It's the American dream to spend long vacations at one of the many national parks spread across the United States. From mountainous landscapes, to scenic waterways to rugged coasts, national parks provide scenic vacations beyond description. But national parks provide so much more to family travelers. Allowing nature to showcase its splendor, parks provide quiet retreats to families of all ages. In a park, it's not about gadgets, gizmos and kids' clubs. Instead, the parks provide a chance for families to spend true quality time together, while enjoying the great outdoors. Browse through our list of national park destinations below to find the perfect place for your family to getaway.

Looking for the best national parks? Visit our 10 Best National Parks page. You can also access the best National Parks Deals on hotels and packages for various seasons. Get more vacation tips, planning and ideas exclusively for families in our National Parks Trip Reports and National Parks Forums section.


Acadia National Park Family Vacations
Those who have been there know: the Acadia region of Maine is unlike anywhere else in New England -- or anywhere else in the country, really. The lobster claw of an island off the Downeast Maine coast has been beguiling visitors for hundreds of years ... read more

Black Hills National Park Family Vacations
A vacation doesn't get much more American than a classic road trip to South Dakota's Black Hills. Even kids too young to know any presidents can appreciate the feat of carving Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln from the rough granite ... read more
Bryce Canyon National Park Family Vacations
The legions of fantastical rock formations that tower over the slopes of Utah's Bryce Canyon are the main attraction in this national park. Known as "hoodoos," these are the rocks seen in classic images of Bryce (but in my opinion, pictures don't really ... read more

Grand Canyon National Park Family Vacations
Located in northern Arizona in what has become one of the U.S.'s most popular National Parks, the Grand Canyon won't disappoint. Despite spring and summer's crowds, the canyon itself still inspires. Created by the uplifting of the Colorado Plateau and the ... read more

Grand Teton National Park Family Vacations
One of the more rugged natural landscapes in the American West, the Grand Teton National Park is defined by the snowcapped peaks of the Teton Mountain Range, bountiful valleys and the meandering path of the Snake River. More than 300,000 undisturbed ... read more

Great Sand Dunes National Park Family Vacations
The newest national park in the U.S. (so deemed in 2004), the Great Sand Dunes National Park in central southern Colorado offers kids the chance to run, slide, ski and roll down the nation's highest sand dunes, which peak at 750 feet and cover ... read more

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Family Vacations
The most visited national park in the country, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park receives nine million visitors a year. And there must be at least that many reasons why it's so popular. First of all, the critter count is sky-high. The park ... read more

Moab and Arches National Park Family Vacations
Moab, Utah, is an ideal destination for families who love playing in the outdoors. Its stunning natural landscapes - from towering red-rock towers to terracotta arches to snow-capped mountains that have evolved over millions of years - beckons mountain bikers ... read more

Rocky Mountain National Park Family Vacations
America's tenth national park with an estimated three million visitors each year can leave you a little breathless, whether it's stunning scenery or the altitude and less oxygen. It's certainly not your typical summer vacation: Picture walls of snow ... read more

Shenandoah National Park Family Vacations
Covering nearly 200,000 acres of forests, mountains and streams, Shenandoah National Park straddles the Blue Ridge Mountains. Legend has it that "Shenandoah" means either "daughter of the stars" or "river of high mountains" in a Native ... read more

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Family Vacations
After slogging up a 110-foot high mountain of sand and conquering the Dune Climb, even adults give into their inner 6-year-old. They joyfully race downhill, arms flapping, laughing and usually throwing in a few whoops while trying to stay upright.... read more

Theodore Roosevelt National Park Family Vacations
Chalk it up to geography. At the northern cusp of the continental U.S. and surrounded by wide-open prairie and grasslands, Theodore Roosevelt National Park gets overlooked and written off as too distant or ho-hum. Don't be fooled. These gorgeous ... read more

Volcanoes National Park Family Vacations
One of the most unique national parks in the U.S., Volcanoes National Park, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, is more than 200,000 acres in size and home to one of the world's most active volcanoes. Visitors to the park will view ... read more
Voyageurs National Park Family Vacations
You have to step off land and glide across the water to best enjoy this 218,000-acre park along the border of Canada and the northern edge of Minnesota. At least 84,000 of those acres is water with five major lakes, 500 islands and 655 miles of ... read more

Yellowstone National Park Family Vacations
Yellowstone, the United States' first national park, still reigns as one of America's most dramatic and often visited. The geyser Old Faithful, a potent reminder of the earth's geothermal forces, shoots steaming spray into the air with remarkable ... read more

Yosemite National Park Family Vacations
Four hours east of San Francisco is a region where waterfalls pour from dramatic granite cliffs, clear streams run alongside giant sequoias, and grassy meadows capture the sunlight in such a magnificent way that families who come to enjoy any ... read more

Zion National Park Family Vacations
Nineteenth-century Mormon pioneers sought asylum from religious prosecution amidst the cliffs and canyons of what is now Zion National Park. But before the pioneers arrived, Zion's flowing river, lush hanging gardens and rich diversity of plants and animals ... read more


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