Best National Parks to Visit by Month - Travel Squad Podcast

Best National Parks to Visit by Month

In this episode we break down the best national parks to visit by month so you have plans for every season this year! 

We explored these national parks during these months and found it to be the perfect time of year for each one. To determine the best national park to visit during each month of the year we looked at weather, ability to access the park (some things are closed during winter or summer), crowds, and likelihood to view the main natural attractions. 

What we mean about this last point is that some parks are great for wildlife viewing, but only certain parts of the year or some parks have great waterfalls, but are more gushing during certain parts of year, or even something like Carlsbad Caverns which stays cool all year so it’s great to visit in summer to escape the heat.

  • Best National Park to Visit in January – Virgin Islands National Park 
  • Best National Park to Visit in February – Zion National Park 
  • Best National Park to Visit in March – Haleakala National Park
  • Best National Park to Visit in April – Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Best National Park to Visit in May – New River Gorge National Park
  • Best National Park to Visit in June – Yellowstone & Grand Teton (see our week itinerary for this trip)
  • Best National Park to Visit in July – Carlsbad Caverns National Park
  • Best National Park to Visit in August – Glacier National Park
  • Best National Park to Visit in September – Mount Rainier National Park
  • Best National Park to Visit in October – Shenandoah National Park
  • Best National Park to Visit in November – Hot Springs National Park
  • Best National Park to Visit in December – Grand Canyon National Park

Best National Parks to Visit by Month – Episode Transcript

1 (41s):
Welcome to episode 116 of the Travel Squad podcast. Today, we’re going to tell you every national park you need to visit in 2022 and the best month to visit

2 (1m 8s):
My mind is already buzzing. Trying to plan where I want to go. Next year, I have so many ideas, so many places I want to go so many National Parks I want to hit up. And a lot of them are on this list.

3 (1m 18s):
Yeah. And you know us at the squad. I mean, how many episodes have you heard of us talking about National Parks, that being our next adventure and what we’re going to do. So we’re hoping this episode inspires you. 2022 is a fresh year to get out there, get in nature, see America, the beautiful, and we have one for you every single month of the year. So if you can’t make one every month, choose a couple, definitely do it. You won’t regret it. These parks that we’re mentioning are optimized to the month and the season, and they are fantastic.

1 (1m 47s):
Jamal. And I usually average one national park a month. So

2 (1m 51s):
You’re going to run out of National Parks.

1 (1m 53s):
I can’t wait to run out of the National Parks.

3 (1m 55s):
The goal is to run out of National Parks. It’s a bucket list item. So the sooner the better, and then I don’t want to say get onto bigger and better things because the National Parks are big and better, but at the same time, ready to make new adventures and then pick the best of them to do the repeats. Cause you know, we’re going to be repeating several of these, which are the standouts for sure.

2 (2m 14s):
And the government is often adding to the national park designation. So by the time you run out, there may be more to go to.

1 (2m 22s):
That’s true because when I first started getting into the National Parks or it’s 59 National Parks and currently to date, there are 63 National Parks.

3 (2m 30s):
Did they definitely should add some more, as long as they’re good ones, we’ve talked in the past. I’m not going to say them outright, which ones we don’t think should be National Parks, but at the same time, yes, it will give us something new. But what really bothers me about it is we have our National Parks checklists from our travel stamps and we have our little scratch off posters, the National Parks. So when it requires me to get a new thing, because it’s not on there, it’s a little upsetting, but it’s also good for America at the same time. So I’ll take the L on that one.

1 (2m 57s):
So we’re going to start with the tips of course. And first tip we have for you is that there are a lot of free days to visit the National Parks.

2 (3m 5s):
You can really fuck them hard on those free days.

3 (3m 7s):
Welcome har your tax dollars, pay for it, go for them when they’re free.

1 (3m 11s):
In 2022, there are six free days. And I mean, they include Martin Luther king Jr’s birthday, first day of national park week, one year anniversary of the great American outdoors act, national park service birthday, national public lands day and veterans day.

3 (3m 27s):
And we’re going to include those specific dates in the show notes for you guys of what days they’re free. And 20, 22, since we didn’t list them. Now, we don’t want to bore you with the dates, but those themselves are the holidays and specific events that give you those six free days into the National Parks.

1 (3m 42s):
Another tip that I have for you guys is to purchase the America, the beautiful inter-agency national park pass. It’s $80. It’s good for one full rolling year. So if you buy it in January, it’s going to be good till the end of the next January. And it’s on a rolling year system. So this way you can really fuck them hard.

2 (4m 2s):
There are also some parks that do not charge an entry fee. Biscayne bay in Florida is one of those great smoky mountains. National park in Tennessee is another one. So look into it. You may be able to go for free any day of year.

3 (4m 15s):
Yes. And if you don’t purchase the inter-agency pass, which I mean, again, we highly recommend that you do some of these parks cost anywhere between we’ve seen $15 to enter the park all the way up to $35. So it depends on the location, how popular the park is, but a really, really good deal with that inner agency pass. And we highly recommend it, especially if you’re going to be doing the one a month, as we suggest,

2 (4m 37s):
If you don’t purchase the past and you’re just wanting to pay for your one park entry and you aren’t going to be going to everyone every month, you can do that. And your past will be good for seven days. So you’ll have multiple days to use it for the one fee. Just so you know,

1 (4m 55s):
Another tip that I have for you guys is a lot of the parks have remote areas. So it’s always a good idea to download offline maps on Google maps of the park or areas that you’re going to visit so that you don’t get lost while you’re on the road.

