6 Epic National Park Road Trip Ideas [Maps Included]

The hardest part about planning a National Park road trip is picking which National Parks you will visit! Below we share 6 different National Park road trips you can take. It would be hard to rank these since all of them are amazing trips and have something different and unique to offer.

National Park Road Trip Ideas

We provide hotel and AirBnB options along with RV/campgrounds to stay at. A National Park trip is awesome in an RV! If you don’t have one, rent one! Click here to learn more about renting an RV: 9 RV Rental Tips You Will Want To Read [Discount Included] and here for tips on planning your RV trip!

Utah National Park Road Trip

If you want to see a lot of National Parks in a shorter traveling distance, then Utah is the perfect state to visit! With 5 National Parks all within a days drive from each other you can cover a lot of ground.

This is a great trip to do in an RV! Click here to rent an RV by Utah!

Map:

The first place to stop would be Moab, Utah. The town itself is really cool, plus you can visit 2 National Parks from here.

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Arches is one of those National Parks you drive into and you think you are driving on a different planet. All of these beautiful and unique structures pop up on the landscape just waiting for you to explore!

Learn more about Arches: 7 Arches National Park Hikes You Don’t Want To Miss

There are some great hikes to do in Arches:

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park

This is my least favorite of the Utah National Parks, but if you are on a National Park road trip you may as well check it out! Located away from the hustle and bustle of Moab – the city where Arches is located is Canyonlands.

Canyonlands has 3 different parks: Island In The Sky, The Needles and The Maze. The views from Islands In The Sky are amazing.

In my opinion you can just head to Island In The Sky for the day from Arches and you are good.

Learn more about Canyonlands: Best Hikes In Canyonlands National Park

Where To Stay

You can stay in Moab to visit both Arches and Canyonlands. Below are different options from RV parks to hotels and Airbnb’s.

RV Park:

Feeling adventurous?! Moab has some great BLM land where you can stay for free! But there are no hookups so you need to be prepared with solar (or maybe a generator – note these can be loud and annoying to the other campers staying that have solar), water and be able to not dump your tanks for a few days at least.

Willow Springs is one of the easier BLM lands to stay on. Learn more here: https://thedyrt.com/camping/utah/willow-springs-trail-dispersed

Hotel:

Airbnb:

There are lots of cool AirBnB options around Moab too! Check them out here: Moab AirBnB

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park

This is our favorite National Park in Utah. Located in the middle of nowhere yet brings so much beauty and awe inspiring moments. We loved that this park was less busy than the other Utah National Parks.

There are amazing hikes and they have a store on site that sells delicious pastries!

Learn more here: 8 Of The Best Hikes In Capitol Reef National Park

Where To Stay

RV Park:

Hotel: 

Airbnb:

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

This is what is so cool about a Utah National Parks Road Trip – the variety! You would think they all make look alike, but that is so far from the truth. Bryce has its own unique look with the Hoodoos and pink colored rock formations.

From amazing lookouts to strenuous, but beautiful hikes, Bryce has a lot of offer.

Learn more: Top 11 Awesome Things To Do in Bryce Canyon National Park

Where To Stay

RV Park:

Hotel:

Airbnb:

Zion National Park

Zion National Park

We know that a lot of people say Zion was their favorite Utah National Park. That was not the case for us. It felt the most like Disneyland of the 5 parks since it can be so busy and you have to take the shuttle bus to most locations in the park.

Once we got out and explored it was, of course, spectacular. And the green lawn at the visitor center in the middle of the park was the perfect place to hang out after a hike! We also loved the Narrows hike which had us hiking through knee deep water.

Learn More: 15 Awesome Things To Do In Zion National Park [Plus Where To Stay]

Where To Stay

RV Park:

Don’t have an RV you can rent one! Click here to Rent an RV by Zion for your Utah trip!

Hotel:

Airbnb:

Itinerary

3 Days in Moab to visit Arches and Canyonlands
2 Days in Capitol Reef
2 Days in Bryce
2 Days in Zion

Click here for our Utah Road Trip Post.

There are a few other awesome place to check out in Utah if you have time! Monument Valley , Grand Escalante and Goblin Valley State Park.

Mountains National Park Trip

The Rocky Mountain area of the US brings so much beauty to the area and also our top 1 and 2 favorite National Parks!

Glacier National Park

Grinnell Glacier

Our favorite National Park in the US! Glacier National Park is in the northern part of Montana on the Canadian border and it is gorgeous. The color of the water looks like someone put dye in it and the fresh air and views never get old.

