Travel

Every National Park Is Now Open. Here's What You Can Do in All 62.

Every park has restrictions. Here's what to know before you go.

Having adopted the Boy Scout model of "be prepared" and a safety-first mentality, the National Parks took it slow upon reopening after shutting their gates at the outset of the pandemic. Now, though, with summer travel season in full swing in a time when travel's looking like a pretty questionable move, each and every one is open at the very least for a nice scenic drive or a socially distant hike. 

There are still many, many restrictions in place. With 62 parks adopting different phases of reopening, it can be hard to keep track of what's accessible within the boundaries of each. Some are only open for casual hikes and drives. Some have gone all in on boats, lodges, and, um, hair salons (Arkansas's gonna be Arkansas). That's why we're keeping tabs on all of them: What services are available, whether you can camp, and what you're allowed to do once inside.

Hopefully, this rundown will change quickly as more and more of these national treasures expand their accessibility to responsible, respectful, and safe use. The list is current as of July 2, 2020. We'll be updating each entry as things progress. 

Acadia National Park

Maine
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: Yes
The crown jewel of East Coast national parks has opened up its sweeping Park Loop, Sand Beach, and pretty much all the trails (a couple are closed for peregrine falcon nesting, because Maine really is as magical as you hoped). But at this point, you either need to be a Maine resident or complete a 14-day quarantine to get in... and even in those cases, you can't camp until at least August 1. 

Arches National Park

Utah
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: Limited
Arches is well into phased reopening, which includes roads, trails, and some amenities like bathrooms and the store. You can finally scratch "extremely sweaty selfie at Devil's Garden" off your list, but you still can't see the dreamy rock formations at night: Currently, the plan is for campsites to open July 19.

Badlands National Park

South Dakota
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
The visitors centers and South Unit of the park are currently closed. But other than that, this badass South Dakota icon and its rugged geologic beauty is mostly open for business as usual.

Big Bend National Park

Texas
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
This kayaker paradise along the Rio Grande has kicked its doors open in a big way, since Texas is big on things being big. Camping's open on a first come, first served basis, front-country trails are ready to explore, and you can even score limited food and gas. Just remember it's hot as hell in Texas this time of year, so check those heat advisories before you get too frisky. 

Biscayne National Park

Florida
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: Yes
There are no tours available at the moment, and most land activities are suspended, but most of Biscayne is underwater anyway, and now kayak launches at Convoy Point, Boca Chita, Elliott, and Adams Keys are open on a limited basis.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Colorado
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Very limited
The park's South Rim Drive, North Rim, and Inner Canyon routes are open, so you can at least road trip through this highly underrated western Colorado treasure located about two hours north of Telluride. And at long last, campgrounds are open, though reservations are highly recommended, as you're very certainly not the only person who's been waiting for that to happen. 

Bryce Canyon National Park

Utah
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Bryce is pretty much back in full swing, with some new distancing protocols and a limit on campground occupancy. Shuttles are open, horses are rearin' to go, breakfast is back on the menu at the restaurants, and ranger tours are a thing again. One of Utah's greatest treasures has awoken. 

Canyonlands National Park

Utah
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
The time has come for the next phase in the reopening of this oft-overlooked Utah gem (the least visited of Utah's famous "big five" parks): You can now hit up the winding roads and endless trails of Canyonlands, then bed down at a limited number of campsites or in the backcountry, provided you have a permit. 

Capitol Reef National Park

Utah
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
This International Dark Sky Park combines the best of Utah's more famous national parks into one lesser-visited package of surprises. And as of June 2, it's fully open for all activities, including camping, canyoneering, and loitering in the visitor centers.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

New Mexico
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
For a while there, Carlsbad's public trails, picnic areas, and roads were open, but its eponymous caves weren't, which is kind of like going to Disneyland and just chilling in the parking lot. Now, though, you can descend into the darkness on a limited basis, and all is well and good in subterranean New Mexico. 

Channel Islands National Park

California
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: No
This breathtaking collection of islands off the Southern California coast may not be as well known as Catalina, but that's a good thing. You can only reach it by boats both private and hired, and some concessioners are resuming transport to and from the island on a limited basis. 

