Discover the 10 Best National Parks to Visit in July 

Written by Jeremiah Wright
Published: March 31, 2022
Image Credit Andrew Bertino/Shutterstock.com
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July provides the ultimate escape to the most beautiful and unique national parks in the United States. Many places are bursting with incredible wonders, making it great to enjoy all the outdoor activities. However, temperatures vary from warm to hot in July. Some national parks, such as Death Valley and Joshua Tree, may be hotter than others, with temperatures reaching 134°F and 100°F, respectively.

Most people don’t like traveling in scorching hot weather. Besides, areas with hot climates are not comfortable for different outdoor activities. So, this guide covers the 10 best national parks you can visit in July that have more favorable temperatures. 

This article has something for everyone, whether you are a fan of wildlife, hiking, mountain climbing, backpacking, walking on the beach, viewing nature, or attending campfire programs in the most peaceful parks.

Let’s find out!

1. Indiana Dunes National Park

Indiana Dunes National Park
Indiana Dunes National Park is home to rare species of birds including the great blue heron and chimney swift.

Jon Lauriat/Shutterstock.com

Indiana Dunes National Park

StateNorthwestern Indiana
Size15,349 Acres
Animal to SeeCougar
Attraction to SeeDeep River Waterpark, Kemil Beach

Expand your perspective on real and untouched nature by visiting Indiana Dunes National Park, an amazing park in northwest Indiana. You will discover both biological diversity and pretty beaches upon visiting the park in July, when most of the park is accessible.

Indiana Dunes provides a wide variety of hiking trails (about 14 distinct trail systems), which traverse various habitats and the park’s cultural history. While on hiking trails, you will come across many wetlands formed by the ground movement of water through glacial and coastal landforms. 

Indiana Dunes National Park is home to rare species of birds, including the great blue heron and chimney swift. The park also provides a habitat for the federally endangered species of Karner blue butterfly. While hiking through the dunes, you may catch a glimpse of a six-lined racerunner moving swiftly through the grass.

The park’s beach is breathtaking—there’s always a perfect beach day at Indiana Dunes. You may also go swimming in Lake Michigan, view the sunset, and be sure to camp in Dunewood’s Campground after a long day and enjoy watching the stars while marveling at the park’s beauty.

2. Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fiords National Park
Kenai Fjords National Park is located in Alaska.

Pete Niesen/Shutterstock.com

Kenai Fjords National Park

StateAlaska
Size669,984 Acres
Animal to SeeSteller Sea Lions
Attractions to SeeFjords and Glaciers

With temperatures of about 50℉ highs and lows of 35℉ in July, Kenai Fjords National Park is one of the most serene places that you can comfortably enjoy in July. You will be able to enjoy viewing the vast glaciers, massive ice bags, and wildlife at close range.

You can also explore Kenai Fjords through an ocean cruise on the vast waters and closely look at the sea animals such as sea lions, sea otters, seals, and later sunbath on the amazing rocky shores.

Other options for exploring Kenai Fjords include flight tours that provide beautiful views of the park. The park also lets you do other things, like kayaking, fishing, and backpacking.

3. Kings Canyon National Park

Best National Parks to Visit in July - King's Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park temperature ranges between 33℉ to 71℉ in July.

Leene/Shutterstock.com

Kings Canyon National Park

StateCalifornia
Size864,900 Acres
Animal to SeeMountain Lion
Attraction to SeeGeneral Grant Tree, Grant Grove

Kings Canyon National Park is one of the best places to be in July due to its favorable temperatures ranging from 33℉ to 71℉. This park is well known for its majestic giant forests, grand canyons, and wonderful rivers leading to small waterfalls.

Kings Canyon is also home to the famous giant Sequoia trees and hosts the second-largest tree globally, the General Grant Tree. Besides, it’s often considered a rival to Yosemite due to its unique rock outcroppings, skyscraping trees, and deep valleys. 

You’re more likely to see the park’s wildlife, such as bears, squirrels, yellow-bellied marmots, deer, mountain lions, and others, while on your way to the Zumwalt meadow or walking through the Mist Falls Trail. There are many birds as well to serve the birdwatching visitors.

4. Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park - Cliff Palace
Mesa Verde National Park allows you to learn about unique historical events and culture.

Alexey Kamenskiy/Shutterstock.com

Mesa Verde National Park

StateColorado
Size52,485 Acres
Animal to SeeBlack Bear
Attraction to SeeCliff Dwelling Area

Mesa Verde National Park is also another amazing place to visit in July. The temperatures are pleasant enough for you to explore outdoor activities in the park. In addition, this is the best place for you if you love history.

Abundant in history with thousands of archaeological sites, the park will allow you to learn about unique historical events, culture, and the powerful heritage of the Ancestral Pueblo people. You will also be able to explore cliff dwellings from early civilization.

The park’s entrance road is a perfect place to see turkeys. You may also run into skunks, black bears, and squirrels around Morefield Campground. In addition, you will have a chance to see a cottontail rabbit or a coyote along Far View and the Headquarters area.

5. Bryce Canyon National Park

Best National Parks to Visit in July - Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is home to many animals, including prairie dogs, rattlesnakes, and mountain lions.

silky/Shutterstock.com

Bryce Canyon National Park

StateUtah
Size35,835 Acres
Animal to SeeMountain Lion
Attraction to SeeBryce Amphitheater

Love to experience unforgettable adventures amidst favorable temperatures? Bryce Canyon National Park has you covered with its breath-taking scenery of canyons, sandstone cliffs, and hoodoos. 

