National Parks That are Open Right Now!

Although the summer travel season is right on your doorstep, the pandemic is making vacationing a little bit more interesting! There are over 60 parks adopting different types of security measurements and gradually reopening, but everything can change at a moment’s notice. {Does that not seem like the trend of 2020???}

For now, these are the national parks where you can take a social distancing hike or get a whiff of fresh air. Make sure to see the latest updates on official sites and follow CDC recommendations

family travel during covid

National Parks That Are Open Right Now (With Limitations)

family travel during covid

Glacier National Park, Montana

Top attractions: Going-to-the-Sun Road, Lake McDonald, Logan Pass, Fish Creek Campground, Avalanche Creek, Kintla and Bowman Lakes 

family travel during covid

Glacier National Park offers alpine meadows, rugged mountains, and spectacular lakes. With over 700 miles of trails, Glacier is a hiker’s dream come true. When you make it to this magnificent park, make sure to visit the Trail of the Cedars, which is a boardwalk that passes through a red cedar forest. And when you’re halfway there you’ll get a breathtaking view of the stunning waterfall overlooking Avalanche Creek.

But there are limits to what you can do now during the pandemic. There’s non-motorized access to the Going-to-the-Sun Road, hiking and biking trails, and non-motorized boating at Lake McDonald, which is the largest lake in the park.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to make a reservation to hang at the Fish Creek campground, too. Lodging, gift shop, and food service have been delayed so far.

Currently, Lake McDonald is the only one that is open to non-motorized boating. So if you’re planning a trip, make sure to stay up to date with the latest updates by clicking here.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Top attractions: Schoodic Point, Cadillac Mountain, Park Loop Road, Champlain Mountain & Beehive Loop Trail, Jordan Pond, Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, Carriage Roads.

Acadia National Park is considered the crown jewel of national parks on the East Coast. Guests will get the chance to enjoy Park Loop, Sand Beach and most of the hiking trails with the exception of a few which are closed for peregrine falcon nesting. The Island Explorer Bus Service has been postponed indefinitely for 2020.

Western Mountain Roads are also closed to vehicles but open to hikers and bikers. So, make sure to do some sightseeing in iconic places like Cadillac Mountain or check out the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. But don’t even think about camping, as this is not allowed for the time being.

For now, the Jordan Pond House Restaurant is open from 11 am to 4 pm, but make sure to check their official page for weekly updates.

Want to know what it's really like to travel in the time of COVID? Check this out!

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho

Top attractions: Mammoth Hot Springs, Lamar Valley, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Grand Prismatic Spring, Old Faithful geyser, Lower Yellowstone River Falls, Norris Geyser Basin 

family travel plans

Whether you want to sit and watch the sunset or prefer to go on a challenging hike, Yellowstone National Park has it all. There are boardwalks and breathtaking trails that let you immerse yourself among beautiful geysers, mud pots, and hot springs.

You can watch geysers erupt or gaze at colorful hot springs like the jaw-dropping Grand Prismatic Spring in the Midway Geyser Basin. Currently, camping is allowed and all entrances are open. Luckily, food, gas, as well as cabin-style accommodations in the area are open too.

Surveillance testing on Yellowstone employees have all come back negative so far, which means this colorful National Park may be the safest park to visit at the moment.  Check here for the most current information.

Looking for places to travel with your kids before they turn 18? Here are 5 places I recommend!

Zion National Park, Utah

Top attractions: The Narrows trail, Angel's Landing trail, Weeping Rock trail, Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, Canyon Overlook trail, Observation Point, Riverside Walk 

zion national park

Zion National Park is slowly easing its way back to normal and now, most of the park trails are open to hikers and bikers. The Zion Lodge is currently operating, too.

Unfortunately, some areas like the Scenic Drive, the Kolob Canyons area, and Angels Landing are still off limits. The Park Shuttle service resumed on July 1, 2020, and all food services in the park are employing a “grab and go” system, which might remain in place for the rest of the year.

Also, no off-trail hiking is allowed and hikers are asked to stay six feet apart from each other. But don’t let these restrictions turn you off from going. There are still plenty of trails to be explored where you’ll get to see unique wildlife and plants as well as sandstone cliffs that are worth exploring. So make sure to check out their site before going.

Need a little travel checklist? Everything you need to do the day before vacation.

Yosemite National Park, California

Top attractions: Glacier Point outlook, Yosemite Valley, Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Walk among Giant Sequoias, Half Dome rock formation, Observe black Bears and Wildlife, Tunnel View outlook, Ice Skate in Half Dome Village

Yosemite is allowing people in, but due to the spike of pandemic cases in California, the number of campsites has been reduced and the park now requires reservations for day use, camping, and visits to areas like the Half Dome rock formation.

This can change at any moment, so make sure to check their website before you head out. On the plus side, the odds of getting stuck behind a large group walking down the trails of the park are slim to none because of the low number of people being allowed into the park. That means you can enjoy the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias or the sub-alpine meadow and winding Tuolumne River without feeling like you’re a sardine in a can. Since this is an unprecedented situation and things change from week to week, make sure to stay updated by checking out their official site.

Staying in a VRBO is probably your safest place to stay right now. Check out my top 10 reasons why you should book through VRBO

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Top attractions: Grand Canyon South Rim, Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon North Rim, Colorado River Rafting, South Kaibab Trail, Rim Trail, Grand Canyon Skywalk 

family travel summer vacation plans

For centuries, the Grand Canyon’s mile deep canyon has attracted travelers from all over. But you’re going to need to make reservations to visit the South Rim Trail and the Greenway Trail system. Once you do, you’ll be able to camp, or hike to your heart’s content. But while the South Rim entrance is open 24 hours, the east entrance to the park at Desert View is closed, and the North Rim is only open during the day.

You should also check their website because there are currently fire restrictions in effect that prevent guests from making campfires, warming fires or even charcoal barbecues because of the increased fire danger in the area. Even outdoor smoking isn’t allowed. Also, there’s a summer heat warning so hiking is only allowed before 10 am and after 4 pm.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Top attractions: Trail Ridge Road, Emerald Lake Trail, Bear Lake, Old Fall River Road, Alberta Falls, Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, Downtown Estes Park

Head to the Rocky Mountain National Park for a much-needed whiff of fresh air after being cooped up at home for so long.

The view of the pine trees and the reflection of the mountains on the surface of Bear Lake are so spectacular, words won’t ever do justice. And while you’re there, head on over to Old Fall River Road and the scenic Endovalley Road, which will be opened to vehicles.

You don’t want to miss the jagged peaks of Emerald Lake or the beautiful lily pad-covered Nymph Lake along your hike, which are just some of the many sights this park has to offer.

Reservations are required to get to the park and as you probably expected, all reservations were fully booked for the Fourth of July weekend. Also, all areas like the Lump Ridge, Lily Lake, Longs Peak, and Wild Basin have timed entry permit reservation, which means you can’t spend all day in these areas, and while that might seem extreme, it’s a safety measure that gives more guests a chance to enjoy the park. However, you can reserve a wilderness camping permit. Find out more on their website.

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Getting outside will do you good. Go explore! Stay safe and enjoy some of the best National Parks in the world!

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