Plus the wildlife and hiking is amazing and the Going To The Sun Road is one of our favorite roads to drive in the US!

Learn More: We have multiple posts on Glacier. Click here to see all of them!

We have spent over 6 weeks in and around Glacier. Click here to buy our Glacier Itinerary to help plan your trip!

Check out your video Playlist on our time in Glacier:

Where To Stay

We highly recommend renting an RV to visit Glacier!

RV Park:

Hotel:

Airbnb:

Make note that one of the highlights of Glacier is the Going To The Sun Road. Both for driving the road and for the hikes you can get to from the road. The road usually opens in early July – but can vary year by year.

For this reason we recommend going in August or early September to make sure the road is open. We can’t guarantee it will be open, but history shows it normally is open during this time.

Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park

#2 in our top 3 National Parks is Yellowstone! The variety of wildlife, landscapes and color you see in the park is pretty unbelievable. From thermal features to grizzly bears to mountain ranges and geysers Yellowstone has something new to offer at every turn.

Yellowstone is huge! You could spend weeks here exploring. If possible we recommend staying at least 1 week and staying in multiple places around the park so you can really explore it.

Learn More: We have multiple posts on Yellowstone. Click here to see them.

Check out our videos on our time in Yellowstone and the surrounding area!

Where To Stay

RV Park:

We always recommend staying in the National Park if you can! Learn more about that here: Yellowstone Camping: Your Complete Guide To A Perfect Spot

Hotel:

Vacation Rentals:

Grand Tetons

Grand Tetons National Park

The Grand Tetons National Park hosts the beautiful Teton Range. When driving up it is quite a sight to see these mountains on the horizon. There are also great hikes, boat rides and lots to do within Grand Tetons National Park and the surrounding area.

Learn more: Here is a great post from our friends at YTravel Blog: What To Do In Grand Tetons National Park

And here is ours on things to do around the Tetons – it is an awesome area!

Where To Stay

RV Park:

Hotel:

Airbnb:

We have spent a lot of time in Montana around Yellowstone – if you have more time we recommend adding in these stops to your trip too: A Guide To The Best Yellowstone Vacation and Beyond

California National Park Trip

California is a HUGE state. If you really want to do the state justice you will want to spend months exploring. If you don’t have that amount of time you can do and see a lot in a short amount of time but be ready to go – go – go! There are a lot of National Parks in California!

Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree

Located in southern California – whenever I think of Joshua Tree I think of the Truffula trees in Dr Seuss’ The Lorax. Filled with these unique Joshua Trees (yes that is what they are called) plus beautiful rock structures and cacti fields Joshua Tree National Park is a unique experience.

Learn More: 10 Unbelievable Things To Do In Joshua Tree National Park

Where To Stay

RV Parks:

Click here to rent an RV today!

Check out this great post on Joshua Tree Camping too!

Boondocking:

Hotel:

Airbnb:

Death Valley

Death Valley National Park

The name may make this place sound like it wouldn’t be much, but that is just not the case! Death Valley is a unique place filled with sand dunes, salt flats, mountains and tons of hiking opportunities.

Post: 14 Awesome Things To Do In Death Valley National Park [And Where To Stay]

Where To Stay

RV Park:

Hotel:

Airbnb:

When to visit:

There is limited time to visit Death Valley since it gets SOOOO hot in the summer. Like hot enough to cook an egg on the sidewalk! For this reason you would want to visit from late fall to early spring, with winter being the best time.

Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Usually overlooked due to its close proximity to Yosemite – Kings Canyon and Sequoia are well worth a visit all on their own! Home to some of the biggest trees in the world along with rushing rivers, mountains and fantastic views.

Learn more: 19+ Unforgettable Things To Do In Sequoia National Park

Video of our time in Sequoia:

Video of our time in Kings Canyon:

Where To Stay

RV Park:

You could stay at one of these to visit both National Parks. Be sure to check road closures to help determine where it makes sense for you to stay.

By the Kings Canyon Entrance:

Click here to rent an RV today!

By the Sequoia Entrance:

Hotel:

Airbnb:

Yosemite

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite ranks up there with our top 3 favorite National Parks. The Valley area is the most visited part of the park and for good reason – the rushing waterfalls in the spring and high granite summits it is a gorgeous place.