3 (5m 7s):
Those are some good tips. And just to recap, 63 National Parks, but here we are going to highlight 12 for you. These aren’t necessarily our favorites, but these are the best ones per the month of the year for us to recommend. So let’s get right into it. Starting off with January ladies,

2 (5m 23s):
Let’s kick off the new year with a trip to Virgin islands, national park on St. John island.

3 (5m 29s):
Oh, we did that this year. Kim in January. Yes we did. So you squaddies kick it off for 2022. With that,

2 (5m 35s):
We have an episode fully dedicated to this park. It’s episode 84. If you want to go back and listen to that, but tell us why January is the month to go to this park.

1 (5m 44s):
So Virgin islands national park is located in the Caribbean and in the Caribbean from the months of September through the end of the year, November it’s hurricane season, and then in January, it’s perfect weather, perfect Caribbean weather, great time to visit.

2 (5m 60s):
It’s also really nice to want to get away from the cold weather here in the states

1 (6m 4s):
And just enjoy the island life. Virgin islands, national park has so much to offer. It takes up 60% of the island of St. John, and it has beautiful white sand beaches with clear turquoise water. We went snorkeling with turtles, which was epic and amazing love that we did some hiking to plantation ruins a secluded beach, and we even saw Petrik lifts while we were there.

3 (6m 27s):
This is one of those parks that you mentioned, Kim, that’s free to get into. This is on an island at the part of the us Virgin islands. So clearly to us territory, if we’re talking about National Parks, right? But this island, like Brittany said, 60% of the island of St. John is a national park and very few residents live on it. However, you can’t access the park at no cost other than taking the ferry to get over there. But some of the beaches, not all, some of the beaches on this island do have an entrance fee for you of about like $5 per person. Maybe they charge you a minimal amount to park, but not every beach that you stop on. The island will have that, but free entry, nonetheless, to the park as a whole,

2 (7m 5s):
If you had the America, the beautiful park pass, do you still have to pay that beach and tree fee?

1 (7m 12s):
Do we learn? Cause we did bring it cause we thought we didn’t have to, but no, we learned that we did. There’s also no airports on St. John. So to get there, you actually have to take a ferry over, which is pretty unique to get to a National Parks that way.

3 (7m 26s):
Or if you’re about the yacht life like Kim, you’re just going to show up on the yacht dock and there you are. Yeah, No, but what I really liked about this, I mean, just truly, really think about it. The Caribbean itself is already an amazing, beautiful place. So many beautiful beaches. And yet here we are in the us Virgin islands and they’ve created 60% of the island to be a national park. So if these places are already special serene and beautiful, what do you think? It looks like here to make this spot specifically a national park, pristine white sand beaches, the sea life, the jungle itself, part of the island when you’re in the inside of it, not along the coast, absolutely breathtaking and beautiful. Most importantly, not a very busy time in January and perfect time.

3 (8m 9s):
Weather wise for you to get there, not too hot in the Caribbean and definitely warm enough from mainland USA to get that little reprieve from winter,

2 (8m 16s):
February, the national park that you should visit in February is Zion national park in Southwest Utah. We also have an episode on this one. You can go back to episode 97 and hear all about it. And this is a crowd favorite for the squad.

3 (8m 29s):
Definitely a crowd favorite. And I just want to let everyone know who hasn’t listened to episode 97 1, go listen to it. But two, at the end, if I recall correctly, we had a discussion because it was a question of the week of when we prefer going. Cause we’ve been multiple times during the summer, during the winter. And we all said during the winter time is the better time to go. There’s always the pros and cons of each of the season, but we feel the winter is best. And that’s why it’s great here in February. You guys,

1 (8m 56s):
Cause I am just has such beautiful scenery, the red and orange rocks, the views down into the canyon and when it snows and it does look cliffs, there’s not a better view than that. So beautiful.

2 (9m 8s):
Zion’s also a really popular national park and in the winter it’s less crowded and you can drive into the park. You don’t have to wait for the shuttle system. So that’s a nice perk to,

1 (9m 18s):
I would just recommend if you’re going to do the famous hike in the narrows, because we are recommending you go in February, you’re going to want to prepare for that and wear the appropriate clothing and rent the actual gear to keep you warm and dry while you’re in the narrows.

3 (9m 32s):
Yeah. And that’s one of the pros and cons. We talked about two of the most famous hikes in Zion national park. One of them being the arrows, the other one Angel’s landing. Well, the narrows is a hike through the Virgin river that traverses through the park. If you’re there in February, when there’s snow, do you really want to be in the water? Well, the answer is yes. If you have the appropriate gear, it keeps you dry. You have the appropriate waiters, you’re warm and insulated. So you do want to rent that so that you can enjoy that hike. And I just want to say touching on what you said, Kim is very busy park, but not in the winter when we did the narrows during the summer. So, so crowded in there. And then when you look at photos of people who are doing it during the winter, they have it all to themselves. So it’s a unique experience to do it during this time because it feels like it’s yours and you’re not surrounded by everybody.

