By Michael Lanza

America’s national parks preserve over 52 million acres of uniquely beautiful and significant places in nature, and the payoff for that foresight is a lifetime’s worth of unforgettable experiences awaiting us—many of them entirely feasible, safe, and really fun for families with kids of all ages. Here are 10 of the very best national park outdoor adventures to do with kids.

And here’s an insider tip: These adventures aren’t just for families. Adults with a wide range of outdoors experience—or none—will find these trips thrilling, fascinating, and inspirational.

This story describes 10 of the very best adventures my family has taken, many of them personal favorites from among the countless trips I’ve taken over nearly three decades as an outdoors writer, including more than 10 years running this blog and previously 10 years as a field editor for Backpacker magazine.


Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here for my e-guides to classic backpacking trips. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

Each description below offers a suggested minimum age and links to a full feature story at The Big Outside, which include more images and detailed tips on planning each trip (and those stories require a paid subscription to read in full).

I think you’ll find that sharing these unforgettable places and experiences together forge your best memories as a family, as they have for mine. Not surprisingly, all of these trips require planning and making reservations months in advance. See my Custom Trip Planning page to learn how I can help you plan any trip you read about at this blog.

Please share your experiences, questions, and advice on any of these trips, or suggest your own favorite national park family adventures in the comments section at the bottom of this story. I try to respond to all comments.

Two school-age kids standing under the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park.
” data-image-caption=”My kids standing under the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park.
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