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Many people associate New Jersey with the northeastern-most cities—and the Jersey Shore. A day hike up Mt. Minsi is moderate and yields panoramic views into the 1,foot deep water gap and across the river toward Mt. The Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument contains caves that have been used as shelters by nomadic peoples for thousands of years.

The Best National Park in Every State

Rooms have been built, pottery has been made, and families have been raised in these cliffs as peoples of different cultures came and went. The park service offers educational tours of the dwellings as well as bird watching, nature walks, and wildlife viewing tours. Backpackers and horseback riders will not be disappointed either, as the monument lies within the Gila Wilderness, an square-mile designated wilderness area that was the first in the country.

Historians may want to visit one of the many historic sites or museums such as the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, while outdoor enthusiasts may prefer rock climbing in the Shawnagunks or hiking in the Catskills. The Hudson River Valley also boasts farmers markets, upscale restaurants, and impressive art and sculpture exhibitions.

Adventure-seekers may want to take a few days to explore the Shining Rock wilderness area in the Pisgah National Forest, which can be accessed via the Graveyard Fields trailhead. The Art Loeb Trail traverses a few significant peaks and balds over the 6,foot mark, and should not be overlooked. Many know the story of Lewis and Clark, but are unaware that the tale involved so much more than these two pioneers.

The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, which stretches across the north-central and northwestern part of the country toward the Pacific Ocean, beckons visitors to walk the path of many women and men alike, including servicemen, scientists, and Native Americans. The trail can be followed by car, bicycle, or boat, as many roads parallel the route and are marked accordingly. Located in close proximity to Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park gives visitors the opportunity to escape the daily grind of urban life and immerse themselves in nature.

Thriving with diverse plants and wildlife, this park is full of beautiful forests, meandering rivers, rolling hills, and farmland. Take the kids on a vintage train ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, or hike through one of the flowering meadows on a stretch of the miles of trails that can be found within the park boundaries. Fisherman, boaters, and swimmers alike will find what they are looking for at Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Oklahoma. Visitors find ample opportunities to cool down in the natural springs, streams, and lakes of the park. Although popular and often crowded, Little Niagara is a great swimming hole to spend an afternoon at.

Deep, impossibly dark blue waters have collected in the crater of an active volcano from pure rainfall and snowmelt over thousands of years. Today, Crater Lake National Park boasts, at 1, feet, the deepest and cleanest lake in the country, as there are no inlets or outlets to allow for contamination. The best views of the lake can be accessed from vistas along East and West Rim Drive, as well as from points that can be reached during one of many day hikes.

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The solitude of this park in the wintertime is like no other, and cross-country skiers and snowshoers should not miss an opportunity to experience it. Gettysburg National Park, located in south-central Pennsylvania, is the site of arguably the most consequential battle of the Civil War.


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After a big success in the Shenandoah Valley, General Lee of the Confederate Army pushed north only to be stopped dead in his tracks at Gettysburg. Today, visitors can almost hear the haunting cries of soldiers fighting on the preserved battlefields. Join an educational tour at this park, or watch a reenactment of the battle.

Visitors are welcome to explore the small towns and villages of the valley, which are full of farmers markets, hiking trails, history, and outdoor recreation. Consider taking a tour of the Blackstone Canal, which is responsible for many mills and subsequent mill villages along the river. Congaree National Park, covering 26, acres of South Carolina, is home to the largest old-growth forest in the southeastern United States.

The Congaree and Wateree Rivers flow through the park, helping to sustain one of the highest deciduous tree canopies in the world. Over half of the park is designated wilderness area, so backpackers and hikers will have no problem finding untouched backcountry. There are also ample sites for camping, hiking, canoeing, and bird watching. Rushmore is by no means the only worthwhile destination in the frequently overlooked state of South Dakota. Punctuating the fairly flat state, the Badlands contain rock formations that have resulted from millions of years of deposition and erosion.

The Badlands Loop Road is beloved by photographers and a perfect entry point for day hikes. Vistors to this park may be lucky enough to spot bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, bison, and black-footed ferrets. The Sage Creek Wilderness Area is well separated from the crowds. Known for the plumes of fog that build up in the valleys between the mountains—settling like smoke over the peaks—the Smokies are teeming with plant and animal life as well as southern culture.

Car-bound families will find miles of paved and unpaved roads to explore, while those willing to stray a bit further from the beaten path will find beautiful wilderness. There are plenty of bare summits here that offer panoramic views of the area, including Gregory Bald, Rocky Top, and Andrews Bald. A powerful river cutting deep into the limestone, breaking up the monotonous desert landscape, is what draws travelers from around the world to this part of Texas.

Inclusive of an impressive , acres, Big Bend National Park has everything from mountains to arid desert. Backpackers may want to consider exploring the Chisos Mountains, as there are forty-two designated backcountry sites to choose from. Zion National Park in southern Utah is arguably the most beautiful park in the state. With sandstone cliffs jutting out of the valley in a desert-like landscape, visitors to the park will be impressed as they come around every bend.

