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Breathtaking, intricate, mysterious and massive. Most caves could be part of a fairy tale world or a mystery movie.The different types are limestone caves, lava caves, sea cave and ice caves. When is the best time to visit a cave?

Mammoth Cave National Park is a truly amazing year-round destination. Read our full season guide below and scroll down even further if you're interested in the Best Cave Tours (scroll down) and the top tips before visiting almost at the end of this guide!

Special Area Tip: While you're in Kentucky, do not make the mistake and visit Mammoth Cave only. Take a look at Kentucky Off the Beaten Path® - A Guide to Unique Places. This guidebook from the 'Off the Beaten Path' series is terrific! It's your chance to visit unforgettable places!

Mammoth Cave Quick Tip: It's less crowded and a lot more comfortable to join a morning tour. Unless you live nearby book the night before in a nearby hotel (check our accommodation tips below) and make a reservation for an early morning tour. That way you avoid waiting lines, crowded parking lots, masses of tourists, and busy tours. It makes your cave tour(s) a much better experience.

Season Guide (Monthly Overview)

In peak seasons (late spring until early fall) the cave draws big crowds, even more in the busy summer months. Each year, about 2 million visitors come to the park, with almost half a million of them taking a cave tour. Read our seasonal cave tour breakdown (shoulder season, high season, low season) and take a look at our tips to avoid the crowded tours in peak season. Please note that there are different tour schedules available for each season and that the number of participants allowed for each tour varies (up to 120). The visitation chart below contains official 2018 data. It gives you a nice insight about the busiest months at Mammoth Cave:


March - April - May | Spring (Crowded Tours)

Early March is often still a good time crowd-wise. From mid-March until May the tours get more crowded, especially on weekends and public holidays (Memorial Day). Making online reservations is recommended. To ensure a slot for your desired tour, we suggest booking 1-2 weeks in advance, although for many tours it's sometimes possible to make reservations 1-3 days in advance only during the spring. Spring 2019 Schedule — March 10 - May 25 (The spring tours for 2020 are not available yet - early January 2020. Scroll down for the winter tours until early March 2020)

June - July - August | Summer (Very Crowded Tours)

During peak summer months, the cave tours are heavily jammed. However, especially in June it's possible to get into a less crowded tour if you book an early morning spot on a weekday (Mon-Tue). Either way, making reservations is strongly recommended and often required to get into your desired tour. For the rare tours with very few participants, like the Wild Cave Tour, we highly recommend booking 3-4 weeks in advance, as it sells out real quick. Summer 2019 Schedule 

September - October | Fall (Crowded Tours)

After Labor Day weekend (early September) the crowds at the park thin out slightly at least, and not every tour is sold out in advance. However, it's still not quiet at all and making online reservations is recommended even during shoulder season. 

November - December - January - February | Winter (Uncrowded / Quiet)

November and December are much quieter months.  January and February is the quietest time in the park. During both months there is a possibility, that you may have a mid-week tour nearly to yourself. 'Walking along Broadway without anyone else is a surreal and otherworldly experience.' You'll also enjoy lowest hotel rates in winter. Winter 2019/20 Schedule
 


Avoiding Crowds and Waiting Lines

Since the cave temperature is at a constant 54 °F (12 °C) year-round, you may just visit in the off-season in winter (see above) or at least during shoulder months, in late fall or early spring. In the summer, the whole place is jammed with tourists, particularly between 10 a.m. and 2. p.m.

However, if you'd like to visit in the summer months or maybe you can only visit then, we got you covered. Choose from one or more of our 3 tips to dodge the crowded tours:

  1. Book the Earliest Tour Spot: Book one night at a close hotel (see our hotel tips below the weather details). Then use the online reservation system Official Mammoth Cave Tour Reservation and book the earliest tour spot before the buses arrive: 8:30 a.m., 8:45 a.m., 9:15 a.m. (depending on the tour). Book a few weeks ahead of time to make sure the slot is available. Additionally try to go mid-week (Mon-Tue) and not on the weekends. Even those early tours can still be crowded (full) at times but the whole park is a lot quieter in the morning without the masses of tourists arriving via buses.
  2. Book a Tour with Fewer Participants: The number of people allowed on a cave tour varies by tour. The 'Domes and Dripstones Tour' for example allows 118 participants, which results in quite a crowd when fully booked. The Frozen Niagara Tour allows 'only' 39 people. Combine this one with an early morning time slot (see above)! However, the best tour to avoid the crowds is the Wild Cave Tour: An intense and very strenuous 6 hour drive for spelunking enthusiasts. Up to 14 participants only. 
  3. Use Another Parking Area: If you happen to arrive when everything is busy, do not use the parking lot in front of the Visitors Center. It's ridiculously crowded. Just park in the overflow parking at the Lodge (turn right before the Visitor Center). Walk through the Lodge and cross the bridge that takes you to the Center.
 
