1. There is something for everyone.
There are over 400 national parks in the United States encompassing 84 million acres. There are parks with hikes and trails that can range from a light stroll to a more intense adventure. There are those with breathtaking waterfalls and rivers where you can take a dip in fresh spring water or have a picnic while admiring the natural beauty. You can find rocks and trees great for climbing, and wildlife to observe from a safe distance.
2. It’s affordable, and sometimes FREE!
Fees vary depending on where you go, but when you compare it to what you would be spending at a theme park or fair, it’s a no brainer. What is even more awesome is the U.S Government has created an Every Kid Outdoors campaign where all 4th graders get free access to all federal lands and waters. There are also days throughout the year where the National Parks Service offers free entry for everyone. Check them out here.
3. They are educational.
Visiting a park creates a great opportunity to teach and talk with your kids about nature, science, conservation, and history, all while having fun. Many of the parks have local rangers you can chat with and some even give guided tours, classes, and activities.
4. You are supporting conservation.
The National Park Service has spent over 100 years protecting and preserving the biodiversity in the parks. The money you spend to visit each park goes directly to helping them as they work to recover and sustain over 1,000 endangered species that live in the different parks all over the country. You will get to teach your children why it is important to protect land and animals and how they can help make a difference by picking up trash they see and just visiting the park in general.
5. It is great for your kids' health (and yours too!).
Studies have shown that spending time outdoors has a vast range of health benefits. Our bodies NEED time outside and in the sun to make vitamin D, a vitamin that plays a crucial role in many body processes, from bone development to our immune system. Today it is more common to find our kids and ourselves sitting on the couch glued to our tv, phones, or game systems. Visiting a park gives the chance to take a break from technology and reset not only our mental health, but improve physical health as well.
No matter who you are, there are a ton of reasons why visiting a national park with your family is a great idea. We would love to hear about your favorite park to visit. Leave us a comment below and tag us in a photo or video of you exploring the outdoors on Instagram or Facebook @WildlifeTree.