10 National Parks to Visit in the Winter


Biscayne National Park, Florida

Boca Chita Key, Biscayne National Park
The Miami skyline can be seen in the distance from Boca Chita Key at Biscayne National Park. National Park Service

If you like water sports, fishing, sailing and wildlife watching, the 170,000-plus acres (68,796 hectares) of Biscayne National Park may be your kind of winter wonderland. The park is mostly mangrove forest, sea-grass beds and coral reefs.

Like Everglades, Biscayne is a Florida national park that offers respite from the cold snaps of the Great White North. In winter, temperatures are mild, often topping out near 70 degrees F (21 degrees C), and monthly winter rainfall totals (about 2 inches or 5 centimeters) are half of what they are in the summertime [source: NPS].

Because December to April is the dry season, with more comfortable temperatures and greater numbers of visitors, ranger-led programs are held more often then. To get around the park, you'll need a watercraft of some sort, whether it's a one you lug along or one that you rent from a nearby company — the park is 95 percent water [source: National Geographic].

Want to stay in the park? Your only option is primitive camping on one of the islands, such as Boca Chita Key. Otherwise, you'll have to venture back to Florida City or Homestead for hotel accommodations. The busiest time of year on the water for this park is weekends in the warmer months, so you might find a winter visit ideal.