We’ve put together a list of fantastic vacation ideas at US National Parks in July.
July is a popular month for families to travel for summer vacation.
There are national parks in the US when July is the best time to visit due to weather and specific attractions.
We asked fellow travelers to share their tips for visiting various national parks in July to help you make a list of places to go this summer.
If you are looking for more bucket list parks to add to your list, check out these national park vacation ideas.
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WHAT TO PACK FOR A NATIONAL PARK VACATION IN THE SUMMER
DOWNLOAD our US National Park checklists to make it easy to pack what you need for your next trip!
1. US National Parks Pass
You can order passes online or get them at any of these Federal Recreation Areas.
→ BUY THE PASS AT REI and they will donate 10% of sales to the National Park Foundation.
2. Hiking Gear
- Hiking shoes & boots: → Check out our FAVORITE hiking shoes/boots!
- Hiking socks: → Check out the BEST SOCKS EVER!
- Walking stick or trekking poles
3. Clothing – Layers
- WATER: → We carry water bottles or hydration backpacks
- FOOD: → Check out our favorite healthy snacks
- Flashlight: → Check out the headlamps we like
- National Park maps
- Lip protection with sunscreen
- Polarized sunglasses
- Insect repellant
- Hand lotion
- Toilet paper (carry out in a bag – do not bury)
- Hand sanitizer
- First aid kit
- Bags to pack out trash
- Cell phone
- Portable charger
- Guide books
- Camera Gear – DOWNLOAD our free checklist!
- Photography gear for hiking
Fun Vacation Ideas at US National Parks in July
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park in Maine is surrounded by water and when the summer sun shines, it is just perfect.
There are several epic hikes in Acadia. These include the technically challenging Beehive and Precipice Trails, but there are also plenty of easier ones. Many of the trails culminate in sensational views over the surrounding seas and islands. There are also miles of carriage roads that are perfect for cycling. The free shuttle buses through the park have bike racks, so renting a bicycle in nearby Bar Harbor is easy. There are several streams running through the hills that are perfect for cooling off. There is also a beach at Echo Lake, which is lovely in summer, and Sand Beach, a beautiful ocean beach.
Summer is also the best time to get out on the water. Try kayaking around the rocky coastline or taking a sail boat around the nearby islands.
For something less active, it is hard to beat sitting at an outdoor table at Jordan Pond Boathouse and enjoying their legendary popover slathered in butter and jam, while gazing at Jordan Pond and the surrounding hills. Maine is also a major lobster fishing area and there are several lobster shacks with outdoor seating right on the water’s edge – the perfect way to take a break from all the outdoor activity.
No matter what you like to do, there is something for you to enjoy in Acadia National Park in July.
James, Travel Collecting
Acadia National Park Lodging & Tours
- Hotels Near Acadia National Park
- Vacation Rentals with Airbnb Near Acadia National Park
- Acadia National Park Tours
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is one of the best National Parks to visit in July. July is actually one of the best months of the year to visit Glacier because of how great the weather is this time of year.
Glacier National Park is located in northern Montana which means that during the winter months this area of the country can get quite a bit of snow and cold weather. It can still snow up until mid-June in Glacier so by July it is prime time to enjoy the sunny 70 degree days and lack of snow.
Every year, the Going-to-the-Sun road has to be plowed and it is only plowed after the last big snow of the year. Because of the plowing being weather dependent, it is never guaranteed that if you go earlier in the year that the road will be open. By July, the Going-to-the-Sun road is always open, which means you are able to enjoy the incredible views along the way and hike a lot of the trails that start from this road.
You will also be able to explore all of the best hikes in Glacier National Park without worrying about wearing ice cleats or if part of the trails are closed due to snow coverage. Another reason why July is such a wonderful time to visit Glacier is that the wildflowers are in full bloom at this time! There are nearly a thousand different wildflower species that grow in Glacier and July is prime time to witness all of their glory. July is also a great time to take a kayak out on one of the lower altitude lakes as the water is at its warmest during this time. You will even see people taking a dip in the glacier-fed lakes in the summer!
Jessica, Unearth The Voyage
Glacier NP Lodging & Tours
- Glacier National Park Hotels
- Glacier National Park Vacation Rentals at Airbnb
- Glacier National Park Tours
Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park is one of those parks that offers a WOW factor when it comes into sight. This 11,000-year-old land is home to an array of wildlife like wolves, coyotes, bears, elk, bald eagles, fox and more. Even though it’s 11,000 years old, it’s one of the youngest mountain ranges in the world with plenty of history.
