These are confusing times and we’ve all been thrown off balance. Many of the things we used to turn to for comfort are now either out of reach (6 feet at least) or closed until further notice, but the rivers continue to flow and the woods are alive with a chorus of wildlife. Now’s the time to use those vacation days and discover America’s national parks.
Spending time in nature is one of the best ways to get out of your head and into your body, to disconnect from the world and reconnect with yourself. Whether you’re dreaming of a scenic road trip or an escape to Alaska or Hawaii, there are over 60 national parks across the US — each with their own unique wonders to explore.
To help you recenter your natural energy, we’ve combed through all of the national parks to find the one best suited to your zodiac sign. Read on to discover your next adventure and reinvigorate your spirit.
Virgo (Aug 23 – Sep 22)
Virgos are a true earth type — grounded and some of the hardest workers around. You’re one of the signs least likely to take a vacation but one that could benefit from it most. Here’s your next assignment, set up your away message and get your butt to Crater Lake National Park.
Crater Lake is a tranquil beauty and the best national park for a Virgo. Just like you, it appears calm on the surface but has a deep inner world. The namesake lake was formed thousands of years ago after the eruption of the now dormant volcano it resides in. Your sign symbolizes purity so you’ll naturally be drawn to the unbelievably clear blue waters that fill the crater.
Though there is plenty to do in and around the lake, try to quell your Type-A nature and take it easy — you’re happiest when you don’t overfill your itinerary.
Relax while you take a scenic drive around the perimeter on the 33-mile long Rim Drive and stop at some of the scenic overlooks along the way. You can also venture into the lake on a boat tour to Wizard Island, and this is where your inner planner will come in handy, as you’ll only get three hours to explore before you have to head back.
You don’t tend to be one to unwind, but you’ll savor the quiet luxury of an evening glass of wine at the historic Crater Lake Lodge while looking out over the captivating view of the water.
Libra (Sept 23 – Oct 22)
You’re imaginative and tend to be “up in the clouds” so while you’ve probably dreamed up and pinned countless vacations… your follow-through could use some work. Enlist some adventurous buds to keep you honest and plan your getaway to Haleakala National Park on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Chop-chop!
Libras are ruled by Venus, the planet of beauty, and are happiest venturing to faraway lands. This makes Haleakala the perfect national park for you to let your imagination (and body) run wild. The centerpiece of the park is the world’s largest dormant volcano. Summit the volcano’s peak for sunrise or sunset to see Mother Nature paint the sky in a dazzling array of hues and stay after dark for some world-renowned stargazing.
Libra’s vibes can shift with the wind so when you’re feeling like having a thrill, rent a bike and travel down the volcano from the top of the 10,000-foot summit. Or grab your pals and go for a hike along the picturesque Sliding Sand Trail.
Be sure to pack for a variety of weather, because just like you, the park also has a shifting identity with 17 different climate zones scattered throughout.
Scorpio (Oct 23 – Nov 21)
Scorpios are water types with a fiery nature. With its statement-making hot springs and steaming geysers, Yellowstone is the best national park for Scorpios to visit.
You have a thirst for discovery that Yellowstone can certainly quench. The park stretches across three states and sits atop a dormant volcano, encompassing a plethora of otherworldly landscapes. Prepare to be awed by the exciting display of color at the Grand Prismatic Spring and the glorious eruption of Old Faithful Geyser. Perhaps you’ll even be inspired to release your own steaming emotions a bit more rather than keeping them all bottled up.
Include a visit to Yellowstone Canyon and its majestic Lower Falls in your itinerary. Since you like to be where the action is, take Uncle Tom’s trail for a steep descent that brings you up close and personal with the falls.
After a long day of exploring, take a relaxing soak in the Boiling River, a natural hot tub created by the mixing of a hot spring and cool river. Hot and cold in perfect harmony, just like you.
Sagittarius (Nov 22 – Dec 21)
You’re a spirited adventurer that delights in taking the road less traveled. Has that road ever led you to remote northwestern Montana? No? Well, that’s where Glacier National Park resides, a natural playground that’s perfect for a Sagittarius.
You like to use your vacations to reflect, and with its miles of largely undeveloped land, you can get lost in Glacier’s natural beauty. Stay in one of the most picturesque camping destinations in the country, where you’ll feel boundless surrounded by alpine meadows, deep forests, waterfalls, lakes, and 25 active glaciers. Traverse the depths of your mind while traveling along the ‘Going-to-the-Sun-Road,’ a 50-mile trek that takes you through an old-growth cedar forest and provides breathtaking views of Avalanche Creek Gorge and its mesmerizing waterfall.