1 (10m 19s):
The squad actually went and went her and it was too icy to go up to Angel’s landing. So we went off on a different path from Scouts landing and we got to make snow angels. And there was like, no one else on our trail. It was really, really fun, really beautiful. And we had a great time experiencing that. Remoteness,

2 (10m 36s):
If you are going to go to Zion national park, I’d highly recommend you stay at the Bumble Berry in because they have some of the best breakfast hookup I have ever seen a hotel give

1 (10m 46s):
Fuck. Yeah, they do my God. We got breakfast vouchers for a restaurant and we were able to order one main entree and one drink per person. If we didn’t have the vouchers, there is four of us. Our breakfast was like over $70 a week. Got that shit for free,

3 (11m 1s):
Real, real solid deal. And I like the hotel itself. And Yeah, it was going to say not to mention the hot tub aspect of things. If you’re out there during the winter, maybe the walk back from the hot tub, Jerome might be a little bit chilly, but to sit out there in the cold, in the hot tub, seeing the amazing scenery around you within the national park, breathtaking Bumble, Berry, and highly recommended.

1 (11m 23s):
So Zion is located in Utah and Utah does have five National Parks. Utah’s mighty five. We actually have a Utah’s mighty five national park itinerary for purchase on our website, Travel Squad, Podcast dot com. So if you guys are interested in that, go check it out.

2 (11m 39s):
It is an epic itinerary that takes you to the five National Parks, but it’s not just about the National Parks. It tells you the route to take the mileage between where to stay, what to eat and all of these small towns where these National Parks are, is seriously amazing. If you want to knock these five out, all in one trip,

3 (11m 55s):
Our itineraries regularly sell on our website for $30, but for Christmas here guys, after black Friday, we put all our itineraries for 1225 to celebrate Christmas. So you have a few more days left here till the end of the year to pick it up at that price or any one of our other itineraries. That way you can enjoy the mighty five or any of the other ones that we have listed there.

1 (12m 16s):
So in March, we recommend that you go to Haleakala national park, which is on the island of Maui in Hawaii.

3 (12m 24s):
Yes. So I can’t tell you how many people I know always rave about Maui, Maui, Maui, Maui, and Maui may be the most popular island in Hawaii for people and tourists to go to little. Do they know that there is a national park on the island and Holly Aquila is a volcano and you have amazing views from the top. You can see 360 all around you to the ocean, but the highlight is going to the top. It’s over 10,000 feet above sea level. And you can witness the most amazing sunrise of your life from the top. You do have to have permits to do that and witnessed the sunrise. But even if you aren’t able to secure the permits, Haleakala national park is an amazing national park for you to visit and perfect time.

3 (13m 9s):
Weather-wise in Hawaii for March.

1 (13m 11s):
Also some really beautiful waterfalls in Holly, echo national park on the backside. It’s kind of remote to get to that area, but really awesome, really amazing. I would highly recommend we’re kind of like ending winter, starting spring. And so it’s still pretty chilly. So it’s a great way to beat the cold and then jump over to Hawaii and get some heat.

2 (13m 30s):
Very nice in April, we’re recommending that you go to Bryce national park in Utah. Again, Bryce is gorgeous. It’s orange and bright and there’s these stacked. Hoodoos reaching up to the sky. And when we went in April and this is why we’re recommending it, it was not that busy at all. So you have these beautiful orange trails all to yourself. You can take all the pictures you want. No one’s in the background and you really get to enjoy it the way you want to be. If you are to go in a more popular time of year, then you can expect there to be crowds overcrowding. Even I know in the past year, they’ve had some capacity issues,

3 (14m 11s):
Definitely capacity issues. One I think with COVID lots of National Parks are having capacity issues, especially the more popular ones, Bryce, whether or not you’ve heard of it or not. I guarantee you is one of the more popular national parks in the national park system. Let alone the fact that it’s part of the mighty five. I remember there was a specific parking lot for busloads and by busloads, I mean busloads like so many spots for buses to park out there for the guided tours. So you’re going to be fighting just the normal traffic of everyday people who are going, let alone all the guided tours that come out there. So definitely in April before that peak season, and definitely before the weather gets a little too hot in Utah and you’ve gotten away from that real coldness and Utah also April is the good time.

3 (14m 54s):
But Brittany, why don’t you tell him a little bit about some of the more popular hikes to entice them to go to Bryce? The ones that we did?

1 (15m 0s):
Yeah. So we did a hike called the Queen’s garden trail and we did an extension to the peekaboo loop trail. That combined hike is amazing. The Queen’s garden is really cool to see. There is an actual Hoodoo that is shaped like queen Victoria. So really cool to see also, when you go through the peek-a-boo loop, there’s a specific way to go. You can hear all about it on episode 33 and this way you get the best views, you’ll be going through these tunnels that look out to the hoodoos. And so if you go that specific route, then you’ll see those views in that direction. You’re going to get some awesome opportunities to do like jumping picks in the tunnel, beautiful scenery in the background with the red rocks and the hoodoos.