Congaree National Park

South Carolina
Status: Open
Camping: Backcounty
Amenities: Limited
The nation's oldest hardwood bottomland didn't keep its 500-year-old Cypruses alive through multiple plagues, yellow fever, and the Twilight saga by taking chances. After cautiously opening up the backcountry, the frontcountry is now accessible. That means you can hike in most of the park, canoe and fish, and backcountry camp if you scored a permit. 
Crater Lake National Park

Oregon
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: Yes
The shimmering deep blue waters of America's deepest lake are finally accessible to the pubic, with hiking trails now accessible, backcountry permits available, and roads clear to explore. No boat tours, though, so good luck reaching the totally metal Wizard Island

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Ohio
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: Limited
Ohio's expansive 33,000-acre treasure is open, but some of its more stunning attractions are still off limits, including the Brandywine Falls boardwalk and Blue Hen Falls. Brandywine's also got a 50-foot closure at the top and bottom of the falls, where social distancing is difficult and the chances of falling off while trying to snap the perfect 'gram shot are elevated.

Death Valley National Park

California
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Death Valley held out longer than any California park, then strategically swung open the doors to campsites, amenities, and even restaurants and resorts. It did so at a time when it's at its absolute hottest and driest, which is kind of a baller move, honestly, and ensures only the hardest of hardcore fans will head out to stare at the racetrack of moving rocks.

Denali National Park

Alaska
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Those looking to bask in stunning views of the wild landscapes surrounding North America's tallest peak are free to do so, and campsites are currently opening on a discretionary basis. Outdoor visitor centers, too, are there if you need them.

Dry Tortugas National Park

Florida
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Seaplane tours, ferries, campgrounds, marine waters, and the gardens outside of one of America's largest 19th-century forts are open. And you're now welcome to enjoy sunrises and sunsets on Loggerhead Key. Basically, there's more open than closed at this point. 

Everglades National Park

Florida
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Florida's been over this shit since before it started, and while you still can't get on North Nest Key and into some buildings, this place is open for business. Feel free to camp, kayak, book a tour, canoe, clean fish, get gas, and poop with wild abandon in Everglades' many public restrooms.

Gates of the Arctic National Park

Alaska
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
While America's most remote and least-visited national park remains open for the most part, the hard part is getting there. There are no roads to the park and most visitors access this massive wilderness (roughly the size of Switzerland) by plane, which is obviously impacted by COVID.

Gateway Arch National Park

Missouri
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: Yes
The Arch is smack in the middle of St. Louis, and grounds around the Arch have been accessible to socially distanced walks and biking all along. Now, the visitor center, museum, cafe, and store are open now. You still can't take a tram to the top, or go to the Old Courthouse. And no camping. Ever. Because it's in the middle of St. Louis. 

Glacier National Park

Montana
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Considered by many to be America's most beautiful park, this mountainous wonderland/UNESCO World Heritage site is slowly opening, and taking very careful considerations to keep the local Blackfeet community safe from transmission. The East entrances at the Blackfeet Reservation remain closed. That means there's access to the famous Going-to-the Sun Road, hiking/biking trails, and limited boating. And if you scored a reservation at the Fish Creek campground, good for you! The rest of us will have to keep crossing our fingers that more campgrounds will open back. They're aiming for July. Check back often. 

Glacier Bay National Park

Alaska
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: No
Look, if you're hiking around the glacial wilderness of Alaska, you're already pretty socially distant. And if you do happen to see some other folks traipsing through one of the best glacier hikes in America, we're pretty sure you'll be able to abide a six-foot buffer zone. If you wish to camp in a designated non-backcountry site, though, be sure to book ahead of time, as they're not dealing with in-person registration right now.

Grand Canyon National Park

Arizona
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
The Grand Canyon has widened( sorry) its access, with the South entrance now open 24/7 and the North open for day use from dusk til dawn. If you have preexisting camping reservations, they'll be honored, and campsites are slowly expanding their availability. Here's a handy State of the Canyon guide.

Grand Teton National Park

Wyoming
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
One of America's most underrated, sprawling, and breathtaking mountain landscapes has made big strides in opening. The roads, waterways, and trails are now open, along with some campsites and cabins. Backcountry camping is back on too, right around the time the park announced increased bear activity. Which is to say, maybe carry a big stick. 

Great Basin National Park

Nevada
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Great Basin and many of its amenities are open for hikers and explorers, and now that several campsites are open, its legendary stargazing -- -- some of the best in the US, period -- has made a summer comeback. 

