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The U.S. National Parks System turns 100 this year so now is as good a time as any to visit. But with 59 National Parks in the U.S. to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is just right for a family vacation. These seven all have kid-friendly activities that are sure to be a hit with the entire family. Plus, fourth graders get into National Parks for free all year long through the “Every Kid in a Park” initiative.

Also: The seven coolest campgrounds at U.S. National Parks

Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns

See bats take flight at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

What’s more exciting than seeing several hundred thousand bats flying out of a cave? At Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, the bats exit at sunset as visitors watch in awe. Creepy, but cool. As far as Cavern exploration goes, the most kid-friendly tours include Kings Palace, Left Hand Tunnel and Slaughter Canyon Cave.

Airboat in the Everglades

Airboat in the Everglades

Ride an airboat in Everglades National Park, Florida

Zip along the water and grasslands of the Everglades in a 30-minute narrated airboat tour while viewing local wildlife, including alligators, crocodiles and manatees. This fast-paced boat ride will thrill kids. There are many tour operators, but the one hosted by Everglades Safari Park, 30 miles west of Miami, also includes an interactive alligator show and visit to an alligator farm.

Half Dome in Yosemite National Park

Half Dome in Yosemite National Park

Ice Skate in Yosemite National Park, California

Ice skating outdoors is always a fun winter activity for kids, but at Half Dome Village Ice Skating Rink it happens under moonlit Half Dome making it a majestic experience. Afterwards, the family can warm up by the fire pit while making s’mores.

Sunrise at Haleakala National Park

Sunrise at Haleakala National Park

View the sunrise at Haleakala National Park, Hawaii

Sitting on the top of a 10,000-foot high volcano in Maui and watching the sun rise over a sea of white clouds is worth dragging the kids out of bed at 4 a.m. Just be sure to borrow some blankets from the hotel because the temperature is usually below freezing at dawn. For those looking for adventure, coast back down via bicycle.

Old Faithful Yellowstone National Park

Old Faithful Yellowstone National Park | Flickr CC: star5112

Predict Old Faithful’s eruption at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Planning to visit Yellowstone? Kids will love trying to predict the next eruption of Old Faithful utilizing a formula on the nps.gov website. After all, add a little learning to vacation is always a good idea.

Sandboarding at the Great Sand Dunes National Park

Sandboarding at the Great Sand Dunes National Park | Flickr CC: Great Sand Dunes National Park

Sandboard at Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Strap on a sandboard at this sandy National Park and slide down the tallest dunes in North America. Board rentals are available prior to entering the park. Then, cool of with a dip (or skimboarding) inMedano Creek.

Tunnel Log in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Tunnel Log in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Hike among giants in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, California

Located in Northern California, this park has hundreds of miles of hiking trails that wind through Sequoia forests. The 2/3-mile Big Trees Trail offers a wooden boardwalk and flat terrain, which is perfect for small children.

Orbitz Rewards

Tagged: California, Florida, Hawaii, National Parks, Uncategorized

Note: Orbitz compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Sharael Kolberg | FamilyTravelChannel.com
​Sharael, founder of Family Travel Channel (familytravelchannel.com), has been writing about travel since 1995. Her work has appeared in Sunset magazine, Outside magazine, ForbesTravelGuide.com, MSN.com, and many others. Follow her on Twitter @FamTravChannel, FB and Instagram @FamilyTravelChannel. See more of her work at Sharael.com.
Sharael Kolberg | FamilyTravelChannel.com

@famtravchannel

Where to stay, where to eat, and what to do once you arrive. Follow me on Instagram @familytravelchannel. #familytravel #travelblogger #influencer
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