Utah's Big 5 National Parks
Guide book for Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, and Capitol Reef, with bonus section on the north rim of the Grand Canyon.
Southern Utah boasts 5 big national parks, each with its own unique character. Planning a trip to southern Utah's parks can seem overwhelming-which of the 5 parks should I visit? What is the best order to visit them in? What do I need to know about each park to make the most of my time there? Will there be things my young child can do? What will my teen find exciting? Where should we stay? Can I bring my RV? Can I reserve a campsite or not?
We have devoted a lot of time exploring these parks in order to bring you the best advice for making the most of your limited time. We know that you want to fit in as much as you can on your vacation without wasting any time. We also know that traveling kith kids of all ages presents its own unique challenges. As parents of 4 boys, we know what kids like and our guide books are focused on traveling as a family. We offer tips specific to the needs of your children and show you how to make the most of your time in the national parks. You are doing a wonderful thing in introducing your children to this wonderful national heritage and we want your time at the parks to bring lasting good memories for your whole family, as it has ours.
In order to give you an idea of what's in the guide book, below are some of the key sections and chapters in the book:
As a child, Abby vividly remembers exploring Arches National Park. One short trip there left a lasting impression on her. She says "I remember delicate soaring rock arch formations reaching across the sky above me, impossibly balanced sculptures that no man had made, and the otherness of the desert ecosystem heretofore unknown to me. I have always longed to return." This longing, stretching over decades, is what inspired our family to visit this jewel of a national park last fall. As we contemplated the best way to impress upon our children the importance of their personal heritage in the national park system, we could find no better place than Arches.
"Hold on!" you say. What about Yosemite? Yellowstone? The Great Smokey Mountains? Surely they are more iconic, more famous than Arches? And yet...think like a child for a moment. Children are captivated by mystery, enchantment, imagination. Why do you think Disney is so successful with our kids? They capture these qualities in their parks-aimed at kids! Although our children love Yellowstone NP and we have Yosemite and The Great Smokey Mountains high on the "to-do" list, they cannot compare to the mystery, enchantment and imagination-boosting formations found in Arches. Those same formations were indelibly impressed upon a young girl's mind, causing her to find a way to bring her children there decades later. And do you know what? She found herself experiencing the same sense of wonder as a grown adult that she had found as a child. Maybe we all are seeking some mystery and enchantment to kick-start our imaginations!