1 (15m 42s):
So I highly recommend that hike,

3 (15m 44s):
Another hike worth mentioning probably my favorite. The one that we did the second day that we were there is that fairy land loop. This hike actually starts at the top of the canyon. You work your way into the canyon bout 900 feet below you see, and are amongst all of the hoodoos and then you do a loop and come all the way back out to the canyon and the rim. This one, I believe was what about eight miles long? It was definitely a long one, but if you’re willing to do it, I think this one is absolutely breathtaking. This one takes you really far into the canyon, be amongst the hoodoos. And I absolutely loved it. Love,

1 (16m 18s):
I love Bryce so much that I’m actually going back in 20, 22, maybe not in April, but I’m going in February to see it where it’s even more dusted with snow and I can’t wait to see it. So it’s definitely one of those parks where you can go back multiple times to continue to enjoy it.

3 (16m 35s):
Just a little nostalgia before we move on ladies, do we remember the biscuits at the breakfast buffet at the hotel that we were staying at?

2 (16m 42s):
Those were the softest biscuits. So good.

3 (16m 45s):
I’ve never had a better biscuit in my life, honestly. I’m not even joking. I bring it up because it’s so nostalgic just thinking about it. They were so fricking good.

1 (16m 54s):
So guess what guys, when I go to Bryce canyon, national park in February, we’re staying at that same hotel.

2 (16m 59s):
What was the name of that hotel?

1 (17m 1s):
It’s the best Western Ruby In?

2 (17m 3s):
Yes. Okay. So you definitely have to go back and listen to episode 33 about it, but it was a surprise that we even got to stay in this they’d upgraded us to their sister. Hotel, came with a breakfast buffet. Brittany came out running and screaming to announce it to Zaina and myself and we were all excited. We had been to this restaurant the night before and got the dinner buffet that we paid for. But then the breakfast buffet, the next day was included and it was like all the stops biscuits and gravy and eggs and bacon. And oh my God, it was so good.

1 (17m 32s):
Yeah. As I was just planning our trip with my friend, Emily, I was looking at hotels to stay out and Bryce and I was like, I’ll do the research on the Bryce one. And that hotel came up and it was pretty cheap in comparison to some of the other hotels in the area. And I was like, fuck, yeah, we’re staying there. The biscuits and gravy is, are bomb.

2 (17m 48s):
I guess we’re going to need to hear you report back on is the quality of the biscuits consistent.

1 (17m 54s):
I will report back. I might even do a live video there, so we’ll wait and see guys, we do recommend that in the month of may you go to our newest national park, which is new river Gorge national park in West Virginia,

3 (18m 8s):
We have a full episode on this episode, 94, Brittany. And I actually went in may. What a perfect time to go. It’s famous for many reasons, but one of the main activities to really do out there is go whitewater rafting on the river. And may is the perfect time to do that. You have the right amount of water flow coming out of the winter season, but definitely before it gets too, too hot out there. Now, granted you’re whitewater rafting. You’re going to be in the water cool off, but even our guides were telling us, you get there later into the season. It definitely can be really, really hot, almost unbearable out there on the river. And also too, the longer you wait into the season, the lower the water’s going to be.

3 (18m 49s):
So the rapids aren’t as high. So a combination of things on why may works out best.

1 (18m 53s):
You know, we went early in the season and it was a little chilly, but it was bearable. And there weren’t that many people on the river paddling. However, they said that later in, later into the season, they can release hundreds of white river rafting groups and down the river and it could be super crowded. And I’m really glad that like we were the only group on the river that day, really. So we booked an all day excursion that included lunch and it was like $110 per person. And we did it through a company called adventures on the Gorge. I would highly recommend them all of the guides or super knowledgeable, super fun. We had a great time and they really made the trip. They gave you the gear that you need to the helmet, the paddle, the life Fest, all of that.

1 (19m 35s):
And we all, we were there. We went through all sorts of rapid classes from class one through class five, which are like really difficult rapids to go through.

3 (19m 42s):
Yeah. And like Brittany said, this is our newest national park only became a national park in December of 2020. So relatively new when we were there, they didn’t even have signs saying that it was a national park. It was still a national recreation area, but no signs say national park. And our guide was telling us, you know, this place is very famous for locals and people around in that area. And by that, I don’t just mean West Virginia, but the surrounding states they know about it. But now that it’s a national park, clearly that brings the influx. We’re talking about it now, maybe now this is the first time you’re really hearing about it, but they said be patient with them because they know themselves. They really don’t have the infrastructure in terms of hotels to keep up with the demand and things of that nature.

3 (20m 23s):
So they’re working on it and I’m sure it’s going to be done up here really well really soon, but an amazing place to go whitewater rafting. That’s for sure, really fun

2 (20m 31s):
In June, you Squatty should go to, to National Parks and we’re recommending Yellowstone and grand Teton national parks in Wyoming because they’re right next to each other, they touch. And it would really be a shame for you to go all the way to visit one and not go into the other. We did this trip back in June of 2020, and it was amazing. It was the perfect time to go. It could not have been better weather. And the crowds were also not that bad because it’s the very beginning of the season. Granted, we were a special case because we were in these parks like a couple of days after they reopened due to COVID. But I think regardless of that, it’s still a good time to go.

