You stock the cooler with snacks and beverages, pack the car until it nearly overflows, and lather on sunscreen. Preparation for a beach trip is hectic on its own, and large crowds of people often take away from the experience.
Maybe a national park is more your style?
There’s fresh air, the smell of trees and an opportunity to be one with nature. If you still need some convincing, here are seven reasons why your family should visit a national park for spring break.
ConvenienceNational parks are all over the country. Heck, there might even be one down the street from your house. OK, maybe not that close, but there are more than 400 registered national parks in the U.S.
You and your family can visit a national park for a day or an entire week. It’s easy to sign up for a campground in advance online, or if you’re just stopping by for a day, you can simply pay at entry.
VersatilityEvery park has a personality; you just have to find one that’s right for your family.
The Great Smoky Mountains are more relaxing, while Denali is a bit more adventurous. They both offer a wide variety of activities—swimming, hiking, fishing, and more.
It’s not only the parks themselves that are versatile, though. Should you and your family decide to go camping at a national park, there are different styles of camping to match your family’s comfort level.
AffordabilityCompared to flight tickets, hotel stays and other typical spring break costs, visiting a national park can save your family some serious cash. A day pass to visit any national park is $20 while an annual pass is only $80.
Renting a campsite can be as cheap as $15 a night. Additionally, there’s a good chance you or someone close to you has some camping gear stored away, so you shouldn’t have to spend much.
NatureWe really shouldn’t have to sell you on this—it’s nature.
From the Grand Canyon to Old Faithful, national parks have some of the most coveted natural landmarks in the country. There are 76,000 archeological sites and nearly 2,500 national historic landmarks.
National parks are also home to some of the most stunning landscapes. The Redwood National Park in California has the tallest trees on Earth, and over 2,000 natural stone arches live at Arches National Park in Utah.
Learning OpportunitiesDue to diverse landscapes, national parks are home to a plethora of wildlife. They are also home to historical trails and ancient archaeological sites past presidents, poets and soldiers have traveled across. So, while other kids will be lounging in the sand or sitting on the couch, your child will be soaking up history, science and more at a national park.
The National Park Service has worked for 100 years protecting the biodiversity in the parks. They work to sustain and recover over 1,000 populations of endangered species.
You can feel good as a parent knowing your child will learn about conservation. What’s more, the money you spend helps the National Park Services with these efforts.
HealthToo many spring break vacations are filled with technology and inactivity. Visiting a national park will give you and your kids a much-needed break from electronics. Not only will the variety of outdoor activities be good for your family’s mental health, but it will keep everyone physically active, too.
- 6 Spring Activities for Outdoor Enthusiasts
- 9 National Parks to Visit With Your Kids
- Best National Parks to Pitch a Tent
Find activities for your ACTIVEkids.