Why You Should Explore Our National Parks And What You Need If You Go!

July 14, 2018

This post may contain affiliate links. By shopping through these links, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
Thank you for your support!

I don't know about you, but taking the time to explore our nation's national parks is one of our family's favorite things to do while on vacation! In fact, it's usually the highlight of any trip we take! Our boys love exploring each park, and I love that they learn so much from the wonderful park rangers and all that they offer at the visitor's centers. From exploring volcanic rock at Sunset Crater to hiking up to the waterfall at Yosemite, there are so many wonderful memories created as a family -- not to mention the breath-taking photos to be taken!

Speaking of which, because I mentioned these particular locations, here's Sam at Sunset Crater...

If you haven't been to Yosemite, I highly encourage you to make a trip!

Here's a rare photo of my husband and me, ha.

The bright sun hindered a better family photo, but nevertheless, they loved the view!

My favorite from that trip...

I could go on and on about all the National Parks we've visited over the years -- living in the Southwest for awhile has allowed us to be close to several great ones! However, rather than reading all about where we've been, I encourage you to take a weekend and go explore one with your family. The memories created are priceless!

This guy still talks about his time at Yellowstone!

If you're considering taking that trip, there are two things you need if you go!

1.) Annual Pass

If you're considering taking a trip, be sure to grab an annual pass. If you check out more than a couple parks a year, it more than pays for itself! Living on the west coast, we always make sure to have a pass on hand, as we never know what national park we might run across. In fact, we live very close to a national forest and our NPS pass covers the entrance fees there, too! 

Even better...

If you happen to have a 4th grader in the house, your family qualifies for a FREE pass! Thanks to Every Kid In A Park, there's an amazing opportunity provided to all U.S. 4th graders that you really can't pass up!

If you have a child in the 4th grade, they're eligible to receive a FREE National Park Pass! (Available for the duration of the school year) It's NPS' way of encouraging kids to go out and explore what our beautiful country has to offer with their family. There are so many amazing national parks with unique treasures -- I love that this offer is available!

If you're eligible, be sure to click the image above to sign up for your free pass!

My oldest son is just now entering the 2nd grade in the fall, but if this deal is still around in 2 years, we'll most definitely be signing up! I love that they offer this!

2.) National Park Passport

Along with having an annual pass, if you're now considering taking a trip to one our national parks, I have to say, there's something fun and educational that every kid should have!

To be honest, I had never heard of this Passport until a couple years ago when we were visiting our nation's capital. My aunt lives nearby and toured the sights with us that day and encouraged us to get one for our boys. I'm SO glad she did! Ever since then, our boys excitedly look for all the stamp stations at each national park that we visit.

Here's an example of the inside of our Passport  It's sectioned off by regions with plenty of room for all of your stops...

On a few occasions, we have forgotten our Passport on a trip, so we have stamped scrap paper to later tape in the book. Either way, it's a highlight for our boys and they absolutely love it! I love that it helps in making learning fun! They love to look through it to see where they've been and they will excitedly tell us where all we still need to go, ha! It's such a fun little addition to each national park visit!

Here's an example of when we've needed to tape the tape into the book after having forgotten it on a trip...

Whether you're 3 or 38, it's a fun little addition to each visit. As you can see, the boys go to town with those stamps, ha!

I'll leave you with this sweet photo. While in Canyonlands National Park, Sam asked if he could take a few photos with my good camera. When I turned around, it looked like he was interviewing Caleb -- who, of course, was holding on to his Passport! Ha!

If you've been to a few, which national park was your favorite? Each region has such beautiful sites to see. I think it's almost too hard to decide!

You Might Also Like