10 Favorite National Parks with young kids

By Amanda Dwyer @amanda.t.dwyer

These have been some of our favorite US National Parks during our RV adventure this year

Favorite National Parks with young kids Map

Favorite National Parks with young kids Places

  • Badlands National Park
    • amanda.t.dwyer

      Great park with some fun, kid-friendly hikes. We especially liked the Door Trail: safe-ish way to climb out over the rocks with young kids!

  • Arches National Park
    • amanda.t.dwyer

      Like nothing else we'd ever seen or experienced! We all loved hiking along the Windows Trail (about 1 mile roundtrip) and the kids especially loved Sand Dunes Arch (0.3 miles roundtrip). We went to see the famous Delicate Arch (from the Utah license plate) but only from the easily accessible viewpoint: 3 miles on slippery rocks didn't sound like a great idea with little kids!! This park is also very easy to get to from from downtown Moab.

  • Canyonlands National Park
    • amanda.t.dwyer

      Much less crowded than the Grand Canyon but still spectacular views and more kid-friendly hikes available. We only had time for two: Mesa Arch (about 0.6 mile roundtrip) and Whale Rock (about 1 mile roundtrip). Awesome!

  • Grand Canyon National Park
    • amanda.t.dwyer

      Our first view of this amazing place was at Mather Point. When our daughter kept saying, "Wow, it's so beautiful!", I knew we had found a special park! Because our kids are pretty young (and our youngest is terrible at listening right now), we sadly didn't hike down at all but we did stop at several vista points and then walked around Desert View Watchtower.

  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area
    • amanda.t.dwyer

      Huge area to explore with a great walking path along the road. We loved Lake Mead RV Village. Bonus: short drive to Hoover Dam!

  • White Sands National Park
    • amanda.t.dwyer

      Awesome experience sledding down the sand dunes! Thankfully we were there in January as it must get crazy hot there in the summer.

  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park
    • amanda.t.dwyer

      Our young kids loved the Natural Entrance Trail, a 1.25 mile hike down to the base of the cave and still had some energy left to see some of the Big Room. Thankfully we were only able to take the elevator back up or we might not have gotten out!

  • Hot Springs National Park
    • amanda.t.dwyer

      Great downtown park with lots of access points to touch some hot springs. Loved their Junior Ranger program!

  • Redwood National and State Parks
    • amanda.t.dwyer

      Magical! We were all in awe of these amazing trees. It was simply amazing. Great easy hikes at Fern Canyon, Big Tree Wayside, Trillium Falls Trail and Lady Bird Johnson Grove.

  • Big Bend National Park
    • amanda.t.dwyer

      Lots of great easy hikes for kids, aside from Santa Elena Canyon where our 4 year old started walking backwards towards the cliff's edge! Mountains, deserts, canyons, Rio Grande, dinosaur fossils and more! One of the least-visited parks because it's far from most anything but totally worth the trek! Stay at Roadrunner Travelers RV park in Terlingua. 👍

  • Badlands National Park

    Great park with some fun, kid-friendly hikes. We especially liked the Door Trail: safe-ish way to climb out over the rocks with young kids!

    June 3, 2021
  • Arches National Park

    Like nothing else we'd ever seen or experienced! We all loved hiking along the Windows Trail (about 1 mile roundtrip) and the kids especially loved Sand Dunes Arch (0.3 miles roundtrip). We went to see the famous Delicate Arch (from the Utah license plate) but only from the easily accessible viewpoint: 3 miles on slippery rocks didn't sound like a great idea with little kids!! This park is also very easy to get to from from downtown Moab.

    April 28, 2021
  • Canyonlands National Park

    Much less crowded than the Grand Canyon but still spectacular views and more kid-friendly hikes available. We only had time for two: Mesa Arch (about 0.6 mile roundtrip) and Whale Rock (about 1 mile roundtrip). Awesome!

    April 28, 2021
  • Grand Canyon National Park

    Our first view of this amazing place was at Mather Point. When our daughter kept saying, "Wow, it's so beautiful!", I knew we had found a special park! Because our kids are pretty young (and our youngest is terrible at listening right now), we sadly didn't hike down at all but we did stop at several vista points and then walked around Desert View Watchtower.

    April 19, 2021
  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area

    Huge area to explore with a great walking path along the road. We loved Lake Mead RV Village. Bonus: short drive to Hoover Dam!

    April 12, 2021
  • White Sands National Park

    Awesome experience sledding down the sand dunes! Thankfully we were there in January as it must get crazy hot there in the summer.

    April 12, 2021
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park

    Our young kids loved the Natural Entrance Trail, a 1.25 mile hike down to the base of the cave and still had some energy left to see some of the Big Room. Thankfully we were only able to take the elevator back up or we might not have gotten out!

    April 12, 2021
  • Hot Springs National Park

    Great downtown park with lots of access points to touch some hot springs. Loved their Junior Ranger program!

    April 12, 2021
  • Redwood National and State Parks

    Magical! We were all in awe of these amazing trees. It was simply amazing. Great easy hikes at Fern Canyon, Big Tree Wayside, Trillium Falls Trail and Lady Bird Johnson Grove.

    April 12, 2021
  • Big Bend National Park

    Lots of great easy hikes for kids, aside from Santa Elena Canyon where our 4 year old started walking backwards towards the cliff's edge! Mountains, deserts, canyons, Rio Grande, dinosaur fossils and more! One of the least-visited parks because it's far from most anything but totally worth the trek! Stay at Roadrunner Travelers RV park in Terlingua. 👍

    April 12, 2021