Here’s our list of 8 national parks you must see this summer for special events and views unique to the season and more.

1. Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
This Alaskan park has refreshingly breathtaking views, rugged rock formations and cool bodies of water all year round, but is an absolute must visit destination during the summertime. Because of the extra long daylight hours during the summer, you’ll get more out of your visit with longer days to explore its beauty. Also, the park offers shuttle and bus service during the summer that takes you through the single main road throughout the park between June and September. Get details here.

Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska, Park Visitor Photo by Ann Dabney

2. Denali National Park, Alaska
Another Alaska beauty makes this list so you may want to try and fit them both into the same trip. This summer try their landscape painting event where inspiration is plentiful and you’ll be able to learn landscape painting with David Mollet. Get details here.

Denali National Park, Alaska,

Photo by Madeline Deaton

3. Pipestone National Monument, Minnesota
Visit this national monument for its ¾ mile Prairie Circle trail, and during summertime be serenaded by a full bloom of wildflowers that you can’t get the rest of the year (not pictured). Click for event details.

Pipestone National Monument, Park Visitor

Photo by tinyfroglet

4. Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Wyoming
Summer season begins May 30 at Fort Laramie and is full of activities if you’re wanting a more interactive experience. Find a list of daily talks, demonstrations and special events here.

Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Park Visitor, ParkVis

Photo by Ginanina Lindsey

5. Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, Pennsylvania
This historic railroad site is worth the ride to Pennsylvania! First, the sights and tracks underneath the framing of green tall trees are perfect for any vacation backdrop, but there are also plenty of things to do! The National Park Service programs include stone cutting, rope making, and other fun historical activities that vary from day to day. For details visit the national parks website.

Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site , ParkVisitor,

Photo by Roy Luck

6. Centennial Iron Ranger Challenge, Multiple Locations
In celebration of 100 years of park service, the Iron Challenge is available throughout the year and summer break is a great time to get involved (or catch up) if you’re getting a late start on this year long challenge. The event challenges park visitors to complete 100 miles of outdoor activities in National Parks for a chance to win a patch. Participating parks include Arkansas Post National Memorial, Buffalo National River, Fort Smith National Historic Site, Hot Springs National Park, Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, and more. Registration can be completed and miles can be tracked on the Iron Ranger website.

7. Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina
This beach destination is one of a kind with its iconic lighthouse,sand fencing and historical architecture looking out to the seashore. On June 22nd this national park location will host a stargazing night at the beach. Get details here

Cape Hatteras National Seashore , Park Visitor,

Photo by Daveynin

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Photo by Aaron Wolpert

8. Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, Iowa
The late president’s birthplace shows his humble beginnings in this two cottage home developed to recreate his childhood home. Stop by in the summertime for a free series of special events in June and July known as Music on the Village Green, where you can listen to blues, jazz, bluegrass, mariachi and more.

herbert hoover national historic sitePhoto by Doug Kerr