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Kid-Friendly National Park Trips: Top 3 Tips

Kid-friendly national park trips offer incredible opportunities for children to take a break from their videogames and get in touch with the wonders of the natural world. From breathtaking scenery to hands-on activities, many national parks offer kid-specific events. This way you can ensure the whole family has a vacation to remember. Check the list below to begin planning.

Choose Kid-Friendly Scenery.

Large-scale, natural beauty is a huge component of what fascinates kids on trips to the national parks. Take them to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina, where they will find the greatest amount of biodiversity in any of the parks. Let them explore the vibrant tide pools along Olympic National Park’s Pacific Coast Trail in Washington. Or you may marvel together at the 81-foot waterfall in Shenandoah National Park. Wherever your destination, the national parks offer plentiful opportunities to appreciate natural wonders.

Select Kid-Friendly Activities.

Many national parks offer activities designed just for kids to help them gain a greater understanding of and appreciation for what they’re seeing. At Yellowstone, for example, families can take part in a three-day sightseeing program called Yellowstone for Families. It is sponsored by the Yellowstone Association and offers a comprehensive look at the park’s animals and geothermal features. Additionally, if you’re feeling competitive, your family can also participate in the Wildlife Olympics. For this, park rangers organize activities in which families can test their skills against those of the animals in the park. In Yosemite, kids can become certified junior rangers, too. Consult your destination’s website for more information on activities specific to your destination.

Consider Kid-Friendly Culture.

Some national parks speak to United States history, so you can sneak in some educational material. The Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, for example, offers an overwhelming collection of petrified wood, 200-million-year-old fossils, and human artifacts dating back 13,000 years; all of which are available for kids to explore. Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado also preserves archaeological remnants of the Pueblo civilization; they lived in the area from 600 to 1300 AD. Kids will love interacting with history on an up-close, personal level!

Need more help designing kid-friendly national park trips? Contact our experts at Visit USA Parks for additional advice on creating a trip the whole family will enjoy.