3 (21m 11s):
Definitely the later you wait until the season, the more into the normal summer season, it’s going to be crowded. These parks are always crowded in general, let alone with COVID. And you mentioned earlier, Kim, lots of parks hitting capacity, and too many people you don’t want to do that. Let alone the fact that it’s June, you’re having the snow melt wildlife is coming out of hibernation, the bears, you see it abundant and then being really active. So these are really the best times and let alone weather-wise too

1 (21m 37s):
Scenery in both parks or out of this world. Like the grand Teton national park features the Teton or range, which is so beautiful. Majestic, serene snow-capped mountains, just super, super beautiful. I loved it. It’s probably one of my favorite National Parks. And then you go to Yellowstone, which has all of those thermal features and those geological structures. And it’s so unique. So

2 (22m 1s):
In all the bison

1 (22m 3s):
And all the bison and the wildlife that you see, so both parks, you have to go together all in one trip because you would be missing out. If you didn’t.

2 (22m 11s):
We have two episodes on this one for each parks. If you go back to episode 56 and 57, we’ll give you all the nitty-gritty details. We did this as a one-week trip that span both of the parks, and that was a perfect amount of time to explore it all. We also have an itinerary available to download on our website. So if you’re interested in taking this week long trip where we recommend the route to take the hikes, to do the mileage, where to eat, what to get at these places, it’s all in there. And you can download that on our website.

1 (22m 42s):
And we had some of the best of barbecue while we were there.

2 (22m 46s):
Oh my God. In Jackson, Wyoming, the Mac and the ribs.

1 (22m 51s):
So good.

3 (22m 53s):
What was the name of the barbecue ladies? Big

1 (22m 55s):
Hole,

3 (22m 55s):
Big hole, big hole.

1 (22m 58s):
I couldn’t remember if it was big hole or fourth hole.

3 (23m 0s):
Oh, we were talking about the fourth hole DMS for more info on that, but yeah, big old barbecue. Really, really good. But that’s for the month of June moving on to July, my favorite month, my birthday month, we recommend going to Carlsbad, caverns national park in New Mexico. Now you may think to yourself, New Mexico it’s really hot during the summer. And it absolutely is. But the Carlsbad caverns, these are caves. You go underground. The average temperature is about 50 to 55 degrees in there. The national park actually recommends you bring a jacket because it’s quite chilly down there. So really good way to beat the heat, even though you’re in the heat, but out of the heat, if that makes sense and the amazing structures that are just below the surface of the earth, the stalagmites, the stalactites, every time you go into a cave, it’s like a new wonder, even though you may or may not have been in one before, it just takes your breath away.

1 (23m 52s):
And Jamal said, you have to go underground. You’re going 750 feet underground. You can either go that way through an elevator, or you can hike down through a natural entrance, but that’s how far down you’re going to go. And the caverns are very, very cool. You can explore it by yourself. Or you can also book a guided tour and explore more of the caves that you can’t see if you were to explore yourself, which I highly recommend super fun. We got to do some repelling down the cave. We got to like, where are these headlamps and crawl into these spaces where it was absolutely pitch black saw some amazing structures you can’t see otherwise it was a must-do.

3 (24m 31s):
We have a full episode on this episode, 39. So I do highly recommend going back and listening to it. But what Brittany’s talking about is the elevator down takes you to the main cave. This is the main area that most people experience of the park has the stalagmites to lag tights. It’s all lit up and there’s a path for you to follow. And you can just experience it at your leisure in your own pleasure. They have a second part of the cave, the lower cave, this area is not available to the general public. You have to do the guided ranger tours with it, but this area is not lit up. So you have the headlamp, you have to Spelunk down with a rope and do some crawling, and it’s completely pitch black in there except for your headlamp and the flashlight of your ranger guide and a really, really unique experience that you can’t get by just doing the main part of the cave.

3 (25m 20s):
So we definitely recommend doing the lower cave.

2 (25m 22s):
I have a scratch off us map. It’s actually a map of the world, but in the us, for every state you visit, you can scratch off. And from Colorado west, everything is scratched off except for a gaping hole for New Mexico and Carlsbad. Caverns is the number one national park that I want to visit in 2022,

1 (25m 43s):
Because you want to visit that park. You want to scratch it off your map?

2 (25m 45s):
Well, the caverns in the cave, I’ve seen your pictures. It looks so cool. Like it does blow your mind. I know we went into a cave in Lebanon and it was so gorgeous and it’s similar to what you’ll see here. So I do really want to see this park, but I also really want to get that hole fixed up on my map.

1 (26m 2s):
Yeah, this is the largest single cave chamber by volume in north America. Super cool. You can easily do this national park in a weekend trip. That’s all the time you need there.

2 (26m 13s):
That’s what I’ll be doing maybe in July. All right. Let’s get into August. So getting into the late summer here, we recommend that you visit glacier national park in Montana.

1 (26m 24s):
Yes. And you want to visit in summer because glacier national park has a really, really short summer season. The roads don’t even fully open until like late June and they closed by late October. So you only have July and August and September to fully like visit.

2 (26m 41s):
And that is because

1 (26m 43s):
There’s so much snow that comes in during the winter months,

2 (26m 46s):
Glacier.

