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These 7 U.S. National Parks Are Perfect For An April Visit

April showers bring… tourists to the National Parks, apparently. Who knew?

When it comes to finding the best spots to visit in April, you could say we’re somewhat of an unofficial, self-appointed, entirely credible duo of experts. Having pranced, hiked, and occasionally tripped our way through several parks on this very list, we’re here to guide you.

Trust us, we’ve paid our dues in muddy boots and awe-filled gazes.

For travelers itching to know where to roll out your picnic setups this April, don’t worry; we’ve got the insider scoop that’ll make your travel buddies green with envy.

1. Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

one of the bath houses stands tall filling the frame with a front overhang and large pillars out front at hot springs national park
Credit: Depositphotos

Hot Springs National Park is practically a spa day but without the hefty price tag.

Situated in the Ouachita Mountains, the park boasts natural hot springs that have been a hit since, well, before it was cool to “take to the waters” for health.

And for those who think history is just about dusty old books, here’s a zinger: It’s actually considered the oldest park in the National Park system, designated in 1832. Talk about a steamy secret worth sharing.

What To Do In Hot Springs National Park:

  • Hit the Sunset Trail: It’s a moderately challenging trail, but the views are worth the panting. Plus, you’ll feel absolutely justified demolishing a big dinner afterward. It’s about 10 miles long, so pack snacks and water.
  • Stroll through Bathhouse Row: Imagine walking in the footsteps of Al Capone without the whole gangster vibe. These historic buildings have all the gossip and are just itching to spill the tea.
  • Go for a leisurely drive up Hot Springs Mountain: Why? Because at the top, there’s a tower where you can gaze out at approximately 140 miles of Arkansas. Don’t forget to wave at the tiny people below; it’s only polite.

2. Virgin Islands National Park, U.S. Virgin Islands 

a view of trunk bay from the beach with crystal clear water and some large boulders
Credit: Depositphotos

Virgin Islands National Park, or as we like to call it, “Paradise Found,” covers about 60% of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

This park is not just a feast for the eyes but also a sanctuary for over 800 different species of plants.

And if you’re fascinated by the underwater world, brace yourself—this park is home to the prettiest snorkeling spots you could imagine, with coral reefs that are literally living underwater museums.

It’s like the ocean decided to put all its jewels on display here, and frankly, we’re all invited to the show.

What To Do In Virgin Islands National Park:

  • Snorkel at Trunk Bay: Because where else can you swim with fish who are probably judging your swimming technique, but it’s worth it for the pics.
  • Hike the Reef Bay Trail and marvel at Petroglyphs: Stumble across ancient rock carvings and try to convince your friends you’ve found an undiscovered civilization. Spoiler: you haven’t, but it’s fun to dream.
  • Paddleboard in Cinnamon Bay: Nothing says “I’m one with nature” quite like awkwardly balancing on a board, trying not to fall in, while turtles quietly mock you from below.

3. Badlands National Park, South Dakota

the frame is filled with rock stuctures that are layered with different color rock at badlands national park
Credit: Depositphotos

Badlands National Park is the underrated star of national parks, serving up landscapes that could double as alien planets for your next sci-fi flick.

Imagine Earth, but with more drama—think sharp peaks, deep canyons, and the kind of panoramic views that could make your ex weep with FOMO.

Interestingly, this rugged beauty is also a treasure trove of fossils; it’s like Jurassic Park minus the chance of being eaten.

Plus, it’s one of the few places where you can see the endangered black-footed ferret playing hide and seek, assuming it wants to be found.

Despite our best efforts on our visit, the elusive ferret remained, well, elusive. But hey, the prairie dogs were out in droves, offering their best “Here I am!” impressions.

What To Do In Badlands National Park:

  • Play “Spot the Bighorn Sheep”: It’s like Where’s Waldo but with sheep, and the landscapes are far more epic. Remember, no touching, no matter how fluffy they look from a distance.
  • Take the Notch Trail for a thrill: It’s a ladder climb that’s not for the faint-hearted, but what’s a little adrenaline between friends? Just pretend you’re in an adventure movie, minus the special effects.
  • Stargaze at Cedar Pass Campground: Is there anything more romantic than pointing at stars you can’t name in a place that turns pitch black at night? Bonus points if you can actually spot a constellation that isn’t the Big Dipper.

4. Capitol Reef National Park, utah

a large rock structure appears red in the setting sun under a blue sky filled with puffy clouds in capital reef national park
Credit: Depositphotos

Capitol Reef National Park is Utah’s hidden gem, stealing hearts without the selfie-stick armies typically found at its more famous cousins in the state.

