The best national parks for families in the US

By Stef Zisovska
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The best national parks for families in the US

Stef Zisovska
 
 
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America’s national parks are the guardians of the country’s glorious natural heritage. You can’t go wrong taking your family on a road trip to visit one or more of these national treasures. Depending on what your preferences are you can find parks suitable for the whole crew. All over the country, you can find parks that are family-friendly and where your kids can join various ranger educational programs.

The choice of national parks across the country is huge, and here you’ll find a list of the best family parks and decide which ones you’d like to visit.

Channel Islands National Park, California

View of the Channel Islands
View of the Channel Islands

Channel Islands National Park consists of five islands off the coast of Ventura in California. It’s a suitable place for the whole family and perfect for a one-day boat trip. You can even see blue whales if you’re lucky. It’s a real joy for the kids and the adults as well.

Santa Rosa Island is the best spot to start your day trip.  From here you can also walk the 5-mile Cherry Canyon trail. This uninhabited island is a home to many animal species you can see during your walk.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Timber Hollow landscape
Timber Hollow landscape

Shenandoah National Park covers nearly 200,000 acres in central and western Virginia. It’s a part of the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers a scenic drive on the Skyline Drive that runs through the park. It’s a good choice for a day adventure as you have a choice of more than 75 stops on the way to observe the park’s natural beauty. You can hike to Dark Hollow Falls (1.4 miles round trip) or take your kids to Luray Caverns, a spectacular cave system full of stalactites and stalagmites. Luray Caverns are 10 miles from the route.

Everglades National Park, Florida

Swamp in the Everglades National Park
Swamp in the Everglades National Park

The Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical region in the US. If your kids are wildlife fans, then this is the place you should take them to visit because wildlife encounters are guaranteed. Here you can see alligators, the Florida panther, and manatees. You can take your family on an airboat trip, a bird-watching tour, kayaking, or a biking tour. If you want to rent a bike, be sure to be there early in the morning as they get hired out quickly.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon

If you want to show your kids the greatest features from America’s national parks, don’t show them photos, but take them to places like the Grand Canyon National Park. Some things in life you need to see in person, not by searching the web for pictures. For the best experience opt for Desert View Drive where you can find six viewpoints of the canyon and four picnic places where you can have a homemade lunch with your loved ones.

Arches National Park, Utah

Delicate Arch with background of La Sal Mountains – Author: Palacemusic – CC BY-SA 3.0
Delicate Arch with background of La Sal Mountains – Author: Palacemusic – CC BY-SA 3.0

Kids go crazy jumping around the sandstone arch formations. There are more than 2000 natural arches that you can visit, take pictures of, play hide and seek with your kids and share some geological facts with them. There are many short hikes through the park that you can easily do with your family, or visit just the highlights such as the Delicate Arch, the Fiery Furnace, and the Landscape Arch. If this is not enough, go rafting on Colorado River or mountain biking.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Lava in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Lava in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the most unpredictable national park on US  territory. This one is a real family favorite because of the close access to the volcanoes, allowing for spectacular scenes as they spew lava, something which makes kids and adults go wild with excitement.  The Crater Rim Drive is the essential family experience at the park, as it offers impressive views of Kilauea, the Halemaumau Crater, and the Kilauea Iki Crater Overlook. Your whole family will be very happy if you choose this one. Good luck!

Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park

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