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East Entrance to Zion National Park

kellyvandellen?/ Getty Images

America celebrated the 103nd anniversary of the National Park Service in 2019.?Famously called "America's best idea"?by the novelist and historian Wallace Stegner, the national park system?offers families a?wonderfully?affordable way to visit America's most cherished and beautiful landscapes, view wildlife in their natural habitat,?learn about geological and cultural history, and appreciate the great outdoors.?

Visitors flock to national parks in huge numbers, with the?total number of visitors topping?327 million in 2019.

If you plan to visit multiple parks in a 12-month period, it might be less expensive to buy a?National Parks?Annual Pass?for $80.

The National Park Service's?Find a Park?tool is a wonderful planning device for locating parks, scenic trails, battlefields, and other treasures near your home or along your road trip route.

Before you go,王者荣耀啪啪图?王者荣耀啪啪图explore the National Park Service's?WebRangers site?for kids, no matter which park you plan to visit. ?Junior Ranger?programs are available at the parks. Details differ depending on the park,?so check what's happening at the park you plan to visit before you go.

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Sunrise in the Smoky Mountains

Tony Barber / Moment / Getty Images

Address
United States
Phone +1 865-436-1200

The most-visited of all American national?parks,?Great Smoky Mountains National Park?straddles the boundaries of North Carolina and Tennessee and offers breathtaking scenery and wildlife viewing as well as?remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture. If you're there between mid-May and mid-June,?don't miss the?synchronous firefly viewing event.

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The Grand Canyon

TripSavvy / Alisha McDarris

Address
Arizona, USA
Phone +1 928-638-7888

The second most-visited of all American national?parks, Arizona's??Grand Canyon National Park?belongs on every family's bucket list.???Reserve accommodations?at a Grand Canyon?lodge or campground.??Mule trips?of various lengths are available, leaving from?both the South Rim and North Rim.??The SkyWalk?viewing platform?is a top attraction run by the?Hualapai Tribe just outside the park in Grand Canyon West.

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Rocky Mountain National Park

TripSavvy / Lauren Breedlove

Address
Colorado, USA
Phone +1 970-586-1206

Rocky Mountain National Park’s 415 square miles include spectacular mountain environments in Colorado. Trail Ridge Road crests at more than 12,000 feet, with?many overlooks to experience the subalpine and alpine worlds, along with more than 300 miles of hiking trails, wildflowers, and wildlife.??Ranger-led programs?include astronomy outings, wildlife viewing?and hikes.

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Zion National Park

TripSavvy / Vince Fergus

Address
Utah, USA
Phone +1 435-772-3256

Utah's?王者荣耀啪啪图first national park?is named after?Zion Canyon, 15?miles long and up?to half a mile deep, cut through red and tan?sandstone. The park features?massive sandstone cliffs,?narrow slot canyons, and a unique array of plants and animals.

Many families combine a trip to ?Zion?with Bryce Canyon National?Park, 78 miles away. Both parks are included in?Utah's Mighty 5.??Ranger-led programs?include hikes, talks, and evening activities.

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Yosemite Falls

TripSavvy / Jess Macdonald

Address
California, USA
Phone +1 209-372-0200

Protected since 1864,??Yosemite?is California's first national park. It?is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, and a vast wilderness area. ?Reserve accommodations?at a Yosemite lodge or campground.

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Geyser

?TripSavvy / Vince Fergus?

Address
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190, USA

Established in 1872 as the first U.S. national park,?Yellowstone?is?arguably also the most unique. Its 2.2 million acres?fall mainly in Wyoming and sit?atop one of the continent’s largest active supervolcanoes, whose 2-million-year history?formed a diverse eco-system of lakes, canyons, rivers, and mountain ranges and left a?landscape dotted with thousands of geysers, mud pots, hot springs, and fumaroles. Yellowstone is also a wonderful place to view wildlife, with its large wolf population and herds of?bison, elk, antelope, and other animals. Many families combine a trip to?Yellowstone with nearby?Grand Teton National?Park, just 10 miles to the south.?Reserve accommodations?at a Yellowstone lodge or campground. Before you go, check out?Wolfquest, an interactive 3D game that teaches kids about wolf ecology and behavior

07 of 20

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Schooner Head in Acadia National Park

www.cfwphotography.com?/ Getty Images

Address
Maine, USA
Phone +1 207-288-3338

The first eastern national park is set on?the rugged coast of Maine. The park is home to myriad plants and animals, as well as the tallest mountain on the Atlantic Coast. Today visitors come to?Acadia?to hike granite peaks, bike historic carriage roads, or relax and enjoy the coastal scenery. Families can explore the park with?Acadia Quest, a scavenger hunt-like activity.

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Grand Teton National Park

TripSavvy / Alisha McDarris

Address
Wyoming, USA
Phone +1 307-739-3300

In northwestern?Wyoming,?Grand Teton National Park?includes the major peaks of the 40-mile-long Teton Range?and the northern Jackson Hole Valley. It is just 10 miles south of Yellowstone National Park. The two parks are connected?by the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway.??Ranger-led programs?include hikes, talks, and evening programs.

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Olympic National Park

TripSavvy / Alisha McDarris

Address
3002 Mt Angeles Rd, Port Angeles, WA 98362, USA
Phone +1 360-565-3130
4.4

Olympic National Park?in Washington State is like three parks in one, taking you from breathtaking mountain vistas with meadows of wildflowers to colorful ocean tidepools and valleys of ancient?forests. About 95 percent of the park is wilderness. ?There are many?kid-friendly hikes?in Olympic National Park.

