We all want to have the perfect family vacation, especially after months spent planning family adventure trips, like outdoor getaways in our National Parks. We want our National Parks vacation at Yellowstone or Grand Canyon to be nothing short of perfect (or at the very least, pretty close to perfect).

How to Have the Perfect National Parks Vacation

We’ve got 10 tips to help you make your family adventure vacation as near-perfect as possible. Let’s do this. The Utah National Parks Tour you have planned will be nothing short of amazing.

1. Go off the trampled path (the right way).

Of course, a trip to Yellowstone or Grand Canyon would be amazing, but consider visiting some of the less popular, off-the-grid sights like the Canyonlands in Utah or Devils Tower in Wyoming. The latter was once voted one of the most underrated park monuments in America!

2. Be on the road at sunrise and sunset.

Sure, getting on the road before sunrise during your National Parks vacation can be tough, but it’s well worth it. Not only does it make for the most beautiful photos, but starting your days early ensures beating the crowds, catching wildlife during feeding hours and maximizing your time in the parks!

3. Don’t rely on your smartphone.

Leave the navigating up to the professionals! Many of us have become so reliant on smartphones for navigation (guilty), but cell service is a rarity the parks. Having a guide means you can spend less time asking for directions and more time enjoying the sites during your Utah National Parks Tour (or your tour of any of the other National Parks).

4. Travel with food.

Have a cooler packed with lunch and snacks. Stopping for food means less time exploring, plus it’s more expensive inside the parks. Worse, some parks, like Rocky Mountain National Park, don’t have much in the way of concessions, like next to nothing.

5. Know where you’re going to stay.

A National Parks vacation isn’t exactly one where you want to wing it in terms of where you plan to stay each night. Many campsites book up months in advance. Some in-park campgrounds offer first-come, first-served sites, but those book up by 10 am each day. Too stressful for a vacation in Yellowstone or any other bucket list parks.

6. Go by RV.

Not only will you eliminate the stress of booking lodging last minute, but there’s nothing better than having the freedom to stop where you please in your own portable hotel room! Traveling with kids? National parks are among the best places to RV. It doesn’t get any more convenient or authentic than a family RV vacation. Let’s go!

7. Explore park websites inside and out.

You’ll find loads of good information on park websites, including park maps, ranger programs, in-park closures and concessions. Study this ahead of time and print out what you need so you don’t miss out on any guided National Park tours or ranger walks you have your heart set on.

8. When it comes to trails, what goes down must come back up.

Family on a hike posing infront of a lake in Grand Teton National Park

Sure, it might feel pretty good walking down the Bright Angel Trail at Grand Canyon, but when it comes time to turn around and walk back up, you might not be feeling quite so great. Keep that in mind, take it slow, and know how far you’ve walked down, since you’ll need to walk back up.

9. Take the in-park shuttle bus.

Many National Parks, including Grand Canyon and Glacier, have in-park shuttles and they are a godsend. During a Glacier National Park vacation, don’t even think about trying to park at the Logan Pass Visitor Center. No shot. At Grand Canyon, wave to cars waiting in line as the shuttle bus uses a dedicated entrance.

10. Abide by park signs.

This might seem super obvious, but it’s worth re-emphasizing anyway. Abide by park signs. Yellowstone puts up warning signs at Grand Prismatic Spring because it really is a bad idea to get too close to the extremely fragile edge (the water is 160 degrees Fahrenheit). This is one easy way to ruin a Yellowstone family vacation.