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U. S. National Parks ~ A Great Family Vacation

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I no sooner finished writing “US National Parks” in my blog planner to start researching a story when this graphic popped up in my Twitter feed thanks to @TravellerToday2 so I knew it was karma that I should be writing about these great vacation destinations! (Thank you Traveller Today for the great picture).

naitonal parks

Some are more famous then others. Some are huge and require several days to visit. Some states have several and even a few states have none. There are more National Parks in California and Alaska than any other state. California has the most (nine), followed by Alaska (eight), Utah (five), and Colorado (four) No matter where it’s located or how big or small, a visit to a U. S. National Park is a great family trip!

National parks must be established by an act of the United States Congress. The first national park, Yellowstone, was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872, followed by Mackinac National Park in 1875 (decommissioned in 1895), and then Sequoia and Yosemite in 1890.

The largest national park is Wrangell–St. Elias in Alaska: at over 8 million acres (32,000 km2), it is larger than each of the nine smallest states. The next three largest parks are also in Alaska. The smallest park is Hot Springs, Arkansas, at less than 6 thousand acres (24 km2).

Open year round, national parks offer events and activities across the country. National parks contain many of our nation’s most treasured landscapes, from the majestic mountain ranges of Alaska to the vast sawgrass prairies of the Everglades.

If you are a fourth grader, or age equivalent free-choice learner, you and your family can receive an Every Kid in a Park pass that will give you free access to hundreds of parks, lands, and waters for an entire year. What better way to see some of the most beautiful spots in our country. The National Park Service Junior Ranger program is an activity based program conducted in almost all parks, and some Junior Ranger programs are national. Many national parks offer young visitors the opportunity to join the National Park Service “family” as Junior Rangers. Interested youth complete a series of activities during a park visit, share their answers with a park ranger, and receive an official Junior Ranger patch and Junior Ranger certificate. Junior Rangers are typically between the ages of 5 to 13, although people of all ages can participate.

When my kids were in their early teens, they spent 2 months traveling cross country in a camper with their aunt, visiting National Parks and still talk about the experience. Have you visited some of our country’s national parks? How many? Do you have any on your travel bucket list? I do ~ Denali National Park!

Alaska

  1. Denali National Park and Preserve

  2. Gates of the Arctic National Park

  3. Glacier Bay National Park

  4. Katmai National Park and Preserve

  5. Kenai Fjords National Park

  6. Kobuk Valley National Park

  7. Lake Clark National Park

American Samoa

  1. National Park of American Samoa

Arizona

  1. Grand Canyon National Park

  2. Petrified Forest National Park

  3. Saguaro National Park

Arkansas

  1. Hot Springs National Park

California

  1. Channel Islands National Park

  2. Death Valley National Park

  3. Joshua Tree National Park

  4. Kings Canyon National Park

  5. Lassen Volcanic National Park

  6. Redwood National Park

  7. Sequoia National Park

  8. Yosemite National Park

Colorado

  1. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

  2. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

  3. Mesa Verde National Park

  4. Rocky Mountain National Park

Florida

  1. Biscayne National Park

  2. Dry Tortugas National Park

  3. Everglades National Park

Hawaii

  1. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

  2. Haleakalā National Park

Kentucky

  1. Mammoth Cave National Park

Maine

  1. Acadia National Park

Michigan

  1. Isle Royale National Park

Minnesota

  1. Voyageurs National Park

Montana

  1. Glacier National Park

Nevada

  1. Great Basin National Park

New Mexico

  1. Carlsbad Caverns National Park

North Carolina

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

North Dakota

  1. Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Ohio

  1. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Oregon

  1. Crater Lake National Park

South Carolina

  1. Congaree National Park

South Dakota

  1. Badlands National Park

  2. Wind Cave National Park

Tennessee

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Texas

  1. Big Bend National Park

  2. Guadalupe Mountains National Park

United States Virgin Islands

  1. Virgin Islands National Park

Utah

  1. Arches National Park

  2. Bryce Canyon National Park

  3. Canyonlands National Park

  4. Capitol Reef National Park

  5. Zion National Park

Virginia

  1. Shenandoah National Park

Washington

  1. Mount Rainier National Park

  2. North Cascades National Park

  3. Olympic National Park

Wyoming

  1. Grand Teton National Park

  2. Yellowstone National Park