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5 National Parks to Visit this Winter

National Parks are a wonder any time of the year, but some are even better suited during the winter months. We picked out 5 of our favorite National Parks to visit in the wintertime. Whether you’re an avid cross country skier or you want to find a place warm enough to hike and swim, there will be a National Park that fit your winter adventure needs. 

Are you looking for a few other parks to visit? Check out these five must-see State Parks.

5 National Parks to Visit This Winter

All parks are subject to closures and limited access due to winter weather conditions and COVID-19 precautions. Please check for updates on National Park websites before planning your visit. 

1.   Big Bend National Park 

Instagram: @bigbendnps

Location: Texas

Best Time to Visit: October – April

Winter Temperatures: 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit

Recommended Activity: Hiking or Camping

The winter is the best time of year to visit Big Bend National Park in Texas, making it the busiest time of year as well. Spring and Fall can also be great times to head into the park, but high Summer temperatures make it dangerous to hike and camp.

Big Bend is widely known for its camping, hiking, and backcountry backpacking. No matter your skill level or desire for adventure, there will be a trail that you and your family can enjoy. Most winter nights, even during the coldest months, will reach 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it perfect for gathering around a cozy campfire and using a bluetooth speaker to sing along to campfire tunes.

If hiking isn’t your favorite activity, Big Bend also offers a wide variety of educational Ranger programs, a few scenic drives, and a must-see Fossil Discovery Exhibit

Learn more on the Big Bend National Park website.

2. Dry Tortugas National Park 

Location: Florida

Best Time to Visit: November – April 

Winter Temperatures: 50-80 degrees Fahrenheit

Recommended Activity: Bird Watching or Scuba Diving

The Dry Tortugas are just off the coast of Key West Florida, and it is a stunning location for any water lover to visit. From snorkeling, diving, fishing, boating, kayaking, and swimming, there is much to be explored in Dry Tortugas National Park. 

While the park can be visited at any time of year, it is essential to note the activities you would most like to participate in will vary from winter to summer. The Dry Tortugas essentially has two seasons: winter and summer. The winter is known for sporadic cold fronts, high winds, and choppy waters. This makes it more challenging to view ocean wildlife when snorkeling and can be unsafe for inexperienced boaters. 

However, the wintertime is the best time of year for bird watchers and tourists looking for fewer crowds. High winds tend to be more consistent from October to January, so if you’re looking for fewer people and still want to enjoy some snorkeling, February may be the best option. 

Be sure to plan your trip to the Dry Tortugas well in advance, as it is only accessible by boat or seaplane. 

Learn more on the Dry Tortugas National Park website.

3. Saguaro National Park 

Location: Arizona

Best Time to Visit: October – April

Winter Temperatures: 40-70 degrees Fahrenheit

Recommended Activity: Hiking 

Located in southern Arizona near Tuscon, Saguaro National Park is a wonderland for nature and hiking enthusiasts to enjoy. Like much of southern Arizona, the winter is the best and busiest time to enjoy outdoor activities. Saguaro National Park is well known for its hiking, and of course, the density of Saguaro cacti spread around the park and surrounding areas. 

Beyond incredible desert vistas while hiking or backpacking and the diverse flora and fauna, visitors can also enjoy the natural history by visiting area petroglyphs. 

If you’d like to camp in the park, make reservations early as camping spots fill up fast. You can make reservations as early as two months in advance. Be advised that hours and accessibility may differ due to COVID-19. 

Finally, a must mention for any trip in the Arizona desert is to take some time to view the sunset. Although sunsets are spectacular in most outdoor spaces, the sunsets seem richer due to the landscape’s natural warm coloring.

Learn more on the Saguaro National Park website.

4. Bryce Canyon National Park 

Instagram: @brycecanyonnps_gov

Location: Utah

Best Time to Visit: May – September

Winter Temperatures: 10-40 degrees Fahrenheit

Recommended Activity: Snowshoeing or Cross-country Skiing 

Although the winter is not deemed the “best” time of year to visit Bryce Canyon National Park, there is plenty to do for winter adventurers. If you are a lover of all things snowshoeing and cross country skiing, Bryce Canyon is a must-see park to put on your list. 

The winter is the least traveled by humans in the park, making it optimal for wildlife viewing and stunning nature photography. If you plan a visit to the park, don’t fret that daylight hours are shorter either, because the night skies in Bryce are an unforgettable sight. Study up on your winter constellations before you come, and enjoy a snowy night hike amongst the stars. 

Learn more on the Bryce Canyon National Park website.

