2016 marks the centennial year of National Parks in the U.S and there no better way to celebrate than at one of these magnificent parks with your family. Here is a list of our top picks for the best national parks to visit with family this year:
Yellowstone National Park– Wyoming, Montana and Idaho
The world’s first national park boasts over two million acres of beautiful land worth exploring as a family. Since the park is so large, we suggest breaking the park into segments for kid-friendly adventures. For example, one day can be spent on mammals, a second on waterfalls and a third on thermal features. Remember, there is much more to Yellowstone than Old Faithful and bison!
When to visit: March-May or September-November for mild weather and smaller crowds.
More than 2,000 sandstone structures make up Arches National Park. Nature has eroded the sandstone every shape imaginable by rain, wind and ice, making this the perfect recreational playground for kids. This is an excellent option for families that want to avoid the mega parks, and it’s conveniently located just 40 miles from Canyonland National Park.
When to visit: late spring and early fall.
Must sees: Delicate Arch, Balanced Rock, Double Arch, Landscape Arch, Devil’s Garden and Fiery Furnace.
This park takes kids into a new world, where there are three different distinct climatic zones. Bryce Canyon is famous for its limestone spires, called “hoodoos,” which are formed when ice and rainwater erode with weak limestone.
When to visit: Anytime! Spring and fall offer smaller crowds, while wintertime offers the chance for beautiful views and special wintertime activities.
Some of the world’s most active volcanoes—Kilauea and Mauna Loa—offer volcanic wonders that will mesmerize kids with their hot lava sizzling as it hits ocean water. Seeing these living, breathing volcanoes shows kids how the earth was formed in an interactive display.
When to visit: All year long, but it is best viewed just before sunset.
Insider tip: Bring lots of water and sunscreen.
Visiting the Grand Canyon is more than staring out into the abyss and posing for a photo that will go on the family Christmas card. Get kids involved by experiencing an adventure below the rim! There are many family-friendly hiking trails that allow for you to look at life up-close on the grandest scale. Challenge your kids to look for the fossils in the rock layers, lizards basking in the sun, and desert wildflowers.
When to visit: March-May and September-November. Most of the park closes after the first snowfall!
Recently renamed, this park stands tall with the tallest peak in the U.S. Families have the opportunity to learn together about America’s Last Frontier at the Denali Visitor Center, Murie Science and Learning Center and the Eielson Visitors Center before wandering out into the wilderness. Make it a game to see who can spot the most animals, starting with moose, caribou, grizzly and black bears, wolves and sheep.
When to visit: Summertime, when the wildlife is most active!
What to bring: A sweatshirt as the air can still be cool.
We hope that you now know which National Park perfectly suits your family’s travel interests and preferences! With the 100th anniversary of National Parks quickly approaching, allow our travel specialists to plan a custom tailored trip for your family. Contact us or stop into one of our 11 locations to talk to an agent today!