Our National Park Bucket List

The National Park Bucket List

If you’re planning on traveling to see the National Parks with your kids, you’re not alone. We’ve been working on our National Park bucket list for a few years now.

The National Park Bucket list seems so long when you type it all out. You wouldn’t think there would be so many, but trust me when I say that our country is full of amazing places. I will be linking to blog posts about each of these parks as I write about our adventures traveling to see them. We have visited a few of these parks more than once as we lived in CA for almost 6 years and have driven across the country three times and did one large loop (over 20k miles) from June of 2018 to August of 2019.

Want to read about all of our travels? Be sure to click the WANDER tab in the menu.

national park bucket list

Parks we have seen but have not written about yet are PURPLE, parks we have seen and have written about will be TEAL and you can click them to read more.

• Acadia
• American Samoa
Arches – 2018
Badlands – 2019
• Big Bend
• Biscayne
• Black Canyon
• Bryce Canyon
• Canyonlands
• Carlsbad Caverns
• Channel Islands
• Congaree
Crater Lake -2019
Cuyahoga Valley
• Death Valley
• Denali
• Dry Tortugas
• Everglades
• Gates of the Arctic
Glacier – 2019
Grand Canyon – 2018
Grand Teton – 2018
• Great Basin
• Great Sand Dunes
Great Smoky Mountains
• Guadalupe Mountains
• Haleakala
• Hawaii Volcanos
• Hot Springs
• Isle Royale
• Joshua Tree
• Katmai
• Kenji Fjords
Kings Canyon -2013
• Kobuk Valley
• Lake Clark
Lassen Volcanic
• Mammoth Cave
• Mesa Verde
• Mount Rainer
• North Cascades
• Olympic
Petrified Forest – 2019
• Redwood
• Rocky Mountain – 2018
• Saguaro
Sequoia – 2013
• Shenandoah
• Theodore Roosevelt
• Virgin Islands
• Voyageurs
• Wind Cave
• St. Elias
Yellowstone – 2018
Yosemite – 2013
Zion – 2018

Why a National Park Bucket List?

I have to admit that until we moved to California in 2013, seeing all of the National Parks wasn’t on our radar. We moved to the central valley and the first thing we did when we flew in was go up to see the Kings Canyon NP and Sequoia NP. A few weeks later we went up to Yosemite and I was hooked. Despite having seen so many NPs over the years since then, I am still of the opinion that Yosemite is the jewel in the crown. Once you see it, you have to know if all of the others are as moving.

Having lived out West and wondering why so many people reference “out West” when they talk about long travel plans, one of the things you’re going to notice right away is that most of the parks are, in fact, out West. Once you get to the Rocky Mountain range the variety of land ranging from complete wetland to arid desert will completely blow your mind.

Trust me when I say, after having driven across the country three times, there is just as much beauty in other parts of the country too – the Appalachian mountain range can’t go without a mention. The hills of Montana and Wyoming are the definition of God’s Country. Such a wide variety that would be a shame to miss. I didn’t realize this until we moved within driving distance of three National Parks. I hope that the images I share on this blog will encourage you to explore it for yourself. One life.

My One National Park Travel Regret

I have regrets about our traveling the National Parks. We did it to fast. I should have put the baby in the carrier and packed a days worth of food and hiking boots at every park. Glacier, Yellowstone, Yosemite – all so much to see and I know we didn’t see it all (yes, even though we racked up at least 30 visits to Yosemite).

I know that there are many people who can’t take the time to spend a week or two at every National Park, but I realize that I need to make the time. Right now I am promising myself a do-over. Starting in August, my plan is to leave our of our Winter hold-up in Ohio and head Northeast, adding Cuyahoga and Arcadia for the Fall leaves before heading South to stop at a few landmarks and monuments before heading South.

National Monuments

I honestly believe that there are several National Monuments that are a must-see and are overlooked by those who are traveling the NP circuit.
• Walnut Canyon – 2019
• American Museum of Natural History – 2018
• Petroglyphs -2019
• Meteor Crater -2019

Check out our list of other amazing things we have explored here.

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