The national parks are some of the most majestic plots of land in America, but you might not consider them quintessential winter vacation destinations. You should. Of the 60 U.S. national parks, only one (Michigan’s Isle Royale) closes completely for the winter, and the colder months offer a huge advantage: fewer crowds.
Just remember: Planning a trip to a national park takes planning, especially during winter months when road closures are common and activities can be weather-dependent (of course a government shutdown can also throw a wrench in your plans).
“Some of the coolest things to do in the parks won’t be available if you try to do them at the last minute,” notes Caroline Bach Wood of Caroline Travel who customizes trips around the western national parks.
So, if you have some time, set your sights on one of these parks. They’re best seen before spring’s thaw.