Spring break is right around the corner, but because of the pandemic, your family’s vacation may look a little different this year. The good news is that there are still plenty of ways to plan a safe getaway the whole family will enjoy. Instead of the normal long-distance travel, cruises, or resort stays, a great option is to head out into the great outdoors. America’s national parks have seen record-setting attendance numbers this year. Not only are these parks beautiful, but they’re a safe place to visit because it’s easy to socially distance.
There are over 300 bills waiting for Senate action, but one they’ve recently passed is the Great American Outdoors Act. This act funds delayed maintenance in our national parks, with 70% of the fund’s contents going to the National Parks Service. Upgrades to our national parks mean they’ll be an even better option for your next family vacation. Here are some of the most family-friendly parks.
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is full of activities the whole family can enjoy. There are many areas to explore, with expansive breathtaking views everywhere you look. Whether you drive along the rim, take a short hike, or ride a mule down to the bottom, kids and adults alike are sure to have a great time. Kids can become Junior Rangers to learn more about the area’s culture and natural history, and get involved in fun programs led by park rangers.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Studies show that unplugging and spending time in nature is one of the best ways to de-stress and boost your mood. Many older adults are now working longer, with 24% of men and 16% of women over the age of 65 still in the labor force in 2018. This means that grandparents and parents alike can benefit from a relaxing family vacation in one of our national parks.
The family-friendly activities at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado are virtually endless. For a budget-friendly option, families can camp in one of the parks many campgrounds. There are also more than 300 miles of hiking trails to explore, ranging from short walks around shimmering lakes to more strenuous climbs up high mountains. Other activities include horseback riding, canoeing, and fishing.
Yellowstone National Park
There’s no better time to experience our national parks, as it is estimated that in the next five decades, at least 17 million acres of forest land will be lost permanently to urbanization and development. The whole family will love marveling at Yellowstone National Park’s iconic features, like geysers, hot springs, and thermal basins. Be sure the keep an eye out for all of the park’s various wildlife, including grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, elk, and bison. If you’re up for a thrill, try white water rafting or ziplining in the park.
Everglades National Park
When you think of a Florida vacation, you probably think of the massive theme parks, resorts, and beaches. But the Everglades is also a great place for a family vacation in The Sunshine State. One of the best ways to explore the park is on an airboat ride through the swampland, where you can see alligators, colorful birds, turtles, and other native creatures. The park also offers hiking trails for various skill levels, kayaking, biking, and more.
Make your next family vacation one that you’ll never forget and explore America’s many national parks!
Also, if you have a 4th grader, be sure to sign up for the Every Kid in a Park program so your family can get free park admission!