The protected lands of the National Parks are some of the most amazing destinations within the United States to view some spectacular pieces of nature. Many of these parks have fun family-friendly activities, making them great destinations for holidays and summer break. Not only are there some amazing sights, but they are also a great learning opportunity to see nature and much more. Here are some of the best national parks for kids.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC
Located on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore is an amazing destination for recreating, relaxing and much more. The seashore has many beautiful beaches for the whole family to explore and enjoy. Visitors can spend vacation time searching for shells, birding, kayaking, hiking and more. The Outer Banks are also an excellent spot to go windsurfing, especially on Hatteras Island. In addition Cape Hatteras National Seashore also has three historic lighthouses and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is open for visitors.
Glacier National Park, MT
Glacier National Park was the tenth national park created in the nation. The park offers visitors the opportunity to explore the amazing wilderness of Montana, through biking, hiking, camping, backpacking, boating and more. The best time of year to visit is the early summer, the region is snowy in the winter and hot in the summer. Children will love all of the open areas to explore, and can enjoy learning about wildlife, glaciers and much more.
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
One of the most amazing natural wonders, the Grand Canyon is a true must-see destination. The enormous canyon at its widest is 18 miles wide and at its deepest is a mile deep. During the summer months both the South and North Rim are open. The South Rim is busier, but the lodges and other sights along this side are worth the time to explore. The North Rim is much more rural, and offers some great backcountry options. The Desert View Drive is a great car tour option, the 26 miles of road travel between the Grand Canyon Village and the parks east entrance. The whole family can enjoy hiking, Mule trips, scenic drives, and for those that planned well in advance rafting trips on the Colorado River through the inspiring vistas of the Grand Canyon.
Grand Teton National Park, WY
Located in the stunning Teton Range, Grand Teton National Park is an amazing location to enjoy the pristine landscape and wildlife of Wyoming. The park is open year round and offers a wide range of recreational activities for the whole family as well as summer classes for children, and Junior Ranger programs. At Grand Teton National Park visitors can hike, bike, camp, fish, boat, raft down the Snake River, take a guided horseback ride and much more. During the winter visitors can enjoy skiing and snowshoeing. In addition for the most adventurous visitors, Grand Teton National Park has amazing backcountry camping and rock climbing.
Mesa Verde National Park, CO
Mesa Verde National Park is a great spot enjoy some of Colorado’s amazing archeological sites. This park celebrates the history of the Pueblo people in the southwestern United States. Visitors will find over 4000 archeological sites at Mesa Verde, including the 600 cliff dwellings. Some of the best cliff dwellings, including Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Long House, require the purchase of tickets for guided tours. These cliff dwellings and Pueblos present a great opportunity for the whole family to learn about the history of the region. In addition there are many Junior Ranger programs and guided tours and much more. Adults and children can enjoy hikes, which culminate in cliff dwelling overlooks.
Olympic National Park, WA
Olympic National Park is a great destination for families to explore the wild beauty of the Washington peninsula and coast. At this park visitors will find beautiful beaches, a rain forest, mountains and more. Children will love the wild coast line, with amazing beaches, and plenty of fascinating sea life and more. The whole family will love the many hiking trails, the wild beauty of the beaches throughout the park, the wildlife within the forest and mountains and the amazing Sol Duc Hot Springs.
Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park is a stunning introduction to the beautiful Rocky Mountains. During the summer months, when the weather is at its best, the Rocky Mountain National Park really allows visitors to Colorado to experience all of the nature and wildlife of the Rocky Mountains. The park has an amazing array of trails that take hikers into the backcountry of the Rocky Mountains, even trails that are great for the whole family. Children will love the Ranger-led programs, including guided horseback tours, and the After Dark program. Campers should be sure to look out for elk, bighorn sheep and many other species of wildlife.
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, CA
If you are looking for a wide range of California’s amazing natural sights all in one area, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is a great destination. The Park varies from deep canyons to tall mountains. In fact within the park you will find the highest peak in the lower 48, Mount Whitney. The park also has some amazing specimens of the giant sequoias, be sure to stop and see the General Grant Tree in Grant Grove and the General Sherman Tree in Giant Forest. At Redwood Canyon you can visit the largest grove of sequoias in the world. Throughout the region there are excellent recreational activities for the whole family including hiking, camping, swimming, cave exploration and much more.
Yellowstone National Park, WY
Yellowstone National Park is the nation’s first national park, and it has an amazing array of natural splendors great for exploration and discovery with the whole family. Visitors can start at one of the Visitor Centers to learn about the abundant wildlife of Yellowstone. Children will love keeping an eye out for elk, and bison while driving and hiking through the park. In addition, Yellowstone has some amazing natural features and thermal areas including Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris Geyser Basin and the mud pots at Artist Paint Pots.
Yosemite National Park, CA
Located in central California, Yosemite National Park is an amazing destination for recreational enthusiasts, especially rock climbers, and families alike. Climbers travel from around the world to take on the challenges presented at Yosemite. For those visitors looking for different recreational activities or family oriented activities, Yosemite has many Junior Ranger programs covering a variety of natural sciences and other topics. In addition the park offers plenty of recreation, biking, hiking, backpacking and much more. The Yosemite Valley has a wide range of stunning sights, rock formations and waterfalls. Maybe you want to see the giant sequoias at Mariposa Grove. If you are looking for a less visited spot, Hetch Hetchy is a fabulous destination.