The Grand Tetons have many activities in the month of July such as backcountry hiking and camping, boating, fishing, biking and wildlife viewing. The views alone offer enough to do if you enjoy grabbing a blanket and picnic. And don’t forget to bring your camera to take amazing Grand Teton photos!
In July, the abundance of wildlife that you may encounter is at an all-time high. When you’re out hiking, ensure you have the proper gear to have a successful and enjoyable day. I highly suggest adding an overnight in the backcountry as there are many more picturesque views to be seen over the ridge. If you prefer to hang closer to your vehicle, grab a fishing pole and visit one of the many lakes to try your hand at catching some trout.
No matter which activity you choose to partake in, bring your binoculars, be prepared for wildlife encounters and tell a friend where you’ll be for safety.
Check out the Best West Coast National Park Road trip itinerary, which includes Grand Teton National Park and neighboring Yellowstone National Park.
Ashley, World to Wander
Grand Canyon Lodging & Tours
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park is a vast wilderness destination in the Pacific Northwest. The park encompasses large swaths of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. It boasts a temperate rainforest, gushing waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, glaciated mountain peaks, and pristine windswept beaches.
Olympic National Park has three main sections that are largely independent from one another. Along its western edge, it contains a necklace of monolith-speckled beaches and pounding surf. Around its fringes, lush temperate rainforest showcases nearly every shade of green imaginable. At its center, the park’ craggy snowcapped mountains soar nearly 9,000 feet.
During winter months, snowfall impedes access to some of the park’s mountainous areas, while rainfall drenches its coastline. The inclement weather usually hangs around until June.
Come summer, however, the notoriously dreary area bursts with life. There are so many things to do at Olympic National Park.
Summer is the best time to visit Olympic National Park. In July, the park’s alpine meadows fill with wildflowers and its picturesque beaches get some sunshine. Weather is generally pleasant, with blue skies that show off the park’s soaring mountain peaks.
July is also a fantastic time to see wildlife in Olympic National Park. The Olympic Peninsula is one of the best wildlife-viewing destinations in the continental United States. Elk, deer and bears roam the park freely and can be frequently spotted in forests and along the coast.
Erika, Erika’s Travels
Redwood National Park
Redwood National Park is home to some of the oldest redwood trees in the world, many over 2,000 years old! But redwoods aren’t the only thing to see here. Nestled along the Pacific coast, Redwood is filled with coastal views too.
July is one of the best months to visit Redwood National Park. Summer is the dry season with little rain, perfect for hiking. In July, there are usually less than 5 rainy days. Summer in Redwood brings in a fog from the Pacific Ocean instead of rain. This fog provides the redwoods with moisture and makes for moody, mystical photos!
The best hike in the park is Tall Trees Grove. This moderate trail winds through a grove of giant redwoods, including the world’s tallest tree, Hyperion (over 375 feet tall!). To keep the trail quiet and secluded, you’ll need to pick up a free permit from the visitor center.
To explore more of the park’s redwoods, don’t miss Lady Bird Johnson Grove and Trillium Falls. For stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, head out to Enderts Beach. Here you can spot sea urchins, starfish, and more in the tidepools that cover the beach.
One of the most unique areas of the park is Fern Canyon – a canyon lined by prehistoric-looking ferns! A favorite of both hikers and photographers, this spot should be on your Redwood bucket list.
Julia, Well Planned Journey
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is one of the best National Parks to visit in July. The weather is perfect and there are a ton of cool hikes to do. Sequoia is known for its 8000 Sequoia trees that are spread around the park. It is the perfect place to escape the heat during summertime and relax out in nature.
The number one thing to see in Sequoia National Park is the General Sherman Tree. This tree is the largest tree in the world by volume. A 1-mile round trip takes you to see this humongous wonder. From the General Sherman Trail, make sure to also walk the Congress Trail which takes you through some other popular sequoias such as the Senate, and the House.
Another fun stop is Tunnel Log. One day, this tree fell over and a hole was carved into the log. You can now drive your car through it!
For the best views of Sequoia National Park, hike up Morro Rock. It takes 350 steps to get to the top. Some of the parts are pretty steep and have large drops, so do not attempt this hike if you are afraid of hikes.
