ranger-led tour.
Accommodation in Crater Lake National Park is slightly more expensive during the summers, but there are plenty of places to stay, nonetheless.
13. Grand Teton National Park
July Average Temperature: highs around 77F and lows around 41F
Go there for: hiking trails, boating on lakes, more peaceful than Yellowstone
Grand Teton National Park is a fantastic place to visit during the summer months. Yes, it is one of the most visited national parks in the United States, but even during the ‘busy’ season, it offers a peaceful experience for visitors.
Many include Grand Teton on their Yellowstone itinerary and while Yellowstone is far larger than it, Grand Teton still has an insane amount to offer during the summer months, and finding a place to stay near Grand Teton is not that big of a challenge if done in advance.
Some of the most popular summer activities in Grand Teton National Park are to take a scenic float trip on the Snake River, go fly fishing, enjoy a wildlife tour, go boating on Jenny Lake or Jackson Lake, or enjoy a horseback riding tour with the Grand Teton Lodge Company.
Like many other national parks in the US, there are plenty of trails in Grand Teton National Park. Make sure to get there early during July, however, because the parking lots fill up early!
14. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
July Average Temperature: highs around 72F and lows around 55F
Go there for: hiking opportunities, good weather, world-famous attractions
So, while Hawaii may be rather busy during July and the summer, it is always still a great idea. If you’re able to score a trip to the Big Island, you’ll be greeted with one of the rarest and coolest places to visit in the US (and even the world).
Some July tips are as follows – parking can be a nightmare during the summer and Tuesdays are often the worst as it is when the cruise docks in Hilo and heads to the park. Try to avoid the park then if cruises are in operation.
If you’re on a mission to hike the Kilauea Iki Trail, a 4-mile famous hike in the park, be sure to start early around 7am and be done by around 10am. In addition, Kahuku is rarely crowded and open from Wednesday until Sunday. It is worth a stop.
Visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in July is worth it if you avoid peak hours (10am until 3pm) and since the park is open 24 hours a day, it should be no problem! It is easily one of the best day trips from Hilo!
15. Channel Islands National Park
July Average Temperature: highs around 75F and lows around 50F
Go there for: wildlife watching, hiking, many activities
While Channel Islands National Park tends to be at its most crowded during the summer months, visitors are on to something… it really is the best time to visit!
Each season offers something unique and worthwhile, but summer is the best time for activities. Some of the popular things to do in Channel Islands National Park are kayaking, swimming, diving, hiking, snorkeling, and sailing.
There is also an underwater video program that takes place during the summer on Anacapa that you can watch from the mainland.
During July, you will also have a chance to go whale watching for blue and humpback whales, see the seabirds and land birds leave their nests and fly, and the California sea lions and northern fur seals begin pupping during the summers.
While some of the vegetation is dried out by July, some of it, like verbena and poppies, continue to bloom throughout July. Click here to view our guide to hiking in the Channel Islands.
16. Glacier National Park
July Average Temperature: highs around 70F and lows around 45F
Go there for: ranger-led programs, boat trips, all hiking trails accessible
The best time to visit Glacier National Park is in July. While it may be peak season, it really is the time of the year that you’ll find the most things to do and the easiest accessibility in the park, making it one of the best places to visit in Montana.
Unlike Glacier National Park in winter, you will find comfortable temperatures in the 70s and 80s, and the hiking trails are green and ready for visitors.
In addition, you will have a chance to enjoy some of the boat tours and shuttles with the Glacier Park Boat Company during the warmer months. There is also a complimentary shuttle service in the park.
Families and kids will love the variety of ranger-led programs available in Glacier National Park in July and in summer. There are programs at Lake McDonald Lodge, St. Mary Visitor Center, and Apgar Nature Center available.
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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.