As a former educator, I looked for every possibility to teach my daughter about history, geography, biology, even culture, and movies. I found that our 423 American National Parks are the perfect classrooms for children, regardless of age. With multiple historical sites and monuments, including battlefields, our National Parks can teach families about the beauty of our nation’s diverse geography and ecosystems and bring our nation’s stories to life.
As you plan your trip, ask yourself what does your family love? Do they prefer the mountains or the beach? Snorkeling or hiking? Camping or history? Or a combination? No matter what the interest, there is literally a national park for it. But since there are close to 300 million people who visit our parks annually, plan accordingly. Off-season trips are better. But if you go in the summer, buy the necessary permits, select your activities, and book your lodging far in advance.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is the world’s First National Park with over 2.2 million acres, larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined. You have Old Faithful, a cone geyser that erupts every 44 minutes to two hours since 2000. If lucky, you can see buffalo, elk, moose, bears, and wolves. It has 300 geysers and one of the world’s largest petrified forests. There are over 290 waterfalls, with the 308' Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River as its showpiece. You can ski, hike, and camp in Yellowstone. Just get those permits early!
Yosemite National Park
This World Heritage Site sits on 1200 square miles in California, surrounded on the southeast by Sierra National Forest and on the northwest by Stanislaus National Forest. It has granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, lakes, mountains, glaciers, and three groves of ancient giant sequoia; the Mariposa Grove, the Tuolumne Grove, and the Merced Grove. El Capitan, a prominent granite cliff that…