Ask Trip Coach: National Parks

Sure, you could show up at your nearest national park and wing it—with everyone else. But breaking out of the pack requires a little extra planning.


Biggest: Wrangell-St. Elias, Alaska, 13 million acres
Newest: Great Sand Dunes, Colorado, 2004
Most visited: Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee and North Carolina, 9 million annual guests! (on average)
Least visited: Kobuk Valley, Alaska, 2,860 visitors (on average)

Age-appropriate outings for you and your crew.

06 years: Grand Canyon Kids love trains; adults love scenery (and sitting). So everyone wins on a day trip from Williams, Ariz., to the South Rim on the Grand Canyon Railway., adults $70, kids $40, includes 3.75 hours at the canyon.

38 years: Shenandoah On Mondays and Wednesdays, Shenandoah Scavenger Hikes organizes two-hour hunts, with easy trails leading to "treasures" like bear dens and a tree dotted with grapefruit-size woodpecker holes., $5.

510 years: Dinosaur National Monument At key points on the half-mile Fossil Discovery Trail, rangers get kids to identify—and touch!—real dino bones anchored in the rock walls., free.

1016 years: Yosemite Rafting the Merced River is the ticket on a hot summer day: Your teens can stage water fights in their own boat, while you lay back and take in the pristine, three-mile stretch., adults $26, kids 12 and under $16.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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