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Colorado
Status: Opem
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
This high-alpine sandboarding paradise is back in the swing of things, with trails open, dunes ready to be tumbled down, and campsite ready to be populated (some first come, first served; some by reservation). For the backcountry set, you can also score free permits at the visitor center, which is also now back up and running for those looking for unparalleled stargazing. 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

North Carolina, Tennessee
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
The nation’s most popular park (on a technicality, but whatever) allows access to most of its sprawling trails, though this has always been a park most utilized as a scenic drive, so go forth, but keep an eye on their site for closures. If you're looking to stay overnight, several campgrounds are now open, though the majority of sites are still on lockdown.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Texas
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: No
The home of Texas' four highest mountain peaks and the world's most expensive Permian fossil reef began increasing access late in June, but only to its trails. The night skies, lodgings, and campsites remain exclusive to coyotes.  

Haleakalā National Park

Hawaii
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: Limited
Maui's massive, ethereal treasure is letting visitors trickle in to hike its stunning overlook trails -- all the way up to 10,023 feet in elevation. If you make it up that high, social distance shouldn't be a problem.

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: Limited
Even millennia-old volcanoes deserve a break from tourists, but after a few months of closure, many of the roads and trails here are open to hikers, bikers, and equestrians. The Kīlauea Crater is back in business, too, as are galleries and Volcano House, in case you need a cocktail with your view. 

Hot Springs National Park

Arkansas
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Hot Springs' status as an urban national park means that a lot of the cafes and restaurants in its orbit are currently open, along with trails and outdoor areas. You can now camp and hit up the bath houses that contain the namesake hot springs. Spas and salons are open too, in case camping isn't camping until you get a blowout.

Indiana Dunes National Park

Indiana
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
While one of America's newest national parks remains open "for the most part," it did have issues with crowd control in the age of COVID. But things have smoothed out and most of the park is open, including Dunewood Campground. Just don't screw this up, Chicagoans -- Indiana Dunes is emphasizing, more than any other park, that shenanigans will equal closures.

Isle Royale National Park

Michigan
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Sitting in the middle of Lake Superior between Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Canada, one of America's most remote and least-visited wilderness parks finally opened up in mid-June, and considering you can only get there by boat you can bet it's going to remain pretty isolated. This is a good thing for those who make it. This place's isolation is a huge draw, especially under a quilt of stars.

Joshua Tree National Park

California
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Now back in the business of helping claustrophobic Californians "find themselves" after a painful couple months, this gloriously trippy desert playground has opened up its trails, roads, bathrooms, and individual "family" campsites, which in California parlance ranges from actual family units to cults. Those are available on a first come, first served basis, so arrive early and prepare to be very sweaty. 

Katmai National Park

Alaska
Status: Open
Camping: Backcountry only
Amenities: No
Katami's more a park for animals than people -- seriously, check out these bears just yukking it up -- and has less than 5 miles of maintained trails. If you're headed into the wild backcountry, chances are you're pretty well equipped to survive without visitors centers, running water, or, you know, other people. If you need a lodge of a designated campsite, you're going to have to wait until at least August 10. 

Kenai Fjords National Park

Alaska
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
This sprawling land where 40 glaciers dot the landscape and green contrasts with the white snow has opened up all its public spaces, though don't expect to get inside any buildings. Not that you're here to hang out inside, but just in case.

Kings Canyon National Park

California
Status: Open
Camping: Backcountry only 
Amenities: Yes
This criminally under-explored park wedged between Yosemite and Joshua Tree has greatly expanded its offerings to include trails, horseback rides, backcountry camping, markets, and even to-go pizza, in case you were suddenly overcome with a pepperoni craving after forest-bathing territory. Campsite reservations are currently being accepted online, with a handful of campsites opening up on July 6. 

Kobuk Valley National Park

Alaska
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: No
You are free to roam the dunes and traipse through the river among the many, many caribou in this Alaskan wilderness, provided you don't want to stop in the main visitor center after you're through. 

Lake Clark National Park

Alaska
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: No
Lake Clark only reachable by boat and air taxi. If you're planning to go, expect to abide by rigid quarantine rules beforehand. That said, if you're visiting this place, chances are you didn't just kind of wander out for a scenic drive in the woods, so you probably already know this. And if you didn't, well, you probably didn't know Lake Clark was a place to begin with. 

