We love to take our kids to the National Parks! In fact, the National Parks are a major reason people travel in masses to our state of Utah. We’ve got the most amazing land that our kids love to explore. In the mid 1800’s, The National Park system was started as a way to preserve “America’s Greatest National Treasures!”. And that’s exactly what we think of them – National Treasures! Every park we’ve been to have been different in their own amazing ways. In the US, there are over 400 National Parks and monuments, so what are you waiting for! Plan your next trip today.
While my kids could tell you a million reasons they love our trips to the parks, we’ve narrowed it down to 5 of the most important reasons we think you should take your kids to them as well.
1) Get outside to connect with Nature
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of being outside with kids. The benefits for kids that connect with the outdoors while they are young go beyond good physical health. They have also found the kids who get outside to be mentally and socially healthier as well. Not to mention, the great source of vitamin D being outside can have.
Unstructured play. Our favorite park for unstructured play in Utah is Goblin Valley. The rock formations created by sandstone resemble little goblins and monsters. The kids love to wander around the unmarked trails and create stories about the ‘rock monsters’. Kids play today is highly structured, and often this is a disadvantage to creativity. Between organized sports, camps, school, church, and after school activities, there is no time left for unstructured play. Getting away to the national parks can foster this creativity once again.
3) Create memories
This picture below is our first trip to Zions National Park. Since that time, we’ve returned at least ten more times. In the National Parks, we almost never have cell service, and now that they are teenagers attached to their phones most days, it’s the perfect environment to keep kids present and engaged with each other. As we walk, hike, & explore, we talk, get to know each other and play fun games, like: Would You Rather. We can play this for hours! For me, I channel my inner Simon & Garfunkel and ask: Would you rather be a sparrow or a snail?
4) Learn about nature
The fascinating thing about National Parks it the miracles of nature! Natural Geysers, formations like arches, caves, glaciers, and volcanoes, the earth is incredibly interesting! Not only do we love this opportunity to talk about science with our kids, but the Parks Jr. Rangers programs helps kids to see these natural wonders you might miss.
5) Before it’s Gone (Before They’re Gone)
With the landscape constantly changing, the treasures in the park won’t be around forever. Glacier’s are retreating, waterfalls are drying up, and coastal tides are encroaching on wildlife. The natural landscape is changing more rapidly than you’d imagine! This book by Michael Lanza from the Big Outside writes about the parks you must see before they change! He tells his story about visiting the endangered National parks with his kids. I would love to have this same adventure with my kids!
So, what are you waiting for! We’re headed to Moab next week over Thanksgiving, hoping to get one more visit in before it’s too cold for me!
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie