America’s national parks are more popular than ever. Unfortunately that means more campers will crowd you out this summer. If your RV is ready to roll, pack it up now for a quieter experience at any of these five great national parks to visit before summer vacationers make visiting impossible.
1. Yosemite National Park, California
Majestic waterfalls and snowy peaks make this central California park one of the busiest any time of year. But a peaceful visit awaits RVers who camp in Yosemite National Park in early spring.
March is a quiet time to arrive but prepare to get drenched with an average of about 5.2-inches of rain. Be patient and you can expect less than two inches if you go in April. The park doesn’t allow dry camping outside of developed campgrounds so it’s wise to reserve a spot before heading out.
2. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Because it’s one of the most well-loved parks in the entire nation, Grand Canyon National Park congestion is exceptionally bad during summer. If you’re not afraid of unpredictable cold weather, time your arrival sometime during April and you could miss the heaviest spring crowds.
Park warm clothes, however. The National Park Service says that Grand Canyon weather conditions can be anywhere from springlike to snowy before summer arrives.
3. Gulf Islands National Seashore, Mississippi / Florida
Grab your chance to visit Gulf Islands National Seashore when the Gulf Coast winter snowbirds start heading north. Soak up the sun on this 160 mile trek of white sandy beaches stretching along the Mississippi and Florida coasts.
Kayak, hike or explore historic sites in the park’s barrier islands, maritime forests and rich marine habitat. Unlike many national parks, the park’s ever popular Davis Bayou Campground can accommodate RVs up to 45-feet long.
4. Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
Bathing in hot mineral water during Arkansas’ hot, humid summer seems like a recipe for disaster. That’s why Hot Springs National Park is one of the best parks to visit before summer temperatures soar.
See, touch and even bathe in the park’s healing mineral waters piped into different bath houses. The state capitol of Little Rock grew up around this urban national park, but it still feels a remote getaway when you’re camped at the Gulpha Gorge Campground after a long day soaking your cares away.
5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee / North Carolina
There’s something for everyone at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is why it’s become America’s most visited national park, according to the National Park Service.
Majestic mountains, woodsy forests, and picturesque rivers combine to create an Appalachian camping vacation getaway. You won’t escape crowds in spring but you will find fewer RVs in the two campgrounds (Cades Cove and Smokemont) that accommodate larger RVs over 30-feet long.
Visiting America’s treasures should be a peaceful experience but that’s not always the case. As long as you avoid spring break crowds this year, you can have that solitude at any of these spectacular spring destinations.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.