Which National Park summer 2018 with kids


Aug 7th, 2017, 04:09 PM
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Which National Park summer 2018 with kids

I am looking for ideas for next summer's vacation We are interested in going to one or two National Parks. I have two kids, both will be 12. We enjoy being outdoors, short/medium hikes, water activities, wildlife, nice scenery.

I currently have two main ideas: 1) ONP and Mt Rainier or 2) Redwoods and Crater Lake (adding in Oregon Coast and/or rafting). This would most likely be in July of 2018. We will have a week (8 nights) to travel.

We have enjoyed Smoky Mountains NP, Rocky Mountains NP, Yellowstone, and Grand Tetons.
We are open to other ideas.

Any recommendations? Thanks!
kasuel is offline  
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Aug 7th, 2017, 04:22 PM
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Glacier national Park ?
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Aug 10th, 2017, 12:39 AM
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Out of the usual thinking - but Acadia in Maine. Not 2 Parks, but plenty to do in Maine/New England for the week.
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Aug 10th, 2017, 05:29 AM
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Depending on the coming winter's snowfall (this past one was record-breaking) you might find high altitude activities in Mt. Rainier NP to be limited; there's still several feet of snow on the ground (trails, not parking areas) on July 1 at the Paradise and Sunrise visitor centers, and the wildflowers that are so wonderful seldom appear before August.

For the Pacific NW, I'd definitely choose Olympic NP, because it has the advantage of possessing several different zones, each with a lot of appeal - alpine areas around Hurricane Ridge (less snow and better chance of flowers in July than on Rainier) plus the incredible Hoh and Quinault Valley rain forests and wonderful rocky beaches in the national park's Pacific coastal strip.

You could combine Olympic NP with a visit to Victoria and Vancouver Island, and maybe return to Seattle (your start/end point) via the San Juan Islands for a day or two, using a route something like this: https://goo.gl/maps/VCYumjJv9Ez . The odds are okay that you'd see Roosevelt elk in the rain forest valleys, and there are numerous whale watching expeditions available in Victoria or in the San Juans.

Not a national park, but another area worthy of careful consideration is the Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood area just east of Portland. This region offers enormous diversity in a very compact area - alpine hikes (even summer skiing) on Mount Hood, around the numerous waterfalls along the Gorge walls, and rafting galore out of White Salmon WA (just across the river from Hood River OR.) There are picture-book lakes, U-pick farms and orchards along the Hood River Valley "fruit loop," the fascinating Maryhill Museum and nearby Stonehenge replica set on cliffs overlooking the big river. The kids can visit Herman the Sturgeon at the Bonneville Hatchery or maybe spend a night star-gazing at the Goldendale (WA) observatory.

This is all available within an hour or two's drive of Portland airport, so a week in the area means much more time for activities and less time spent on travel and logistics. General area map - https://goo.gl/maps/gWdSdL5MgAU2
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Aug 10th, 2017, 07:00 AM
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I'll suggest Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California and Crater Lake in Oregon, with perhaps a stop at Lake Shasta in between. Lassen has many unique volcanic features, gorgeous lakes and waterfalls. Around Lake Shasta there are caves to explore with a guide as well as a tour of the dam.

This year, the road through Lassen didn't open until late July, the latest ever, due to record snowfall.
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Aug 15th, 2017, 07:04 PM
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Lassen Volcanic National Park is also in NorCal. Smaller and fewer visitors! I think of it as a small Yellowstone with many of the thermal features. I am planning a blog featuring that park in the coming weeks. I do not cram ads in my blog, so feel free to check in every now and then.

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Aug 15th, 2017, 08:51 PM
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Sequoia is gorgeous. We did some nice hikes there with our sons back in the day, and we saw a brown bear on the trail.
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Aug 19th, 2017, 09:58 AM
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Thank you all for the suggestions! I will investigate all of them.
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Aug 19th, 2017, 11:22 AM
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I say.... North to Alaska... we just came back from an 8 day all land tour which included Denali, Alaska Railroad, Fairbanks, Anchorage, Seward... lots of animals, native culture, mountains, glaciers, kayaking, hiking...

We did a tour through Trafalgar, called Majestic Alaska, and I think age 12 would price at Child Rate... AAA set the whole thing up... ps.. there were about 6 kids on our tour (just enough)

Good luck in your planning...
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Aug 22nd, 2017, 08:59 PM
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You've gotten great ideas.

If you choose Crater Lake, sign up to take the boat ride on the lake. You have to hike down to the dock. You can get off at Wizard Island and hike to the top, and then take the next boat the rest of the way around the lake. For kids your age, this is a fun day.

Also, in addition to rafting in Southern Oregon, the jet boats on the Rogue River are fun. You can also raft down there too.

And I liked Gardyloo's suggestions, but we have tended to like the rafting at Maupin (just over Mount Hood) over White Salmon.

Finally, you could add to the Columbia Gorge a few days in Bend/Sunriver. Hikes, the lavatubes, also rafting, rent bikes...
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