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15 Amazing U.S. National Parks to Visit in June (+ Planning Tips)

15 Amazing U.S. National Parks to Visit in June (+ Planning Tips)

Wondering where to travel in early summer or looking for travel inspiration for American National Parks to visit in June? This guide should give you plenty of ideas.

In this article, we feature a selection of some amazing American National Parks to visit in June with seasonal tips. Why go at this time of the year, what kind of weather to expect, and what to know. Find out!

June is a great month to visit pretty much anywhere, but while some places are much too hot or too busy to enjoy them to the fullest, there are quite some others where the weather in the early summer is perfect for outdoors. In some National Parks, June is one of the best times to be there!

June is a great month to visit some of the most popular American National Parks. The weather allows you to enjoy everything that these places have to offer, but it’s usually not yet as busy as in July or August. At the same time, June is also great for some lesser-visited national parks, so if you are looking to avoid the crowds, you may want to look beyond the most visited national parks in the US.

For this selection, we chose those National Parks where June is one of the absolute best months to go. Take a look!

Best American National Parks to visit in June
 

TIP: Several of these National Parks are located close to each other and can be easily visited in one trip. So to help you plan your trip, we also included some tips for which parks you can best visit together.

PRO TIP: If you are planning to visit several American National Parks over a period of 12 months, be sure to get an annual pass! It’s called America the Beautiful Pass and costs 80 USD for the whole family traveling in the same vehicle. It is valid in all National Parks and 2,000 federal recreation sites across the United States for one year from the month of purchase. To give you an idea, an entrance fee to one park is around 35 USD, so if you are visiting more than two parks, it’s well worth it.

These are some of the best National Parks to visit in June:

1. Yellowstone National Park

Best known for its geysers, colorful geothermal features, and wildlife, Yellowstone is one of the most beautiful and most diverse national parks in the US.

Summer months are by far the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park and June is much quieter than July or August. By June, snow has melted at most places and all the park roads and most facilities are typically open. So you can explore the park to the fullest, but without the biggest crowds.

Early June is obviously much quieter than the second half of the month, but it’s also a bit colder. However, don’t despair when checking the Yellowstone weather forecast for June as it usually shows average temperatures for the entire park. But Yellowstone is very big and it’s much colder at the higher elevations than in the main areas of the park. You might have beautiful sunny weather with temperatures in the 70s, while it might be snowing at Mt Dunraven.

So dress in layers and if you do check the weather, be sure you check it for the exact area where you are planning to visit instead of the general forecast.

Another reason to visit Yellowstone in June is the wildlife. Since bison and elk calve in late spring and early summer, there are lots of baby animals in Yellowstone at this time of the year. Also, since it’s not too warm at the lower elevations yet, May-June is also one of the best times to see bears in Yellowstone. June is also the start of the fishing season in Yellowstone.

Everything is nice and green in Yellowstone in late spring/ early summer, the waterfalls are at their best, and this is also the prime season for wildflowers throughout the park. Since most of the snow has melted by now, June is also a good time to go hiking in Yellowstone. There might still be snow at the higher elevations, making the scenery even more special.

TIP: While not as crowded as July or August, June is still one of the busiest months in Yellowstone National Park. So be sure to plan your Yellowstone trip well ahead, book your accommodations as soon as you know your travel dates, and try to avoid the most popular places in Yellowstone during the peak hours of the day.

LEARN MORE: Tips for Visiting Yellowstone

TIP: Also the nearby Grand Teton National Park can be nice in June, although there might still be snow at the higher trails. If you decide to visit both parks, here you can find our suggested Yellowstone and Grand Teton itinerary.

Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park
Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park
 

2. Acadia National Park

If you love sweeping vistas, rugged coastlines, but also charming towns, then consider Acadia National Park on the northeastern coast.

Just as Yellowstone, Acadia is one of the most visited National Parks in the US, and most visitors come here in summer and early autumn. Start of the peak summer season, June is one of the best times to visit Acadia National Park!

