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America’s National Parks for Kids

It takes my breath away every time! That first glimpse of majestic Yosemite granite always hits me like a rock.

America's National Parks for Kids 1

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.

  • America's National Parks for Kids 2Acadia 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
  • America's National Parks for Kids 3Grand 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
  • America's National Parks for Kids 4Olympic 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
  • America's National Parks for Kids 5Rocky 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
  • America's National Parks for Kids 6Great 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.


  • America's National Parks for Kids 7Yellowstone 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:

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.

The Pioneers:

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.

 Read our user reviews of Zion National Park and add your own voice.

“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.”

Travel with kids to: CA | CO | DC | FL | HI | IL | MA | NC | NY | PA | TN | TX | VA | WA

Esther Lee
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