If you are trying to make summer vacation plans, I highly recommend traveling to national and state parks. As we begin to cautiously re-open throughout the country, many of these national treasures are welcoming visitors with (virtual) open arms. Visiting parks like these are a wonderful opportunity to explore our country and continue your children’s education, not to mention some pretty epic photo opportunities!
For a full list of national parks that are open, or scheduled to open I recommend heading to the National Parks Traveler website.
For state parks it’s best to research the individual park or parks in the state you plan to visit.
My family and I love to be outdoors. We enjoy hiking, camping, and discovering new places together. If you happen to have a 4th grader in your family, like we did last year, head over to the National Park Foundation’s Every Kid Outdoors program to apply for a free pass. We were able to use it as long as my son was with us.
Three years ago, we visited Yellowstone National Park, and went to The Badlands and Mount Rushmore on the way. Over the Christmas holiday two years ago, we went to Big Sur, visiting the parks inside, including Andrew Molera State Park, Keyhole Rock, Garapata State Park and more. On a trip to Utah we visited beautiful Bryce Canyon. The peaks here are called Hoodoos. We were fascinated by the layers of colors in the rocks and how they change throughout the day as the sunlight shifts over them.
Last year we camped at Pinnacles State Park and then continued on to Monterey for a whale watching tour. We also went to Zion National Park and hiked The Narrows and up to Angel’s Landing. The Narrows is one of my family’s favorite hikes we’ve ever done. You hike through a flowing river and have to wear special gear so your feet don’t freeze from the cold water. The canyon is stunning!
More recently we went to Point Reyes’ National Park where an elk herd roams the hills. We’ve also done a day trip to Yosemite National Park and hope to head up to Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California in mid-July.
Whatever part of the country you plan to visit, traveling to national and state parks are a fun, affordable way to see incredible wildlife and stunning scenery. Remember to take your camera!