The good thing is the rest of the park has lots to offer too from sequoia trees to waterfall hikes and historical locations to visit.

Learn More: 21 Epic Things To Do In Yosemite National Park With Kids

Check out our Yosemite playlist for all the cool things to do in Yosemite:

Where To Stay

RV Park:

Hotel:

Airbnb:

Redwoods

Redwoods National Park

The Redwoods are a magical place. That is really the best way to describe them. The trees are massive and surround you as you explore the park. Along with so much green.

If you haven’t visited the Redwoods, you should.  The whole park stretches across 100 miles up the coast of Northern CA and includes the National Park and 3 State Parks.

When visiting you could stop for 1 night in each park and take in the beauty that each has to offer!

Learn more about planning your Redwood stops here: 21 Magical Things To Do In Redwood National Park

Check out our videos on our time in the Redwoods:

Where To Stay

Check our post:  21 Magical Things To Do In Redwood National Park for details on this. With the park being so large where you stay will depend on how much time you have to spend in the different parts of the park.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park

This less visited National Park is located in the middle of northern California. When here you can see 4 different kinds of volcanoes along with taking an amazing drive and potentially finding snow even in the summer!

Learn more: Lassen Volcanic National Park 

Where To Stay

RV Park:

Hotel:

There aren’t many option in the area but there are a few. Click here to see them.

As you can see California has a lot of offer! If possible plan for 2 weeks and explore these National Parks like this:

Joshua Tree – 2 nights
Death Valley – 2 nights
Kings Canyon and Sequoia – 2 nights
Yosemite – 2 nights
Redwoods – 2 nights
Lassen – 2 nights

Or you could spend 3-7 days at each of these places and make it a month long road trip!

More insights on a North California road trip from our friends at Live Camp Work:

“We fell in love with the California Redwoods after one Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip! One word… magical, easily describes a trip through the Redwoods National & State Parks in a car or an RV! And with so many options for camping in the redwoods, each road trip can be different from the last, delivering new adventures and memories to cherish years later!”

If you are looking for more check out this great post: Best Places To Visit In The US.

Pacific NorthWest National Park Road Trip

The Pacific Northwest is a fun place to explore. The variety with the coastline and beaches, rainforest and the mountains it is well worth a visit! It is another location that is great to do with an RV. Click here to rent an RV.

Crater Lake National Park

You won’t believe the color of the water when you walk up to Crater Lake. It is such a bright blue!! The park itself won’t take you long to explore, but seeing the lake is something you won’t forget!

Oregon only has 1 National Park, but when you are in Washington if you want to extend your trip be sure to check out all of the cool things that Oregon has to offer (including a lot of National Forest area):

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park

The National Park covers a good portion of northern Washington State. You have the coastline to explore with sea stacks sticking out of the water and driftwood everywhere to play on. Then slightly inland you have the Hoh Rainforest which is so unique to the US. Then further in you hit the mountains and waterfalls.

Learn More: 12 Amazing Things To Do In Olympic National Park [Itinerary Included!]

Check out our videos on our time here:

Where To Stay

RV Park:

Hoh Rainforest: Hoh Rain & Cafe RV Park

Coast: Kalaloch Campground

Northern Part: Salt Creek Recreation

Hotel:

Coast and Hoh Rainforest: Kalaloch Lodge or Forks Motel

Northern Part: Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort or Emerald Valley Inn

Airbnb:

Hoh Rainforest: Rainforest Cabin or Cozy Getaway With Hot Tub

Coast: Beach and River Cottage or Great Family House

Northern Part: Cabin on Lake Crescent or Cabin In The Woods

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier National park

Full disclosure . . . we never saw Mount Rainier :(. We went and tried, but that day it was so foggy we couldn’t even see the mountain! Well we saw the base, but couldn’t see beyond that.

We kept hoping the clouds would clear and it would appear, but sadly that was not the case.

Learn more: Since we didn’t get a good visit in here we want to share a post from our friend Rob at 2 Travel Dads: Best Hikes In Mount Rainier and these posts from Park Ranger John on Tipsoo Lake and Paradise Mt. Rainier.

Note – There is a small window of time to visit here as there is a lot of snow up here in winter and it takes a while to melt! And you may not get to see it on the day you go. . . plan accordingly.

North Cascades

SahaleGlacierTrail

I am so glad we took the time to visit North Cascades National Park. It is a less visited National Park, but I don’t know why! It was beautiful and is filled with glaciers (one you can even hike to and walk on!).

