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Best Family-Friendly National Parks and Tips for an Amazing Summer Vacation

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Best Family-Friendly National Parks and Tips for an Amazing Summer Vacation

Summer vacation has arrived and family vacation ideas are in hot demand. Try some of the best family-friendly national parks and put the tips to ensure you have an amazing summer vacation.

Yellowstone National Park

Why It’s the Best – Yellowstone is boasts over 400 animal species, 500 geysers, dozens of beautiful waterfalls, and family-friendly trails. Try Storm Point Trail for the best chance to see wildlife.

Ranger Program – Yes! Yellowstone has a fantastic youth program that features “Wildlife Olympics” three times a week. Seven stations are prepared for families to explore the skills of the various animals in the park.

Travel Tip – Stay inside the park for a new experience that is vastly different from the typical morning/afternoon hike. Old Faithful Inn is a great pick. To beat crowds, go during early or late in the summer break.

Related: Best Campsites in Yellowstone National Park

Grand Tenton National Park

Why It’s the Best – If mountains are your preferred scenic view, Grand Tenton is for you. Bison roam free and the lakes are picture-perfect moments you can’t miss.

Ranger Program – Affirmative! The Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center has Nature Explorer backpacks you can borrow to make your kids feel like true rangers. They are filled with items like a journal, lenses, field-guide cards, and activities.

Travel Tip – If you want the camping feel, but with amenities like a pool, try Jackson Lake Lodge.

Yosemite National Park

Why It’s the Best – Two words – Giant Sequoias. Take the family on an easy trek up a 3/4 mile hike up to the Grizzly Giant and the California Tunnel Tree.

Ranger Program – Yup! Hit the Happy Islands Nature Center where your kids can be sworn in as Junior Rangers.

Travel Tip – The grove is about to undergo a renovation. That means limited access, but cheaper rates for lodges will be cheaper and see thinner crowds. Check the park’s websites for updates.

Related: Nature Vacation Destinations: California’s Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Why It’s the Best – Waterfalls and views of over 100 species of trees will be a feast for your family’s eyes. Deer, coyotes, and groundhogs roam the area.

Ranger Program – Yes! Every Tuesday during the summer, a ranger transforms into a blacksmith inviting groups of children to experience what it was like to be a blacksmith nearly 100 years ago. Kids will make a triangle dinner bell they get to keep!

Travel Tip – This area is perfect for trips mid-October through early November if you want to see an array of fall foliage at its finest.

These are just a few of the fantastic options out there. What is your favorite National Park?

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33 Comments

  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says

    I have always wanted to visit Yellowstone! It’s on my bucket list of life and I hope to get there someday!

  2. Jacqui Odell says

    This is a great list. I personally really want to take my kids to Yellowstone!

  3. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says

    We really love Yosemite. It’s the only one we’ve been to, but I think it would still be our favorite.

  4. Yolanda Williams says

    I have heard so many great things about Yellowstone . A friend of mine who lives in Korea is planning to visit this summer in July. It’s a beautiful place. I love your pictures.

  5. Ourfamilyworld says

    I’ve never been to these places, but they sound like great places to explore. When the kids are a bit older, we can probably start visiting these places.

  6. Melissa Pezza says

    We’ve been to a lot of places, but we’ve never had the opportunity to visit one of the national state parks. We really should, though. It would be an amazing adventure.

  7. Wendy says

    I’ve heard of Yellowstone (of course) and Yosemite but not the others. Thanks for the info right when school is getting out and vacations need to be planned!

  8. Melissa says

    I have never been to a National Park. My grandparents went to Yellowstone last year and their pictures were breathtaking! The wildlife and outdoor activities are right up our alley.

  9. Liz Mays says

    We went to a lot of national parks with family when I was younger. I would really like to make some new memories at these amazing places though.

  10. Dawn McAlexander says

    Thanks for the list! Unfortunately, I haven’t got the chance to hit the parks out west yet. We live really close to the Great Smoky Mountains however. We have been there on several occasions and we absolutely love it!

  11. Uplifting Families says

    I have been to Yellowstone twice. We happened to be in the park when the fires started, it made the news in the 90s. Then we went back two years later because my dad and mom wanted to see the difference. There was not a ton of differencs, there were chard trees but there was new undergrowth. I highly recommend a visit, just be patient it is a tourist spot.

  12. Amanda says

    My mom recently visited the Smokies and I can’t wait to take my boys there one day. All of these national parks would be amazing trips.

  13. Rebecca Swenor says

    These are awesome national parks that I would love to visit some day. Yellowstone Park is one that our whole family wants to visit along with Yosemite National Park. Hopefully we will go to these places soon. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Bonnie @ wemake7 says

    I would love to visit these places with my family. We love seeing new places and experiencing new things. Maybe this Summer we could visit one.

  15. Mistee Dawn says

    I would love to visit all of these places. They look so gorgeous! They are all on my bucket-list for sure.

  16. Chubskulit Rose says

    Yosemite and Yellow Stone are two p[laces in our bucket list. It would be fun to explorethese beautiful national parks with my kids.

  17. Pauline C. says

    Oh someday I will visit Yellowstone too. This is a beautiful teaser for someone like me who have wanted this.

  18. Ricci says

    All of these places are on my bucket list!! I plan on visiting all 50 states at some point and these parks are definitely included on that list!!

  19. Lisa @bitesforbabies says

    My kids are still quite small but I know they would love these places. I think it’s so important to get kids outside in nature!

  20. Jeanine says

    Being from Canada I’ve never been to any of these. We don’t travel often, but I would love to! Especially Yosemite I think that’s one Park I’ve always wanted to go explore!

  21. Rosey says

    How fun that they get to create a dinner bell to keep. I think my son would use it ALL of the time. 😉

  22. CourtneyLynne says

    what a great list! These are all places I definitely wanna take my daughter one day! Just waiting for her to be a tad bit older so she can actually enjoy them!

  23. Chrystal | Nevermore Lane says

    It’s amazing to me that there is so much beauty in our backyards. My goal in life is to get an RV and travel to all these places. I didn’t get to do a lot when I was a kid and now I want to make up for it.

  24. Digna says

    Absolutely beautiful. We have talked about visiting Yellowstone and plan on visiting there soon. Thank you for sharing.

  25. Lisa Bristol says

    These are all great parks to go to. I have been to a few of the Provincial Parks we have near here. They were so beautiful.

  26. Melody says

    Sad to say we haven’t been to visit any national parks. I’m hoping to rectify that soon as we want to really get out and see the sites.

  27. Tami says

    While I’ve heard of all of these, I’ve never been to any of them. I’ll have to plan a family trip around one of the sites.

  28. Krystal says

    I need to just rent an RV one summer and hit these places. I am in the south and don’t have too many awesome national parks like this.

  29. Camesha | Mama Motivator says

    Yellowstone and Yosemite are on our list. We’ve been talking a bit lately about a family camping trip!

  30. Lisa Rios says

    My kids loves visiting parks. And, you have given some great tips and details about national park. We are already planning for a summer vacation and these tips are really going to be helpful for us.

  31. Michelle @ Dishes and Dust Bunnies says

    These all sound like amazing places to spend a family vacation! The scenery is so gorgeous! I’d love to visit any one of those parks with my family!

  32. Gabriel says

    One of the things on my bucket list is to visit all of the national parks, but I really need to get moving, I’m 42 and have only been to two of them.

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