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Glacier National Park

TripSavvy / Alisha McDarris

Address
Montana, USA
Phone +1 406-888-7800

The one million acres of Montana wilderness in?Glacier National Park?contain two mountain ranges, more than 130 lakes, and thousands of plant and animal species. It is a jaw-droppingly beautiful?wonderland of pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, spectacular lakes, and 700 miles of trails. The 50-mile?Going-to-the-Sun Road?is one of the most iconic scenic drives in America. In the summer,?ranger-led activities?include guided walks and boat tours.

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Cacti in Joshua Tree

TripSavvy / Chris VR

Address
California, USA
Phone +1 760-367-5500

Named for the trees?native to the park, 1,200-square-mile ?Joshua Tree National Park?is?slightly larger than the state of?Rhode Island. Much of the park is wilderness and?includes parts of two?deserts, the higher?Mojave Desert?and lower?Colorado Desert. There are 12 self-guided nature trails, some as short as a half-mile, which are perfect for young children.??Ranger-led activities?include guided wildflower?walks, evening talks, and stargazing.

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Bryce Canyon

TripSavvy / Vince Fergus

Address
Utah, USA
Phone +1 435-834-5322

Despite its name,?Bryce Canyon?is not a canyon at all. Instead, it is?a collection of giant natural?amphitheaters?formed by?hoodoos—tall, thin spires of rock?up to 150 feet high. The red, orange, and white colors of the?rocks make for spectacular views.

Many families combine a trip to?Bryce Canyon with Zion National Park, 78 miles away. Both are included in?Utah's Mighty 5.?Ranger-led activities?include guided hikes, evening talks, and stargazing. Kids can sign up to be a?geodetective?and get a special patch.

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Cuyahoga Valley National Park
lipika / iStock / Getty Images
Address
Ohio, USA
Phone +1 330-657-2752

Ohio's only national park?preserves and reclaims the rural landscape along the?Cuyahoga River?between?Akron?and?Cleveland.?Twenty?miles of the historic Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail makes up?the major trail through?Cuyahoga Valley National Park.?The?Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad?has traveled through the park for more than 100 years and still is a good way to view the park's scenery. Families can hike or bike along the flat?Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Many families hike or bike one way and take the train back.

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Address
47050 Generals Hwy, Three Rivers, CA 93271, USA
Phone +1 559-565-3341

The second-oldest national park after Yellowstone, California's?Sequoia National Park?is famous for its?giant sequoia?trees, including the?General Sherman tree, one of the?largest trees on Earth. The park is contiguous to the north with Kings Canyon National Park,?whose?General Grant Grove is home to?the?General Grant tree?and other giant sequoias. Together?Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks contain 202,430 acres of?old-growth forests.?Ranger-led activities?include guided hikes and?campfire talks?and night-sky presentations.

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Arches National Park

TripSavvy / Alisha McDarris

Address
Utah, USA
Phone +1 435-719-2299

Located just outside of Moab, Utah,?Arches National Park?is one of?Utah's Mighty 5. It is known for its 2,000?natural sandstone arches, including the famous?Delicate Arch, and a wide variety of unique geological resources and formations.??Ranger-led programs?include guided hikes through the Fiery Furnace and?evening programs.

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Mount Rainier National Park

Rene Frederick / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Address
Washington, USA
Phone +1 360-569-2211

Dominated by its namesake volcano, which towers at 14,410 feet and last erupted in the 1800s,?Rainier?is America's fifth-oldest national park. Visit in the spring and you'll witness cascading waterfalls; come in the summer, and wildflowers abound; or arrive in the fall when the foliage puts on a colorful show.?Ranger-led activities?include guided hikes and?campfire talks?and night-sky presentations. The?Citizen Ranger?program for older kids and families includes self-guided quests and the chance to participate in the MeadoWatch scientific project.

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Shenandoah National Park

Carolyn Cochrane / Getty Images

Address
Virginia, USA
Phone +1 540-999-3500

The 105-mile?Skyline Drive?traces the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering many jumping-off points into Virginia's 200,000-acre?Shenandoah National Park.?Just 123 miles from Washington, Shenandoah offers myriad ways to explore through hiking, biking, paddling, and horseback riding.????Ranger-led activities?include guided hikes, nature workshops, and educational programs.

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HawaiiVolcanoesNP.jpg
National Park Service
Address
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI 96718, USA
Phone +1 808-985-6000

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park?contains?Kīlauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, and?Mauna Loa, the world's most massive subaerial volcano.?The park offers dramatic volcanic landscapes as well as glimpses of rare flora and fauna. Before you go, you should check to see if there are alerts for visiting this park since these are active volcanoes.??Ranger-led activities?include guided hikes, daytime talks, and?"after dark in the park" presentations.

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Explore the Door Trail in Badlands National Park, South Dakota.
Lonely Planet / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images
Address
South Dakota, USA
Phone +1 605-433-5361

The dramatic?Badlands?landscape in South Dakota?contains one of the world’s richest fossil beds, once home to?ancient mammals such as the rhino, horse, and saber-toothed cat. The park’s 244,000 acres protect a mixed-grass prairie where bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets live today. Families can explore the park with a ?GPS Adventure.

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Great Sand Dunes National Park

Danita Delimont / Getty Images

Address
Colorado, USA
Phone +1 719-378-6395

Could this really be Colorado??The?tallest dunes?in North America are the centerpiece in an incredibly diverse landscape of grasslands, wetlands, forests, alpine lakes, and tundra.??Ranger-led activities?include guided hikes, nature talks, and night-sky presentations.?Sandboarding and sand sledding—think surfing or sliding down sand dunes—is a popular activity for kids and adults alike.?Medano Creek?is a great swimming hole and a great place to cool off (and wash the sand off) on a hot day.

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