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By Adam Swineford

Top four parks to visit in the U.S.

Finding affordable things to do with a family can seem like a daunting task when comparing prices for tickets, fuel, food and lodging for destinations around the country. When you are looking for a trip that can minimize these expenses and provide an enriching experience for the family, visiting national parks is a sure-fire way to provide excitement for the whole family – even on a tight budget.

Yellowstone National Park

With bear, moose, elk, bison, badgers, otters, fox, wolves and more roaming the park, Yellowstone has enough wildlife to keep the whole family wondering what they will see next. In a park that extends across three states and has approximately 3,472 square miles of land, there will always be something new to explore. The park contains nine hotels and over 450 camp sites to keep nature right at its visitor’s doorstep. The most frequented areas include Old Faithful Geyser, Grand Canyon and Hayden Valley.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Taking a trip through the Great Smoky Mountains, visitors will find all of the outdoor activities they can handle. Whether you decide to go fishing, hiking, horseback riding, bicycling or just taking a tour from the comfort of your car, there are plenty of options to create an enjoyable trip with ease. There are several programs offered throughout the year for youths to explore and learn about the history, animals and plants within the Great Smoky Mountains. There are park ranger-led events for families that can be found through the destination’s official website.

Zion National Park

In Zion National Park, you can visit a land where almost 12,000 years ago mammoths, giant sloths and camels were tracked by the native peoples. Today, mule deer, turkeys and bighorn sheep prosper in the canyons of this massive park. With its rich history, wilderness, canyons and culture, families can find incredible sights and history. You can find hotels, cabins, suites, camping and restaurants available year-round, making this an easy destination for an extended stay with minimal travel to and from the site.

Carlsbad Caverns

Over 119 known caves and over 46,000 acres of desert to explore in the Chihuahuan Desert are what make this park one of the largest attractions in the U.S. Cave tours for the whole family are provided by the park, and there are self-guided tours for those that are a little more adventurous. Within the caves, there are 17 different species of bats, and a total of 67 different species of mammals live within the park. Even though the park does not have any hotel amenities on-site, there are plenty of spaces to stretch out and enjoy in the local campgrounds.

Whether it is for a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, visiting national parks provides everything needed to plan a simple, yet unforgettable experience. With nature as your host, you will find plenty of budget-friendly excitement and entertainment at these destinations. To get the most out of these sites, planning ahead and booking early will be key to ensuring the most budget-friendly getaway.

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