Lizzie Dragon
by Lizzie Dragon
Posted January 6, 2021

2021 has finally arrived, and if you’re anything like us, you’re itching for an adventure. We’ve gathered 10 National Parks worth visiting this year to get you started!

In no particular order, the 10 national parks you have to visit in 2021 are:

  1. New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

  2. Guadalupe Mountains National Park

  3. Dry Tortugas National Park

  4. Yellowstone National Park

  5. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve

  6. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

  7. Arches National Park

  8. Grand Canyon National Park

  9. Glacier National Park

  10. Death Valley National Park

No pressure!

1. New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

The newest kid on the block, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is first on the list. Located in West Virginia, New River Gorge was named a National River in 1978. Now, it’s been redesignated as a National Park and Preserve, making it the 63rd National Park in the US! Go whitewater rafting in New River, one of the oldest rivers on the continent, or rock climbing at one of the most popular climbing areas in the country!

When to Visit

If you plan to rock climb, late April to mid-June or mid-September to late October are the best times to visit!

What to Drive

Only primitive camping is available at New River Gorge. No RV size restrictions are listed, so it’s probably best to car camp with a rooftop tent.

2. Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is the perfect mix of mountain and desert surroundings. You’ll find more than 80 miles of trails to take you through the landscape. Hike to the “Top of Texas” on Guadalupe Peak Trail or to one of the other three highest peaks in the state!

When to Visit

For milder temperatures and nice foliage, visit during the fall season, from mid-October to mid-November!

What to Drive

Pine Springs has a size limit of 45 feet, so any RV, from a Class A to a pop-up trailer, is welcome on-site. Dog Canyon, however, only allows RVs up to 23 feet. If you book this campsite, we suggest renting a campervan or small Class C.

3. Dry Tortugas National Park

Mostly open water, Dry Tortugas is a 100-square mile park with seven small islands. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, this park is perfect for a remote getaway. Snorkel or scuba dive in the clear blue water and experience the Florida Keys reef system — the third largest one in the world!

When to Visit

The summer and wet season, from May to November, is a great time to visit the park! You can expect clear skies and warm temperatures most days.

What to Drive

Many take a day trip to Dry Tortugas and then head back to civilization. You can stay overnight at Tortuga’s Garden Key campground, but because you’ll be making your way via ferry or seaplane, you’ll have to leave your RV behind and pitch a tent. For RV camping, consider staying at one of the many RV parks near Dry Tortugas National Park.

5. Yellowstone National Park

On March 1, 1872, Yellowstone became the first national park! Spread across three states (Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana), this more than 2-million acre landscape has something for everyone. Experience geysers, hot springs, and more along the thermal basins. Hike to Old Faithful. Or just sit and watch the sunset. See Zoey Deutch’s road trip itinerary for more ideas!

When to Visit

Visits during April, May, September, and October offer mild weather and fewer crowds. July and August are the busiest months.

What to Drive

Campsites that accommodate RVs more than 40 ft are limited at the park. A Class B or C is usually the best driveable RV option for any national park. As far as towable RVs go, just make sure your combined tow vehicle and trailer length meet the restrictions. A pop-up or small travel trailer is best.

5. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve

America’s largest national park, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve spans 13.2 million acres! That’s the size of six Yellowstones! The vast landscape is packed with peaks, glaciers, rivers, and volcanoes. The park is home to 9 of the 16 tallest peaks in the US, one of the largest active volcanoes in North America, and the largest wilderness area in the National Wilderness Preservation System, along with so much more.

When to Visit

Late June until early September is prime time to visit the park for backcountry trekking! May is best for mountaineering trips, and winter is best for those snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. At any time of the year, snow is a possibility, so make sure to prepare for that.

What to Drive

There are no campgrounds that allow RVs in the park, but you’ll find plenty of campgrounds surrounding the park. Even though you can’t camp, you can still take your RV through the park! Whatever type of RV you choose, an all-season RV equipped for snow is recommended.

6. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

America’s most-visited park, the Great Smoky Mountains should be on your bucket list. From its diverse plant life to ancient mountains, there is much to be explored. Hike to the Chimney Tops or to see Rainbow Falls! The scenery here never falls short.

When to Visit

Any season you visit comes with its own unique experience. Summer and Fall are the most popular times, with July and October bringing in the crowd!

What to Drive

The RV length restrictions range in the 30s depending on the campground. You’ll want to check before you rent. In general, a class B or C, as well as most trailers are a safe bet!

7. Arches National Park

Home to 2,000 natural stone arches, Arches National Park in all its red rock wonder is the closest we can get to Mars. Just ask Brandi Cyrus. Catch the sunrise at Delicate Arch then spend the day wandering around the rest. The park is ideal for sunrises, sunsets, stargazing, and everything in between.

When to Visit

April, May, September, and October have the best temperatures for visiting. For a quieter time, the winter season promises beautiful snowy scenery but colder temperatures.

What to Drive

Campsites at Arches accommodate RVs up to 30 ft. This includes your tow vehicle if you have a trailer. A campervan or pop-up will meet those restrictions, but you could also go a bit bigger with a Class C sprinter van or small travel trailer.

8. Grand Canyon National Park

Home to one of the seven wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon is a must-see. It’s one of the most studied landscapes geologic landscapes, the park leaves much to be explored and discovered. Take a raft trip on the Colorado River or a Canyon Vista mule ride.

When to Visit

For fewer crowds and ideal temperatures, visit March through May or September through November. Summer is peak season, so expect large crowds during those months.

What to Drive

The South Rim is open to RVs as large as 50 feet long in some parts. However, other sites only allow rigs up to 22 ft. If that’s the case, you’ll want to rent a Class B campervan or pop-up trailer.

9. Glacier National Park

A popular park tucked away in Montana, Glacier National Park is made up of forests, lakes, mountains, and meadows and is home to mountain goats and grizzly bears. Drive the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road, hike to Lake McDonald, and discover 25 active glaciers throughout the site.

When to Visit

The best time to visit, especially if you plan to drive Going-to-the-Sun Road, is between mid-June and mid-September. The day temperatures are mild and the nights are cool.

What to Drive

Some campgrounds only allow RVs are small as 21 feet. You’ll want to check your specific site’s specifications. A campervan or pop-up trailer is the safest choice, as there are also size restrictions for driving Going-to-the-Sun Road. Your car or RV must be no more than 21 feet and no wider than 8 feet, including mirrors. Your vehicle should also be no taller than 10 feet given there are some low rock overhangs.

10. Death Valley National Park

2020 gave us Season 2 of The Mandalorian, and I’m sure all you Star Wars fans are already anxiously awaiting Season 3. Until then, we thought we’d give you something to do. Did you know Episode IV and Episode VI of the Star Wars movie series were filmed in Death Valley National Park? And you can hike around Tatooine, home to Anakin and Luke Skywalker?

See if you recognize anything from the films as you visit:

  • Golden Canyon
  • Artists Drive/Palette
  • Desolation Canyon
  • Twenty Mule Team Canyon
  • Dantes View
  • Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

When to Visit

Death Valley experiences scorching hot summers, so the best time to visit is from mid-October to mid-May!

What to Drive

Sunset and Stovepipe Wells campgrounds don’t have RV size restrictions. If you’re staying at Mahogany Flats, Thorndike, or Wildrose campgrounds, your RV must be no longer than 25 ft. We suggest a Class B, or a small class C or travel trailer, for this trip!

Ride Off into 2021

Ready to hit the road running, or driving rather, into 2021? A road trip to one (or all) of these 10 national parks is a great place to start. Rent your RV now and start studying up on your National Park trivia! Hint: You’ll find some of the answers right in this blog.

Happy New Year and happy travels!

Lizzie Dragon

Outdoorsy Author

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