The USA and Canada are fantastic family destinations and the National Parks in both countries are simply fabulous. For those who don’t want the artificial theme park “experience” but rather want to show their kids something of the great outdoors, you can’t really do any better than getting out into the great National Parks.
In the next few posts I’ll be listing some our my best tips for families – I’ll be looking at the Coast Mountains and the Rockies of British Columbia, incredible Yellowstone National Park in Montana and Wyoming and the wonderful Four Corners region – where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah all meet up.
These places are not all automatically thought of as family destinations, yet they all are great for families, and the outdoors offers something new all the time – an adventure that will live on in your kids minds longer than any trip to a theme park is likely to.
Zion National Park:
I took our kids to Zion when they were 4, 8 and 12. The highlight of our trip was the Angels Landing hike. Everything I read on the internet suggested that it would be truly terrifying but nevertheless we decided to give it a try. We started our hike before dawn, as soon as the buses started running into the park – it was July and we wanted to hike when the day was at its coolest. The hike for much of the way is technically very simple – the path is quite steep as it winds its way up in staircase fashion, but there is nothing to do except put one foot in front of another. Our 4-year-old managed just fine. It was only when we reached the actual chains right near the summit that most if the family decided to stop – in the end only I climbed the last section together with Daniel (my 8-year-old) and we found it pretty straightforward. I wouldn’t suggest that someone with vertigo attempt it, but Daniel found it really exciting, and I think that probably any child aged about 6 and up would have managed – the fact is, that the most strenuous section was before the final climb up the chains, and even Eitan aged 4 managed that with ease.
What we did not attempt was The Narrows, the most famous hike in Zion. The reason – sections were about 6 feet deep – and it would have been very difficult with kids. nevertheless, we did come across some families who did hike it, and they floated their kids across some sections wearing life vests. I guess we were not as well prepared as they were!
PS: These days I am planning trips for families to destinations worldwide. Click here for more details.