A Great Place
When should you visit very special and unique places in the world that touch you? Places with an atmosphere you can’t describe or where you even get overwhelmed with emotion.
Monument Valley is not a National Park. It’s a Navajo Tribal Park with a stunning desert like landscape in Arizona and an excellent year-round destination. Seasons with pleasant weather and without a lot of traffic on the scenic drive are early spring (late March/April) and late autumn (October). Cooler but very quiet months are the winter months from November until March. Read on for more season details (spring -summer - fall - winter), the best ‘WHEN TO GO’ tips and our detailed hotel and camping guide.
Weather and Visitation
Despite the possibility for extreme weather conditions with some very hot days in the summer and a few colder times in the winter, most days of the year are quite suitable for an enjoyable visit. Due to the higher elevation of 5200 feet it’s a little cooler in general. The Wind is a major force in the valley. Even in the warmer months of spring and fall, bring an extra layer of cloth as it can get chilly in the mornings or late evenings. Light rain gear is also a good idea.
April - May (Spring)
The average maximum daytime temperature in April is a pleasant 19°C (66°F). In May it gets warmer with an average maximum of 25°C (77°F). That means both months are perfect for a visit. Most April visitors report, that it’s still quiet most of the time. In May it gets busier but still not heavily crowded. Keep in mind that particularly from April into June it’s often more windy than usual and it can become horrible dusty due to heavy winds.
June - July - August (Summer)
Clear, warm, sunny days and cool nights make this a delightful season to visit. July and August bring the warmest conditions, with temperatures in the 90s (over 33 °C) but rarely exceed 100 °F. The Visitor Center, as well as the scenic drive, become very busy during these summer months. Always check the weather forecast for occasional summer thunderstorms, especially from July to mid-September.
September - October (Autumn)
Still warm in September and pleasant temperatures in October. Autumn provides some of the most stable weather of the year. Keep in mind that in September even after labor day the scenic drive and the Visitor Center are often still busy. In October the crowds get smaller and there is less traffic on the road.
November - March (Winter / Early Spring)
Mild cold weather conditions start around mid-November. Snow conditions start later around mid-December and can last until February/early-March. Even in the winter, temperatures below 0 °F (−18 °C) are rare. But still, a warm coat is highly recommended. The valley only receives an occasional light snowfall and sometimes snowstorms in the winter. However, the snow melts usually within a day or two. Most visitors report that it's no problem to drive with almost any kind of car in the colder months. Winter is the perfect time for solitude without the crowds and low prices. Lucky visitors can see the valley and rock formations dusted in snow. Later in early spring, March is a great month without the holiday crowds and temperatures get more pleasant as they can rise up to 60°F (15°C), nights and mornings are still cool and chilly though.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds (Visitor Center / View Hotel / Scenic Drive)
Crowds in Monument Valley means a busy road while driving the scenic loop, many tourists at the Visitor Center and a fully booked View Hotel. The busiest months are from May to September with a peak in the summer months: late June, July and August. (The ‘official peak-season’ with different opening times is from April through September) If you plan to stay at ‘The View Hotel’ in high season, book well in advance. Also, keep in mind that the hotel rates are at their highest. Sometimes there are even busy days / weekends on the road in April or October. However, most visitors experience a rather quiet drive in early spring or late autumn and real solitude in the winter. During busier months the traffic starts to pick up around 10 AM. That means you can’t just pull over and take pictures at will because of the traffic and dust. In peak season the major viewpoints are crowded resulting in big traffic jams. Avoid those busy times by starting early in the morning with less traffic and less dust. Even in early spring and late fall, you’ll benefit by heading out at breakfast time. Avoid weekends and try to go on a weekday. Another option is to visit in the cooler months or even in the winter: It’s colder, but especially in December, January and February you’ll experience peace and solace. November (up to 12°C / 54°F) as well as March (up to 14°C / 57°F) bring more pleasant temperatures but it’s still much quieter than during busier months.
