The large and sprawling USA has an abundance of stunning national parks that are brimming with fascinating and gorgeous natural attractions for the whole family to enjoy together. Whether you are looking for somewhere where the kids have a high chance of spotting lots of flora and fauna, a place that is renowned for its terrific walking trails, places that combine culture and the great outdoors, somewhere that offers loads of fun activities for people of all ages, or more, you’ll be sure to find a great national park in the USA that ticks all the boxes.
Many people consider the big names, such as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite, which are all excellent for children and offer lots of amazing things to do and see. But how about some others?
Some of the best national parks in the USA to take the children include:
Bryce Canyon National Park
A really interesting national park, your children (and you!) can be amazed at some truly outstanding and unusual rock formations. The park is home to some of the most unique rock formations in the whole of the USA, with striking red stone channels, arches, pinnacles, and natural bridges. Feel tiny as you walk through the dramatic landscapes and gaze out from the jagged cliff tops over the incredible scenery all around. Most of the walking trails are pretty easy meaning that kids won’t get so tired. The fairly remote location means that it sees fewer visitors than other nearby national park, which means your family can enjoy the great outdoors free from all the crowds. There are plenty of fun activities close to hand to, with something for everyone, such as skiing and snow shoe walking (in the winter months), camping, and stargazing. The park is located in the southern part of Utah.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Located in Colorado and home to the highest sand dunes in all of North America, kids can run, play, and have fun in the enticing sand. One cannot fail to be impressed at the sheer size of the dunes and adventurous children may enjoy climbing some of the dunes for great views and then rolling down! It’s also possible to body board and ski down the dunes, sure to raise a giggle or two! Kids can create their own sand sculptures and the dunes make for a lively game of hide and seek with older kids.
Glacier National Park
If your family prefer icy adventures the beautiful Glacier National Park may be perfect for you. Located in Montana, the park offers some spectacularly scenic drives and walks. All are sure to be mesmerised! As well as the majestic and awesome glaciers the park also has several glistening waterfalls, sparkling lakes that are perfect for exciting boat trips, and an abundance of wildlife. Kids can join up for a Night Explorer course, where they will learn more about the park and how to get around in the dark by using their other senses, just like nocturnal animals do, and also gaze up at the skies through big telescopes. Camping is available and there is other accommodation close to the park.
Petrified Forest National Park
Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park is a great place to take a step back in time and marvel at plants and creatures that were on the earth long before modern man. Some of the fossils even date back to before the dinosaurs! This is sure to captivate kids and set their imaginations racing! You can all learn more about the earth’s history whilst seeing a range of fascinating petrified objects. You can all take a hike into the fabulously scenic Painted Desert Badlands with its curious landscapes.
Shenandoah National Park
Various programs for families and kids are available during the summer months, including guided walks and talks with local rangers. Kids can learn lots about the different creatures that live in the park, along with their habits, homes, food, etc. There is an informative visitor’s centre as well as an assortment of walking trails that vary in length and difficulty. Head out to the towering waterfall and hike amongst the pretty and sweet-smelling wild flowers. This lovely national park can be found in Virginia.
This is just five suggestions of where to take the kids – there are many more excellent national parks spread all around the country. No matter where you stay, you will probably never be too far away from gorgeous nature and interesting terrains.
If you do plan on visiting the USA with your kids make sure that you don’t forget their copy of the Kids’ Travel Guide – USA. They can learn more about the country in general as well as being able to document their trip. There is also a good selection of city specific guides if you plan to stay in a city before your outdoor adventures or base yourself in a city and take day trips.