It takes my breath away every time! That first glimpse of majestic Yosemite granite always hits me like a rock.
It’s experiences like this that make me grateful to the National Park Service (NPS) for making these wonders of nature accessible not just to the hardiest of explorers. I am grateful that our 4 and 7 year old boys can feel, touch, smell and see in person some of the most beautiful and fascinating places in this great land. Over the last almost 100 years, more than 400 entities have come under the protection and management of the National Park Service.
Families all over America and the world love exploring America’s National Parks. In Part 1 of our endeavor to unlock America’s National Parks for families, we bring you 6 of our favorite National Parks and some of the most popular National Monuments. You’ll find a unique list of kid-friendly activities for toddlers through teens and family-friendly lodging.
Now it is up to National Park loving families to fill in the gaps with their personal recommendations.
- Acadia National Park with kids – Home to Cadillac Mountain in the East Coast. Families love the granite peaks and exploring tide pools along Maine’s coastline. Elementary aged kids enjoy the ranger narrated boat rides
Photo by Flickr/woodleywonderworks
- Grand Canyon National Park with kids – a 277 miles of water carved canyons make for a majestic landscape that families can enjoy via scenic drives, white water rafting and by mule-pack. Best to be enjoyed by children elementary school age and up.
Photo by: J Elchmann
- Olympic National Park with kids – At Olympic National Park, you’ll find lush rain forests, mountains and green meadows as well as rocky beaches that families really enjoy.
Photo by: Flickr/stevevoght
- Rocky Mountain National Park with kids – this high altitude National Park is filled with stunning scenic vistas, fishing, hiking and home to lots of wildlife.
Photo by: flickr/jakesmome
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park with kids – renowned for it’s diversity of plant and animal life as well as remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture.
Photo by: flickr/alex_ford
- Yosemite National Park with kids– this vast National Park is distinctive for it’s magnificent granite monoliths, some of the highest waterfalls in the continent, and stately redwood groves.
Photo by: Flickr/the_tahoe_guy
- Yellowstone National Park – psychedelic thermal hot spring pools, geysers, boiling rivers, majestic waterfalls, and stately elk. Yellowstone National Park is one of the most unique places on earth.
Photo by: Flickr/AlaskanDude
- A List of National Monuments to Visit with Kids
Tips on Exploring National Parks and Monuments:
- Best Hikes for Tykes in Yosemite National Park
- Trekaroo Families’ Favorite Things to Do with Kids in Yosemite National Park
- 15 Family Friendly National Park Adventures
- National Park Junior Ranger Program
- 5 National Monuments Your Family Should Visit
- 5 family-friendly hikes in Yellowstone National Park
- Bryce National Park with Kids
If you’ve got the inside scoop on any of these National Parks, don’t hold back! Share reviews, tips, photos and memories. Tell us all what are your favorite hikes for kids, what ranger programs and privately run tours shouldn’t be missed, and which campsites and lodging are the most kid-friendly.
Don’t forget all your reviews can be entered into our $1000 Summer of Travel Contest. It’s your chance to win free cash for your 2010 summer family vacation.
Giveaway: National Parks Pass
To celebrate the launch of these 6 national parks, we’re giving away an America Is Beautiful National Parks Pass. Entry requirements are very simple!
Along with the Trekaroo team, I would especially like to acknowledge these Trekaroo families who have been key in getting the ball rolling: DGL19652003, Womanofsalt, arial, Familiarycerz, Dan, fani*fam, mamateresa2007, Mom Most Traveled, Travelersbarista, pitstopsforkids, zerbut, JulieCC, Nene, Christinebyrd and Grandma Adele.
Coming soon: and Zion National Park – be the pioneer and help us launch it with your reviews.
- “This land is your land, this land is my land
- From California to the New York Island
- From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
- This land was made for you and me.”
CEO of Trekaroo
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Esther Lee is a contributing author on Trekaroo – a reviews site dedicated to exploring and traveling with kids.