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Best National Parks for Families

The days of family road trips with the children in the backseat playing “I Spy”, reading comic books, and singing along to the radio have been replaced with cell phones, DVD players, and iPods. It’s so easy to stay constantly connected with friends through texting and social media, but during a family vacation we all need to unplug and spend time with those actually around us. Enter the incredible United States National Park System. There are over 50 parks to choose from and each offers something different that people of all ages love. We asked our partners at National Parks Revealed to share the best national parks for families. Learn about these 10 parks and start planning your trip!

PS – Parks have a lot to see and do, but often don’t have cell service (or at least not for streaming Netflix). Imagine having your 15-year-olds undivided attention for the first time in years – you can thank us later!

YELLOWSTONE

Location:

Wyoming/Montana/Idaho

Recommended Length of Visit:

3-4 days

Top Things To Do:

Grand Prismatic Spring, Old Faithful, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, hike, fly fish

Why the Kids will Love It:

In addition to the awesome geological features, Yellowstone National Park is known for its wildlife – it’s often called “America’s Serengeti!” Children will love seeing elk, bison, wolves, bears, and more in their natural habitat.

Digital Media Coordinator Brooke Drinkard Whatley and her husband at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

GRAND TETON

Location:

Wyoming

Recommended Length of Visit:

3-4 days

Top Things To Do:

Fishing, biking, hiking, horseback riding, ballooning, scenic float trips, whitewater rafting

Why the Kids will Love It:

The park has so much to do outside – biking along the base of the Tetons or canoeing on Jackson Lake – and after that the family can head to Jackson Hole for a true Wild West experience at the rodeo.

Your children will love exploring Grand Teton National Park!

MOUNT RAINIER

Location:

Washington (less than a 3-hour drive from Seattle!)

Recommended Length of Visit:

2-4 days

Top Things To Do:

Hiking, skiing, sledding, fishing

Why the Kids will Love It:

Mount Rainier is a 14,411-foot active stratovolcano that is considered one of the most dangerous in the world – talk about an adventure kids will love to tell their friends back home!

Mt. Rainier National Park

CANYONLANDS

Location:

Utah

Recommended Length of Visit:

2-3 days

Top Things To Do:

4WD tour, backpacking, hiking

Why the Kids will Love It:

With very few roads and even fewer humans, Canyonlands National Park is a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The park has three distinct areas within it: Islands in the Sky, Needles District, and the Maze District, and it can also be combined with neighboring Arches National Park!

Canyonlands National Park

YOSEMITE

Location:

California

Recommended Length of Visit:

2-4 days

Top Things To Do:

Hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, fishing, water activities

Why the Kids will Love It:

Massive sequoias, granite cliffs, thundering waterfalls, and more – there is so much to see in Yosemite National Park. The park is roughly the size of Rhode Island and has stunning topography, from Yosemite Valley and half Dome & El Capitan to Glacier Point to Tuolumne meadows and High Country. Go off the beaten path and experience nature’s beauty that entranced John Muir.

View of Half Dome at Yosemite National Park

GRAND CANYON

Location:

Arizona

Recommended Length of Visit:

2-3 days

Top Things To Do:

Scenic drives, hiking, river trips

Why the Kids will Love It:

The Grand Canyon is one of those legendary places everyone learns about in elementary school, but to see it in person is a whole new ballgame. With rocks dating back over 1.8 billion years, the immensity of it all is truly something to experience in person. Be sure to take a deep breath as the park has some of the cleanest air in the nation with clear day visibility averaging 90-110 miles.

Creative Services Coordinator Brandi Sides and her husband at Grand Canyon National Park

ZION

Location:

Utah

Recommended Length of Visit:

2-3 days

Top Things To Do:

Hiking, biking, horseback riding

Why the Kids will Love It:

The geography in Zion National Park is such a change from what you see every day – the pink, red, and cream cliffs contrasting against Utah’s bright blue sky. The Virgin River carves through a gorge so deep that sunlight rarely penetrates to the bottom. To find an oasis within the desert, be sure to hike to the Emerald Pools.

Zion National Park

ROCKY MOUNTAIN

Location:

Colorado (a quick 1.5-hour drive from Denver)

Recommended Length of Visit:

2-3 days

Top Things To Do:

Camping, hiking, wildlife spotting, fall color

Why the Kids will Love It:

Though some peaks stagger overhead at well over 11,000 feet, Rocky Mountain National Park welcome travelers with its accessible hikes and scenic drives. And as you go up, up, up you are in a tundra – one of the few in the continental United States – with peaks as old as the Grand Canyon (nearly two billion years old!).

Beautiful mountains in Colorado. Pro Tip: go in the fall for gorgeous color!

GLACIER BAY

Location:

Alaska

Recommended Length of Visit:

6-7 days

Top Things To Do:

Boating, wildlife spotting,

Why the Kids will Love It:

You know what your kids don’t see at home? A humpback whale breaching the water’s surface, that’s what. But in Glacier Bay National Park, marine life like humpback and killer whales, harbor seals, and harbor porpoises are the norm. Your children will have amazing memories of spotting wildlife with glacial fjords in the background.

Kayaking in Glacier Bay National Park

Hawaii VOLCANOES

Location:

Hawaii

Recommended Length of Visit:

5-6 days

Top Things To Do:

Hiking, scenic drives, biking

Why the Kids will Love It:

As an international biosphere reserve, geology class comes to life in Volcanoes National Park. Just as the name suggests, the park features active volcanoes spewing molten lava –  #nofilter needed.

Talk about a picnic with a view!