June weather is usually very pleasant in Acadia, everything is open, it’s not too busy yet, and it’s also the time when you can expect to see lupine, lilacs, and various wildflowers in full bloom. There are lots of hiking and biking trails in Acadia and in June, you’re likely to have many of them all to yourself.

The drawback is that you might get some rain (but this is the case at any time of the year) and June is also the time when there might be black flies. So pack a rain jacket and a bug spray with DEET, but don’t let this stop you! Some coastal areas are very beautiful even in the rain and flies are mostly gathered around streaming water and they don’t like the wind, so you can avoid them by choosing where and when to go.

TIP: When visiting Acadia in June, be sure to check out Wild Gardens of Acadia, the botanical garden in Bar Harbor, and the Azalea Garden and Thuya garden in Asticou.

LEARN MORE: How to Plan a Trip to Acadia National Park

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse in Acadia National Park
Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse in Acadia National Park
 

3. Mesa Verde National Park

  • Where: Colorado
  • May temperatures: 50-80°F (10-28°C)
  • Where to stay: Far View Lodge is the only lodge inside the park. The best place to stay nearby is Cortez town, about 10 miles/ 15 min drive from the National Park entrance.

For a trip back in time, visit Mesa Verde National Park. Best known for its thousand-year-old cliff dwellings, this is one of the most unique places to visit in the US.

The best season to visit Mesa Verde National Park is quite short. Snowstorms are common here in winter, and summers are quite warm. On the other hand, if you want to visit the famous cliff dwellings, you can only do that in high season.

So June (and especially the first half of the month) is one of the best times to visit Mesa Verde before it gets too warm and too busy. Everything is normally open at this time of the year and you can visit the most impressive cliff dwellings such as Cliff House, Balcony Palace, or Long House.

Good to know: While you can see many of Mesa Verde’s cliff dwellings from a distance, if you want to get inside and learn more about the history of the area, you’ll have to go with a tour. Be sure to book your dwelling tours in advance (they usually open reservations 14 days before the date and often sell out). For more information and bookings, please check the official NP website.

TIP: You can easily combine a visit to Mesa Verde National Park with the Moab area: Arches and Canyonlands National Parks (just about 2 hours drive). However, it will already be quite warm in the Moab area in June.

National Parks in June - Mesa Verde National Park
Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde National Park
 

4. Channel Islands National Park

  • Where: California
  • June temperatures: 46-71°F (8-22°C)
  • Where to stay: There is only camping on the islands. It’s best to stay in Ventura or in Oxnard and visit the Channel Islands by boat tour for a day or for a few days. On multi-day trips, you sleep on a yacht and can explore the islands without the crowds.

Channel Islands National Park encompasses five California Channel Islands: Santa Cruz, Anacapa, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara. It’s a wonderful destination for those who love tranquility, nature, and marine wildlife.

Summer is the peak season in Channel Islands National Park, but since the only way to get there is by boat with a tour, the number of visitors is always limited. Also, June is quieter than July or August. The most visited islands are Anacapa and Santa Cruz, but since June is a popular month here, there are various tours to all the five islands.

In summer, the weather is usually very good and water temperatures are pleasant for swimming, snorkeling, or diving. Kayaking is also popular, but the best way to explore the islands is by simply taking a hike.

Summer is also the start of whale season and you might get to see humpback whales or blue whales. Sea lions and seals have puppies during this time of the year.

TIP: Since this is the peak season, be sure to book your tour in advance. If you have more time in the area, consider this 3-day private yacht tour or book several day tours to a few different islands.

Where to go in June - Channel Islands National Park
Anacapa Island Lighthouse in Channel Islands National Park
 

5. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

  • Where: Colorado
  • June temperatures: 53-86°F (12-30°C)
  • Where to stay: There is no lodging inside the park, only camping, and you have to come well prepared. Alternatively, stay in Montrose. It’s close to South Rim, but you could visit other parts of the park from there as well.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is Colorado’s deepest and most impressive canyon. Far away from any major cities or airports, this is one of the least-visited national parks in the country. A true hidden gem that will take your breath away!

