America’s best idea seems even better after a long cold winter.
Sure, some of us might still be getting the white fluffy stuff—or in some less fortunate areas, thick sheets of ice—but soon enough it will be spring. Bright green leaves will make their way back as the snow melts into tons of water. That water will make its way over grand falls and into rivers and lakes, while we kayak, raft, swim and fish our amazing protected lands.
While it might seem a distant dream right now, we will be enjoying the outdoors without the aid of gloves and parkas in no time at all. That’s why the best time to plan your spring adventures is now.
We’ve outlined some of the best places for spring visits—from bird-watching on the longest stretch of undeveloped beach on the east coast to attending the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in Great Smoky Mountains National Park—these are the top parks you need to visit in the spring.
Shenandoah National Park—Virginia
A quick 75 miles from the epicenter of Washington D.C., Shenandoah National Park offers visitors 200,000 acres of pristine mountains, waterfalls and wildlife. Visit in the spring to catch the waterfalls at their most powerful and hike a section of the Appalachian Trail in comfortable 50 to 60-degree weather. The 850 species of budding flowers and plants usually make their appearance in March, making the vistas even more spectacular.
Glacier National Park—Montana
Though Glacier National Park is normally chilly in the spring, it is the best time to visit. The 700+ miles of hiking trails and abundance of wildlife are best experienced when the crowds are sparse. Bears, moose, elk, goats and sheep roam on more than 1 million acres, sharing the land with more than 1,000 different species of plants. Glacier is spectacular any time of year, but is perhaps best enjoyed in the spring.