Family Road Trip Ideas: 5 National Parks to Conquer this Summer

When buying a car we often think about things like safety, cargo space, number of seats, and technology packages. But do you ever ask, “What kind of adventures can I take in this vehicle?” No? Maybe you aren’t asking the right questions.

We all want safety and luxury in our cars, but what about leisure and enjoyment? Can I navigate rush hour and still take on miles of dirt roads when I want to get away? Will I have to ditch my bike rack and hiking gear if I want a sleek design and comfortable interior?

For those of us that live a double life…Days in the office but moonlighting as thrill seekers, weekend warriors, campers, hikers, and outdoor lovers extraordinaire, we want a vehicle that will accommodate whatever new roads we may desire to travel with our families. 

10232 2016 Sedona EX
2016 Sedona EX

The 2016 Kia Sedona is working to give us the best of all worlds. As a second generation, the Sedona might not be new to you, but the 2016 addition has been completely redesigned to meet the demands of the modern day adventure families eager for more than just weekend soccer games (although it can handle those too).

After a fun filled week in Orlando with my family putting the Sedona to the test, I started thinking about how our National Parks are the perfect kind of wild countryside and defiant landscape to inspire our inner nomad and really test out everything the Kia Sedona has to offer. So here are five family road trip ideas 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. 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. 


Crossing the country with the most precious cargo in the world, the idea of safety comes to mind. The Kia Sedona is a master at providing piece of mind. Offering a Forward Collision Warning System, the car can detect possible front end accidents and engage the Autonomous Emergency Braking to help avoid potential impacts.

There is also the Blind Spot Detection feature (which I admit has saved me more times than I care to admit) available which will give the driver a visual warning in the side mirror and an audible ding when another car has entered the blind spot. It can detect cars as far as 230 feet behind the Sedona. This can be especially helpful with the many other cars, hikers, and bicycles a driver will encounter as they cruise the rim of Crater Lake. 


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. 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. 


Which is about the time you will start to appreciate the extended headroom and legroom as well as dual climate zones. The drivers console has been angled to create a cozy “nook” for the driver and with the slight angle of the console, all components and the color touchscreen can easily be viewed and accessed with just a glance.

Meanwhile, passengers are entertained with built-in DVD player, enough cup holders to contain the exhausting supply of juice pouches and an infotainment system that’s well equipped to play the Wheels on the Bus on repeat.  


Glacier National Park

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. 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.

It can be more than just frightening, but outright dangerous to drive in certain conditions. But if you should stray the LDWS is the least annoying backseat driver you will ever meet since it creates an audible alert if the driver suddenly strays from their lane without using a signal.


It’s about the time you’re staring down the straight drop that you’re wondering about those safety features, like Vehicle Stability Management, Front and Rear Crumple Zones, Cornering Brake Control, Side-Impact Door Beams and the list goes on and on. Oh and look at that, we’ve made it through the scary part. 


Yosemite National Park

There are over 1,200 miles filled with mountainside, forests, and waterfalls in Yosemite National Park. 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. Driving through those winding roads means careful and attentive maneuvering. 


However, when you aren’t busy averting your eyes from sheer drops and instead you’re soaking up the views the family will appreciate the front row and 2nd-row power sliding sunroofs. They work independently of each other, just one more way the Sedona works to keep the peace in the family. 


Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier is a massive, jaw-dropping sight and a symbol for the state of Washington. In Mount Rainier National Park, the namesake mountain (and active volcano) reaches 14,410 feet above sea level. It is an immensely beautiful and moving experience to witness the clouds part and reveal its presence.

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. 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.


As idyllic as it may seem to drive cross country visiting the National Parks with your family, let me tell you something as someone with experience driving cross country with her family. At some point you’re going to wish there were states in between you and your loved ones.

Your husband will have changed the radio station one too many times.

The kids will have asked if you’re there yet 1000 times, no easy feat considering it was matched by the number of times they needed to go to the bathroom or whined that their sibling was touching them.

Thankfully there is plenty of space in the Sedona for everyone to spread out. Try giving each kid their own row. Or better yet – seat everyone in the front and let mom sprawl out in the back on her own. If all else fails, there is always the Infinity® Surround Sound Audio System with 4 speakers and dash mounted tweeters to drowned out the noise. 

10231 2016 Sedona EX
2016 Sedona EX

We love that Kia has managed to recreate a classic to adapt to the needs of the modern weekend warrior. Functionality doesn’t have to be sacrificed for comfort or aesthetic proving your car should be an extension of your life, wherever it may take you.  

Thank you to Kia Motors America for our ride for the week, the 2016 Kia Sedona. All opinions remain my own.

3 thoughts on “Family Road Trip Ideas: 5 National Parks to Conquer this Summer”

  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!

  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.

  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.


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