Top 10 National Parks To Visit With Your Family
The trees of Redwood National Park stand as the tallest in the world, and you can marvel at them on easy hikes throughout. There are a few tours that are perfect for families like the two hour trip on Davison Road to Fern Canyon. Fern Canyon is a great place for kids to splash around in a creek after the car tour. No matter how you explore, you will find many breathtaking spots along your way.
Rocky Mountain National Park – Colorado:
We are lucky that this beauty is in our backyard. Even after living in Colorado for my whole life, I haven’t explored all of the park. Rocky Mountain National Park is 415-square-mile park. Hikes range from beginner trails to advanced mountain climbs, with one of the simplest being Adams Falls, a third-of-a-mile trail ideal for the whole family to enjoy rushing whitewater falls. I recommend this hike for everyone! Keep your eyes open for some wildlife sightings; bighorn sheep that descend from the mountains periodically throughout the summer, beavers, elk, and moose, as well as the rarer grizzly bears, lynxes, and wolverines! If you are up for some camping, there is no shortage of family friendly campgrounds here!
Yosemite National Park – California:
Known for its waterfalls, granite cliffs, and clear streams, Yosemite National Park covers 747,000 acres of eastern California, bordering Nevada. Yosemite’s gushing waterfalls and scenic valleys will keep you occupied as you explore the park. This is a very family friendly establishment, look for more information on passes and even a GPS game for all ages.
Glacier Bay National Park – Alaska:
I have a huge dream of heading back to Alaska to see this park. We missed it on my cruise as a child. Humpbacked whales, sea lions, seals, sea otters, and orcas are on the list of wildlife that you might see while exploring. Not to mention the amazing frozen tundra and beautiful glaciers. Make sure to book yourself a small whale watching option to get up close and personal with the help of the park rangers.
Grand Canyon National Park – Arizona:
Yellowstone National Park – Wyoming:
Yellowstone National Park’s Old Faithful has continuously unleashed its spray of boiling water approximately every 90 minutes since at least 1870, when explorers christened the spout. Not only are the geysers entertaining and educational but there are dramatic canyons, alpine rivers, lush forests, and hot springs to explore as well. Great hiking options for families as well as longer more intense hikes.
Mesa Verde National Park – Colorado:
Mesa Verde is known for its well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings, notably the huge Cliff Palace. The Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum has exhibits on the ancient Native American culture. Mesa Top Loop Road winds past archaeological sites and overlooks, allowing the family to see how people lived in the dwellings. A few dwellings are available to explore.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Tennessee:
Great Smoky Mountains National Park attracts families with its waterfalls, swimming holes, and horseback rides. This is a perfect National Park to kick back and relax at Deep Creek and go tubing! Located a short drive away from the towns of Gatlinburg, Sevierville, and Pigeon Forge, the park can easily be visited as part of a family weekend that also includes classic kids’ amusements such as go-karts, mini-golf, and quirky museums.
Acadia National Park – Maine:
The sound of water crashing against Thunder Hole is a natural wonder for all ages to enjoy while at Acadia National Park. There are several hiking trails to the summit, but there is also a paved road for cars, perfect if you have little ones in tow. Arrive early as the mountain is the first place in the U.S. that sees the sunrise every morning in the fall and winter months. So cool!! In warmer seasons, there are a number of activities for kids and adults to partake in, including biking on carriage roads and dipping into the chilly waters at one of two sand beaches.
Shenandoah National Park – Virginia:
Only 75 miles from the nation’s capital, the park’s Skyline Drive scenic highway is a popular destination for families visiting D.C. The 105-mile drive weaves through the blue-tinted mountains and there are an unbelievable 75 scenic overlooks along the route. The drive can become an all-day family activity thanks to hikes to waterfalls, such as the one to Dark Hollow Falls, and kid-friendly attractions like the Luray Caverns a cave system that dazzles with its stalactites and stalagmites.
Laura Funk says
I have been to five on this list and Grand Canyon NP was by far my favorite. The mule train ride to the bottom of the canyon was incredible.
Jacqui Stewart says
I've only been to one of these. The Shenandoah in VA. My parents took me there when I was a teen. My teen unfortunately isn't into this type of vacation. But I'm hoping that in a few years, I'll be able to buy my RV and travel the country while I'm working from the road. Should be able to hit these in my travels 🙂
Betty Boiron says
I only been to Shenandoah National Park out of the whole list, but I do have some of these on my things to do when the kids get older! Especially the Grand Canyon!
Tami Q says
We are hoping to take the little guy to some national parks this summer. I see three that I think would suit his age best.
Shelly B says
I would love to visit the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately this type of vacation would cramp my kids style. My hubby is too much of a homebody to take a vacation any where. I guess I will only be able to visit these places in my dreams.
I would love to take a trip around to all of the National Parks. I need to start planning a US tour. Visit a bunch of places. Of course I would need to find the time but it is a dream for me.
These all sound amazing. However, I have never been to any of them. The one in Virginia is only a few hours away though so I may have to plan a weekend trip there down the line.
Lisa Favre says
I just watched an Imax film featuring America's top national parks. They are quite the sight to see! Will have to visit many of them with the family so thanks for this list!
Thanks for the National Park resource list. I have yet to visit a national park. Maybe one day I am somewhat interested.
Crystal VanTassel says
I have not visited any of these but a few are on my bucket list of things. I love the idea of visiting Yellowstone or Redwood. They are definitely at the top!
Lisa Codina says
I'm not from the States however, I'm surprised that I've heard of most of them. I visited the Rocky Mountains as a child, driving to Florida, but that's the only one I've seen. One day I'm hoping to get to another one!