5 Family-Friendly Hikes in National Parks
For families, this is the ideal time to build great memories and instill a love of nature, activity and being outdoors. But hiking with children can be tough; the trail can't be too long, or too steep—but should still be enough of a challenge to prevent boredom.
Always be sure to take enough water and snacks for everyone—you can never have too many snacks when kids are involved. Wear sturdy footwear to make the hike more enjoyable and dress in warm layers on colder days. But most importantly, have fun!
Acadia National Park1 of 6
With 41 miles of rugged shoreline and the highest point on the North Atlantic seaboard (Cadillac Mountain), Acadia National Park is a popular destination. Take the hour-long hike along the Acadia Mountain Trail to the short peak of Acadia Mountain, where you'll peer down at the lobster boats anchored in Southwest Harbor and witness the magnificent meeting of mountains and sea. The hike is just the right length for every member of the family.
Arches National Park2 of 6
A red-rocked desert landscape that looks more like Mars than Earth, Arches National Park in Utah is a must-see. The stone arches are breathtaking at any age, and the hike to Delicate Arch—the park's main attraction—offers an awesome view of the La Sal Mountains in the distance.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park3 of 6
The most visited national park, the Great Smoky Mountains offer a wide range of experiences for any age. As you trek through the Smokies—feeling small among the trees—be sure to refresh your tired feet in the many waterfalls throughout the park.
Yellowstone National Park4 of 6
Yellowstone was the very first National Park. It has a wealth of hiking options, but some are too treacherous or strenuous for short-legged children. However, you can still enjoy the geysers, wildlife and amazing scenery with countless short hikes for the whole family to enjoy.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore5 of 6
If you enjoy blending the rugged outdoors with sandy beaches, you'll enjoy this remote national park in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Beachside cliffs and tree-lined shores stretch for 40 miles along Lake Superior in this national park. From camping to hiking to kayaking, there's something for the whole family to enjoy.