Our National Parks Road Trip
In July 2018, our family took an epic 10-day national parks road trip and hit three of the country’s most beautiful national parks in the process! This is a trip that none of us will ever forget! We had such an amazing time and broke up the driving time to make it enjoyable for us and our kids (ages 10, 8, and 4). Because our son had just finished fourth grade, we were able to get into all of the National Parks for free!
10 Day National Park Itinerary
With this national park itinerary, we were able to get 1.5 days in Rocky Mountain National Park, 2.5 days in Jackson Hole/Grand Teton National Park, and 2 full days in Yellowstone National Park. The rest of the time was dedicating to driving nearly 3,000 miles round trip! Although more vacation time is always enjoyable, this ended up being the perfect amount of time at each park for our family of five with three children ages 10, 8, and 4.
National Parks Road Trip With Kids
Road Trip Tip 1: Gypsy Guide
We had two very unexpected “favorites” of our national parks road trip. The first was listening to and following the Gypsy Guide App through Grand Tetons and Yellowstone (affiliate link). They also have one for Rocky Mountain National Park but we didn’t realize this until we had already left! You can read here all about why we loved Gypsy Guide.
Road Trip Tip 2: License Plate Game
Our second favorite thing about our national park road trip made the driving part especially fun! We competed (Parents vs. Kids) to see who could find all 50 state license plates first! I downloaded this License Plate Game and it was a blast. And now, several months later, I still find myself looking at every license plate on the road now! 🙂
What To Do On Long Car Rides
We are pretty relaxed when it comes to screen time when we travel. Our kids have very strict technology restrictions at home, so we have a kids tv with DVD player which they are allowed to use most of the time (which means we, parents can have long, meaningful conversations without whining or interrupting).
But we have one hard and fast rule to technology use: NO SCREEN TIME WHILE DRIVING IN A NATIONAL PARK. No movies, no video games, and no reading (gasp!). We want our kids to soak in every moment in our beautiful parks, so unless we made a very rare exception, they looked at the beauty of nature, listened to the Gypsy Guide, or sang along with our Vacation Playlist. And believe it or not, they didn’t even complain (granted, they got plenty of screen time driving in Western Kansas and rural Wyoming).
Packing For A National Parks Road Trip
A word on packing… I would highly recommend packing some BUG SPRAY, SUNSCREEN, and BEAR SPRAY to bring with you on your road trip, especially if you plan to hike extensively. Bear Spray is very expensive but perhaps you can share the cost between friends year-to-year. We bought a can and have already loaned it out twice to friends who have traveled to the mountains in the last 6 months. Ask around to see if any friends have some on hand.
Our National Parks Road Trip Itinerary
Day 1: Wichita, Kansas To Estes Park, Colorado
Day 2: Rocky Mountain National Park
Day 3: Estes Park To Saratoga, Wyoming
Day 4: Saratoga, Wyoming to Jackson, Wyoming
Day 5: Jackson Hole
Day 6: Grand Teton National Park
Day 7: Yellowstone National Park
Day 8: Yellowstone National Park
Day 9 & Day 10: Travel Home
Overall, this epic ten-day national park road trip has made our family road trip junkies for life! We loved every minute (okay, almost every minute) of being in the car together as a family and made memories that will last a lifetime!!
Click below to follow our epic National Parks road trip…
Find out what accommodation. restaurants and activities for kids we recommend! Plus, you have to see the photos taken in these stunning National Parks!