Travel: 8 places to cool off at U.S. national parks this summer

Posted on July 10, 2015


by Rick JT, editing by Adam MS

Guys, don’t let the summer heat deter you from hitting the road this summer.

Though much of the western U.S. has experienced record temperatures this year, the national parks across the country have many places where cool waters await travelers in need of a break. The National Park Foundation, which helps protect more than 84 million acres of national parks, has highlighted some of the many places for enjoying the outdoors without losing your cool.

Check out these spots at national parks in the U.S. where you can chill out.

1. Biscayne National Park, Florida

What better way to cool off than to get in the water? Snorkeling through the beautiful shallow coral reefs in Key Biscayne will provide opportunities to see more than 500 species of fish that inhabit the area. And a guided tour can get you views of crocodiles and manatees

2. Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

Explore the glacial landscape by boat tour or even kayak, if you’re up for it. You’ll get pristine views of the untouched fjords and a close view of local wildlife like bald eagles, puffins and humpback whales.

3. Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts

cape_codWith over 40 miles of preserved beaches, Cape Cod is the ideal place to explore and keep cool this summer. In addition to sandy beaches, there are salt marshes and estuaries that support a wide variety of plant and wildlife. Keep a look out for box turtles and seals along the shoreline.

4. Tomales Bay at Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Try kayaking in the 15-mile bay while watching out for the area’s diverse wildlife, including harbor seals and sea lions. You can also hike to Sea Lion Overlook for year-round views of the sea lion colony.

5. Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

Some of the nation’s best whitewater rafting is in Green River in Dinosaur National Monument. Follow the river into Lorde Canyon where you’ll experience some of the biggest rapids at Disaster Falls and Hell’s Half Mile. Many fossils are imprinted into the cliff walls that surround the river.

6. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

crater_lakeCool off in Crater Lake after a hike on Cleetwood Trail and experience one of the clearest and deepest freshwater lakes in the U.S. Learn about how Crater Lake was formed from the eruption of Mount Mazama almost 8000 years ago.

7. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Take a half day or full day rafting trip down the Colorado River that runs through the canyon. View ancient petroglyphs by ancient Pueblan peoples and taste the tap water that comes directly from Roaring Springs, one of the 600 springs within the park.

8. Lake Powell, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah

powellWaterskiing and stand-up paddle boarding are two popular year-round activities in Lake Powell, which straddles the border between Utah and Arizona. If you want a more calm adventure, take a boat tour to the famous Rainbow Bridge, one of the natural wonders of the world.