6 Camping Destinations That Will Make Your Tech-Loving Kids Ditch Their Screens

You already know that Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon are must-see natural destinations in the USA, but there are so many other places to explore with your family this summer (and they’ll likely be less crowded, too). The kids might balk at first when they realize that where they’re going, there isn’t always Wi-Fi, but once they discover just how much there is to do at these camping locales, they won’t even care (as long as they can take pics to share later on Instagram – which, honestly, is super relatable). Get your tents or RV ready, because this summer, you and the family should hit the road to check out one of these nature destinations.

1. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Skip the more crowded Arches National Park and Zion National Park in Utah in favor of Bryce Canyon National Park. Located in the southeast corner of the state, Bryce Canyon is a certified Dark Sky Park. That means that measures are taken to keep light pollution to a bare minimum, meaning that at night, the stars here are dazzling. Search for constellations with the kids, watch for shooting starts, and try your hand at nighttime photography. Even better? You and the kids can sleep in each morning, since so much of the good stuff here happens at night. During the day, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the colorful canyon, cooler summer temps than most of Utah, and plenty of opportunities for hiking.

2. Acadia National Park, Maine

View this post on Instagram

Park Loop Road Acadia National Park

A post shared by Susan (@iloveacadianationalpark) on

This national park on the coast of Maine, the northeasternmost state in the nation, is a must-visit if you have kids. Located on Mount Desert Island, you can camp out and explore the many lakes, ocean sounds, and beaches of the park, or hike Cadillac Mountain or one of the other 20-or-so mountains that pepper the Mount Desert Island area for great views. If you and the kids get bored of the whole nature thing, you’re just a short drive to the quaint beach town of Bar Harbor, where ice cream, swimming, and sailing abound.

3. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

You get a twofer with these California parks, which are situated right next to one another in central California. When you’re here, there’s one major attraction you’ll want to see: the giant Sequoia trees, which are the world’s largest living organisms. You can see the 275-foot-tall General Sherman Tree (the largest living tree on Earth and the largest living organism on the planet if you go by volume). The family-friendly Big Trees Trail in Sequoia is the perfect place to get up close and personal with these trees and the wildlife that lives among them (this writer once saw TWO BABY BEARS there!), and it’s one of several wheelchair-accessible and stroller-friendly trails in the park. If the trees start to lose their luster, go for a dip in Hume Lake, or enjoy hiking, rock climbing, stargazing, and even horseback riding opportunities in the park.

4. Everglades National Park

Tent camping during the summer can be tricky at Everglades National Park, since it’s the wet season, so this is the perfect opportunity to rent an RV with the family (you’ll be glad for the a/c *and* the protection from mosquitoes at night). Make the first stop of your roadtrip the Everglades. Stretching from Lake Okeechobee to the Florida Bay, the Everglades offers plentiful opportunities for wildlife scouting (crocodiles, orchids, and manatees, oh my!), water activities, bird watching, and biking. The Everglades is the only place on earth where alligators and crocs co-exist, and because of its unique saltwater and freshwater environments, there’s an enormous amount of biological diversity. Keep your kids busy on nature walks and scavenger hunts, take them swimming and kayaking, and then surprise them on the way home with the second stop on your road trip: Disney World.

5. Glacier National Park, MT

Montana’s breathtaking Glacier National Park is a remote northern wonderland so gorgeous, it’s sometimes hard to believe that you’re actually still in the USA. Hike endless miles of unspoiled wilderness (there are more than 700 miles of trail in the park), go swimming or kayaking in shockingly clear glacial lakes, grab a pastry at the old-timey Polebridge Mercantile, or visit the resort town of Whitefish to catch a bite and shop for fossils, semi-precious stones, and outdoor gear downtown. Wildlife in the park includes bears, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, mountain lions, and lynx, so any young animal lover will have plenty to keep an eye out for. Even better are the summer temperatures – you’ll be able to stay nice and cool. That being said, thanks to global warming the park’s two dozen or so active glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, so try to get the family up to see one before it’s too late.

6. Kauai, Hawaii

Imagine looking up at night and seeing this view as you drift off to sleep. That’s just one of the many reasons why Kauai is the perfect family camping destination. The tiny Hawaiian island has more beaches than you could possibly explore and activities for everyone in the family. Make sure you drive (or hike!) to see the gorgeous Na Pali coast on the western side of the island. The views are breathtaking and your kids will feel just like they’re living in a real-world Jurassic Park — minus the scary dinosaurs of course.

All you need now is to brush up on some delicious camping recipes and you’ll be all set for a vacation no one in the family will forget.

Comments