Kelsey is a freelance writer based in Southern Virginia. She enjoys traveling with her family to destinations from national parks to amusement parks and loves sharing tips and stories from along the way.
National parks are a wonderful opportunity for people of all ages to experience the beauty and wonder of nature. However, not every park is a perfect choice for families with young kids! Rugged terrain, long distances, or limited services may make some parks more challenging for families with young children to visit. When planning a vacation for your young family, consider skipping these 10 national parks.
10. Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Denali National Park and Preserve is located in Alaska and is home to North America’s highest peak, Denali, which stands at 20,310 feet tall. The park is characterized by its rugged terrain, which includes glaciers, tundra, and mountains. However, families with young children may find it challenging to explore Denali due to the park’s remote location and long distances between attractions. Services and amenities are limited, which can make it difficult for families with young children to access basic necessities such as food and water.
9. Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
Isle Royale National Park is located in the northwest corner of Lake Superior and is home to a variety of wildlife, including moose, wolves, and loons. Visitors can explore the park’s rugged coastline, hike through dense forests, and enjoy scenic boat tours. However, families with young children may find it challenging to explore the park due to the limited access by boat or seaplane. The park’s challenging trails may not be suitable for young children.
8. Joshua Tree National Park, California
Joshua Tree National Park is a desert park located in southeastern California known for its unique rock formations and distinctive Joshua trees. The desert terrain and lack of water sources can make it challenging for families with young children, especially during hot weather.
7. North Cascades National Park, Washington
North Cascades National Park is located in Washington and is characterized by its rugged, mountainous terrain, which includes jagged peaks, glaciers, and dense forests. While the park offers a variety of recreational activities, such as hiking, camping, and fishing, families with young children may find it challenging to explore the park due to its backcountry nature. Many of the park’s trails are steep and may not be suitable for young children who may have difficulty hiking or walking long distances.
6. Olympic National Park, Washington
Olympic National Park is located on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington and is known for its rugged coastline, dense forests, and snow-capped mountains. However, the park’s remote location and challenging terrain mean that it’s not the best choice for families with young children to explore. Many of the park’s trails are rugged – don’t visit with children who have trouble hiking long distances.
5. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park is located in northern Colorado and is home to a variety of wildlife, including elk, bighorn sheep, and black bears. However, you should consider saving this park for when the children are older due to the park’s high altitude, rugged terrain, and unpredictable weather.
4. Saguaro National Park, Arizona
Saguaro National Park is located in southern Arizona and is home to the iconic saguaro cactus. The park’s hot desert climate and lack of shade can make it difficult for families with young children, especially during hot weather. If you do choose to visit with your family, come prepared with plenty of water and sun protection.
3. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park, located in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, is known for its geothermal features, including the Old Faithful geyser, as well as its wildlife, such as bison, wolves, and grizzly bears. It’s an iconic destination, but the park’s size and long distances between attractions can make it challenging for families with young children. The park’s geothermal features can also be dangerous for young children if not approached with caution.
2. Zion National Park, Utah
Zion National Park is located in southwestern Utah and is known for its stunning red rock formations and narrow canyons. The park’s steep trails and narrow canyons can make it difficult for families with young children to explore. Additionally, the park can be crowded during peak season, which can be challenging for families with young children.
1. Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is located in Alaska, north of the Arctic Circle. This remote park offers visitors the opportunity to experience remote wilderness, including vast expanses of tundra, towering mountains, and pristine rivers and lakes. However, it is only accessible by air or by foot, and backcountry travel is required to explore the park, making it a challenge to visit with young children.
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