With some many different national parks in America, it can be hard to decide where to take the family for the next trip. Well, we have put together a list of parks highly rated by people who have already been there and done that to help you out. The parks listed below are not in any type of order and is not reflective of a rating but rather a listing of 15 parks great for the family.
1. Grand Canyon National Park
Truly a spectacular park to visit, one can view from the South, North, East or West Rims of the iconic canyon. The Grand Canyon offers one of the best locations for stargazing. The national park also offers a lot of different style tours ranging from riding donkeys or horses to river rafting and camping tour. These tours are especially popular and are always booked in advance.
2. Mount Rainier National Park
Mt. Rainier is our nation’s fifth oldest of the national parks. It has tons of family-friendly hiking with great mountain views. You can take a stroll the beautiful forests and flowing waterfalls. In the summer beautiful wildflowers fill the landscape. In the winter you can enjoy skiing or snowshoeing among other winter sports activities offered at the park.
3. Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National park is a place the family will never forget. With rainbow colored hot springs and roaming elk and bison. Kids and adults can really experience nature in a new way. You can take a hike over to see the famous geyser Old Faithful. Or you could walk along the edge of the colorful Grand Prismatic Spring. Yellowstone is really just a great place to experience what the world was like millions of years ago. And it offers something fun and engaging for all ages.
4. Yosemite National Park
From family-friendly hikes to the Junior Ranger activities, Yosemite is a great park for families. This national park is open year-round and about 4 million people visit yearly to this UNESCO World Heritage site. Bikes are a great way to get around the park. It has bike trails for 12 miles. There is a great history about the Ahwahneechee Indians that called Yosemite their home for about 4000 years. There are beautiful waterfalls and towering sequoia trees that are truly iconic and picturesque. A family bike ride at this park can become one of the family’s greatest experiences.
5. Acadia National Park
From the beautiful coastline, you can look out at the lighthouse or enjoy ice cream in town. Either way, Acadia National Park has an old-fashioned feel that invites you to explore its many treasures. Arcadia is less focused on long hikes and more so the many ways of enjoying nature. They offer carriage rides, bike tours, sunset spots, and picnicking areas for the family. As one of the top 10 most visited parks, you will want to make sure to visit on the off-season or make reservations in advance to come.
6. Death Valley National Park
Despite its name, Death Valley National Park is a pretty lively park to go to with the family. Death Valley offers an array of unforgettable activities. There is Devil’s Golf Course with its unique landscape. Kids will love sliding down the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes or exploring the large chunks of salt in the Dali-esque Badwater Salt Flats. Just be careful having fun in all that sun. Weather can be quite extreme at some times of the year so be sure of plan accordingly.
7. Glacier National Park
With one road and one road out, most of Glacier National Park is only accessible by foot. The park offers plenty of family-friendly activities like paddle boarding or kayaking, easy hikes, and beautiful waterfalls. This park fills up in the summer so make sure to book well in advance.
8. Grand Teton National Park
Often overlooked Grand Teton National Park offers spectacular views and tons of great hikes for the family. The landscape here is a contrast from the parks northern neighbor, Yellowstone. Here you will find great hiking trails for the family, amid stunning scenic views. There are lots of picturesque viewpoints throughout the park. Driving through the park adults and kids both will enjoy seeing the herds of bison passing through Elk Flats, or moose at times early in the morning.
9. Mount Rushmore National Park
When you are a kid nothing makes history more fun and memorable than a field trip. A visit to Mount Rushmore National Park will help to learn about early presidents, plus you get to see the world’s tallest sculpture. A visit to Mount Rushmore offers a bit more than that really. It sits surrounded by grassland parks, caves, lakes, the Badland National Park as well as few other notable parks. From horseback riding to trout fishing, there is no shortage of activities or the sheer adventure you will have visiting the park and its surrounding attractions.
10. Channel Islands National Park
Channel Islands is one national park that sits on five islands. It’s nickname, “Galapagos of North America” was given because of its numerous indigenous plant and animal species. The park is accessible by boat or plane only and is 390-square-miles. The park is a somewhat remote park with no cars, restaurants, shops, or lodging on the island. However, there is family-friendly camping available with advanced booking. You can also do some whale watching, or watch the sea lions and seals play in the water. They even offer kayaking and snorkeling kelp forests that lay off the coast. A summer boat ride over to the island for some overnight camping is a great way to highlight a California trip.
11. Biscayne National Park
Here you and your family can snorkel the trail instead of hiking it. 95% of the Biscayne National Park lies peacefully underwater. You can take the family for a dive to see the world’s third largest coral barrier-reef. Getting around the park is done via flippers or a boat. Lucky park goers will get the chance to spy the manatees swimming through the turquoise water. Make sure to visit between December and May to avoid hurricane season.
12. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
If watching red hot lava flow into the ocean was a bucket list item, here is where you and your family can come to fulfill that wish. This national park is home to two of the world’s most active volcanoes. Filled with stunning landscapes and views you may fall in love with this tropical rainforest. Along with panoramic ocean views, the park also offers families bike, boat, or helicopter tours to view the lava flow into the ocean.
13. Redwood National Park
With some of the tallest trees anywhere on the planet here, Redwood National Park is an amazing park. One of the more popular things to do is take the beautiful scenic 10-mile drive down Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. This drive is littered with numerous trailheads that at any point you want to go explore the forests, you are free to do so. You can also go on some ranger lead activities like nature walks, guided kayak tours and more.
14. Everglades National Park
As America’s third largest national park there are a lot of traditional things that you won’t see here. However, it has tons of stuff you won’t see anywhere else but here. At over 1.5 million acres, the Everglades is larger than the Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Yosemite National Parks. Whether you want to do some kayaking off the Western side near the Gulf Coast Visitors Center or take an airboat tour through mangrove jungles, these activities will highlight your trip.
15. Bryce Canyon National Park
As one of Utah’s famed ‘Mighty Five’, Bryce Canyon National Park offers some of the most spectacular scenery leading to some amazing family photos. You can take an easy 2.9-mile hike on the Navajo and Queen’s Garden Loop with the kids to look at the formations up close. There are also a variety of Ranger programs available and even horseback riding.