Ever since my family discovered the Junior Ranger program last summer during our tour de Colorado, I’ve been on a bit of a National Parks kick. There ‘s no better time—my kids are the perfect age for discovering them for the first time, I love rediscovering these parks through their eyes, and of course, it’s the centennial year of the National Park Service which means, among many other things, two new guidebooks from National Geographic; Guide to National Parks of the United States 8th Edition ($29.95, eighth edition), with practical travel advice for visiting 59 national parks (plus 80 maps and 220 photos); and The National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide U.S.A. Centennial Edition (ages 8-12, $14.99), the “official kids guide” which includes color photos and maps, fun facts, things to do on long car rides, and more.
Consider this your call to journey. Yes, you should get to a National Park or National Monument this year! Get out and do it, especially if you have a 4th grader in your family. Check out the Every Kid in a Park program, which gives free access to all 4th graders (and their families!) to all National Parks. My kids aren’t quite there yet, so I’ll be buying another America the Beautiful Pass this year—the best $80 you’ll ever spend.