One of the best leisurely hikes to view Sequoias is the Big Trees Trail. This 1-mile loop trail is nicely paved and takes visitors past a ton of sequoias. All of these things make Sequoia a perfect National Park to visit in July.
Francesca, Homeroom Travel
Sequoia & Kings Canyon Lodging
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Theodore Roosevelt is the only national park in North Dakota and is a great national park to visit in July for many reasons. The middle of summer is the best time to visit this area as temperatures are rather cold most of the year. In addition, it is located near the border of Montana and not far from the popular South Dakota attractions, making this just a short extension if you are planning a trip to either state.
During summertime, many people stay overnight in the quaint western town of Medora when planning a trip to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. You will often find tourists and nearby locals here as the town puts on a very popular musical production during the summer months, the Medora Musical. Medora has a small walkable downtown area with some tasty food options and even live music in the central plaza.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park has two units, North and South. Both units have scenic driving loops to view the landscape, bison, wild horses, and prairie dogs that inhabit the area. The South Unit is where the majority of the people do visit, as it is where the town of Medora is located. The majority of the hiking trails can be found in the South Unit. I would recommend the Painted Canyon Nature Trail, Wind Canyon Trail, and the Big Plateau Trail. Since the North Unit is a bit further, many people take the scenic loop, visit the cannonball concretions, and enjoy the views from the Oxbow Overlook.
North Dakota is a beautiful part of the country that not many people get to visit this area due to its remote location. That makes it advantageous for those looking to enjoy a national park without the crowds of people. While not as popular as other national parks out West, Theodore Roosevelt National Park is one of the best places to visit in July because you can take a quiet moment to appreciate just how grand this land of ours truly is and how small we are in comparison.
Margie, DQ Family Travel
Volcanoes National Park
A fantastic time to visit Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii would be in July when the weather is quite pleasant and typically sunnier and the weather is pleasant to visit.
Volcanoes National Park is a year round destination and the top attraction to visit on the Big Island. The reactivated lava activity in the Halemaumau crater located in the main caldera at Kilauea is drawing visitors who want to see the lava activity, steam and ash plumes that emanate directly from the crater.
The park is open 24 hours daily so be sure to visit later at night when the lava and plumes are visible from the various lookout points along the caldera rim.
You can enjoy many different aspects of the national park including a road trip through the Chain of Craters to see all the main attractions, do some fantastic hikes and check out the many lookout points to peer into the vast and deep caldera rim. Enjoy visiting Volcanoes national park, it’s a fun family-friendly attraction on Hawaii’s Big Island.
Noel, This Hawaii Life → free or cheap things to do on the Big Island here
Hawaii Big Island Lodging & Tours
Yosemite National Park
Looking for the best national park to visit in July? Look no further than Yosemite National Park in California. July is the perfect time to visit Yosemite as there is likely still water flowing through the waterfalls and the lakes are not yet dry. If you wait to visit later in the year, many of the lakes will be less impressive and the waterfalls will be dry.
Now because this is one of the best times to visit the park, that means that it will be more popular than other times throughout the year. Knowing this in advance, you can plan sunrise and sunset hikes and avoid the midday crowds.
To make the most of your experience, consider staying right in the park at one of the many campgrounds or the Yosemite Valley Lodge. Recommended hikes when visiting Yosemite in July include the Mist Trail, Mirror Lake, Lower Yosemite Falls, and Taft Point. Non-hiking activities that are perfect for a July visit to Yosemite include renting bikes, driving to Glacier Point, Tolumne Meadows, or Tenaya Lake, or tubing on the river. For more details, check out this post with the best two-day Yosemite itinerary. Yosemite National Park also fits well into a road trip with nearby Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park if you are looking for more things to do while in California.
Andrea, BeaUTAHful World
Yosemite National Park Lodging & Tours
- Hotels Near Yosemite National Park
- Vacation Rentals Near Yosemite National Park
- Tours Near Yosemite National Park
PLAN A US NATIONAL PARK VACATION
- National Park Vacation Ideas
- US National Park Bucket List Destinations
- List of National Parks by State
- Is the National Parks Pass a Good Deal?
- National Park Packing Lists for Summer and Winter
- 3 Day Itinerary and Photography Guide to Arches & Canyonlands
- Yellowstone Vacation Planner & 4 Day Itinerary