Another possible alternative to get away from the crowds during high season: Either take the self-guided hike on the Wildcat-Trail (see below) in the morning or purchase one of the Navajo tours for smaller groups. Some visitors book a tour for their family group only. Further reading on seasons and crowds: Some interesting and useful ‘when to go’ statements on TripAdvisor Peak vs Off-Season
Time of Day (Sunrise/Sunset)
Sunrise is not only the best time to dodge the crowds and avoid a busy road, it’s also a magical moment. To experience a stunning sunrise in the winter or late fall, stay at The View Hotel as you can't get into the park before 8 AM in off-season from the outside. In peak season they open at 6 AM. However, most visitors say, that watching the sunrise from the View Hotel is priceless regardless of the season. If you can, stay until sunset as well. It’s spectacular and unforgettable! Quote from our user Ray Downs: “Sunrise is great everywhere and sunset is best from the parking lot of the view hotel parking lot...that is where the banner photo was taken.” Check sunrise and sunset in advance here: Sunrise - Sunset Times Monument Valley
Jokulsárlón (Google Maps) is a truly striking spot to visit in Iceland and was one of the Game of Thrones filming locations for season 7. However, it does get incredibly crowded during the daytime. Read on for our guide on how to avoid the crowds, when to see the most icebergs and more useful tips:
The lagoon is accessible year-round. Even in the winter, the part of Route 1 (Ring Road) between Reykjavik and Jokulsárlón is usually snow-free. There might be some exceptions when heavy snow-storms occur. Tip: You'll have the best experience and more freedom if you rent a car, preferrably a 4WD. Most of our tips below can only be followed with a (rental) car.
The icebergs are present year round. However, it's impossible to predict the amount of ice on a certain day. Our tips on increasing your chances:
Visit In Winter:
You'll often see more icebergs during the winter months. Another great advantage to visiting in winter is the Northern Lights. The downsides: It's colder, and no boat tours are available in winter.
Visit In Summer:
In the summer, as well as late spring and early fall, there are slightly fewer icebergs, but boat tours are available, and the weather is more pleasant. However, you'll usually spot enough icebergs in every season. A great experience in the summer: Afternoon on a sunny day for incredible contrasts between light, ice and the black beach.
Stay Two Days:
Regardless of the season, you should stay at least two days. Book a nearby hotel (Best Hotels at Jokulsárlón). First you visit the Lagoon in the afternoon/evening, then you stay the night in the hotel and on the next day you get back to the lagoon early in the morning. That way you'll avoid the crowds at both times (evening and morning). Staying two days also means, you can experience different tide levels, often different wind/weather and different light. You'll maximize the chances to see enough icebergs as well. Few visitors report, that almost no icebergs were there on a given day. It's not very likely but possible. Visit 2 days to be on the safe side.
Avoiding the Crowds
Crowds at Jokulsárlón are usually present year-round. The peak summer months bring the most tourists. However, there are easy ways to get away from the crowds:
Be Early or Stay Late:
Be there as early as possible, preferably around 7:30 AM. Then you'll have about an hour or more until the first tour buses arrive. Since a drive from Reykjavik takes about 5 hours, the best bet is to stay at a nearby hotel the night before you visit early. We highly recommend to stay two days (see section above: stay two days for the icebergs and light). Example: Day #1: Stay late at the lagoon until at least 4 or 5 PM when most tourists are gone. Staying late is a great idea even if you are not planning to visit again the next day. The night: Stay at the nearby hotel. Day #2: Be at Jokulsárlón early in the morning (see above).
The area around the main parking lot is always crowded: Check out the layout drawing below. Most people stay within 60 m of the parking area. Just walk a little farther, and you'll get away from the main crowds. About half mile down the road is another parking lot. From there you can go down the cliff to the beach. It's significantly less busy here and most of the time you see as many icebergs. The two beaches are nearly identical, while one of them often has more icebergs than the other. It's impossible to predict that on a certain day. If you'd like to avoid crowds, just go to the beach with fewer icebergs.
