Daniel Walter Hill offers tip for visiting national parks with children based on his experiences as a child and parent.
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, March 28, 2022 – Daniel Hill’s childhood vacations frequently saw his family visiting a national park on the east coast of the United States. As an adult, he continued the tradition and his travels expanded to the west coast. Now that he is parent, Hill is fostering a love of nature in his children with park visits of their own.
He reports traveling to national parks with children is a wonderful experience, and it can be made even more enjoyable with a bit of preplanning.
Daniel Hill discusses researching parks
Many national parks feature a variety of activities and areas designed to make visits more engaging for children of various ages. Some even have special trails or guided activities designed for families, while others offer special story hours and programming for children. Use FindYourPark.com to search parks for children’s programs or even choose the next destination based on its options.
Make trips interactive
The National Parks Service maintains a Junior Ranger program with web integration and printable booklets featuring fun activities for children to incorporate on a park visit. Successfully completing either independently or as a family team provides the opportunity to earn badges and patches to take home as a memento. For visitors charting a path across the country, Daniel Walter Hill says this is a great way to forge connections with each location.
Create a flexible time budget
Planning ahead is great, but Daniel Hill reports the only thing you can count on when traveling with kids is that you can’t count on anything. Temporary sickness, a bad day of crankiness and more can be accommodated with a flexible schedule designed to feature more low-key moments. Opt for a guided tour on a less tense day toward the start of the trip and save days for unwinding with gentle hikes and lots of unstructured play.
Recognize enjoyment differs for everyone
For many adults, there is often an end goal or destination associated with a hike, climb or excursion. Daniel Walter Hill says it’s important for parents to remember to stop and smell the roses and acknowledge that the journey is often as interesting to children as the ending. Be patient about stopping to look at squirrels, explore random stones, and, occasionally, soothe tension or fears. Letting children experience nature in their own way is the best way to cultivate a lifelong appreciation. As kids grow, their interests evolve, and so will future family adventures.
Incorporate other activities
Helping children cultivate other hobbies is a great way to increase their enjoyment of the outdoors. For Daniel Hill, an existing passion for photography joined with his family’s love of outdoor travels to create an enthusiasm for wildlife photography. Sketching, journaling, photography, videography, recording sounds, bird watching, hiking, bicycling and more are all opportunities to mesh park visits with hobbies to create a more dynamic and memorable vacation for children and adults. For younger kids, less ambitious options like coloring and exploring related storybooks can serve as a bridge as interests develop.