1 (26m 47s):
Yes. Hence glacier, while you’re driving along the road, you’re most likely going to go up a famous road called going to the sun road. And once you get to the highest elevation on that road, there is a visitor center and it has these really, really, really tall antennas sticking up. And we were wondering about them and we found out that they stick up so high so that harboring Rangers can identify that building because that whole building is covered in snow during the winter.

2 (27m 14s):
Oh my gosh. And this is like very close to Canada. Right?

1 (27m 18s):
Very, very close to Canada. In fact, this national park extends into Canada. However, we weren’t able to go to the Canadian side, which they name it a different name, like Waterford national park, because of COVID that year, the borders were closed, but glacier national park has a lot of glacier carved peaks and valleys and super beautiful lots of waterfalls, Alpine lakes. And you’re really going to enjoy the scenery here

3 (27m 44s):
And the wildlife for that matter. There’s grizzly bears, black bears up here. So you may encounter that all sorts of other wildlife. So glacier was an absolutely amazingly beautiful national park that we got to experience. And I think August is a really, really good time when we had gone Brittany. It was like at the beginning of September. So straddling that line, but August is Primo time for you guys to go.

1 (28m 5s):
Glacier also features lake McDonald, which has like those really beautiful colored rocks. And that crystal clear water, you’ve probably seen a ton of Instagram posts on that. Cause it’s a very famous to go to for that.

2 (28m 17s):
If you’re wondering what it looks like, head on over to our Instagram at Travel Squad Podcast, cause we have posted pictures of it.

1 (28m 23s):
Yes. And if you want to hear more about glacier national park, listen to episode 69 because we talk all about it in the episode

2 (28m 30s):
In September, you can stay very close to glacier and just drive on over to Mount Rainier national park in Washington. We also have an episode out on this one that was episode 68. Mount Rainier is absolutely gorgeous. And if there’s one view that you should absolutely get in this park, it is going to be the view of Myrtle falls from the skyline trail, which shows you the gorgeous Mount Rainier mountain in the background. While you’re looking at this waterfall, I know I loved it.

3 (28m 59s):
I was going to say, I love how you mentioned that Kevin, you didn’t even see that were near in the background. You just looked at the waterfall and didn’t realize that we could see it. And the backdrop there.

2 (29m 7s):
Yes. I’ll never forget that view that I saw from a picture,

1 (29m 11s):
But the skyline trail is amazing. It is like the must hike, hike in the park. You have it really amazing views of Mount Rainier the entire time. It’s pretty challenging, pretty non-exposed but you have these beautiful Meadows with wild flowers, forests, and the most dramatic views of Mount Rainier.

2 (29m 28s):
That’s the funny thing about Mount Rainier national park is every hike. They say you’ll have the most dramatic views of Mount Rainier on every single hike, but it’s so big. It is in the view from every single trail. And so Brittany’s like, we’re doing this hike in this hike and she wants to cram in all of these hikes. And I’m like, why do we want to see this one? She said, they say it has dramatic views of Mount Rainier. Like we already saw dramatic views of it.

3 (29m 54s):
It’s like how much more dramatic could it get? But I like skyline because this is the highest up on Mount Rainier. You can actually get without climbing to the summit of it. And so this really gets you up on it quite literally. And it’s absolutely breathtaking, but you go a little bit lower on the elevation, further down from Mount Rainier. There’s another cool area of the park where you can do a trail called groves of the patriarchs. And basically these are thousand year old, Cedar and Douglas fir trees and absolutely breathtaking. I mean the further up you get on Mount Rainier, you get above the tree line. So there aren’t any trees and here’s a different area of the park now where you’re amongst thousand year old Cedars Douglas, firs, and you’re in the trees, crazy disparity of scenery within the park.

1 (30m 36s):
Yeah. We took an epic trip to Mount Rainier national park, north cascades to Olympic national,

2 (30m 42s):
Which is my favorite National Parks. If you’re going to go, I would try to add that into it too.

1 (30m 47s):
We do have an itinerary that features all of Washington, state’s National Parks. It’s on our website, Travel Squad, Podcast dot com. So definitely go on over, check it out. Like Jamal mentioned earlier, all of our itineraries are on sale for $12 and 25 cents to celebrate the Christmas season. And you have a few more days to purchase because we’re raising the prices in 2022. So in October, which is my favorite month, because it’s my birthday month. We recommend you go to Shenandoah national park in Virginia.

2 (31m 16s):
We’ve met some really cool travelers that are from Virginia.

3 (31m 20s):
Oh gosh. My favorite people that we’ve ever met on any of our guided tours on gate one was from Virginia where they are.

2 (31m 28s):
We have to do an episode. We’ve done an episode in the past on bad travel etiquette. But I think we should do an episode on bad travelers because we have a lot to say about this couple. That was from Virginia.

3 (31m 40s):
If you can’t tell from the sarcasm there, obviously they weren’t our favorite necessarily. They’re the ones who give Americans a bad name, but they were from Virginia. But don’t let that discourage you from going to shin and Doha in Virginia because this park is absolutely amazing. I know you haven’t been here, Kim, but I think it would be right up your alley, especially during the turn of the season, around this time here in October.

2 (32m 1s):
Yes. And I would love to go to DC and then just add this in as a little day trip to,

1 (32m 6s):
And that’s really doable Kim, because Shenandoah is the national park. That’s closest to our nation’s capital. It’s only like 75 miles away.