With some planning you can visit the Goat Haunt area, an idyllic valley that crosses the US-Canada border. Hike to the Goat Haunt Overlook for a serene view of the whole valley and stay till night to see thousands of stars reflected across the Waterton Lake.
Capricorn (Dec 22 – Jan 19)
You’re goal-oriented with a stony resolve that leads you to reach any peak you set your sights on. Get ready for your next action item, a visit to Yosemite National Park, the best National Park for Capricorns.
The park itself is a symbol of the reward for steadfast dedication — after years of hard work, it became our nation’s first National Park. Yosemite is one of mother nature’s finest masterpieces and includes several unparalleled experiences. Prepare for some challenging hikes — though your steadfast climb up the corporate ladder should give you leg up.
Since you thrive with order you’ll best be served by a trip up the Mist Trail. It starts with a 600-step climb up a winding staircase that leads to a jaw-dropping view of Vernal Falls. Continue on along some rocky switchbacks to reach Nevada Falls, a thundering 594-foot tall natural wonder.
If you plan ahead and start your day early (like sunrise early) and have some of that trademark Capricorn tenacity left, you can take on one of the park’s most rewarding experiences — the Half Dome Cables Route. Continuing past Nevada Falls will lead you to the start of the 14 to 16-mile round trip journey that leads to a daring ascension up a rock face across two steel cables. You’ll definitely want to start doing those burpees and squats to prepare for this one.
But our best piece of advice for enjoying Yosemite, is to make some time to slow down and soak it in, and not just rack up achievements. Leave your phone and checklist in the car and wander the serene Tuolumne Meadows. It’s filled with lush forests, bubbling rivers, and scenic mountainscapes that’ll rejuvenate you and have you ready for your next challenge.
Aquarius (Jan 20 – Feb 18)
You’re a pure-hearted altruist with rich unexplored depths. Your soul will find a kindred spirit in the hidden world of Carlsbad Caverns National Park — it’s the perfect place for an Aquarius to explore. Carlsbad is a shimmering underground kingdom that is also home to some groundbreaking research with the potential to cure certain types of cancer.
Begin your journey at Carlsbad with a 750-foot descent into the mouth of the cavern along the Natural Entrance Trail. Once inside, make your way to the Big Room. Uninspired name aside, the chamber’s alien-like formations and grand scale will set your imagination afire. And don’t worry about getting lost in thought here, you can wander the snaking 1.25 mile trail at your own pace.
But to really satisfy that trademark Aquarian curiosity, take a guided ranger tour. We recommend a tour of King’s Palace, home to some of the cave’s most spectacular rooms where you’ll learn about the history and geology of the cave by lantern light.
Lastly, as a lover of animals, we highly recommend going in July or August to catch the incredible flight of the bats. Grab a seat in the above ground Bat Flight Amphitheater to see thousands of them leave the cave just before sunset and soar into the sky.
Pisces (Feb 19 – March 20)
You’re hyper-aware of the world around you and deeply sensitive which can lead you to burnout if you don’t take time for yourself. Break free of life’s current to dive into Channel Islands National Park, the perfect place for a Pisces to relax and refuel their creative energy.
As the fish sign you’re happiest by the sea and here you can soak in the breathtaking beauty of the park and surrounding Pacific Ocean off the coast of California. The park consists of five islands and a marine sanctuary that you’ll love exploring as much as your own inner world. You tend to like charting your own course so rent a kayak solo or with a small group of friends to travel around Santa Cruz Island. You’ll discover tons of sea caves but we recommend seeking out Surging T, an incredible 354-foot-long tunnel.
Anacapa island is also a great spot for scuba and snorkel adventures where you can spot some of the more than 2,000 plants and animals that call the park home. You can even take a scenic boat ride to get a closer view of the variety of dolphins that live in the area, but try not to zone out as you cruise along the sea or you might miss a glimpse of a blue whale.
When you’re ready for dry land, hike the Anacapa Island Loop Trail. The trail typically isn’t crowded and will allow you to traverse across seaside cliffs in relative solitude and really soak in the stunning coastal views.
Aries (March 21 – April 19)
Like other fire signs, you’re passionate and high-energy. You form your opinions quickly, so people and places need to grab your attention right away if they’re going to keep it. At first sight, you’ll fall (rock hard) for the natural beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park, and with plenty of thrills to go with those looks, it’s the perfect national park for an Aries.
Drive up 12,000 feet above sea level along the Trail Ridge Road. The adrenaline junky in you won’t bat an eye at the winding, hairpin turns alongside steep cliff drop-offs. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding Rockies and even a spot to view the Continental Divide.
