6 Family Friendly Activities in America’s National Parks

Family vacations can be tough these days. Many kids would rather sit at home and be entertained by their technology than pile into the car and take a trip with their parents and siblings. Honestly, who could blame them? Vacations take work, and if they involve driving any large distances in a stuffy automobile, then the destination had better be really amazing to make up for it. Well, you’re in luck, because here are six fun activities in America’s national parks that your whole family will be able to enjoy.

Fun Activities in America’s National Parks

6 Fun Activities in America's national parks- Horseback ride in Yellowstone
Horseback Ride in Yellowstone Photo via rockenhk.com
  1. Taking a horseback ride in Yellowstone. Few kids will be able to deny the thrill of saddling up and riding a horse. The rides can be as short as an hour, to as long as a full day spent exploring the Yellowstone National Park backcountry. Some horseback adventures even include an Old West style chuckwagon cookout. Children who are too young to ride the horses can still be a part of the fun while riding in a stage coach.


  1. Spelunking down into Mammoth Cave. Mammoth cave National Park has the the most extensive known cave system in the entire world. It currently consists of nearly 400 miles of cave passageways, with new passages being discovered every day. Spelunking and caving tours are available, but be warned. Any family members who are afraid of heights or enclosed spaces probably won’t have much fun. However, if your family is willing to take an underground adventure, there’s no better place to do it.

acadia national park tidal pool
Acadia national park tidal pool via acadiamagic.com
  1. Searching for marine life in Acadia. Children are naturally inquisitive. Thus, if you give them an experience that they’ve never had before, they will usually enjoy themselves. One such experience could be tidepooling along the coast in Acadia National Park. Tidepools are puddles of water left along the shore when the tide recedes. These pools can be absolutely teeming with marine life, such as starfish, sea urchins, and crabs. Or, you can cast your eyes out to sea, and you might be treated with a whale-sighting!


  1. Dogsledding in Denali. If horse riding just isn’t enough for your family, how about getting pulled across the tundra of Denali National Park by a team of huskies? Dogsledding, or mushing, is a great way to experience the frozen beauty of Alaska. Denali even allows sledders to bring their own dog teams, but you should probably reconsider using the family pet.

snowshoe crater lake
Snowshoe Crater Lake- photo via heraldandnews.com
  1. Snowshoeing around Crater Lake. If you visit Crater Lake National Park in the Winter, you might just be able to enjoy a free ranger-led nature hike through the snow—while wearing snowshoes! Trot across the surface of the snow as you and the family learn about the area and its indigenous wildlife. Just remember, snowshoeing is difficult work; head back to Crater Lake Lodge at the end of the day for some hot-cocoa and a good night’s rest.


  1. Having a blast in Biscayne. On the second Sunday of every month from December through April, Biscayne National Park hosts Family Fun Fest. Designed specifically to educate and entertain entire families, the program consists of various activity stations that each highlight a different aspect of the park’s resources. Best of all, the activities change from month to month, so, if you live close, get a season pass for your family, and have fun over and over again!

What are some of your favorite activities in America’s National Parks?  I’d love to hear about your family vacations to national parks in the comments section.

Guest post by Vincent Stokes who is an outdoor enthusiast and an experienced world traveler.  He also writes writes for the National Parks and works to promote pride in homegrown travel destinations.  You can connect with Vincent on G+ or twitter (@TravelingGlobal).

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