For those willing to set off by foot, attempt the Narrows: a slot canyon hike that requires hiking across a river. While this can be a refreshing trail in the summer heat, pay close attention to the weather forecast. Explore the New England forests filled with sugar maple and hemlock, old fire roads, and Green Mountain pastures in this National Historic Park. Best known for its foliage, fall is a great time to take a hike up Mount Tom or one of the many other gentle peaks. The annual Trek to Taste takes place at the beginning of June and focuses on local food, hiking, and general wellness.

For those that enjoy the outdoors during all weather and seasons, this is an incredible place to explore in the winter via ski or snowshoe. Black bears, deer, and other wildlife roam through the mountains and valleys, drink from the streams and waterfalls, and hide in the hardwood forests that are inclusive of this park.

Skyline Drive is a meandering scenic road that runs north to south and boasts countless scenic pull-offs. Hikers will love the technical and strenuous Old Rag hike, which affords great views at its pinnacle, although it is the busiest and most popular in the park. Acres of old growth forests, miles of rocky coastline, lush rainforests, and glacier-capped peaks all contribute to the spectacular diversity and remoteness that this park offers those willing to venture deep into it.

Call of the Wild: Parents' 10 Best National Parks For Families

In order to truly experience this park to its fullest potential, visitors should be willing to lace up their hiking boots and spend some time working their way into the depths of its wilderness. New River, which cuts through the New River Gorge in Kentucky, is amongst one of the oldest on earth. The New River Gorge is the deepest and longest in the Appalachian Mountains, and has plenty of accessible trails to explore.

With 21 islands, 12 miles of national lakeshore, and plenty of lighthouses guarding the shores of Lake Superior, hikers, paddlers, sailors, and fisherman will all enjoy the Apostle Island National Lakeshore. Kayaking is one of the best ways to explore the islands and surrounding sea caves, and outfitters are readily available in the area. Those interested in fishing will have an opportunity to catch a large variety of trout and salmon. Be aware that weather around the lake can change with little to no notice, so it is important to be prepared for diverse conditions.

Rugged slabs of rock speckled with glaciers and snowfields protrude through the clouds, and shield the entry to Grand Teton National Park.


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  • Located just south of Yellowstone, this park is often overlooked and is not nearly as accessible as its neighbor. Alpine lakes and steep summits also make it a great winter destination. Jackson Hole, located on the southern edge of the park, is one of the biggest skiing destinations in the country.

    U.S.A. - The West (USA) Vacation Travel Video Guide

    By Josh Laskin May 19, Pin ellipsis More. Image zoom. Claimed as their own by both democrats and republicans, Abraham Lincoln saved the Union and reshaped our Republic. Under Lincoln, slavery was abolished, and the United States of America took a huge step toward equality for all. The National Park Service maintains and preserves the home of Lincoln so that visitors can see where the 16th and arguably one of the most important presidents lived.

    Located in downtown Springfield, the home has been open to the public since and continues to allow visitors to take tours through the bedroom house. Over 1, years ago, thousands of mounds of earth were constructed across parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois by more than 20 different Native American tribes.

    Best National Park Adventures for Kids - National Geographic

    At least of these have been preserved and can be found at the Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa. Wander through one of the most beautiful places in the Upper Mississippi River Valley while trying to find recognize the animals that inspired the non-uniform mounds think: lynx, bison, birds, and bears. Out of respect for the culture and history of this sacred site, the mounds are accessible only by foot. With over miles of explored cave system, Mammoth is the longest known cave in the U.

    Visitors to the park can enjoy surface and subsurface exploration, canoeing the Green River, hiking, camping, and horseback riding. Spanning the southeastern coast of Mississippi and into the panhandle of Florida, the Gulf Island National Seashore encompasses both parts of the mainland as well as the islands. The blue-green waters of the gulf, and 4, acres of designated wilderness area draw millions of visitors each year. Many families spend four or five nights in Yellowstone and two or three in Grand Teton.


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    • Each cabin comes with four bunks they have mattresses; you supply the bedding. If you don't want to "rough it," consider staying at the Jackson Lake Lodge, which has its own heated swimming pool. Thanks to the colorful leaves on the plus species of trees, the park looks like a rainbow when you drive through in mid-October to early November. Hop on the Little River Road near the Sugarlands Visitor Center, and take in the scenery for 25 miles to the open valley of Cades Cove; your kids may spot deer, coyotes, groundhogs, and turkeys.

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      Follow the short Cades Cove Nature Trail to see waterfalls. On Tuesdays in the summer, a ranger dresses in a blacksmith costume and invites kids in groups of eight to put on an apron, goggles, and gloves to learn what a blacksmith did years ago. Consider coming midweek, especially if you're headed there in the fall.