The scenery here is very different than at the famous Grand Canyon or Canyonlands National Park, but this dark and narrow canyon is absolutely majestic and unique in its own way. Summer is the best time to visit since all the roads and facilities are open and you can explore the park to the fullest.

The high season starts here in May and runs through the summer, so June is pretty much as busy as it gets. However, with just about 40,000-75,000 monthly visitors in June (compared to hundreds of thousands at most other parks), this is one of the best nature destinations for those willing to escape the crowds.

The best way to explore the park is by driving its scenic roads and stopping at the viewpoints. There are two main areas – South Rim Road and North Rim Road – and they give you easy access to the best views of the canyon. You can also go hiking along the rim for even better views of the canyon. Most hikes are not too demanding and some are family-friendly as well, but you have to be careful around steep dropoffs, especially with children.

If you want to get down into the canyon, East Portal Road is also open at this time of the year and gives you access to the Gunnison River.

Good to know: While it would be possible to drive the scenic roads of the South and North rims in a day, it’s better to plan a day for each of the areas separately. If you are planning to do any hiking, it’s best to plan at least 2 days here.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in June
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
 

6-7. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are located just next to each other in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains in central California. So if you head here, be sure to visit both of them! Come here for some of the world’s largest trees, deep canyons, and stunning mountain scenery.

Memorial Day Weekend end of May is the beginning of the peak season in these national parks. The snow has normally melted by now, the roads are in good condition, and everything is open. And while it gets very busy on that weekend, it does get quieter in June, especially at the beginning of the month.

So June is one of the best months to visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Not just for fewer crowds than in summer, but also for pleasant weather for sightseeing. It can still get colder at the higher elevations at night, but daytime temperatures are usually perfect! Come July or August, and it gets much warmer and also really busy, especially in Sequoia National Park which attracts many more visitors than Kings Canyon.

In Sequoia National Park, don’t miss the Big Trees Trail, and also the most famous trees such as General Sherman Tree and Sequoia National Park’s Tunnel Log. Also the viewpoints along Hwy198 are well worth a stop and offer stunning panoramic views of the area.

Tunnel Log in Sequoia National Park
Tunnel Log in Sequoia National Park
 

In Kings Canyon National Park, drive the scenic road from Grant Grove and all the way through the park to Cedar Grove (aka Kings Canyon Scenic Byway).

These two sides are very different – Grant Grove has high trees just as in Sequoia NP (don’t miss General Grant Tree). Whereas Cedar Grove has rocky cliffs and sweeping far views. Since Cedar Grove is further away from the rest, it’s also much quieter here. There are also some really nice hiking trails away from the crowds – check out the easy hike at Zumwalt Meadows.

Kings Canyon Scenic Byway in Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon Scenic Byway
 

8. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States, attracting over 12 million people per year. June is one of the absolute peak months here and there is a good reason for that – everything is open, the weather is pleasant, and nature is as beautiful as it gets.

And while the most popular places and easy hiking trails will be very busy, you can still make your visit quite enjoyable if you plan well. Try to avoid weekends and plan on visiting the main highlights early in the morning or come in the early evening. During the day, tackle a lesser-known hike, go biking, rafting, zip-lining, etc. You can find some activities on GetYourGuide and also on Viator. And of course, don’t miss the iconic views from Clingmans Dome observation tower, Cades Cove, and a scenic drive via the Newfound Gap mountain pass.

While nature is absolutely stunning here and you can also choose from a wide range of outdoor activities, a visit to the Smokies is also about its nearby towns and attractions. Families with children will like Dollywood’s Splash Country water adventure park, WonderWorks Pigeon Forge amusement park, Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster, and many more. So this is one of those places where you can easily spend a week or even two and never get bored.