5. Acadia National Park 

Location: Maine

Best Time to Visit: August – October

Winter Temperatures: 10-35 degrees Fahrenheit

Recommended Activity: Cross-Country Skiing 

The last park on our list is a bit further north in Maine. Acadia National Park is well known for its Fall colors, making Autumn the most popular season to visit. Still, if cross country skiing is a favorite activity of yours, then this is one of the best places to go this winter. 

Acadia’s backcountry ski trails are hard to beat since there are around 45 miles of groomed trails. Beyond that, you are also allowed to ski on unplowed park roads. Be warned that snowmobiles can also use the roads for travel though. 

Acadia National Park is also a stunning place to go for a winter hike or an afternoon snowshoe. 

Learn more on the Acadia National Park website.

The Outdoor Tech Anyone On Your Holiday Shopping List Will Love

It’s not too late to get in some of your last-minute holiday gifts! Last minute shopping doesn’t have to be a last ditch effort either, it can be thoughtful and personalized. 

To help you narrow things down, we put together our top 5-holiday gift ideas to ensure everyone on your list gets something they’ll look forward to using all year round. We’re confident that anyone on your list will love one of these five fantastic Outdoor Tech gadgets. 

5 Outdoor Tech Holiday Gift Ideas

1.   Turtle Shell 3.0 – Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

Turtle Shell Bluetooth speaker

The Turtle Shell 3.0 wireless speaker is the perfect gift for any outdoor lover that is also a music enthusiast. Whether it’s tailgating, for use on the construction site, or the weekend camping warrior on your shopping list, this waterproof Bluetooth speaker is durable enough to do it all. 

Unlike other Bluetooth speakers, the Turtle Shell 3.0 has 360-degree sound from the unique, polygonal housing. The design isn’t merely for sound quality or aesthetics, though. It is designed to be dustproof, waterproof, and shockproof. As some of our verified customers have proven, it is durable enough to withstand an entire Canadian winter and survives being run over by a 20-ton forklift. 

Although it is exceptionally rugged and intentionally designed to withstand the demands of outdoor use, other features give it capabilities as an office companion. You can easily take calls or use the speaker as a digital assistant with a built-in microphone. No matter where you take it, the Turtle Shell 3.0 will have your back, at least for the 20 hours of battery life it has anyway. 

2.   Chips Ultra – True Wireless Snow Helmet Audio 

Chips Ultra true wireless snow helmet speakers

The Chips Ultra wireless snow helmet audio system is the gift you’ve been looking for while shopping for the ski or snowboard bum on your list. 

There are no wires to worry about here and they work with any audio compatible helmet. Outdoor Tech designed the Chips Ultra to be easy to use, even while wearing gloves or mittens. That way, you don’t even need to take the control out of your pocket to use it, let alone take your helmet and gloves off. 

The Chips Ultra doesn’t only offer astounding audio quality though, there is also a built-in microphone that allows you to answer texts and phone calls without removing your helmet or gloves. 

Now that ski and snowboarding season are upon us, make your family ski bum smile with a pair of True Wireless Chips Ultra. 

3.   Mantas – True Wireless Earbuds

Mantas true wireless earbuds

Give the athlete in your life a way to level up their performance with the Mantas True Wireless Earbuds. The all-day comfort, secure fit, and 12-hour playtime will keep the music going, no matter how long or intense the workout may be. They’ll enjoy the sound quality pro-athletes do, but at an affordable price with the Mantas. 

One tap control makes it easy to use when running, lifting, biking, or doing any other type of physical activity without distracting from your performance. We know you’re working hard during your workout, so you shouldn’t have to worry about your sweat damaging your earbuds. The Mantas are IPX5 sweatproof to keep the music playing, no matter the intensity. 

4.   Buckshot Pro Ultra

Buckshot Pro Ultra bluetooth speaker

We all have that person that is impossible to buy for because they have everything. The multi-purpose Buckshot Pro Ultra wireless speaker is the perfect solution to that dilemma with three practical uses: a Bluetooth speaker, flashlight, and a portable charger. Even if they aren’t the most avid outdoor adventurer, this is a great item to keep in your car, purse, or weekend backpack when traveling. 

While the diversity of the device is nice, it does have specific features that would appeal to cyclists in particular. The Buckshot Pro Ultra has mounting straps that fix the device onto the handlebars. This provides the rider with a built-in bike light, Bluetooth speaker, and a charger on the go. 

Although it is a small device, it packs full hi-fi sound with plenty of bass. The flashlight has multiple lighting modes, including low beam, high beam, lantern, and SOS (strobe). If your phone starts to run low on battery during a ride, the Buckshot Pro Ultra can also be used to charge up small devices with a 2600 mAh rechargeable battery. 