Gorgeous views and awesome hikes. Plus that amazing glacier colored water!

Learn more: 17 Amazing Things To Do In North Cascades National Park

Where To Stay

RV Park:

Click here to rent an RV today!

Hotel:

Airbnb:

Itinerary:

Crater Lake National Park – 1 night
Olympic National Park – 5 nights
Mount Rainier National Park – 1 night
North Cascades National Park – 3 nights

Florida National Park Road Trip

Florida is more known for its beaches, but it also has some really cool National Parks!

Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park

If you have never seen an alligator in the wild then head to Everglade National Park and you will see hundreds of them! Shark Valley – a 15 mile bike ride between swamps filled with alligators was one of our favorite things we did here.

Learn more: 7 Things To Do In Miami With Kids

Dry Tortugas

Dry Tortugas

AMAZING. That is all I can say about the Dry Tortugas National Park. Ok I can say more :). This beautiful island located 70 miles off the coast of Key West is breathtaking.

The boat ride out there is an adventure and then once you reach the island the beauty just takes your breath away.

Learn more: DON’T go to the Dry Tortugas without these 3 helpful tips.

Where To Stay:

You can stay on Dry Tortugas, but it is dry camping and you have to bring everything in with you. You also have to put in a reservation ahead of time. This is on our list of things we want to do in the future! It would be so amazing to stay here overnight.

Or else you would just stay in Key West or somewhere else in the Keys and make the drive down to take the boat or seaplane out for the day.

RV Park:

Click here to rent an RV today!

Hotel:

Airbnb:

Itinerary:

Everglades National Park – 3 nights
Dry Tortugas National Park – 2 nights

East Coast National Park Road Trip

The east coast has a hard time competing with out west, but still has a few gems to offer!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has some beautiful scenic drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway and hikes for all different skill levels. Plus the surrounding area has some fun touristy towns with plenty of things to do and food to eat.

Learn more: Family fun in Gatlinburg and the Smokey’s

Where To Stay

RV Park:

Click here to rent an RV today!

Hotel:

Airbnb:

Shenandoah

Shenandoah National Park

Located in Virginia. The Skyline Drive runs through the park and is a beautiful drive. There are also multiple places you can stop to get out to take pictures or to go for a hike.

Learn more: Hike and Climb with kids in Shenandoah National Park

Where To Stay

We actually didn’t spend the night here, but instead just stopped on our drive through for the day. They had RV parking so we were able to park the rig – go out and explore and then get back in the rig and keep traveling.

Sorry east coast you can’t quite compare to the west – but if you are looking for a trip closer to the east coast it is still well worth it!

Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park

Cave exploring is always cool and Mammoth Cave has a lot to explore! There are a variety of different cave tours you can do. Plus there is a lot of great hiking outside the caves.

Learn more: 5 Things To Do With Your Kids When Visiting Mammoth Cave Kentucky

Where To Stay

RV Park:

Hotel:

AirBnB:

Congaree National Park

We have never been here . . . but it was close to the other 3 so figured it was worth adding if you wanted to take a longer trip!

Itinerary:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park – 4 nights
Mammoth Cave National Park – 2 nights
Shenandoah National Park – 1 night
Congaree National Park – 1 night

The National Park Service does an amazing job with their National Parks and National Monuments, Forests and more through the United States. Before your trip be sure to grab your National Park Passport book!

If you want to see all of them on one trip be sure to check out Randy Olson and his road trip map where you can hit all of the National Parks. However – we don’t recommend this unless you have a full year! You don’t want to rush these National Parks but instead want to spend plenty of time in each especially since there are so many National Parks hikes to do.

We also didn’t name all of the National Parks. There is the Grand Canyon (the south rim is pretty cool) and Rocky Mountain National Park to name a few! All of these are awesome trips to take in an RV! Click here to rent an RV today! If you do rent an RV you may be interested in our post on: 21 RV Apps That Are Super Helpful For Your RV Trip

Also check out this awesome road trip bingo post to help keep everyone happy on the road and this great list of 27 road trip essentials to pack for 2020!

Looking for more awesome trips to take with your family? Check out these summer mountain vacations for families or these east coast family trip ideas!

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We share 6 different National Park road trips you can take. It would be hard to rank these since all of them are amazing trips and have something different and unique to offer. We share 6 different National Park road trips you can take. It would be hard to rank these since all of them are amazing trips and have something different and unique to offer.



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