The first half of June is quieter than the second part of the month, but some activities will only start from around mid-June. So if you absolutely want to ride the Gatlinburg Trolley, attend Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales street performance festival, or Dollywood Summer Celebration, then time your visit accordingly.

Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
 

9. Glacier Bay National Park

  • Where: Southern Alaska
  • June temperatures: 50-60°F (10-15°C)
  • Where to stay: Glacier Bay Lodge is the best place to stay inside the national park and there are a few other accommodations in Gustavus. The best bigger and easier to reach place nearby is Juneau. More info for your visit below.

Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska is one of those unique places that deserve a place on any bucket list. Come here for glaciers, fjords, rugged coastlines, snow-capped mountains, marine life, birds, bears, but also temperate rainforests, and so much more.

June is one of the absolute best months to visit here. Late spring-early summer is the driest season and temperatures are pretty much as high as it gets.

Most people visit Glacier Bay National Park on a cruise. It’s a very popular stop for the longer cruise trips that visit some of the nicest places in west Canada and along the coast in Alaska. For a longer visit to just this area, Glacier Bay Lodge or Gustavus are the best places to stay inside the national park, and you’ll need to take a 25-min flight from Juneau in order to get there. Once there, there are day tours to the glaciers. If you are coming for just a day, it’s easier to look for a tour that arranges everything for you.

For more accommodation options and other excursion possibilities in the area, stay in Juneau. From here, you can book a day trip or a multi-day trip to Glacier Bay NP. On Viator, you can find some of the best tours from Juneau. For all possibilities of the Glacier Bay tours, you’ll have to search online. Just be sure to book everything well in advance!

Margerie Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park
Margerie Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park
 

10. Theodore Roosevelt National Park

  • Where: North Dakota
  • June temperatures: 50-80°F (10-26°C)
  • Where to stay: The best place to stay is Medora. Alternatively, you can stay in Dickinson, which has more facilities, but it’s about 40 minutes drive from the main area of the park.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park combines American history, stunning scenery, and wildlife viewing. It’s a great place for those looking for a low-key Midwest getaway without the crowds and it’s also a good place to see wild bison.

One of the lesser-visited national parks, Theodore Roosevelt NP is open the whole year, but it sees most visitors in the summer months when the weather is best for outdoor activities. But even in high season, you can easily avoid the crowds – the park is big and most people don’t venture far from the car. If you visit at the beginning of June, before the Medora Musical opening, you are likely to have many places all to yourself. And even though it gets busier later in the month, June is truly one of the best times to be here, also weather-wise.

Good to know: The Medora Musical – a live western-style show dedicated to the Old West and to President Roosevelt’s time in the Badlands – runs every evening from around June 10 to September 10. So if you want to attend it, be sure to time your visit for a bit later in the month.

The park is divided into three parts. The South Unit is located along Interstate 94 and is the most visited part of the park. It’s easy to explore by driving the 36-mile scenic loop and stopping at various overlooks, and you can go hiking as well. The North Unit is about 50 miles away and is much less visited. Also here, you can easily explore it by driving the scenic road or taking a hike. The Elkhorn Ranch Unit is the least developed area and you might need a 4×4 vehicle if you want to visit Roosevelt’s “home ranch”.

You should count at least two days if you want to explore the two main areas of the park. Stay in Medora if you want to attend the Medora Musical.

Bison in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Bison in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
 

11. Shenandoah National Park

  • Where: West Virginia
  • June temperatures: 53-72°F (12-23°C) on average; warmer at lower elevations.
  • Where to stay: There are several accommodations inside the park, along Skyline Drive. Big Meadows Lodge is one of the nicest ones. Alternatively, stay in Luray north of the park. There are also some cabins in Shenandoah Valley.

