Recently updated on July 19th, 2023 at 09:08 am
Ready to reconnect with nature? Whether you’re a family that loves the beach, the mountains or somewhere in between, the United States and Canada have a natural playground for everyone. From spotting incredible wildlife like grizzly bears to seeing the most iconic natural wonders like the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone’s geysers, here are seven of the best places in the USA and Canada where your family can get back to the great outdoors.
1. For glaciers, moose and bears: the Canadian Rockies
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; the Canadian Rockies is one of the most extraordinary places on earth, making it one of the best places in Canada for families to experience nature. From the snowy peaks to the electric turquoise lakes and the lush forests filled with wildlife, this is nature at its best. Spanning across Alberta and British Columbia provinces, the Rockies offer plenty of family fun.
Hit the beautiful national parks like Banff, Jasper and Yoho to go hiking among waterfalls, meadows and ancient glaciers. Drive along the Icefields Parkways for mesmerizing views and stop for picnics and photos along the way. You can even go kayaking on the sparkling lakes or take a gondola ride to admire the panoramic mountain views. A family trip to the Canadian Rockies is sure to ignite a lifelong love of the great outdoors.
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2. For turtles, beaches and volcanoes: Hawaii
There are few better places for families to get up close to nature than Hawaii. Learn how to surf in Honolulu or marvel at the black sand and Hawaiian green sea turtles of Punalu’u Beach on the Big Island. Visit the thrilling Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and learn about the island’s fascinating geology. Go snorkeling to meet manta rays, go for a trail walk to discover the stunning Kohala Waterfalls or spot dolphins at Lanai Island. With pristine beaches and unique wildlife on every island, Hawaii is one big natural playground for families.
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3. For hot springs and iconic wildlife: Yellowstone National Park, Montana
Yellowstone is the oldest national park in the United States, first opened all the way back in 1872. It’s also one of the best places in the USA for families to reconnect with nature. Set mostly in Wyoming, the park encompasses over 2.2 million pristine acres. You can spot incredible wildlife such as bison, elk and bears from designated viewing areas and go on guided hikes through the ancient forests and vast canyons. You also can’t miss the geothermal jewels of Yellowstone – the spouting geysers. You’ll see turquoise hot springs, bubbling mud pots and spouting geysers, including the renowned Old Faithful geyser where you can watch its waters arc high into the air.
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4. For astonishing rock formations and desert: Arches National Park, Utah
Whether you’ve got a budding geologist in your family or you simply love incredible natural landscapes, you’ve got to put Arches National Park on your list. Located in southeastern Utah, Arches offers up the unique opportunity to get up close to its otherworldly sandstone arches and desert landscapes. There are over 2,000 documented arches, including the famous Delicate Arch, and it’s a fascinating place to learn about the magic of Mother Nature. Take your pick of easy trails and challenging hikes and walk to Double Arch, Landscape Arch or Turret Arch. Admire the spectacular vistas and learn all about the park’s amazing ecosystem.
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5. For hiking, biking and skiing: Whistler, British Columbia
If your family loves to get active in nature, you’ll adore Whistler. This world-class ski destination sits in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia in Canada… But it’s so much more than just skiing. You can take a ride on the world record-breaking Peak 2 Peak Gondola to take in the most spectacular views of snowy peaks, crystal-clear lakes and dense forests. Next, get immersed in these landscapes and go hiking and biking through over 50km of beautiful trails. You can even go for a bike ride on the paved valley trail or the famous single-track network at the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. Whatever you go for, Whistler promises to be the ultimate family bonding destination.
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6. For waterfalls and ancient forests: Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite National Park is another icon of the US National Parks and one of the very best places in the USA where families can get immersed in nature. With breathtaking landscapes and abundant wildlife, it’s a remarkable place for families to connect with nature. Set in California, you’ll see giant, ancient sequoia trees, cascading waterfalls, wildflower meadows, and towering granite cliffs. Be sure to see the most famous landmarks like El Capitan, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls. Then take your pick of activities from hiking and rock climbing to stargazing at night. Your family is sure to fall in love with Yosemite and its brilliant nature.
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7. For record-breaking panoramas: Grand Canyon, Arizona
If you want to see the best of nature in the American Southwest, you can’t miss the Grand Canyon. As one of the Natural Wonders of the World, its sheer size and beauty are unparalleled. Anyone who visits here is sure to leave with a profound appreciation for the powers of nature. Carved out by the Colorado River millions of years ago, you can go right down to the canyon floor to learn about the unique ecology of the Grand Canyon. You can also go hiking and white-water rafting, try out your photography skills at sunset, or wait until night falls to go stargazing. If you want to get the best views, you could even take an unforgettable helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon. It’s a trip your family will talk about for years to come.
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What are your best places in the USA to enjoy a nature travel experiece? Let us know in the comments below!