September 21, 2023 | Allison Robertson

Nature's Greatest Hits: 10 Iconic U.S. National Parks For Your Family's Bucket List!

10 Iconic U.S. National Parks For Your Family's Bucket List

Hike selfie and forest split image

Get ready to pack your bags, gather the family, and hit the road! America's national parks are gleaming jewels of adventure and natural beauty, and they're calling your name. 

Whether you're aching to gaze into the mesmerizing depths of the Grand Canyon, yearning to feel the cool mist of Yosemite's waterfalls on your face, or itching to get up close with the otherworldly Joshua Trees, we've got you covered.

Strap in as we embark on an exciting journey across the United States, exploring 10 breathtaking national parks that are just begging to be on your family's bucket list.

1. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park, WyomingAdobe

Home to the iconic Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone National Park is a geological wonder that holds the title of the world's first national park. 

From exploring multicolored hot springs and fumaroles to spotting elk and bison, the park's 2.2 million acres promise a fantastic adventure for families.

Fun Fact: Yellowstone is actually a gigantic active volcano, one of the world's largest. It has erupted with tremendous force several times in the last two million years!

2. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park, ArizonaAdobe

The Grand Canyon's staggering size and vibrant colors will leave every family member in awe. Hike the rim, take a mule trip, or enjoy a scenic drive. 

For an unforgettable experience, make sure to catch a sunrise or sunset over the canyon.

Fun Fact: The Grand Canyon is so large that it creates its own weather!

3. Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park, CaliforniaAdobe

With its towering granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and ancient sequoia trees, Yosemite is a nature-lover's paradise. 

Highlights include El Capitan, Half Dome, and the family-friendly Mariposa Grove which houses over 500 mature giant sequoias.

Fun Fact: Yosemite was central to the development of the national parks system. In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant, setting the precedent for the creation of future national parks.

4. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee/North Carolina

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee/North CarolinaAdobe

The most visited national park in America, the Great Smoky Mountains offers family-friendly hiking trails, historic buildings, and the chance to see wildlife. 

Kids will love spotting the fireflies that light up synchronously in the early summer nights.

Fun Fact: The park is called the "Salamander Capital of the World" due to the abundance of salamander species found here!

5. Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park, MaineAdobe

Perched on the rugged coast of Maine, Acadia National Park is perfect for families who love the sea. 

You can explore tide pools, hike scenic trails, or simply enjoy a picnic with a view. Don't miss the stunning sunrise from Cadillac Mountain!

Fun Fact: Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the Atlantic coast of the United States, and it's one of the first places in the U.S. to see the sunrise.

6. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoAdobe

The Rocky Mountain National Park boasts soaring peaks, alpine lakes, and abundant wildlife. There are plenty of kid-friendly hikes, and the Trail Ridge Road offers spectacular views. 

Visit in the summer for wildflower blooms or in the fall for the elk rut.

Fun Fact: The park contains 77 mountain peaks over 12,000 feet high, making it a must-visit for peak-baggers!

7. Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park, CaliforniaAdobe

The unique landscape of Joshua Tree National Park, filled with its namesake trees, makes for a surreal and exciting family adventure. 

Hike among the boulders, explore the desert flora and fauna, or stargaze in the clear night skies.

Fun Fact: The Joshua trees, iconic to the park, are a type of yucca and were named by Mormon settlers who thought the trees' outstretched branches resembled the biblical figure, Joshua, reaching his hands up to the sky.

8. Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park, WashingtonAdobe

From its rugged Pacific coastline to the glacier-capped peaks of the Olympic Mountains, this park offers a diverse range of landscapes. 

Wander through the magical Hoh Rain Forest, go tide pooling on Ruby Beach, or explore the stunning alpine scenery.

Fun Fact: The park is home to the quietest spot in the United States, called the "One Square Inch of Silence."

9. Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park, UtahAdobe

Known for its red and pink cliffs, Zion National Park offers a desert adventure the whole family will love. Take a scenic drive through Zion Canyon, or for older kids, challenge yourselves with a hike to Angels Landing or The Narrows.

Fun Fact: Zion Canyon was inhabited nearly 8,000 years ago by prehistoric native tribes. You can see evidence of their life in petroglyphs and other artifacts throughout the park.

10. Everglades National Park, Florida

Everglades National Park, FloridaAdobe

As the largest subtropical wilderness in the U.S., the Everglades is home to unique species like the manatee, American crocodile, and the elusive Florida panther. 

Explore the mangrove forests by airboat, or canoe the Wilderness Waterway for a multi-day adventure.

Fun Fact: The Everglades is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles coexist naturally.

From coast to coast, these national parks are brimming with opportunities for family adventures and provide fascinating insights into America's natural history. 

So, what are you waiting for? It's time to start exploring!


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