Weather (For Camping) | Cave Temperature

The cave has a constant temperature of 54 °F (12 °C) throughout the year, regardless of the outside weather. However, winter temperatures can be below freezing at entrances. In most areas of the cave, you'll be comfortable if you wear long pants and take a sweater or jacket with you.

Outside Weather: Even with the consistent year-round cave temperature, the outside weather shouldn't be overlooked. Not only by camping visitors (jump to the campsite section). In general, the climate around Mammoth Cave National Park is moderate with warm summers and pleasant spring and fall temperatures. Winters are mild and rarely harsh. Monthly climate details at Monthly Climate - Mammoth Cave. Excellent weather details including temperatures, rainfall, humidity and winds at Average Weather - Cave City Kentucky. For current conditions check out the weather webcam: Mammoth Cave NPS Webcam. Want to know the weather details for each season and month:

Spring Weather (March, April, May)

Spring is a pleasant time to visit the area, although the weather can vary a lot from day to day. In March the average highs already reach 61°F (16°C), in April 72°F (22°C). The nights are usually still chilly during March. In May it gets even warmer. May is also the month with the highest precipitation throughout the year. In general, rain is somewhat common during the spring with 8 to 9 days of precipitation per month. Also keep in mind that the weather is unpredictable, especially in spring. An afternoon can go from clear and sunny to rain or thunderstorms within two hours. Campgrounds open March 1 (see below). The campgrounds are not too busy in the spring (except for spring break and maybe weekends). Due to more precipitation, a rain fly is highly recommended for camping.

Summer Weather (June, July, August)

In general, the weather is quite stable compared to spring and other seasons. Summers outside Mammoth Cave are usually sunny, hot and humid. Daytime high temperatures often pass 90°F (32°C) in July and August. The downside is the high humidity between mid-June and mid-September. Especially from early July until mid-August / late August it gets really muggy, which might be uncomfortable for some visitors. On the other hand, the less humid and lower cave temperature comes in handy during those muggy summer weeks. If you're not bothered by the high humidity, the summer months are great for camping. Big plus: Thanks to the bats, you don't have to deal with mosquitoes at all.

Fall Weather (September, October, November)

Autumn weather can also be unpredictable, but not so much as in spring. In September it can still be humid, although not as muggy as in the summer months. The average highs reach 83°F (28°C). October is still pleasant with temps up to 72°F (22°C). In November it gets cooler but it's still mild with average highs of 60°F (15°C). Locals say that November weather can be nice most of the times. The campgrounds are significantly less crowded compared to summer. First signs of turning leaves are often in early October. And a good chance to catch the beautiful peak fall foliage colors is typically from mid to late October

Winter Weather (December, January, February)

Although it gets colder, the winter months are rarely harsh. However, ice storms in January and February are possible, which may cause difficult driving conditions. The snowy period usually starts early December and lasts until mid-March. Most snow falls in January and February. Although the cave temperature is constant year-round, it can be freezing in the cave entrance area in winter. In winter whole Mammoth Cave becomes a warm refuge and the quietness in the park area makes up for the lower outside temperature.

 

US United States

The secluded beach behind the remarkable cave tunnel is only accessible sharp at low tide. However, check the tides first. If you arrive after low tide; it becomes dangerous to walk through the tunnel. Important: During high tide with a high swell, even the platform from where you can look into the Remarkable Cave gets flooded. Tide times Port Arthur

Tasman National Park and also the Remarkable Cave close to Port Arthur are very popular. It’s a short trail, easily accessible, therefore, can be a bit crowded. Best visited early morning or evening at low tide. In summer, even tour buses arrive. Limited parking spaces. Due to the improvement in 2019, it may get busier.

The hidden beach behind the Remarkable Cave
The hidden beach after the Remarkable Cave

The 3-4 hours return hike of about 9 km to Mount Brown starts here and passes the Maingon Blowhole. The blowhole itself is a 45 minutes return hike which makes sense at high tide only.

Hike to Mount Brown from the Remarkable Cave Car Park.
Mount Brown in the back

Update December 19: The trail and cave should be reopened again. It was closed for construction work from 1. May to late November. The car park, the restroom, the cave entrance, and Mount Brown hiking trail got an improvement

Weather Port Arthur

Weather Port Arthug from 1991-2015
Average Monthly Temperature and Rainfall for Port Arthur - Tasmania from 1991-2015

Top Tip

We recommend staying here at least three nights to enjoy the many beautiful places and hikes.  If you are into hiking, don't miss the incredible Cape Raoul day hike which is 14 km long and the Tasman National Park. There is limited parking at the Cape Raoul trailhead. Start this track in the morning and bring a picknick. Enjoy the breathtaking views at the Cape.

