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Winter may not be the first season people think of when it comes to outdoor adventures, but getting outside — even in colder temps — does powerful things for your health. The colder months bring with them smaller crowds and breathtaking scenery that make the best destinations even more enjoyable.
For an idea of where to take your next adventure, here are six of the National Park Service’s best parks to visit during the winter:
#1: Biscayne National Park – Florida: Not as well-known, this park is at the top of the Florida Keys and is home to the world’s third-largest coral reef. With 95% of the park being water, it’s no surprise that it’s an amazing spot for diving and snorkeling, where people can explore more than 500 fish species. Learn more: www.nps.gov/bisc
#2: Bryce Canyon National Park – Utah: Thanks to its high altitude, this park sees a lot of snowfall and is known for its cone-like rock formations called hoodoos. Winter visitors can snowshoe and cross-country ski, as well as experience stunning views of the sunrise or sunset at four main viewing points. Learn more: www.nps.gov/brca
#3: Death Valley National Park – California: Boasting more than three million acres, Death Valley offers a range of sights to take in, including mountain peaks, salt flats and sand dunes. Winter and spring months are busier for this park due to 120+ degree heat in the summer, but it’s worth it for this below-sea-level destination. Learn more: www.nps.gov/deva
#4: Everglades National Park – Florida: The largest tropical wilderness in the United States, Everglades National Park is home to plenty of alligators and even a few Florida panthers. Winter in this area means water levels are lower, and temperatures, humidity and mosquitoes are more mild than usual. Learn more: www.nps.gov/ever
#5: Grand Canyon National Park – Arizona: Offering great trails for hiking, this natural wonder is more than 277 miles in length and up to a mile in depth. Created from years and years of the Colorado River winding through the canyon, the bottom of the canyon offers the mildest of temperatures, while the rim offers unmatched views. Learn more: www.nps.gov/grca
#6: Yellowstone National Park – Wyoming: The first of America’s national parks, this icy wonder is blanketed with snow while showcasing its infamous hot springs and geysers. Visitors just might spot bison, elk and antelope, and they can enjoy activities like cross-country skiing, snowshoe tours and snowmobile tours. Learn more: www.nps.gov/yell
Well, what are you waiting for? The world around you is ready to be explored this winter.