Now that school's out, there's no better time to for kids to spend extra time with their grandparents who may not have the chance to see them as much as they'd like during the rest of the year. Spending time with grandma and grandpa is not only fun for the kids, it has some scientifically-proven benefits for the grandparents.
While it may be fun to bake treats, create crafts and engage in other indoor activities to avoid the sweltering heat, it can be equally fun to venture outdoors granted you have a solid plan and are properly dressed for the activity you're taking part in.
This summer switch things up by taking your grandkids to places they have never been before like one of the many stunning national parks our country has to offer. You can take this opportunity to teach the little ones all about nature in between all the fun moments and create lasting memories.
The incredible thing about nature is that no matter how often you've seen a particular place, your perspective will change depending on who you're with so your grandkids could help you see it a whole new light.
Kids will never say no to a road trip, gather your outdoor gear and so plan a fun camping weekend at some of the best kid-friendly national park campgrounds in the country. If you have as many grandchildren as I do, you could always consider getting a California rental party bus for a perfect way to transport a group of people.
1. Yosemite National Park
Located in California, Yosemite National Park boasts one of the most beautiful landscapes in the U.S. The park has 13 campgrounds that are available all year round. You'll need to make reservations if you plan on setting up camp because even the first-come, first-serve areas fill up earlier in the day. You visit the park's website for more information.
2. Grand Canyon National Park
Your grandchildren will have so many stories to tell their friends after they set their sights on the magnificent Grand Canyon situated in the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. The park draws over 5 million visitors every year who are on a mission to admire its gorgeous waterfalls and whitewater raft through the mighty Colorado River. As for camping with children, the South Rim is recommended as it is open all year and easier to access. However, since it is very busy during the summer months, campgrounds fill up quickly. You can explore lodging and campground options here.
3. Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is the world's first national park that extends from Wyoming to Montana and Idaho. The park spans 2.2 million acres and encompasses hundreds of waterfalls, hydrothermal features, wildlife and the iconic Rocky Mountains. You and the grandkids can spend the night sharing stories, roasting marshmallows and stargazing at one of the park's 12 campgrounds. Reservations are recommended to ensure you have a spot for your tent.
Continue onto the next page to see more gorgeous parks your grandchildren will love to camp at.
4. Arches National Park
Unlike the parks listed above, Utah's Arches National Park is easier to access and the trails are shorter so you both you and your grandchildren won't have to worry about wasting all of your energy in one section of the park. Hike your way up to the world's most photographed arch, Delicate Arch, to watch the sunset then make your way to one of the park's 50 campground sites including the popular Devils Garden.
5. Haleakala National Park
This gorgeous park in Hawaii offers an incredible sunrise which can be viewed from the top of the famous Haleakala Crater. Just gather the kids and hop into your car for a scenic two hour drive to the top for the incredible panoramic view. The park includes 2 car accessible campgrounds, Kipahulu and Hosmer Grove, both of which have BBQ grills, picnic tables and pit toilets. Here's some more information about the facilities.
6. Shenandoah National Park
This park near the nation's capital may not be as talked about as the rest but it is just as scenic. Shenandoah is park of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is a very popular destination for families. Kids will love the blue-tinted mountains along the Skyline Drive as well as the majestic waterfalls and the Luray Caverns. The park has 4 campgrounds but only 3 will be open for the 2017 season. Seniors who hold Interagency Senior/Access passes and Golden Age/Access can enjoy a 50% discount on their camping fees. For more details, visit the website here.
7. Everglades National Park
There's more to Florida than Disney. The state is also home to Everglades National Park, the largest subtropical wilderness area in the country. Kids will love the variety of animals they'll be able to spot including alligators, Florida panthers and manatees. For the ultimate experience, board an airboat or rent a bike to access areas around the park that are hard to reach on foot. If that isn't enough for your eager grandkids, take them on a bird-watching tour or a canoe ride. There are plenty of frontcountry and backcountry camping options at Everglades. Wet season spans from June to November so you may consider using an RV instead of a tent. Here's some more information.