Family Road Trip Ideas to 5 National Parks

Do you have any exciting trips planned for the near future? Is your family looking to get out of town and explore something new? If so, these 5 National Parks are perfect for a family road trip. 

A family vacation is always an exciting time, but planning can be stressful! Whether it’s finding activities for kids or deciding where to go, there are plenty of options.

But what if I told you that all your worries were solved with one decision: A National Park Road Trip!

There are five national parks in the US that would make for amazing destinations on a family vacation this summer.

So here are five family road trip ideas to National Parks to rejuvenate your family and instill that beautiful wonder and curiosity of the world around us.

Crater Lake National Park

In Oregon, Crater Lake National Park is the site of Mount Mazama which erupted almost 8,000 years ago and collapsed in upon itself forming a crystal blue lake.

Visitors come to see the serene waters and drive the rim of the massive caldera housing Crater Lake, which is deepest lake in the US.

crater lake oregon

The caldera is almost 6 miles in diameter with an average surface elevation of about 6,000 feet and climbing over 8,000 feet in some areas. 

Crater Lake National Park is a place that will leave you speechless. It’s not just the breathtaking views, but everything about this place will have you telling all your friends and family to GO NOW.

The incredible views of this blue-green lake are just one of many things that make this place so special.

crater lake oregon

Crater Lake is also home to some amazing hiking trails and plenty of campsites for those who want to stay awhile. This is a great spot for camping with kids.

The trail through this park will take you on a journey of discovery, taking you past snow-covered peaks and high meadows before descending into the depths of an ancient volcanic crater.

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to take pictures that will last a lifetime while hiking around the lake’s rim.

TIP: If you’re looking for peace and solitude, head up Mount Scott!

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park has almost 3,500 square miles of wildlife, forest, and unique attractions that keep people coming back every year.

The park stretches into 3 different states: Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho.

Yellowstone National Park is a place that will leave you speechless. The park has so much to offer, from the geothermal features, to the wildlife and amazing vistas.

Yellowstone National Park

You can take your family on a tour of this national treasure or just hike into the wilderness for a few days by yourself.

Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the world, born March 1, 1872. Originally, it was created to preserve and protect a large area of land from human development for future generations.

Today, Yellowstone is still one of America’s most treasured parks because it’s home to some of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights.

Yellowstone Bison

These include Old Faithful Geyser, the Grand Prismatic Spring (the largest hot spring in the United States), and more than 10 thousand geothermal features ranging from mudpots to steam vents.

The park also offers wildlife viewing opportunities with over 200 species of mammals like elk, bison, moose and deer as well as hundreds of bird species that are attracted by the diverse habitat that includes forests, grasslands and wetlands.

Yellowstone Old Faithful

TIP: If you want to tour the best spots throughout the park such as Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs, and the Yellowstone Grand Canyon you will have to do a bit of driving. 

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is easily accessible from Seattle (and other major cities) by car or plane.

The views are breathtaking, the hikes are challenging, and if you’re lucky – you’ll spot a grizzly.

Glacier National Park flowers

Many people come to Glacier National Park for the beautiful scenery and wildlife. What many don’t know is that you can also see some of the most breathtaking views of glaciers in this park.

Did you know there are over 150 glaciers in Glacier National Park? The best time to visit these glaciers is during the summer months when they are at their full glory.

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is a haven for hikers, climbers and campers. The park offers backcountry camping for those who want to get off the grid and experience nature firsthand.

The park has over 700 miles of trails throughout the region so you won’t have to worry about running out of new things to see.

Glacier National Park waterfall

Montana is home to Glacier National Park, where driving mountainside is a must.

One of the major attractions is driving on the Going-to-the-Sun road which is 50 miles of winding pavement that wraps around a mountainside leading you skyward, truly as if you are headed straight for the sun.

Glacier National Park Going to the Sun road

The road was designed to be inconspicuous as not to take away from the view of the mountain, but it forces drivers to chug up a narrow drive with nothing but a small, useless rail to keep from careening over a cliff.

Yosemite National Park

The Yosemite National Park is a beautiful and serene place, but it’s also an incredibly vast and diverse spot.

It has a variety of landscapes, from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to deep valleys and meadows.

Yosemite National Park fog

The park’s four seasons offer something for everyone: crisp winter mornings, summer wildflowers, autumn leaves changing color, and springtime waterfalls. 

From the deep canyons of El Capitan to the waterfalls of Bridalveil Creek, there are so many different things to do in this natural wonderland. 

Yosemite National Park El Capitan Sunrise
Yosemite National Park El Capitan at Sunrise

Yosemite offers activities that include hiking into remote areas or along popular trails like Half Dome or Glacier Point; backpacking into high country wilderness areas; biking on paved roads with spectacular views; horseback riding through fields and forests; kayaking down rivers lined by ancient redwoods or exploring miles of backcountry canyons on foot.

There are plenty of accommodations for every budget within the park including tent cabins at Camp Curry or backpacker campsites.

Yosemite National Park Half Dome
Yosemite National Park Half Dome

For visitors that want an all-inclusive view there are a couple famous viewpoints to see major attractions unobstructed and peacefully resting in all their glory.

At Glacier Point, Tunnel View, and Olmsted Point park goers can take in the views of Half Dome, many of the waterfalls, and El Capitan.

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier, the highest mountain in Washington State, is a great place for adventurous families to explore.

Despite its ominous name, Mount Rainier is actually one of the most beautiful sights in Washington. It’s totally worth the drive to see this natural wonder.

Mount Rainier Naches Peak Loop Trail
Mount Rainier Naches Peak Loop Trail

Whether you’re looking for some family friendly hiking trails or breathtaking views of Seattle and Tacoma, Mount Rainier has something for everyone. 

The summit of the mountain offers an incredible view that includes 25 named glaciers. Mount Rainier is an active volcano and the tallest peak in Washington State.

It’s also one of the most accessible volcanoes for climbers, which make it a popular destination for family travelers. 

mountain-693521_1280

At Sunrise Area, it is the highest point that can be reached by vehicle, and it is the best spot to witness the birth of a new day. It is an immensely beautiful and moving experience to witness the clouds part and reveal its presence.

At 6,400 feet, the Sunrise area allows for an almost panoramic view of the valleys below, but making your way there can prove to be challenging especially in inclement weather.

Mountaineering trips to climb Mount Rainier can be done as day hikes or overnight backpacking trips with glacier camping available at Emmons Glacier Campground (8 miles roundtrip hike).

With so much to see on this adventure, there’s no question why it’s one of America’s most visited national parks!

3 thoughts on “Family Road Trip Ideas to 5 National Parks”

  1. I grew up going to Yosemite every summer, so the mountains and the outdoors has a very special place in my heart. And I lived in Oregon, close to Crater Lake for four years but never visited it!

    Reply
  2. These are all awesome National Parks to visit. I wish I could do all of them this summer! We’ll have to plan for a trip to one of two of these parks.

    Reply
  3. I love that all the picks are mountainous ones. I love the mountains and was raised at the base of a really big one. My husband often talks about wanting to take the family to Yellowstone, 3,500 square miles should be enough to keep us busy for awhile.

    Reply

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