National Parks With a March Birthday

Cabin fever runs rampant as we emerge from the cold days of winter and head into March. We long to get out and explore. A national park visit is a surefire cure for this ailment. In honor of their healing powers, we outline our national parks with a birthday in March. 

Yellowstone National Park

  • Established: March 1, 1872
grand prismatic's bacterial color, thermal, pool
Steam rising from Grand Prismatic. Photo credit: MikeGoad

America’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park, showcases unique hydrothermal and geological features and exotic wildlife. The park spans 2.2 million acres, mainly in Wyoming but spilling across the borders of Montana and Idaho.

One of nearly 500 geysers in the park, Old Faithful draws visitors from around the globe. Typically, geyser activity is irregular and unpredictable. Old Faithful earned its name by continually erupting just as park rangers predicted. Fortunately, the geyser still regularly delivers, providing visitors with the thrill of a lifetime.

Yellowstone is more than one iconic geyser. Exploring the park will reveal hydrothermal features like hot springs, mud pots, and steam vents. Yellowstone provides plenty of wooded hiking trails, waterfalls, and other picturesque settings. The park teems with wildlife, including moose, bighorn sheep, bison, mountain goats, elk, black bears, grizzly bears, coyotes, mountain lions, and wolves.

Visit Yellowstone National Park this year and celebrate our first national park’s 151st birthday.

Mount Rainier National Park

  • Established: March 2, 1899
mountains, cascade, trees
Wildflowers and Mt. Rainier. Photo credit: Ken1843

Mount Rainier National Park turns 124 this year. Rising to 14,410 feet, Mount Rainier is a beacon on Washington’s horizon and the highest volcanic peak in the contiguous United States. It is the source of five major rivers.

Beyond the mountain, Mount Rainier National Park harbors subalpine meadows and lush forests. You can find breathtaking scenes of cascading waterfalls and colorful wildflowers in the foreground of the icy volcano.

The beautiful park offers hiking, biking, climbing, fishing, and more. You can go sledding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and skiing in winter. 

Note that some park sections may contain snow through May or June. The park is open year-round, but most visitors go in July or August for warm, dry weather and to observe the subalpine meadow landscapes painted with flowers.

For those who enjoy wildlife watching, Mount Rainier harbors elk, black-tailed deer, mountain goats, American martens, black bears, bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, and Cascade red foxes.

Hot Springs National Park

  • Established: March 4, 1921
fordyce bathhouse lobby, hot, springs
Fordyce Bathhouse in Hot Springs National Park. Photo credit: MikeGoad

Nestled in Arkansas, Hot Springs National Park delivers a unique experience where history and nature meet. This year, the park turns 102.

The park houses thermal springs, forested paths, babbling brooks, mountain views, and fascinating geology. Astonishingly, you will find the park in the middle of town.

Explore Bathhouse Row, comprising eight historic bathhouses built between the late 1800s and early 1900s. Although the park does not offer soaking opportunities outdoors, visitors can fully submerge and relax in the thermal water in two different places along Bathhouse Row.

After learning about the area’s history, you can explore nature by hiking, biking, and fishing. Or, you can take a scenic drive with six overlooks that make great spots for photos. Hot Springs National Park is calling your name if you long for serenity.

Kings Canyon National Park

  • Established: March 4, 1940
Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park. Photo credit: NPS / Rick Cain

Located in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, Kings Canyon National Park celebrates its 83rd birthday this year. The park is renowned for its towering granite canyon walls and giant sequoia trees. 

Coastal redwoods proudly claim the title of tallest trees, but the sequoias take the prize for the world’s largest trees due to their massive trunks. Kings Canyon houses extensive groves of giants for you to admire. Be forewarned. Your neck will be stiff from staring skyward all day.

Kings Canyon is adjacent to Sequoia National Park. Paid admission into either park gives you free access to the other.

You will find many peaceful, forested trails and gorgeous rock formations to explore. Many visitors say the park’s terrain is comparable to Yosemite National Park. That accolade alone is enough of a reason to visit.

Channel Islands National Park

  • Established: March 5, 1980
Island fox in Channel Islands National Park
Island fox in Channel Islands National Park. Photo credit: Tim Noonan/NPS

Channel Islands National Park, comprising five islands dotting the Pacific Ocean along the southern California coast, turns 43 this year. The park also encompasses a marine sanctuary, protecting six nautical miles of ocean surrounding the islands.

A trip to this park requires a lot of planning. Those who accept the challenge get rewarded with an opportunity to explore stunning beaches, sea caves, and a surreal underwater world. Nearly any water activity imaginable is at your disposal, including boating, kayaking, snorkeling, diving, fishing, tide pooling, surfing, and whale watching.

On land, you can enjoy hiking, camping, and birding. The area boasts unique flora and fauna. Visitors regularly spot island foxes, brown pelicans, bald eagles, harbor seals, and sea lions.

You can see Anacapa Lighthouse, lit in 1932, on Anacapa Island. It is the last permanent lighthouse built on the west coast. With so much natural beauty and history, visiting the Channel Islands is a memorable adventure.

Wrap-Up: National Parks with a March Birthday

Our national parks with a March birthday will gladly welcome your visit any month this year. Each park pledges unique adventures, providing a remedy for your cabin fever.

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This article originally appeared on Miles with McConkey.

Featured image credit: Mike Goad

About the author

View of Glacier Bay from cruise ship

Scott McConkey is a nationally syndicated travel writer and the founder of Miles with McConkey, where he provides vacationers and travel enthusiasts with trip ideas, travel guides, and inspiration. His travel articles have been seen in The Associated Press wire, ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC, MSN, and many more. He and his wife, Julie, left the corporate world after nearly 30 years for a life of travel and adventure. What started as a gap year has evolved into a second act. She creates visual content while he utilizes the written word. Their goal is to create content inspiring others to travel more and live their best lives now.