Shenandoah National Park stretches over the Blue Ridge Mountains for over 100 miles. The park offers stunning mountain scenery with stunning panoramas, countless hiking trails, waterfalls, mountain streams, and wildlife. And all this just 70 miles west of Washington, D.C.

The park can be visited the whole year round and every season has something to offer, but the majority of visitors come between May and October. In June, it’s already quite busy, but the crowds are usually lower than later in the summer. Furthermore, the waterfalls are amazing, and the weather is perfect for exploring and outdoor activities.

And since Shenandoah National Park spans over 100 miles and different elevations, the weather and the temperatures can vary a lot from one place to another. While it can get quite warm at the lower elevations, temperatures are just perfect at the higher elevations and some of the most popular hiking trails.

This also means that certain areas can get quite busy, especially on the weekends and towards the end of the month. So if you can, plan to visit Shenandoah on weekdays at the beginning of June. Also, if you want to do a specific hike, be sure to get an early start – it’s the best way to beat the crowds.

TIP: The most popular way to explore Shenandoah is by driving the 105-mile long Skyline Drive. There are various lookouts along the way and you can also do some short hikes or hike parts of the famous Appalachian Trail that also runs through this park.

National Parks in June - Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park
 

12. Redwood National and State Parks

  • Where: Northwest California
  • June temperatures: 44-63°F (7-17°C)
  • Where to stay: Garberville, CA is a good place to stay for the southern side of Redwoods. Fortuna, CA, and Eureka, CA are more centrally located along the coast. Crescent City, CA is a good place to stay for the northern side.

Redwood National and States Parks are best known for the coastal redwoods, the tallest trees on Earth. But these parks also encompass stunning coastline, prairies, and woodlands. You might get lucky and spot some elk and deer or even see gray whales from the shore at Klamath River Overlook (although their spring migration might be over by June).

Good to know: The Redwood National Park itself is located about 325 miles, 6 hours drive north of San Francisco, but there are many Redwood State Parks that are much closer to the city. The entire area is comprised of several parks and stretches for about 200 miles. The best way to visit Redwoods is by your own car. For a short day trip, you can also opt for a tour from San Francisco.

The best time to visit Redwood National and State Parks is in summer. That’s when there’s little rainfall and the temperatures are warm and pleasant for sightseeing. And while June is the peak season in Redwoods, the parks are so large and so little visited compared to most other national parks that big crowds shouldn’t be a big issue. Still, it’s best to avoid weekends at the most popular places. If you go hiking and get a bit off the beaten path, it’s easy to escape the crowds altogether.

If you are only passing Redwoods, drive the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway through the heart of the redwoods and stop at the “Big Tree” viewing platform. Closer to San Francisco, drive the “Avenue Of The Giants” and check out the attractions along the road, such as “Shrine Drive-Thru Tree”. For more information and things to do, check the NPs website. Keep in mind that the entire area is very big, so plan well.

Avenue of the Giants at Redwood National and State Parks
Avenue of the Giants, Redwood National and State Parks
 

13. Denali National Park

One of the largest national parks in the U.S., Denali National Park is home to taiga forests, alpine tundra, snowy mountains, and North America’s tallest peak Denali (20,310 ft – 6,190 m). It’s also a paradise for wildlife viewing with 39 species of mammals including bears, moose, wolves, caribou, and 169 species of birds living in the area.

And while Denali can be visited the whole year round, summer offers the mildest weather, best wildlife viewing, and all the roads and accommodations are open. June is the start of the season in Denali when most facilities are just beginning to open after the winter. The first half of the month is still rather quiet and it gets busier towards July.

June is late spring in Denali and the landscape just begins to turn green, wildflowers appear, and wildlife is very active. It’s the season when you can expect to see baby animals – moose calves, bear cubs, or wolf pups. It’s also the time when many migratory birds arrive in the area knowing that they’ll find lots of mosquitoes to feast on. Yes, there will be many more mosquitoes in Denali in June than in the late summer, but don’t let this stop you because this is a truly magical time to visit!

