Top 5 National Parks on the West Coast for Families with Young Children

The nationwide network of national parks is one of the greatest treasures the US has to offer. These incredible protected spaces are breathtakingly beautiful and staggeringly diverse, with every landscape on show that you could think of…and a few you might not expect!

Some of the best national parks in the country can be found on the West Coast, and they make an absolutely unbeatable choice for a family vacation, particularly for families with younger children. With gorgeous views, amazing ecosystems, and exciting activities, there is so much for kids to enjoy, as well as the chance to learn a little bit more about the natural world and explore and appreciate the environment they live in. 

So whether you are planning a West Coast road trip or heading off on a Pacific Coast cruise, here are 5 of the best national parks on the West Coast that make ideal vacation destinations for families with young children.

Top 5 National Parks on the West Coast for Families with Young Children

1. Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite is a US icon and a family favorite, thanks to its giant sequoia trees and dramatic granite rock formations. With a wide network of accessible and gentle trails that take you through shady sequoia groves and past towering waterfalls, it is an ideal place to explore with kids. The National Park Service offers a variety of interesting programs for younger explorers, and the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center and Nature Center at Happy Isles offer a range of interactive exhibits aimed at children.

2. Olympic National Park, Washington

If you are looking for something exciting and different then the vast wilderness of Olympic National Park in Washington is the place to go. From towering alpine mountain peaks and a craggy coastline pounded by the wild Pacific Ocean to lush, verdant rainforests, the diversity of this special national park is what makes it such a wonderful place to visit. Kids will be enchanted by the moss-laden trees of the Hoh Rain Forest and will be able to spend hours exploring the tidal pools and sandy shores of Kalaloch Beach. 

3. Redwood National and State Parks, California

Redwoods are the tallest trees on the planet and a trip to Redwood National and State Parks is bound to leave your kids speechless with awe and wonder. Wandering through the shade of the forest surrounded by these stunning giants is a truly magical experience and will fill the whole family with a sense of adventure. You can even take a gondola ride through the forest canopy, soaring high above the trails, something you and your little ones will never forget. 

4. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

The deep blue lake at the bottom of a volcanic caldera is what gives this national park its name, and it is a dramatic and remarkable sight, but there are plenty of other things to attract families to this excellent national park. With a great selection of family-friendly hiking trails, boat tours, and exciting ranger-led programs, a visit to Crater Lake National Park in Oregon is an exceptional opportunity to learn more about the geology and natural history of the West Coast.

5. Joshua Tree National Park, California

The alien, otherworldly desert landscapes of Joshua Tree are genuinely unbelievable, with the bizarre trees and striking rock formations an arresting, almost disconcerting sight to behold. The sheer weirdness of the landscape will delight and fascinate young adventurers, while the surprising diversity is an integral part of the experience. Explore the Cholla Cactus Garden and the Hidden Valley Nature Trail to discover some of the best parts of this delightfully different slice of California.

Top 5 National Parks on the West Coast for Families with Young Children map on Google map

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