America’s best idea—the national park system—looks even more incredible when you’re only four feet tall. Adults appreciate seeing wildlife up close, but kids marvel at the sight of wild deer, strange-looking birds and aquatic life. Grown-ups enjoy hiking and biking the parks and kids are ecstatic about exploring.
In honor of the “Every Kid in a Park” initiative, we’ve put together a list of a few amazing national parks for kids. From Maine to Colorado, these five parks offer amazing activities for kids of all ages.
Everglades National Park—Florida
Manatees, crocodiles, panthers, oh my! Everglades National Park is both a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve, full of amazing wildlife that will fascinate kids of any age. Ride a bike around the park, take an airboat ride or rent a canoe or kayak, there are plenty of ways to experience the Everglades and all the natural beauty it has to offer.
Rocky Mountain National Park—Colorado
Kids will love the chance to reach new heights in Rocky Mountain National Park. With an extensive array of kid-friendly hiking trails, 260 miles of horseback riding trails and ranger programs, there’s something for kids of any age. Families who aren’t into camping can find more than 100 other lodging options just outside the park entrance.
Acadia National Park—Maine
Set in Maine, Acadia National Park is home to rocky coastline, carriage roads and plenty of pristine camping spots. This park is perfect for families looking to get outside and enjoy nature. Bike gentle winding roads, take a ranger-narrated boat cruise or explore tide pools with the little ones for an unforgettable experience.
Big Bend National Park—Texas
Float in a tube down the Rio Grande among canyons that were carved thousands of years ago, join the junior ranger program and earn badges or marvel at the bright stars against the pitch black night sky—Big Bend National Park may be remote, but there’s plenty for kids to do.
Photo of Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Shutterstock
Great Smoky Mountains National Park—North Carolina and Tennessee
The most visited national park in the country, Great Smoky Mountains is incredibly popular for a reason. The awe-inspiring mountains meet lush forest and wildlife roams the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. Kids will love fishing the park’s 2,900 miles of streams, taking a hay ride around Cades Cove and getting a look at breathtaking waterfalls and blossoming wildflowers.