2 (32m 13s):
It’s perfect.

1 (32m 14s):
Yeah. So Shenandoah is a long thin national park and it follows the blue Ridge mountains and it has these beautiful green lush rolling Hills, secluded hollows, creeks, forests, and amazing waterfalls and just great use of Shenandoah valley.

3 (32m 30s):
Yeah, we did a trail called old rag. It’s the most popular trail within the national park. It’s nine miles long. You start at the base, work your way, all the way to the top of those blue Ridge mountains that Brittany was talking about. And it gives you amazing views of the Shenandoah valley when we were there. It wasn’t in October. So we didn’t have those fall foliage color changes. It was really lush, really, really green, but I can imagine. And that’s why we’re suggesting around this time with the season, change the colors out there. I know would just be something else, an unreal to see and witness.

2 (33m 2s):
Yes. My friend was in the blue Ridge mountains in October and I saw her pictures on her Instagram and the trees. Everything was very fall colored. It looks so beautiful.

1 (33m 13s):
Yeah. And even if you don’t go hiking, there are so many viewpoints in the park. You can drive the skyline drive, which is like 105 miles. You don’t even have to do the whole thing. You can do part of it, but it has 75 overlooks that give you all of those great views,

2 (33m 27s):
A beautiful national park with little hiking at sounds right up my alley.

1 (33m 32s):
Well, there’s plenty of hiking if you want to do it, but you don’t have to. It’s one of those ones where you can enjoy it even without the hikes. And you can hear all about it in episode 94.

3 (33m 40s):
So moving on to November, almost closing out the year here, I think I speak for everybody on the squad. When I say how hyped up we are to talk about this national park, hot Springs national park in Arkansas, we actually did do this one in November. Hence why we think it is the perfect time to go, but truly it really is for multiple reasons. And why don’t one of you ladies take it from there.

2 (34m 2s):
The hot Springs national park in Arkansas is in my top five favorite National Parks and November is my birthday month. And I love this month and this would be a really good time to visit because the weather is a lot cooler and a lot chillier. And so when you’re out in the mornings or in the evenings, you can see the steam rising up from the ground and it looks really cool.

3 (34m 24s):
Yeah. Hot Springs. National park is really, really unique. It’s a city in Arkansas and part of it’s downtown is a national park. And so if you can’t tell from the name there’s natural hot Springs that flow within the city. Now these aren’t hot Springs that we would imagine when we’re talking about Yellowstone that have that sulfuric smell or anything like that, these are just natural, hot Springs, hot water. So in the past, and by in the past, I’m talking early 19 hundreds, they made bath houses and spas out here where they collect the natural hot water. And they created like pools and spas for people to enjoy. While some of those spas are still in operation today within the National Parks.

3 (35m 4s):
So you can sit in there, sit in a cave that has the thermal water flowing into it. You can sit in the thermal pools itself. And then like you said, Kim, the backdrop of the city, you can see the steam coming out through the steam holes and just during the winter, it creates that awesome atmosphere. So really unique, really cool. And it’s got that chill in the air. So what better way to warm up than get in some hot water?

1 (35m 26s):
Yeah. We checked out a bath house called Copa bathhouse and we also did a steam cave while we were there. Super cool. We learned that Jamal doesn’t sweat at all. I

2 (35m 34s):
Was just thinking that

3 (35m 36s):
I sweat

2 (35m 37s):
Not on your face.

3 (35m 38s):
I try to look good and you know,

1 (35m 40s):
But the bath house itself has four different thermal pools and they range from a variety of temperatures between 98 to 104 degrees. And we tried all of them, but there is another bath house in hot Springs that we want to go back and try where you have these private baths. I definitely want to try that out and get massage afterwards. I think that would be amazing, but there is a winery in the area that gave out free samples. And my God, we got the best cupcakes, oh

2 (36m 9s):
My God.

1 (36m 10s):
National Parks. It was from a place called fat bottom girl to cupcakes. And they had these ooey, gooey butter cupcakes that I can’t stop thinking about. But there’s so much to do in hot Springs. I know people are like, what is there to do in Arkansas? And you know, we were kind of thinking the same thing. And then we got there. Town was super cute. We loved it.

2 (36m 30s):
Actually wish we would have had more than one night there.

1 (36m 33s):
So take that tip from us, stay two nights for sure. And it is the only national park that has a brewery and the brewery uses the thermal waters

2 (36m 43s):
And it’s female owned. So go support. Woo. And then in December to close out your year of exploring the great outdoors in America, finish it with one of the most iconic national parks in the system, the grand canyon national park in Arizona.

1 (37m 0s):
Yes. The grand canyon is grand and so beautiful. You definitely have to see it. Colors are amazing. Orange yellows, reds. Every time you go hiking or viewing the grand canyon, you feel like you can’t get a better view. You’re like, Ooh, I gotta take a picture here. Then you go down a little bit farther and you’re like, oh my God, this is an even better view. And you just keep doing that as you go around the grand canyon.