If you’re really feeling pumped for a challenge, you can take on Long’s Peak. It’s over 14,000 feet high and is more of a climb than a hike so you’ll have to start early and prepare accordingly because no Aries wants to have to give up once they’ve started. Camp at the Long’s Peak backcountry campground the night before your climb to get an early start and beat the afternoon storms.
Since you’re not one to take it slow, you should have time to fit in a hike to see some of the many gorgeous lakes in the park. There are several you can reach from the Bear Lake trailhead, why not explore them all?
Taurus (April 20 – May 20)
You’re ambitious, hardworking, and someone that people know they can count on. The best national park for you to visit can be none other than the esteemed Grand Canyon National Park.
You value boldness and will instantly be taken by the canyon’s impressive scale, but perhaps it can also teach your stubborn side the beauty of going with the flow. The canyon’s greatness wouldn’t have been achieved without the hard rock giving way to the Colorado River billions of years ago.
Taureans feel most alive when they’re connecting with their physical self. Get your blood pumping with a rafting trip down the Colorado River or a bike ride along the canyon’s edge on Hermit Road. You’ll be surrounded by incredible views and maybe even spot some of the Grand Canyon’s unique wildlife.
For a truly extraordinary adventure, you can descend into the belly of the canyon along the South Kaibab Trail. Start early and prepare well as it’s seven miles long, steep, and offers little shade — but when have you ever been afraid of a challenge? You’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the canyon along the way and once you reach the bottom you can relax and spend a night at the historic Phantom Ranch — just be sure to book at least a year in advance.
Gemini (May 21 – June 20)
As the twin sign, you have two distinct sides to your personality — you’re both the life-of-the-party and the introspective daydreamer. The best national park to suit your dynamic nature is Mount Rainier National Park which has two sides of its own: a peaceful mountain setting on top of an active volcano.
As a social creature, you’ll probably want to stay in either nearby Seattle or Portland and road trip with your crew to the park. Then start your exploration of Rainer with some snacking and relaxing at the Sunrise picnic area. You can hang while taking in the striking surrounding Cascade Mountain Range. After, let your imagination wander on a peaceful hike through meadows and wildflowers along the Sunrise Nature Trail.
And since Geminis like experiences that truly feel special, you’ll definitely want to add in a trip along the Grove of the Patriarchs Trail. It’s a magical loop trail that will take you across a suspension bridge to an island of towering ancient Douglas fir and western red cedar trees.
Cancer (June 21 – July 22)
You may be a water sign but you hide your soft center under a prickly outer shell. The best national park for you to visit is the Petrified Forest National Park where you’ll resonate with its mysterious wonder. Like you, the park’s fossilized trees have a rough exterior, but when they’re opened up they reveal many vibrant and beautiful layers.
Start your adventure with a walk through the mystifying Crystal Forest or take the Agate House loop to see a glimmering array of petrified wood. Even though you might be the sentimental type, don’t take any of the wood with you, protect the land for others to enjoy.
You’re incredibly in-tune with your environment and the park’s enigmatic landscape will really speak to your spiritual side. Go in the summer to catch fantastic thunderstorms that light up the painted desert.
As a history buff, you’ll also enjoy the many fascinating Native American relics in the park. Visit Puerco Pueblo to see the partially excavated ruins of a 100+ room pueblo where around 200 people lived hundreds of years ago. If you visit around June 21, you can catch the impressive alignment of a petroglyph solar marker with the sun’s shadow to mark the summer solstice. And if you want to actually stay in a bit of history, you can spend a night in the Painted Desert Inn. A nearly 100-year-old desert retreat within the park that’s built from petrified wood and rock from the surrounding land.
Leo (July 23 – Aug 22)
You’re a confident natural leader that’s not so easily thrown off your mount, but even you need a break once in a while so you can come back stronger.
Zion National Park is the perfect place to shake out your mane and let your inner lion roar. The park sits across a vast canyon that’s filled with gorgeous peaks and valleys that are just as dramatic as you. Get your adrenaline pumping on a hike up Angel’s Landing where you’ll face its infamously steep switchbacks and sheer drop-offs, or grab your crew and put your leadership skills to the test with a trek through The Narrows — a one-of-a-kind experience that leads you up the Virgin River across the canyon floor. You’ll need to roll up those Patagonia’s and use that trademark Leo fortitude to lead your group safely through.
A trip to Zion National Park will feed your inner fire and leave you feeling renewed and ready to take on any challenge that comes your way.
Editors Note: Be sure to look at all travel advisories before traveling to any National Parks. Travel restrictions may be in place due to weather, seasonality, and/or COVID-19.