The pressure is on when you’re trying to plan a family vacation that everyone will enjoy. The U.S. National Parks are a great option that has something for everyone, but we picked our top 5 parks that kids will love! Read on to see what makes these parks so great.
If you have 4 hours, you can see a good portion of what Arches has in store. Arches offers Ranger Programs that run from 5 - 15 minutes, to up to an hour. These programs include interactive activities, guided walking tours and even nighttime stargazing. In addition, the park has biking and adventure tours. Prior to visiting the park, get the kids excited and engaged by participating in some of Arches online activities including coloring pages, geological word finds, crossword puzzles and there’s even a video that shows kids how to pack their bags for a trip to the park.
The Grand Canyon is one of Eternal Travel Boutique’s favorite National Parks. Not only does it have breathtaking views from any location within the park, there’s also so many activities to do both in the park and in the surrounding area. The Grand Canyon’s Ranger Program focuses on geology, critters found in the area, and Native American cultural demonstrations. There are online activities to help kids prepare for your visit. Park activities include camping (including RV campgrounds), biking, mule rides (ages 7+), rafting tours (ages 4+), ATV tours and the famous Skywalk. For teens, the Grand Canyon offers their Volunteer in the Park program. Sign up to volunteer ahead of your visit at www.volunteer.gov. As a bonus, the park provides sunrise, sunset and new moon schedules so you’ll know the exact times to experience these spectacular views.
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Shenandoah National Park is not one to be missed. The Shenandoah National Park Ranger Program is designed around the seasons so you can experience something totally different each time you visit, depending on the time of year you go. Take a drive on the famous Skyline Drive which is 105 miles long with 70 park overlooks. The full drive takes approximately 3 hours. Along the way, you might see sightings of deer, black bears, wild turkeys and other park animals. Other park activities include hiking, camping, horseback riding, fishing, biking and picnic areas. Outside of the park, you’ll find farmer’s markets, farms, orchards and caverns. Bonus tip, check out Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Camp Resort. This resort has fully equipped cabins, a built-in water park, putt-putt golf course, man-made lake with paddle boats, RV campsites, and much more.
As you can tell by now, each park has its own unique character. Yellowstone does, too and I promise, it will not disappoint! Yellowstone’s Ranger Program has two components - a Junior Ranger Program that introduces youth to the natural wonders of the park including geysers, world famous Old Faithful, and park wildlife; and a Young Scientists Program focused on solving science mysteries. Kids will love exploring the thermal basins, but keep them close by for safety’s sake. Other park activities induce camping, fishing, boating, horseback riding, skiing & guided park tours.
Last, but certainly not least is Yosemite National Park. We love that this park has an arts program, both on-site and online. The on-site program includes watercolor and photography workshops. The online program includes at home art projects and videos featuring the parks Naturalist Guides. Yosemite has 12 miles of biking throughout the park with full-day and ½ day bike rentals. Keep the kids entered for days with the vast variety of activities available including fishing, hiking, bird watching, camping, and night time fireside chats. Winter activities also include skiing and ski lessons, snow tubing, and ice skating.
National parks are very popular so plan ahead and sign up for programs online when possible. Programs can be open or closed based on seasons or weather conditions so check park websites or call for current information so you can plan your adventure accordingly. Camping reservations are limited so book as early as possible. Most parks allow pets, but read pet policies before you leave home. WiFi is limited so plan on cutting the cord while you’re in the park. And finally, don’t forget to have fun!
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