Lassen Volcanic National Park

California
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
This remarkable, criminally overlooked national park in Northern California's Shasta Cascades came out swinging post Memorial day, then doubled down for Independence Day, offering up ample access to its rugged wilderness and rare geothermal delights. You can camp in the backcountry or score a reservation for a more developed site, book a cabin, chill at a ranch, and even tour the on-site museum to learn more about what you've been missing by sleeping on this park. 

Mammoth Cave National Park

Kentucky
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
The surface world's been open all along, but now folks can resume descending into the world's longest underground cave. Camping is also now an option, though not inside the cave itself, which horror films tell us is a very bad idea. 

Mesa Verde National Park

Colorado
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
With more than 5,000 sites including its famous ancient cliff dwellings such as Cliff Palace, America's largest archeological preserve (and top Colorado attraction) has been around since 7,500 BC, and after its spring closure it's pretty much back in business. Tours of the cliff-dwellings are currently on hold along with access to the museum and main visitor center. Otherwise, go nuts, and feel free to stay, either in a tent or the lodge. 

Mount Rainier National Park

Washington
Status: Open
Camping: Backcountry only
Amenities: Yes
One of America's oldest national parks is mostly open at this point, though some sections of the densely forested mountain stunner remain off limits for seasonal reasons. Its now reached the phase where campsite reservations are a thing, though they're pretty limited  due to demand and tree damage from a beetle infestation over the winter (which makes the in-park inn's comfy rooms sound pretty good, actually). From base to summit, Rainier's ready to roll. 

National Park of American Samoa

American Samoa
Status: Open
Camping: No (camping's never an option here)
Amenities: No
The bad news: If you're a mainlander planning to visit this isolated paradise renowned for its snorkeling, beaches, night sky, and solitude, you have to quarantine in Hawaii for 14 days. The good news is, if you're a mainlander planing to visit this isolated paradise renowned for its snorkeling, beaches, night sky, and solitude, you have to quarantine in Hawaii for 14 days. And if you're already on American Samoa, bad news is probably pretty relative, largely because you've been going to the park all along. 

North Cascades National Park

Washington
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Why people continue to overlook this spectacular expanse of glorious nature porn near the Canadian border continues to befuddle experts. Now, with the gates back open and tents are springing up again, is the time to remedy that. Hike and boat to your heart's content, or just cruise from waterfall to waterfall and see what you've been missing.

Olympic National Park

Washington
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: Yes
With mountains, beaches, and rainforests, this ridiculously diverse park needs to be seen at least once by every American. At this point, pretty much everything is open -- including in-park lodges and resorts, lakes, and hot springs -- though sections of the coast remain closed out of consideration to the residents of the Makah and Quileute reservations. (That extends to nearby La Push, in case you were here to reenact pivotal scenes from Twilight.)

Petrified Forest National Park

Arizona
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: No
The park road, trails, and very hard wilderness areas are now open at this stunning park that suddenly pops up along both sides of Route 66 in eastern Arizona. Even if you're just on an epic old-school road trip, you should make it a point to cruise through.

Pinnacles National Park

California
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: No
This Central California park is one of the lesser-known NPS destinations, possibly due to the fact that it's often 100-plus degrees and, like a Bond villain layer, half of it's in an eroded-out, extinct volcano (see also: regular closures of certain areas due to "big eared bat activity"). Currently, both the east and west entrances are open, with a limited number of vehicles granted access every day. And campgrounds are open to people with reservations. So if you scored one a while ago, you kind of have the run of the park. Just, you know, bring a ton of water. And bat spray.

Redwood National Park

California
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
This Pete Seeger-baiting, John Muir-courting sea of trees is the perfect place for forest bathing, Ewok sightings, and a nice scenic drive. Campsites and backcountry adventures are fair game, with scenic drives along Freshwater Beach, Bald Hills Road, Davison Road, and the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway also in play for the roadtripper/RV set.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Colorado
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
America's third-most popular national park is taking a different approach to its reopening: Through at least July 31, you need a timed-entry permit or camping reservation to get in. This is actually a good thing. After struggling to control ever-increasing crowds in recent years, this will ensure that you won't have to deal with the juxtaposition of being packed like a sardine into one of America's most vast spaces. Snag a res on their site, then check out our ultimate park guide for details on how to dominate the park once your number comes up.

Saguaro National Park

Arizona
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
Located right outside of Tucson, this cacti-laden gem is currently allowing campers, though groups are limited to 10, which gives you a good excuse not to invite that one friend who always insists on bringing his fucking acoustic guitar.

