How popular are America’s National Parks? The National Park Service reported 297 million recreational visits in 2021, an increase of 60% from 2020. With the influx of people interested in seeing America’s natural wonders, you may be wondering how you can appreciate the parks in peace this year. The answer is simple. Shannon Lowery from Visit USA Parks has been introducing the idea of the “Shoulder Season.” This is defined as the period between on and off seasons, or Fall and Spring. While summer is the most popular time of year due to school being out and the weather being warm, Autumn may be the best time for you to explore the National Parks. Given the recent and frequent heat waves, the ideal timing to hike has shifted from the peak of summer to a more temperate September or October timeframe.
In addition to cooler weather, you will experience fewer crowds throughout the parks due to most schools being back in session. Considering the National Parks during shorter school breaks, fall break, and Thanksgiving break can be smart. You will experience shorter wait times to get in, the feeling of being independent in nature, and more one-on-one attention from your excursion guides.
The Schaefer family recently took our Canyons tour and experienced a great way to beat the crowds and the heat. When hiking the Narrows of Mount Zion, they were originally scheduled to have a later start time, but at the last minute decided to switch to the 6:30 am excursion. This gave them more hands-on guidance from their guide Trevor, who even took them out to lunch afterward. They described that they, “won for the day,” since when they returned it was, “107 degrees and packed.”
If school dates aren’t a factor in deciding when you take the trip of a lifetime, consider visiting the National Parks during the middle of the week. Weekends are typically the peak time, so the parks experience less volume during the middle of the week. On top of that, you’re more likely to secure one of our favorite RV resorts during this less busy time, or by booking early.
During Autumn, we like to highlight some smaller, lesser-known towns and State Parks that often get overlooked in the summer vacation rush. The wineries of the Pacific Northwest are gorgeous in the fall and provide a unique food and beverage experience. The West Coast tour is usually less crowded, allowing you and your family to see beautiful California in peace. The Carolinas have incredible mountain vistas that light up orange, red, and yellow in the fall. Hiking through the hills and enjoying a nice warm drink at a local coffee shop in one of the many charming and picturesque towns is a perfect way to celebrate the beauty of fall in this region.
Here at GossRV, we offer a variety of customized tours that allow you to take in the fall foliage, cool weather, and beautiful sites. We can't wait to help you enjoy both the journey and the destination in one of our incredible luxury motorocoaches.