Cape Raoul close to Remarkable Cave
The organ pipes at Cape Raoul

We'd chosen the affordable Port Arthur Holiday Park one of the Safari tents in an excellent location in the Stewarts Bay State Reserve. Each day we had parrots next to our tent. The wildlife and bird watching was an extra plus. It was just a 15 minutes drive to the cave. The reason that we visited the cave twice.

Port Arthur Holiday Park, Safari Tent close to Remarkable Cave

Important

We’d like to inform you that forests that are increasingly at threat of logging in the northeast of Tassie, including the Blue Tier Giants, from April 2020 are taken out of reserve status. We will lose old grown forests in Tasmania. The Blue Derby Wild, The Friends of the Blue Tier, and the residents are fighting for their forests, but it looks like we all lose this hidden treasure trove. If you like to support the Blue Tier Giants share and comment on our article.

AU Australia

Inside of the famous Benagil Cave is a beach which is much bigger at low tide. Swimming into the cave can be quite challenging especially during rough seas! Swimm with a board and in a group not alone.  Check the tides first before swimming! Anyhow, you need to be an experienced swimmer. An alternative is a boat trip to the existing caves at the Algarve.

Avoiding Crowds and Best Time for Swimming

Best months for swimming are June to September with pleasant sea temp.  July and August are the peak season; Prices increase and beaches are pretty crowded. The Portuguese school holidays start mid-June and last roughly until the first week in September depending on the school. Therefore, the ideally times with fewer tourists and pleasant weather are the first half of June and at the beginning of September but even October is an excellent month. Bring a neoprene shorty for longer swimming though the sea temperature is around 21°C / 70°F during summer until October and 20°C / 68°F in June.

Benagil cave during rough sea
Benagil Cave during rough sea

PT Portugal

With over 1 million visitors each year, the amazing Postojna Caves are Slovenia’s most popular tourist attraction. Read our detailed tips about the best time to visit and how to avoid the crowds:

Avoiding Tourist Crowds

The tours are equally crowded throughout the year. The reason for this is the fact, that fewer tours being offered in offseason. Check the Postojna Caves Timetable. This usually results in the same long waiting lines at the ticket counter and equally large groups in the cave (up to 100 visitors per tour guide) regardless of the season. However, the months of late June until August are by far the most crowded ones. To enjoy a more pleasant and hassle free visit at any time, follow our tips:

Book Online:
It’s much better to buy your tickets online in advance: Online Tickets. Then you can skip the long waiting line at the ticket counter in the cave park. You still have to convert your ticket into a scannable barcode. However, there is a separate counter (Group/Online) for that with almost no people in the line. It saves you between 30 - 50 minutes of waiting in the standard ticket line. This also applies if you bought the ticket in advance at other places.

Book an Early Spot:
Book the first spot available at 9:00 AM (10:00 AM in the off-season). It’s much less busy at the entrance and in general. Later all the large tour buses arrive throughout the day. Additionally, the chances are at least slightly higher that you can join a smaller group in the cave with less than 100 visitors. (The English language groups are always the largest. Join another language group if you speak one of the other languages)

Arrive 30 Minutes Earlier:
If you bought tickets for the 9:00 AM slot, be at the Cave Park around 8:30. It takes up to 10 minutes to walk from the car park to the gates. You’ll also have time to use the restrooms and be the first in line for the electric train.You have to be there 10 minutes before your tour starts anyway


Another great option to getting away from the crowds are the Adventure Tours. These are always done in small groups (3-10 or 11-20). The price for the easiest tour is only 40 EUR, compared to 26 EUR for the regular visitor tour. Read more details about these tours in the description section below.


Weather

Regardless of the outside climate, the cave has a constant temperature of 8-10°C (46-50°F) throughout the year. However, you are probably planning more activities besides the cave. If you prefer pleasant temperatures visit between May and September (you might want to avoid the extreme tourist months of July and August for your Slovenia visit). Weather details (you can switch between °C and °F at the top): Postojna Weather Averages

SI Slovenia

The cave is open daily from late April to late October at 9.20 a.m. and closing at 3.30 p.m. in 2017 from 29.04. until 10. June and 11.9. until 29.10. In summer from 11.06 until 10.9. the cave is open until 4 p.m.

The cave is located on 1.455-meter above sea level. Therefore, you are dependent on the cable car operating hours from Obertraun on 609-meter above sea level to Schönbergalm section I. The season for the cable car starts end of April and last until late October. The last mountain ascent is at 3 p.m. and in summer at 3.30 p.m. The last valley descent is shortly after 5 p.m. At poor weather conditions, the cable car might not run. 
Check the opening hours first

Crowds:
A cave visit is a great option if the weather turns bad but expect more visitors having the same idea. It’s less crowded during nice weather when people think of outdoor activities.

Special events:
Every year in August unique concerts are held in the Parsifal Dome.
Schedule about the offered concerts and booking. 

AT Austria

The cave is closed from October until the end of March to protect the bats. It is advisable to visit the cave with dry weather conditions.

The cave is open from April to the end of September.

DE Germany