Sequoia National Park

California
Status: Open
Camping: Backcountry only
Amenities: Yes
Like its neighbor Kings Canyon, the densely forested Sequoia has opened its roads, trails, grab-and-go options, backcountry camping, and even lodge. Come July 6, campsites, too, will be available. 

Shenandoah National Park

Virginia
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Renowned for its fabled Skyline Drive, this national treasure encompassing part of the Blue Ridge Mountains has entered phase 2, which means you can now access Old Rag and Whiteoak, set up shop in backcountry campgrounds and huts, and pitch a tent in designated sites provided you respect the social distancing rules.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

North Dakota
Status: Open
Camping: Backcountry only
Amenities: Limited
Look, it's not like they named this ultra-underrated park -- where the prairies and the Badlands converge, forests stand petrified, Buffalo roam, and the sky's one big panoramic light show -- James Buchanan National Park. It's named after Theodore Roosevelt. Of course it's open for day user and backcountry camping. 

Virgin Islands National Park

US Virgin Islands
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: Yes
The bad news is that the most of the rental sites and food-service at Trunk Bay are closed. The good news is that you're in the Virgin Islands. If you're upset that you can't rent a boat and are forced to simply enjoy some of the world's most pristine beaches from the sand, you are incapable of happiness.

Voyageurs National Park

Minnesota
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Known for its rugged waters and wild landscapes that make it a paradise for kayakers and canoeists, this park near the Canadian border is so underrated it doesn't even make underrated parks lists. Overnight camping is now permitted in some areas, though park boat tours are done for 2020. That said, you can totally moor a houseboat here no problem, provided you, um, own a houseboat. 

White Sands National Park

New Mexico
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: Yes
Poor White Sands. America's newest national park didn't pick a great time for its coming out party. Transitioning from a national monument to a national park in the final days of 2019, the park was forced to shut down just a few weeks later, and was among the last to reopen. But hey, it's open now! No, you can't camp. Yes, you can rent a sled and go rocketing down the dunes. Seems like a fair tradeoff.

Wind Cave National Park

South Dakota
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: No
Wind Cave is like the national park equivalent of some crazy-great speakeasy: a massive cave system hidden beneath the prairie. At this point, the cave tours are a bust. You can now camp, and wander the trails of the prairie aboveground, but honestly, you can already do that in the majority of South Dakota without being sad that the good stuff's all under your boots.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

Alaska
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: No
Ok, so technically the largest national park -- all 13.2 million central Alaskan acres of it -- has been open for most of the pandemic. But it was mainly open to locals and "those that support visitor or resource protection and federal subsistence permits." You'll know if you fall into that set, and if you do you'll have wider access. For everybody else, many of the trails are now open for day use, and you're good to camp in the backcountry.

Yellowstone National Park

Montana, Wyoming, Idaho
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Yellowstone swung open the gates in a big way to kick off June, with all entrances now open, a good number of amenities like gas and food available, and the whole iconic Grand Loop -- the cornerstone of your ultimate Yellowstone adventure guide -- ready to explore. A limited number of campsites are open, with more on the horizon. You can also score cabins, hotel rooms, and other lodging. 

Yosemite National Park

California
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
Much to the party-hardy bears of America's top-ranked national park, Yosemite is back in business, taking a cue from Rocky Mountain and requiring reservations for day use and camping alike -- though the ongoing pandemic and California's spikes led the park to greatly reduce campsite numbers and cancel a ton of reservations after they opened them up last month. Get in and you'll have full access to Yosemite's charms with a reduced chance of getting stuck behind a family of 12 that decides to walk arm-in-arm down the narrowest, steepest, wettest trail in the park.

Zion National Park

Utah
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
One of America's most beloved parks is easing back into public life, with the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and many park trails currently open, though some bangers, including Angels Landing, are off limits. Shuttles, too, are back in business on a timed reservation system. Be sure to pack our rundown of some of our favorite Zion hikes. Services including canyon rides and the Zion Lodge are also back in action. 

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Jay Gentile is an award-winning freelance journalist specializing in travel, food & drink, culture, events and entertainment stories. In addition to Thrillist, you can find his work in The Washington PostThe GuardianCNN TravelChicago TribuneLonely PlanetVICEOutside Magazine and more. Follow @thejaygentile.

Andy Kryza is Thrillist's senior travel editor.