Plan ahead to get the most out of a summer trip
Welcome to the scenic world of national parks! If you’re seeking a memorable getaway with your loved ones, a family vacation in a national park is an excellent choice. Imagine exploring breathtaking landscapes, encountering wildlife up close, and creating cherished memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking quality time with your family, a national park provides the perfect setting for relaxation, adventure, and discovery.
Get ready for an unforgettable adventure! Pack your bags, immerse yourself in nature’s wonders, and embark on a journey of awe-inspiring beauty. Enjoy quality time together in the great outdoors, creating lasting memories along the way.s. Let’s dive into the wonders of a family vacation in a national park!
8 Secret Tips for a Successful Family Vacation in a National Park
To make the most of your family trip, here are some simple and practical tips from Xanterra Travel Collection, a renowned adventure travel company and the largest national park concessioner in the U.S.
Choose Your Must-See Destinations
National parks are vast, so it’s important to select the top spots that will captivate the whole family. For example, in Yellowstone National Park, don’t miss Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. At the Grand Canyon, take a leisurely stroll along the Rim Trail, go for a hike into the canyon, and enjoy the scenic views along Desert View Drive. In Zion National Park, hop on the shuttle bus for breathtaking views of Zion Canyon Drive and take peaceful walks along the river. And if you’re in Glacier National Park, hop aboard an iconic Red Bus to discover the park’s highlights.
Indulge in Special Experiences
Make your visit even more exciting by participating in guided tours. In Yellowstone, consider the Wake Up to Wildlife tour in Lamar Valley, where a knowledgeable guide will help you spot wolves, mountain goats, bears, and bison. If you have active teenagers, think about rock-climbing lessons in Rocky Mountain National Park. Enjoy a scenic boat ride in Crater Lake National Park or a memorable horseback ride through the stunning landscapes of Zion, Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, or Glacier national parks. And if you’re up for it, take a world-famous mule ride down into the depths of the Grand Canyon (note: riders must be at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall). Remember to reserve these experiences in advance to secure your spot.
Foster a Love for Nature with Junior Ranger Programs
Encourage your kids to become Junior Rangers by attending ranger-led sessions, exploring different areas of the park, and completing activities in a workbook. As a reward, they’ll receive a Junior Ranger badge. You can download and print the workbooks beforehand or purchase them at the park for a small fee.
Engage in Ranger Programs
Park rangers are experts who offer informative and entertaining activities, often free of charge. The whole family can join guided hikes, listen to talks about the park’s habitats, geology, wildlife, and rivers, and gather around a campfire for captivating stories.
Delight in Simple Pleasures
Enjoy activities that bring joy to the whole family, such as fishing, having a picnic amidst nature’s beauty, playing in shallow streams, and exploring hiking trails. Even an easy hike can give a young child a sense of accomplishment.
Unveil the Wonders of the Night Sky
Step away from the lodges and be mesmerized by the starry night sky. Find a parking lot or a scenic viewpoint, ensuring no animals are nearby. Take a moment to appreciate the breathtaking spray of stars. Notably, Death Valley National Park is designated as the largest Dark Sky National Park in the country, offering outstanding stargazing events during winter and spring.
Satisfy Hunger and Indulge in Treats
Park cafeterias offer a wide range of choices and quick meals that will satisfy hungry kids who prefer spending more time outside. Don’t forget to schedule an afternoon ice cream break for an extra treat!
Remind your children about the importance of safety and following the rules. When exploring geothermal features in Yellowstone, always stay on designated boardwalks and never touch or insert anything into the thermal features. Maintain a safe distance of 100 yards from bears and wolves, and 25 yards from other wildlife in all national parks. Avoid walking or climbing on walls or guardrails, as they can be dangerous. When hiking, wear appropriate shoes, sunhats, and sunscreen, and bring enough water and snacks. Always stay within your limits and enjoy the experience safely.
By following these tips, you can ensure an unforgettable and enjoyable family adventure in national parks. Embrace the beauty of nature, create lasting memories, and foster a deep love for the outdoors amidst stunning landscapes.