Summertime (and also spring and fall) is one of the best times to take family vacations and discover the beautiful nature! The weather is enjoyable, and being in nature is a great time to spend some quality time with the family.
If your family enjoys the outdoors, hiking, and camping, then visiting one of the 58 beautiful national parks throughout the United States may be a wonderful vacation.
Today I am going to be sharing with you some of the most beautiful, family-friendly national parks that you can visit and everyone will enjoy.
The 5 Best National Parks to Visit with Kids
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a beautiful city to visit in general but it is also home to the Smoky Mountains National Park. This is the perfect park for families and has so many opportunities for family friendly hikes that it’s really a never-ending nature’s playground.
Seriously, because of it’s open nature, this national park is filled with many many hiking trails ranging from easy to difficult and filled with the most beautiful scenery and waterfalls to view. You may even get lucky enough to spot some wildlife throughout the park such as black bears. We have caught them a couple times while visiting, they are beautiful creatures to see in their natural habitat.
Remember to never get close to these animals as you may scare them and cause them to attack. Viewing from afar is just as satisfying, trust me.
What Can You Do at Great Smoky Mountain National Park?
- Climb Up Clingmans Dome
- Splash in a Waterfall
- Do a Leaf-Scavenger Hunt
- Make a Wildflower Press-Book
- Paddle on Fontana Lake
- Discover Pioneer History
- Take a Diving Tour on the Historic National Park Roads
- Hike the Appalachian Trail
Redwood National Park is found in sunny California and is one of the most beautiful parks I have been to. The park is filled with easy going, leisurely hiking trails where you can see the beauty that is the Redwood trees. It is truly unbelievable how tall and grand they look in person.
If you have little ones that may not be as patient for walks through the park, although the walks are very kid-friendly, just kind of walks. If they’re bored, there is also the option of the Davidson Road to Fern Canyon driving tour. Keep in mind this is a two hour drive round trip but it is truly beautiful to see all of the scenery.
What Can You Do at Redwood National Park?
- Drive the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway
- Hike Fern Canyon on James Irvine Trail
- Spend a Day at the Beach
- Watch the Grey Whale Migration
- Go on a Tree Hunt to Find the Largest Trees
- Stop at the Visitors Center to See the History of the Park
I think everyone is familiar with the Grand Canyon and it is truly a beautiful sight. You can find this beauty in Arizona and it makes for a fabulous family vacation. The whole canyon spans over 277 miles but there are several beautiful viewing spots in which your family can take in the beauty of the canyon while enjoying a nice walk or even sitting down for a nice picnic.
If you have seen pictures of the Grand Canyon, trust me seeing it in person is like no other and it is a whole different experience you will want to encounter in your lifetime.
What Can You Do at Grand Canyon Mountain National Park?
- Go Hiking
- Ride a Mule into the Grand Canyon
- Ride a Train
- Go on a Delicate Arch Scavenger Hunt Drive
- Go Camping
- Go on a Rafting Trip Down the River
- Take a Helicopter Tour Over the Canyon
- Ride a Bike in the Canyon
Zion National Park is located in Utah and it is probably one of my favorite locations on this list. It is another absolutely gorgeous canyon that stretches around 15 miles long. There are several beautiful hiking trails available for your and your family to explore and trust me it is a beautiful sight.
The trails provide you with beautiful scenery to look at and you are able to cool down after all that exploring in the Virgin River where you can swim and enjoy a fun filled day with the family.
What Can You Do at Zion National Park?
- Drive the Zion-Mt. Carmel Scenic Highway
- Visit the Checkerboard Mesa
- Wade through the Narrows
- Visit the Hanging Gardens of Weeping Rock
- Check out the Waterfalls at the Emerald Pools
This one is truly beautiful and is also located in Utah. The park is filled with beautiful rocks ranging from orange, red, and white colors and it is a beautiful scene. There are breathtaking hiking trails that are easy enough for the little ones to endure which makes it great for a family friendly trip.
If walking/hiking is not exactly your family’s forte, you can take your family to Ruby’s Inn located at the park where you will be able to experience the park through horseback riding or even an ATV tour. This makes for the perfect spot to bring the family and just enjoy the beautiful scenery.
What Can You Do at Bryce Canyon Mountain National Park?
- Watch the Sunrise at Bryce Point
- Hike the Navajo Loop Trail
- Visit the Natural Bridge
- Check out the Views from Agua Canyon
- Stop at Rainbow Point
- Do a Night Hike with their Junior Ranger Program
- Hike the Peek-A-Boo Trail
I think that visiting a National Park is one of the best vacations that you can take as a family because you are able to go out and be active with the people you love while teaching your kids to enjoy the beautiful scenery offered throughout our country.
It is a goal of mine to one day visit all 58 National Parks in the United States, I’m on the right track but it will definitely take some time. Next on the list is Rocky Mountain National Park and then Everglades National Park – quickly followed by Acadia National Park. So much fun planned!
Have you taken your children to one of the 58 National Parks? Tell us in the comments which are your favorite.
Editor’s note: This is a guest post written by an anonymous writer who wanted to share her love for our National Parks. Carolina King (founder of Mama Instincts) has not visited any of these parks…yet!