The biggest advantage of visiting Denali in June is that most facilities are already open, most Denali tours are already running, but the summer crowds haven’t arrived yet. You might be able to find somewhat better deals for flights and more availability for accommodations.

Denali National Park in summer
Denali National Park in summer
 

14. Virgin Islands National Park

  • Where: Island of St. John (U.S. Virgin Islands)
  • June temperatures: 80-88°F (26-31°C)
  • Where to stay: St. John Island has several accommodations. Check out Westin St. John Resort Villas! The nearby St Thomas Island has better facilities and more accommodations (and an airport). The ferry between the two islands only takes 20 minutes, so you can easily visit the national park for a day from there.

Virgin Islands National Park encompasses two-thirds of St. John Island. It’s a perfect mix of beaches, warm tropical weather, outdoor activities, and relaxing vacation. Come here for pristine nature, stunning scenery, white-sand beaches, and azure-blue waters with rich marine life. You can also go hiking, kayaking, or diving. The area also has interesting history, culture, and local cuisine.

This is not a typical national park destination, but it can be a wonderful choice for everyone – from honeymooners to families looking for a vacation that has something for everyone.

The weather in the Virgin Islands is warm the whole year round, but June is one of the driest and also one of the quietest months to visit. Though June is already considered the start of the hurricane season, most storms occur from August to October, so the chances of a big storm are really slim. We visited the Caribbean in June once and it was as good as it gets!

June is the quiet season in the Virgin Islands and hotel prices are significantly lower than in the peak months of December to April. The flights should be much cheaper too and on the islands, you’ll be able to experience the more local side of life. Some accommodations might close or use the quiet time for refurbishing, but the ability to experience the local culture and stunning nature without the crowds will more than make up for the off-season disadvantages.

LEARN MORE: Best Things to Do in Saint John, USVI

Where to travel in June - Virgin Islands National Park
Trunk Bay, Virgin Islands National Park
 

15. Yosemite National Park

  • Where: California
  • June temperatures: 50-82°F (10-28°C)
  • Where to stay: Ahwahnee Hotel and Yosemite Valley Lodge in Yosemite Valley or Wawona Hotel in the other part of the park. Yosemite West, just outside the park, offers more lodging options at somewhat lower prices. Be sure to book well in advance!

Yosemite National Park is stunning in any season, but if you want to explore the park to the fullest, summer is the best time to visit.

Early June is a wonderful time for waterfalls and wildflowers in Yosemite. For the best wildflower displays, head to Yosemite Valley and Wawona. Snow should have melted in most places allowing you to visit all the areas of the park, however, Tioga Pass road sometimes remains closed in early June. All other roads and most hikes should be open, but keep in mind that some hikes at the highest elevations might still have snow in June and even at the beginning of July.

And while it will be very busy in Yosemite in June, it’s still much quieter than in July or in August. For fewer crowds, try to avoid weekends and visit at the beginning of the month. Also, plan to visit the most popular places such as Mariposa Grove first thing in the morning. You may also want to leave your car and visit the busiest places by shuttle.

TIP: If you want to get the most of your summer trip to Yosemite, it’s essential to plan ahead and know what to expect. For more information and tips for your visit, please check our Yosemite travel guide via the link below.

LEARN MORE: First-Timer’s Guide to Yosemite: Travel Info & Tips

Yosemite National Park in summer
Yosemite National Park in summer
 

So, these are our suggestions for some beautiful National Parks to visit in June.

Of course, there are many other beautiful National Parks and other nature destinations to visit in early summer. But if you’re looking for ideas for where to go in June, I hope that you found plenty of inspiration in this article.

For even more travel inspiration, take a look at our similar guide featuring some of the best national parks to visit in May. Many of those parks will be great in June as well. Check it out!

More travel inspiration for American National Parks:

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Where to travel in early summer - some of the best American national parks to visit in June
Where to go in June - best US national parks to visit in early summer
 

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