5.   Calamari Ultra – Lightning, USB C, & Micro USB Cable

Calamari Ultra 3 in 1 USB cable

Are you shopping for a minimalist techy in your life? All travel buffs can agree that they love techy gadgets, but they can get bulky after a while. That’s why the Calamari Ultra is a must-have space and time saver when on the road (or at home). This 3-in-1 USB cord puts all of your charging and connecting needs into one place.

The three cables that the Calamari Ultra includes are:

  • An Apple MFI Certified Lightning connector (goodbye error messages)
  • A USB C connector
  • A Micro USB connector (you’re welcome to Android users and GoPro chargers)

On top of the 3-in-1 capabilities, what makes this chord so useful is that it is about 3 feet long, and it can be used for either charging or data transfer. 

So, if you’re pulling epic footage off of your GoPro one minute and need to charge your iPhone the next, you don’t have to swap chords, just the input on the Calamari Ultra. Perhaps they don’t know they need it yet, but once they have it, they won’t know how they lived without it for so long. 

No matter who you have left to shop for, we are certain that some Outdoor Tech would light up their life this winter. From the top of the line Bluetooth speakers to a new pair of wireless earbuds, we have a gift for anyone on your list. 

Top Gifts to Give Your Best Friend this Holiday Season

It’s no secret that this year has been a difficult one. Many of us are tired, overwhelmed, and craving connection with the people we love — which is why this holiday season will be more important than ever. Even if you can’t physically gather with your friends or extended family, you can still show them how much you care with a beautiful personalized gift.

You can find a personalized gift for everyone on your list, from your parents, nieces, and nephews, to your best friend in the world. But what, exactly, should you get your best friend this year? The answer depends on their interests… but we’ve got a few ideas that we think you’ll love!

For the “Monica” of Your Group: A Recipe Cutting Board

Is your best friend the person who hosts Friendsgiving? Are they always ready with a freshly baked treat when you walk in the door? Give them something that’s truly special and embraces their love of the kitchen: a personalized cutting board etched with a family recipe. 

With both maple and cherry wood finishes, you can select a board to suit any decorating style. This beautiful paddle cutting board can be a lovely serving tray for special events, or it can simply be decor for the kitchen. Trust us, once they see this beauty they’ll be baking you lots of cookies to thank you!

For the Constant Jet-Setter: A Personalized Passport Holder

This friend has the most enviable Instagram page you’ve ever seen. They’re constantly flying off to some beautiful and exotic locale, and they usually bring you back a cute souvenir or two. Even if travel is on hold at the moment, this friend needs something to remind them that soon they can get back in the skies.

A personalized passport holder is a great way to indulge your friend’s love of travel while making them feel extra fancy. The soft, vegan leather feels ultra-luxe, and the laser engraving will last as long as your friend’s passport (maybe even longer).

For the Music Lover: A Bluetooth Speaker

We all have that one friend who’s always in charge of the party playlist. They love music, they know all the latest artists, and they will not rest until they’ve found the perfect song to suit the mood. If that person is your best friend, give them a new way to play their tunes this holiday season.

bluetooth speaker will allow your friend to play the latest songs anywhere they go — in the car, on a camping trip, even while lounging in the pool! With a durable and sleek design, this speaker will quickly become a constant companion for your friend, and that means you’ll be treated to their best playlists every time you’re together (bonus!).

For Your Partner-in-Crime: A Keepsake Box

Of all your friends, this one is like the friend you’ve known the longest. You two have shared countless memories, from special events like concerts and vacations to many nights in binge-watching Netflix. While you may not have spent as much time together this year (dang 2020), you can give them a gift that shows them how much you value your time together.

A personalized keepsake box is a perfect gift for anyone who wants to save precious memories with their friends and loved ones. Have it engraved with your names and fill it with ticket stubs, funny photos, souvenirs from trips, and so much more. This is one gift that will truly last a lifetime.

For the One Whose Phone is About to Die: A Power Bank

Now, we’re not trying to shame this friend, but we all know who it is. This is the friend whose phone is always at one percent, the one who takes hours to respond to your texts, the one who — as much as you love them — could use a little help getting it together this holiday season.

How can you help this friend keep their phone from shutting down mid-call? Get them a portable power bank. This small, rechargeable battery can fit nicely in their car, purse, or backpack so that they always have a little extra power handy.

Get Personalized Gifts For Everyone on Your List

Whether you’re shopping for your parents, best friends, or that someone special, you can’t go wrong if you put some thought into who they are. After all, it’s the thought that counts!