Visit In Shoulder Months:
Usually, the place is busy year-round nowadays. The peak season used to be from June until August. However, in the recent years, many visitors also come for the Northern Lights in winter. A chance of a slightly less busy place is the months of late September - October or April - early May. However, don't expect a quiet place during daytime regardless of the season.
The best time to visit Antelope Canyon in Arizona, depends on what you’re looking for: Capturing the amazing light beams during peak season or experience solitude during the off-season in Lower Antelope Canyon? The light beams can only be seen between March and early October. However, it gets extremely busy in high season. Find a quick navigation below. If you'd like to know who we are, check out our About Us page.
- Light Beams (Sun Beams) Tips & Facts
- Avoiding Busy Times & Crowds
- Monthly Weather for Antelope Canyon
- Stay 1-2 Nights (Recommended by Experts)
- Tour Tips & Photography Tours
- Upper Canyon vs. Lower Canyon
- 9 Antelope Canyon Must-Know Tips
- Prices and Fees for Antelope Canyon
Read our comprehensive guide below (scroll down to the end of this article for even more tips) which covers every aspect of an Antelope Canyon visit. Feedback from our users: 'You got the best Antelope Canyon guide on the internet!' Tip: Are you planning to do more than Antelope Canyon in Arizona? Then get the latest edition of 'Fodor's Arizona & Grand Canyon (click the link to view it on Amazon). It has amazing insights and is definitely the best guidebook for the area.
Coming from Las Vegas? | Tour Tips: In case you are staying in Las Vegas, this is such a great tour if you like it hassle-free: Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend Tour (Particularly great in winter!) Why this one? The tour guides are extremely friendly and have so much insider knowledge. Also, you save time, energy, and the whole tour is very comfortable in a small group! Pick up from your Las Vegas Hotel! And if you're not scared of flying: Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour (from Las Vegas with hotel pick-up - via Viator-TripAdvisor Experience)
Places you should visit nearby: Our recently updated articles with many must-know tips and insider knowledge we wrote for you:
- The Wave - Arizona: A once in a lifetime hike! 1,5 hours drive from Antelope Canyon. Our free guide with insider tips!
Monument Valley: A complete guide & the best tips you should know. 2 hours drive from Antelope Canyon.
Light Beams (Highlight)
Light Beam Facts:
- No light beams from mid-October until end mid-March
- No light beams before 11 AM and after 1:30 PM
- No light beams on a cloudy day, even during ‘light beam season’
- Book the 10:30 AM / 11:00 AM / 12:00 AM tours to see the beams
The light beams in Antelope Canyon start around March 20 and last until early October. Best months for the beams are June, July, and August. The higher sun brings more light into the canyon. Each day the light beams are visible in the midday between 11 AM and 1:30 PM on a sunny day only. There are no light beams when it's cloudy. The most beams can be seen in Upper Antelope Canyon. They occur in Lower Antelope Canyon as well, but light beams are few and far between. You might be wondering if it's still worth visiting Antelope Canyon during off-season, without the light beams? Yes, definitely! Read on for more details:
Avoiding Busy Times and Tourist Crowds
Antelope Canyon by Ron Holder, CC BY
Upper Antelope Canyon became a mass tourism spot, especially during high season as well as during shoulder seasons. Even Lower Antelope got a lot busier in the recent years. Our tips for 2018 and beyond:
High Season - Shoulder Season | Spring - Summer - Fall
Expect a crowded place and fully booked midday tours from April until September. It's worse during peak months (June, July, and August) when the light is just perfect. Midday tours are jammed throughout the season. You have to choose between a crowded place with the magical beams during the season (end of March - early October) or fewer tourists without the beams in the off-season (mid-October - mid-March). You may also book a less busy tour in the early morning without the beams in 'light beams season'. You can still take great photos regardless of the time of day. Another option is Lower Antelope Canyon: Larger area, ladder climbing, fewer beams but also fewer crowds. However, Lower Canyon became much busier as it used to be. Book mid-week and try to go in the shoulder months (April/September), when there are already/still light beams but without the massive summer tourist crowds.
