There is no shortage of natural wonder in the United States and no better way to spend a family vacation than hiking it. Enjoy stunning mountain views, incredible painted desert valleys and roaring waterfalls. Take your family to one or all of these five great parks and enjoy the views!
Hanging Rock State Park- North Carolina
The offerings of the world's smallest mountain range provide family fun and memories to keep you coming back for more. This park, encompassing the Sauratown Mountains in the North Carolina Piedmont, features over 18 miles of trails to stunning mountaintops or rushing hidden waterfalls. The park's 1-mile namesake trail treats visitors to a 360 degree view of the surrounding countryside with the skyline's of Greensboro and Winston-Salem visible in the distance on clear days. Kids will enjoy a swim in the park's 12-acre lake after a day of hiking the trails on a warm summer's afternoon.
Great Sand Dunes National Park- Colorado
Nestled among the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Colorado are the tallest sand dunes in the United States. Spreading across 30 square miles with dunes peaking above 700 feet, the Great Sand Dunes National Park is a sandbox the whole family can enjoy! While there are marked trails to diverse forests and babbling streams the dunes cater to free-will explorers who like to blaze their own trails. Climb and walk the dunes in the morning before the heat rises and spend the afternoon exploring the woodland trails or cooling off with a swim in Medano Creek.
Bryce Canyon National Park- Utah
This park in Utah boasts the largest collection of hoodoos (strange rock formations that stand left from erosion) in the world. Bryce Canyon National Park offers hikes that range from easy to strenuous with each trail leading to awesome views in a landscape that seems out of this world. The Rim Trail rings the Bryce Canyon and is a great place to see the hoodoos and passes by the park's main overlooks. Since Bryce Canyon contains landscapes and views typically available only after months of hiking spend whole vacation here and enjoy the views and fun with your family.
Custer State Park- South Dakota
For the wildlife and history lovers Custer State Park provides scenic trails, beautiful drives and an abundance of buffalo. Home to approximately 1,300 buffalo, take your family in September to see the Annual Buffalo Roundup. Several hiking trails of varying difficulty wind through back country and into history past historic landmarks. Enjoy the stunning and unique spires and rock formations that are treasures to South Dakota. After a day of hiking take a drive through several of Custer State Park's roads and see free-roaming herds of bison, elk, mountain goats, deer and prairie dogs.
Cascade Falls- Virginia
It's easy to see why Cascade Falls is the most popular waterfall in Southwest Virginia. The trail stays close to the Little Stoney Creek that meanders through the Jefferson National Forest. The drawing feature of the trail is the 66 foot waterfall that the landscape hides from visitors for as long as possible. The trail is a 4-mile loop that will lead your family from the parking lot to the falls and back again. It is recommended to take the Lower Trail to the falls and take the Upper Trail on the return hike as it is less strenuous.
A family hike is a cheap and easy part of vacation in any season. Make a trail hike part of a bigger experience such as a camping trip or take a day trip to experience the wonders of the United States that are just a quick drive away from home.