Start of Summer Sale: Save 15-25% | Free Shipping on $100+ Orders

May Spotlight: Top National Parks to Explore This Spring

James Nichols |

As spring breathes new life into the landscapes, May is the perfect time to explore America’s National Parks. With milder temperatures and fewer crowds before the summer rush, it's an ideal time to enjoy the natural beauty and diversity these parks offer. Here are some top picks for your May adventures, complete with tips to enhance your experience.

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina

Why Visit: The Great Smoky Mountains are a spectacle of blooming wildflowers in May. With over 1,500 kinds of plants, this park is often called the “Wildflower National Park.” The synchronous fireflies display in late May is also a natural phenomenon not to be missed - permits are required, check the park website for specific details on this annual event.

Visitor Tip: Take advantage of the numerous hiking trails like the Alum Cave Trail or the Porters Creek Trail to fully immerse yourself in the spring blooms. Early morning hikes are recommended to enjoy the tranquility and avoid the crowds.

2. Yosemite National Park, California

Why Visit: Famous for its waterfalls, spring is when they’re at their most spectacular in Yosemite. The melting snow feeds the falls, making this the best time to see them in full force.

Visitor Tip: Visit during the week to avoid the crowds, and make sure to catch the moonbow, or lunar rainbow, a rare phenomenon visible on misty nights at Lower Yosemite Fall.

3. Acadia National Park, Maine

Why Visit: Acadia National Park offers cooler temperatures and vibrant spring greenery in May. The park’s roads and trails are fully open, offering access to its mountains, lakes, and ocean shoreline.

Visitor Tip: Drive or bike the Park Loop Road for breathtaking views of the coastline and interior. Don’t miss the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain—it’s the first place to see the sunrise in the U.S. from October to early March.

4. Zion National Park, Utah

Why Visit: Beat the heat and the summer crowds by visiting Zion in May. Enjoy pleasant weather perfect for hiking and exploring the iconic landscapes like The Narrows and Angel’s Landing.

Visitor Tip: Start your hikes early in the morning to not only beat the heat but also the crowds. Also, consider taking the free shuttle bus to navigate through the park efficiently.

5. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Why Visit: Just a short drive from Washington D.C., Shenandoah is alive with the vibrant hues of spring wildflowers. The rolling hills and valleys offer a peaceful retreat with over 500 miles of trails.

Visitor Tip: Try the Skyline Drive for stunning panoramic views of the valley. For a unique experience, plan a night of stargazing; the park offers some of the best views of the night sky on the East Coast.

Packing Essentials and Tips:

  • Layers: Spring weather can be unpredictable, so dressing in layers will keep you comfortable.
  • Good Hiking Boots: A sturdy pair of boots will protect your feet over various terrains.
  • Water and Snacks: Always carry enough water and snacks, even for shorter hikes.
  • Camera: Don’t forget your camera or smartphone to capture the breathtaking views and wildlife.

Leave No Trace:

Remember, while enjoying the natural beauty of these parks, it’s crucial to practice the "Leave No Trace" principles. Keep to marked trails, carry out all trash, and respect wildlife by observing from a distance.

Whether you’re looking for a serene escape or an adventurous trek, these National Parks in May offer something for every type of explorer. Enjoy your travels, and remember to share your stories and photos to inspire others to embark on their own National Park adventures!