Wrapped in layers of sandstone, this park features the Waterpocket Fold, a wrinkle on the Earth’s surface stretching over 100 miles.

Historically, it was a barrier to travelers, but now it’s a playground for the adventurous.

Just picture yourself chowing down on pies made from orchards planted by Mormon pioneersyes, pies in a national park.

What To Do In Capitol Reef National Park:

  • Tackle the Chimney Rock Loop: Perfect for those who like their hikes with a side of “Wow, am I really doing this?” It’s roughly 3.6 miles of pure bragging rights.
  • Explore the historic Fruita Schoolhouse: Because nothing screams adventure like stepping into a one-room schoolhouse and realizing how grateful you are for modern technology (and not having to use an outhouse).
  • Sample the local fruit pies at the Gifford House: It’s a crime to leave without trying a slice. Seriously, these pies might just be the real reason the pioneers settled here.

5. Big Bend National Park, Texas

the rio grand curves through the image with rocky mountains in the background at big bend national park
Credit: Depositphotos

Big Bend National Park offers a serene sanctuary where visitors can whisper their deepest secrets to the winds of the Chihuahuan Desert, trusting in its silence.

This massive park spans over 800,000 acres, making it a perfect spot to get lost, metaphorically speaking, of course.

It’s home to more species of birds than any other national park in the United States, so pack your binoculars.

And if stargazing is your jam, you’re in luck because Big Bend boasts one of the darkest skies in North America, ideal for Milky Way photography or just lying on your back making wishes on shooting stars.

But a word to the wise: While planning your celestial wish-making session, maybe do a quick ground check for rattlesnakes. Apparently, they didn’t get the memo about it being a human-only event.

They were just a fun, slithery surprise we encountered more often than we’d have liked during our week-long visit.

What To Do In Big Bend National Park:

  • Whisper to the Ghosts in the Chisos Basin: If you’re going to confess your secrets, you might as well do it in a place that looks hauntingly beautiful at sunset. Just don’t blame us if the ghost of a cowboy whispers back.
  • Play Hide and Seek with Roadrunners: These birds are the park’s unofficial greeters, and they’re fast. Good luck getting a photo, though; they’re probably the only locals not looking for their 15 seconds of fame on your socials.
  • Take a Dip in the Hot Springs: Situated right on the edge of the Rio Grande, these natural hot tubs are like nature’s apology for the desert’s daytime heat.

6. Yosemite National Park, California 

half dome stands tall in the center of the frame surrounded by other large rocky mountains
Credit: Depositphotos

Yosemite National Park practically invented the word “majestic,” with landscapes so stunning that photos hardly do them justice.

Home to the iconic Half Dome and El Capitan, this park is a climber’s heaven and a nature lover’s paradise.

But it’s not just about scaling granite cliffs; Yosemite Valley offers serene meadows and ancient giant sequoias that make you feel like you’ve wandered into a nature documentary.

Did you know it was established as a national park in 1890, making it one of the oldest in America?

Plus, it boasts North America’s tallest waterfall, Yosemite Falls, standing at a jaw-dropping 2,425 feet.

What To Do In Yosemite National Park:

  • Climb Half Dome (if you dare): It’s pretty much a rite of passage. Strap on those gloves, pull up your harness, and start questioning your life choices halfway up.
  • Walk through Mariposa Grove: See the giant sequoias and resist the urge to hug every single tree. Remember, playing hide-and-seek is frowned upon; these trees are older than your great-grandparents.
  • Take the Mist Trail to Vernal and Nevada Falls: Enjoy a shower like no other as you hike up close to these powerful waterfalls. Warning: “Some Mist” is code for “You will get soaked,” but it’s all part of the fun.

7. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

breandywine falls fills the frame and is shot in slower shutter speeds so that the water looks glossy and smooth falling over the brown rocks of cuyahoga national park
Credit: Depositphotos

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is sandwiched between Cleveland and Akron, like a secret garden that Ohio forgot to tell the world about.

So here’s the scoop: this park is not just a pretty face with all its waterfalls and winding rivers.

One standout feature is the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, inviting visitors to step back in time along the historic route.

And for the trivia buffs, Cuyahoga Valley is one of the few national parks with a functioning farm program. Yes, you can actually pet a cow and feel like a true 1800s settler, minus the hardships.

What To Do In Cuyahoga National Park:

  • Ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad: Experience the park’s beauty without the effort of hiking. It’s like time travel, only you’re allowed to bring snacks.
  • Visit Brandywine Falls: Check out these falls to see gravity doing its thing. It’s nature’s version of a mic drop.
  • Attend a Concert at Blossom Music Center: Mix a bit of culture with your nature. Jam to live music in a meadow while you scream, “I love the outdoors!”

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