3 (37m 22s):
We talk about this in great depth. In episode eight, when we talk about our American Southwest road trip, as a matter of fact, speaking of our itineraries, we’re hyping them up because one they’re on sale and two they’re great. We have an American Southwest itinerary that features the grand canyon talks about it all more in depth, again, where to stay, what hikes to do, et cetera. But why I think the grand canyon is really great in December is if you are unaware Arizona as a very, very hot state, you’re in the desert out there, it gets hot, hot, hot, hot, well in December. That is not necessarily the case at all. As a matter of fact, when we went as a squad, this was my first time actually going and I saw the photos and expected, oh, it’s just going to be desert and rock.

3 (38m 5s):
Well at the surface at the grand canyon, believe it or not. It’s very foresty and lots of pine trees. There’s snow up there. It gives you this unique perspective of the desert and of the park with the trees and the snow. And then you start working your way down into the canyon as you go down and lower, it definitely does warm up, but not like that desert heat. So you can enjoy the park a lot more because it’s cool at the top with the snow, you will definitely warm up as you go down. So it makes it a more enjoyable experience. So you’re not sweating and melting out there.

2 (38m 34s):
If you do go in December, I would highly recommend staying at the grand hotel at the grand canyon because it’s this adorable lodge hotel with those grand fireplace. And it was all decorated for Christmas and there were icicles hanging down and there was snow everywhere. It was beautiful.

1 (38m 50s):
That was a great hotel to go to. And they gave us a little rubber ducky.

2 (38m 53s):
And there’s an indoor pool that because we were on a road trip, we didn’t get to experience, but it looked really cool.

3 (38m 59s):
I know that was the biggest disappointment is how little time we got to spend in that amazing hotel. But when you’re at the grand canyon, one of our recommendations for a hike is going to be hiking. The south kebab trail and this trail, if you want to complete it, we’ll take you all the way to the bottom of the canyon. So what goes down must come up. So do keep that in mind. But even if you don’t want to make the full way all the way down, I do recommend traversing part of it going in. It gives you a completely unique perspective. I mean, you’re standing at the top. You’re thinking, wow, I’m looking into the grand canyon. Everything’s going to look the same. The further I go in, but no, it doesn’t. It just gets better and better. And then you’re in the middle of it amongst it and south kebab trail, one of the more popular trails in the park and for a good reason.

2 (39m 42s):
All right, there you go. We’ve planned out your 20, 22 year of travel. You don’t have to do any more planning, just get the itineraries. And you’re good to go. But before we go and we close out this episode, we do have two questions of the week. So let’s hear the first one.

1 (40m 4s):
Question. Number one is from Michelle in St. Louis and she asks, what National Parks are you planning to visit in 2022? And can I come?

2 (40m 14s):
Yes, you can come on your squad member.

1 (40m 16s):
The two that come off the top of my head, actually three, they come off. The top of my head is I am going to Bryce canyon, national park in February. And then we are going to Congress national park in may, as well as great smoky mountains, national park.

2 (40m 32s):
And I, like I said, I am going to the Carlsbad caverns national park in New Mexico.

3 (40m 37s):
I’m going where Brittany’s going. If I’m thinking of anything off the top of my head, something that I would like to repeat as go back to Yosemite. I have so many hikes that I want to do up there. So maybe we’ll make a time to go to that.

1 (40m 48s):
I also feel like maybe 20, 22 is the year that we’re going to go to Mesa Verde national.

2 (40m 54s):
Oh my God. Yes, please.

1 (40m 56s):
Can’t wait to go. But we have to go while their tours of the historic cliff dwellings are open. I’m not going to settle for less.

2 (41m 4s):
That’s the draw of the park. We have to see that.

1 (41m 7s):
Yeah, I know you can see them currently from like overlooks, but no, I want to go through them

2 (41m 11s):
To be amongst the ancient ruins. They really just get me going.

3 (41m 18s):
Our second question comes from Serena P from Toronto Canada. Oh, thank you. From the north. I love it. She asks I’m going on a group trip soon and I can’t find pooper REIT anywhere. Oh, What should we do? Well, I don’t, that’s a tough

2 (41m 34s):
One. So

3 (41m 35s):
Get separate rooms. Maybe

2 (41m 37s):
I think I’ve seen it at Ulta and Amazon before. And if you can’t find it, those two places and you need to DIY something, I would recommend essential oils.

1 (41m 47s):
Interesting. I’ve always been able to find it online. I think bed bath and beyond also has it, so check there as well. But if not, you know, I hear like the old trick of using a match to kind of get rid of work. So maybe carry a box of matches

3 (42m 2s):
On you. Well, how could Amazon not have it? I feel like that would, unless

2 (42m 5s):
There’s a short,

3 (42m 6s):
That’s true. It could be a shortage of shortages of everything right now.

2 (42m 8s):
Yeah. So that’s going to be pretty brutal to go on a group trip with no Poo-Pourri. So you’re going to have to DIY something because I wouldn’t want to be on that group trip. All right. Squaddies that’s our episode for the week. Thank you so much for tuning in keeping adventures, going with us, follow us on Instagram and YouTube at Travel Squad Podcast and send us in your questions of the week.

3 (42m 29s):
If you found the information in this episode to be useful, or if you thought we were just playing funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that would enjoy it too. And as always guys, please subscribe, rate, and review our podcast and tune in every Travel Tuesday for new episodes,

1 (42m 43s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode, we have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for you.

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