July is the best month to visit Bryce Canyon if you want to get the most mesmerizing views of this park. It’s also warm in July, with temperatures ranging between 47℉ and 83℉, meaning you will be able to explore the outdoor activities comfortably.

The park’s canyons are home to many animals, including prairie dogs, rattlesnakes, and mountain lions. You may run into these animals near the trails and roads as well. Migratory nesting peregrine falcons, pronghorn, Rocky Mountain elk, and hummingbirds are often spotted crossing through the forested plateau, searching for food and shelter.

6. Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park - Anacapa island
Channel Islands National Park is located in California.

Felix Lipov/Shutterstock.com

Channel Islands National Park

StateCalifornia
Size248,561 Acres
Animal to SeeWhale
Attraction to SeeIslands

Channel Islands National Park is the treasure of California. July is the best time to visit the Channel Islands since you will be able to enjoy some quality and quiet time alone or as a family. July temperatures are also very suitable for outdoor activities.

Many animals live in the Channel Islands—from top predators like sharks, whales, and bald eagles, to intertidal residents like barnacles and sea stars. Because of its isolation and remote nature, the park supports fewer native animal species as compared to other places.

7. Glacier National Park

Best National parks to Visit in July - Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is the best place to hike trails and explore backcountry chalets

TheBigMK/Shutterstock.com

Glacier National Park

StateMontana
Size1,013,322 Acres
Animal to SeeMountain Goat
Attraction to SeeLake McDonald

Challenge your sense of adventure in Glacier National Park, the best place to hike trails and explore backcountry chalets. From June through mid-September is the best time to visit Glacier as the weather makes the park extremely accessible. So, July would be the perfect time to tour this park if you want to explore all the outdoor activities in warm and comfortable weather conditions.

Be ready to enjoy rafting in the park’s waters and explore its rich fauna and flora. You may also hike to the Logan Pass or Grinnell Glacier through the thick forest and get a chance to see a lot of amazing animals, such as bighorn sheep, grizzly bears, pika, and mountain goats.

Also, go on a scenic drive to the Sun Road and discover the most impressive glaciers, beautiful valleys, blooming wildflowers, towering mountains, and cascading waterfalls. You may as well visit the largest lake in the park, Lake McDonald, and enjoy mesmerizing boat tours.

8. North Cascades National Park

Best National Parks to Visit in July - North Cascades National Park
North Cascades National Park is home to various animal species, including black bears, mink, lynx, bobcat, and coyote.

Andrew Bertino/Shutterstock.com

North Cascades National Park

StateWashington
Size504,654 Acres
Animal to SeeCoyote
Attraction to SeeLake Diablo

With temperatures ranging from lows of 44.6℉ to highs of 69.8℉ in July, North Cascades National Park is another beautiful park to visit during summer. While it may be peak season, July is the best time of the year when you can easily access the North Cascades and find the most things to do. 

The park offers hiking trails that lead to various water features like Lake Diablo and Rose Lake Dam. By visiting the park, you will also get a chance to hike on different trails, like the famous Cascade Pass Trail.

North Cascades is also home to various animal species, including black bears, mink, river otter, lynx, bobcat, and coyote. There are also several species of rodents, from beavers to pikas living in the park.

Enjoy the spectacular view of Diablo Lake from its overlook during the day in the park. The park also provides stunning camping grounds, like the Colonial Creek Campground in the southern part of the park.

9. Badlands National Park

Best Parks to Visit in July - Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park is located in South Dakota.

NaughtyNut/Shutterstock.com

Badlands National Park

StateSouth Dakota
Size242,756 Acres
Animal to SeeBison
Attraction to SeePinnacles Overlook

Badlands National Park is a hikers’ wilderness paradise in summer. Temperatures are more favorable in July, making it the best month to tour the park. The park is also great for hiking, with more than five hiking trails to choose from and a wide range of animals to view.

Prepare for plenty of unplanned encounters with wildlife in the northern plains and mountains of the Badlands. Be on the lookout for black-footed ferrets, prairie dogs, bison, pronghorn, elk, bighorn sheep, and many more in the park.

Be sure to drive through Highway 240 or the Badlands Loop Road, which offers amazing park views. Enjoy watching the dramatic landscapes of steep canyons and span-layered rock formations from the best points in the park.

10. New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

New River Gorge National Park
New River Gorge National Park and Preserve allows you to explore many areas including the Big Branch Trail, River Road, and GwinnRidge Trail.

Gestalt Imagery/Shutterstock.com

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

StateWest Virginia
Size72,808 Acres
Animal to SeeWhite-tailed Deer
Attraction to SeeNew River Gorge 

July is the busiest month of the year at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. You’re likely to find more crowds and fewer lodgings at the parks. So, you need to book early. However, the weather is still good for you to do all the fun things you want to do.

Pick up a park map from the visitor center and take a short, easy walk from the parking lot to the two overlooks. You will get the best view of the New River Gorge Bridge from the lower overlook. You can walk under the bridge, but it’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s an incredible experience, though.

There are many areas to explore at the park, including the Big Branch Trail, Glade Creek, Grandview, Sandstones Falls Overlook, River Road, and GwinnRidge Trail. Catch sight of the raccoons, beavers, great horned owls, minks, and timber rattlesnakes from Glade Creek.

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