Low Season | Winter Visit
In the off-season (mid-October - mid-March) there are no light beams, but both places are still magical. It's less busy from November to February. However, even in winter, avoid weekends if you visit Upper Antelope Canyon. It's more quiet mid-week. For even more solitude: Visit Lower Antelope Canyon in the winter. It's much quieter during the off-season, and although there are no light beams at all, the colors are gorgeous. Check the weather forecast and try to go between 10 and 11 AM because of better light conditions.
Antelope Canyon Weather
Temperature wise, you can visit any time of the year. In the winter it's much quieter (see above) but also cold sometimes. Snow is very rare. Canyon closures due to winter conditions did happen in the past but they are very unlikely. In the warm summer months, thunderstorms can occur during 'Arizona's Monsoon Season': From roughly mid-June until mid-September. Thunderstorms are usually afternoon thundershowers and more wind and lightning than rain. But still, dangerous flash floods are possible.
More weather details (you can switch between °C and °F): Page, Arizona Climate Details
Tourists / Sunbeams (Highlight) Calendar
This is our ultimate guide to Perito Moreno Glacier with 7 essential must-know tips before you go, including the best time to visit. Weather-wise the most pleasant time is from November to March. Read on for more details including our 7 must-know things: 1) Highlights 2) Avoiding Tourist Crowds 3) Weather 4) Facts 5) Getting to Perito Moreno Glacier 6) How to Visit 7) The Best Itinerary. And a lot more incredibly useful advice as well as stunning photos! In case you'd like to jump directly to our most popular tips, click the following navigation links:
Quick Tip: We highly recommend to read our guide below, especially the 'How to Visit' part. However, if you're in a hurry and like it comfortable, check tours to the platforms via bus, on a boat or ice trekking tours here: Perito Moreno Tours from El Calafate (very safe and reliable booking via GetYourGuide) Make sure to check the ratings and read the reviews! Book in advance!
Highlights (Cracking Ice)
To hear more of the deep thunderous sound of the cracking ice you should visit during sunny weather in the late afternoon if possible (see options below). You will hear those sounds even in the morning hours quite often, but they are more frequent and intense in the (late) afternoon when the ice is warmed by the sun. It gets better: To witness a chunk of ice falling off, you might have to wait a while, but it's worth it. Great weather with sunshine really helps here. Regardless, it's a once in a lifetime experience and absolutely worth it. The light to take photos is great at both times: In the morning as well as in the late afternoon, before sunset. Bottom line: In order to see the ice chunks falling off and listening to thunderous sounds, sunny weather drastically increases the chances and frequency. That's why we highly recommend staying 2 full days (spend 3 nights!) in nearby El Calafate: If it rains on one day, you still have at least one other day with a good chance of sunshine. Being there 2-3 full days will maximize your chances of spending a perfect sunny day at the glacier with those amazing phenomena. We added an itinerary suggestion at the end of this article.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
During high season (southern summer, Nov-Mar) it gets crowded between 9:30 AM and 5 PM. Dodge the crowds and you won’t have to fight for the best viewing spots. Even more important: Being able to listen to the cracking sounds of the glacier without other noise distractions from groups of visitors is just magical. Three ways to avoid those large groups of people:
Late Shuttle Bus:
The best way to avoid the crowds while using the public shuttle bus is to take the late one: Departing at 1 PM (or 2 PM) and going back at 7:30 PM. Using the late bus you have about 1-2 hours left later in the early evening at the glacier with significantly fewer tourists, as most of them leave between 4 PM and 5 PM.
