May 26, 2024

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Family Travel Guide Names the Top 10 National Parks for Families

2 min read

We’ve got 63 national parks here in the U.S. and some of them lend themselves more easily to family visits. Whether it’s because the hikes are better for short legs, the sights are particularly compelling to little eyes, or there are plenty of eating options to fuel those growing bodies, these parks win. The Family Vacation Guide analyzed the top 30 of those 63 parks to figure out which ones are the best for families.

The winner is Sequoia National Park in California. It’s about three hours southeast of Yosemite and is part of the Sierra Nevada range. Here, kids can marvel at the largest tree in the world, a giant sequoia named General Sherman: link hands and see how many people it takes to encircle it. There are other huge trees in the park’s Giant Forest. There are a ton of dining options to refuel in between meadow walks, waterfall visits and even a half-mile loop trail through a marble cavern (Crystal Cave, which will reopen to the public in 2025 after repairs from wildfire and extreme weather damage).

Second is Acadia National Park, which is in beautiful coastal Maine. Our family loves riding bikes here, and there are beaches, mountains, lakes and meadows to explore. There’s a historic carriage road system that makes for easy walking and sometimes leads you across atmospheric curved stone bridges. Plus, lighthouses! In winter, explore on snowshoes or cross-country skis. If it were not so heavily visited—with 3 million guests a year—this park would have actually come in first place.

And Denali National Park in Alaska takes third place. In contrast to Acadia, this park is not crowded, with less than 500,000 visitors a year. It has a lot of hotels and restaurants within its confines and the tallest mountain in North America, Denali, formerly known as Mount McKinley. Catch views of this extraordinary snow-laden massif (a word to describe a unit of a compact set of mountains), one of the largest in the world, from different points in the park. You may also see some of the extraordinary wildlife that roams here: grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou, and Dall sheep. In summer, you can bike, hike, and mountaineer. Don’t miss some of the most spectacular Northern Lights viewing around, or take a sled dog ride out to a glacier.

The top 10 family-friendly national parks are:

1. Sequoia

2. Acadia

3. Denali

4. Big Bend

5. Isle Royale

6. Yellowstone

7. Glacier

8. Joshua Tree

9. Yosemite

10. Crater Lake

See the full list here.

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