7 US National Parks for Family Adventures

National parks in the USA are pure goldmines when traveling with children. In the vast majority of national parks and national monuments, they have special programs for children that focus on children and their curiosity. An extra incentive is that you can get one Junior Park Ranger badge after solemnly swearing the Park Ranger oath in front of a real one park ranger. It is a perfect way to learn together more about the current park in particular and nature and the environment in general. The assignments and tasks take anywhere between 30-90 minutes. Some parks require you to take a guided walk with a park ranger to get a more personal and detailed overview of what is unique in that particular park.

1. White Sands National Park

New Mexico
Can you go sledding in 40-degree heat? In White Sands National Park there is the possibility of sledding along the dunes. The sand is dazzling white gypsum sand, which means that it does not get as hot as ordinary desert sand.

It is possible to rent a saucer sled in the visitor's center including paddling. In principle, all dunes are skiable, but it is important to keep an eye on whether any area is closed for recovery. About 15 km into the park there is a picnic area with welcoming sun protection. Sunglasses are recommended as the sand is dazzling white.

Read more in my post White dreamscapes in White Sands | New Mexico

White Sands National Monument

2. Carlsbad Caverns National Park

New Mexico
A huge limestone cave in the middle of the plains of New Mexico provides welcome coolness and a different experience out in the desert. There are actually more than 100 caves that together form the national park, but it is mainly one, Big Room, to which the majority of all visitors come. This cave is about 250 meters underground. There are two ways to get up and down. Best is to go down via Nature Trail, an exciting walk straight down into the underworld. The path is not too steep and the surface is good, which means that a seven-year-old can follow along without any problems. The ascent is most easily done with the lift after you have had coffee down in the depths.

Read more in my post Carlsbad Caverns National Park – Otherworldly views underground

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

3.Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon is a spectacular national park in southern Utah. Here we had the privilege of taking a guided tour of the different geological periods that created the fantastic rock formations that make Bryce so famous. The ranger was a theatrical talent which made little E listen in fascination and ask for translations as soon as he finished speaking.

In Bryce, you can take a relatively easy hike down into the valley. If you are there in the summer, you must take plenty of water with you as the temperature easily climbs up to 40. When you follow the excellent path, there are three stations where a junior ranger must chalk off a medal that is on a sign. If you do, you get a special badge when you hand in the booklet and take the oath as a junior ranger.

Bryce Canyon - Utah - USA

4. Olympic National Park

Washington State
One of Washington state's great national parks. It offers both a sea walk and a trip up the mountains. The area is more famous for being the location where the Twilight series takes place but it is not something that is noticeable when you are there. Both along the sea and up in the mountains, there are many easier paths to hike along. There is plenty of wildlife here – deer, red deer and mountain goats can usually be seen during a hike.

Read more in Olympic National Park – Misty beaches and alpine meadows.

Olympic National Park

5.Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon is so unimaginably large that once you stand on the edge, it's hard to take it all in. The park area itself offers a variety of good discovery spots for Junior Rangers. There are free buses that take you between the different places along the edge of the canyon. Several ranger programs run each day, ranging from learning more about how the Grand Canyon was formed to how to tell the difference between carnivores and herbivores.

With a bit of luck, you can also experience performances from various indigenous peoples. When we were there last time, we got a wonderful show from the Sioux nation.

Read more in mine post about the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon National Park

6.Yosemite National Park

You can get to Yosemite from two directions, either via long winding valleys from the western entrance (closest to Los Angeles) or over the mountain pass from the farthest eastern parts of California. However, the mountain passes to the east are not open that many months of the year due to the rich amounts of snow.

There are several different hiking trails, both simple paved to steep advanced gravel trails. You should try to visit the park as soon as the snow melts away, as the many waterfalls are at their fullest then. There are bears, deer, deer and coyotes in the park and the probability of seeing animals is high.

If you are visiting during the drier summer months, we recommend that you go over the Tioga Pass to the other side of the Sierra Nevada and also visit the ghost town of Bodie. Read more about Bodie here.

Read more in Yosemite - Among waterfalls and granite and in Photo album from Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite National Park

7. Arches National Park

In southern Utah is the beautiful and somewhat different Arches Park. The name of the park gives a clue to what makes it special. A number of huge natural stone arches can be viewed. They have been formed naturally by rain and wind and it is a powerful feeling to stand under an almost 100 meter long stone bridge and look up. The majority of good, relatively easy hiking trails allow you to see a lot of the park even if you have small children's legs. Remember and bring plenty of water though as it can be very hot during the summer months.

Arches National Park


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 60 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel site Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.

Artiklar report

Mendocino - California's coziest town - USA

Mendocino offers New England charm amid California's wine regions and rugged cliffs.

Tombstone - The deadly silver town in Arizona - USA

Not all cities are called America's deadliest. However, the southern Arizona silver mining town of Tombstone earned its name.

Top 5 nature experiences in Arizona - USA

Arizona has a unique landscape and many memorable nature experiences. Here are my five favorites.

Packing list for traveling with children

Are you traveling with a child or baby? Here is our packing list that we reuse every trip!

Monument Valley – Iconic landscape of the Navajo Nation

Far from cities and civilization lies the iconic Monument Valley. The place that is so special that we have visited it not just once, but twice.

Photo album from San Francisco - California - USA

San Francisco is probably the city I have visited the most times in the USA and my absolute favorite city in the USA. So then a photo album is in order, right?

Even more travel inspiration

Petrified Forest - The petrified forest in the striped desert - Arizona

Petrified forest is a desert landscape in the United States that is unlike any other. 200 million years ago, tropical forests in Arizona were covered by volcanic lava. The trees eventually became a petrified forest surrounded by a striped desert.

Photo vacation part 1 – California in pictures

When you can't go on a road trip in California, you can go on a PHOTO holiday! Come along to all sides of the California countryside - far from the highways, high-rises and Hollywood wannabies of the big cities.

Monument Valley – Iconic landscape of the Navajo Nation

Far from cities and civilization lies the iconic Monument Valley. The place that is so special that we have visited it not just once, but twice.