Go Early or Late (Rental Car/Taxi):
A rental car offers the highest flexibility to dodge the crowds: You could either get there very early in the morning before any of the crowds arrive. As of 2018 the area is usually quiet until 9:30 A.M. Sometimes the hordes of tourists even arrive later. That means arriving at 8 A.M. gives you about 2 hours of solitude. Alternatively, arrive around 4 PM to stay late and experience a magical sunset after most tourists have already left. You could also pay a taxi, including staying a couple of hours at the site. For the expensive taxi option it only makes economic sense when you are in a group of at least 3 people or money is not an issue.
It usually starts to get busy from mid-October until March. The peak months with the most crowds are December/January/February. Moderate month (still/already slightly busy): October/November, March/April. Late September until mid-October or mid-April until early May are great times with fewer tourists, lower rates and decent weather. However, it's not as warm as in the peak summer months. Monthly weather overview (you can switch between F and C): El Calafate Weather.
The glacier is a year-round destination. However, during southern summer (November - March) the weather is more pleasant with the most sunshine but it also gets very crowded. The temperatures are mild, especially in Dec/Jan/Feb: 44-74°F (7-24°C). However, please keep in mind that the weather is unpredictable. Always bring rain gear and dress in layers. Visiting in the Winter (late May-August) means virtually no crowds, but really cold, rough weather (sometimes below 32°F/0°C) and fewer agencies offer tours to the glacier.
The 12 Apostles is one of Australia's most iconic attraction and an amazing year-round destination. However, summer and even shoulder seasons often bring heavy crowds. Read our tips about the best time to visit:
Season (Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring)
While weather conditions don't vary heavily throughout the year, the tourist crowds definitely fluctuate:
Summer (December, January, February): Best conditions with usually dry and clear weather but also the most crowds. It's peak season and the rates are at their highest (book well in advance for a nearby hotel). 12 Apostles is overrun with visitors during the day.
Autumn (March, April, May): Fewer visitors but still very busy. Even more so during Easter holiday and on weekends. The weather gets a little cooler.
Winter (June, July, August): The best months if you'd like to enjoy a quieter visit. However, it can still be busy on weekends. Excellent months for taking photos from the large viewing platform without hundreds of others pushing each other shoulder to shoulder. The downside is the weather: While definitely not freezing, it's cooler and the most rainfall occurs in winter.
Spring (September, October, November): It's getting warmer but also crowded again. Expect a packed place, especially when the tour busses arrive around 12.
Time of Day (Avoiding the Crowds)
During summer and in the shoulder seasons the place is usually very crowded. In summer, we arrived after midday and got the feeling there were at least a thousand people from many different countries. It's almost impossible to enjoy the scenery with many people next to you taking pictures or being asked to take a photo of them.
How to avoid the crowds? Early Morning is the best time of the day to dodge them when the buses from Melbourne have not yet arrived. It is also the best time for a perfect shot of the famous rock formations. The Twelve Apostles are the most popular place along the Great Ocean Road and very busy except early morning and in the evening. The light conditions for the famous picture of the 12 Apostles are also best in the morning. We know it's hard, but get up very early and try to be there at sunrise: Sunrise / Sunset Times Princetown TOP TIP: Stay close to the 12 Apostles to enjoy the stunning rock formations early morning. Best located is the Clifton Beach Lodge with clean cabins equipped with everything you need.
In general the Southern Ocean has a strong influence on the climate. It keeps the winter warmer and the summer cooler. In summer the sun is extreme, but it is not too hot always a fresh breeze. Most stable weather in summer from January to March. Most precipitation in winter from June to August. Be prepared for extremely windy conditions.
Regarding the weather and the crowds April, September, October, and early November are the best months to visit the "Heaven's Gate". Be prepared for showers, but if you are lucky you can get sunshine as well.
Avoiding the Crowds
Expect a busy holy mountain throughout the year except for winter (mid-November/December - February). The main season is from May until October with most visitors and rates at its peak. Heaviest crowds in July/August. A sweet spot month with mild climate but without heavy crowds is early-November until mid-November. Otherwise, March/April are considered months without massive crowds.