During our move from California to North Carolina we packed up our camper and planned for an amazing national parks roadschooling adventure! We hit the road for six weeks and our lives were changed forever.
National Park Tour
We LOVE National Parks. We’ve visited a handful of them over the years, so we know we wanted to visit as many parks and sites on our journey across the country as possible. We made a game plan, and we headed to the Grand Canyon, Zion, we peeked in on the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, and James Garfield’s house. If we had more time, we could have easily spent weeks in Utah alone visiting all of the parks there! But, alas, we did have a deadline of when my husband had to be in North Carolina to start his new job.
Grand Canyon National Park
We had just visited the Grand Canyon two years before, but our boys BEGGED to go back. So, why not? We knew we may not be back out west again for many years, so it didn’t take much convincing to go back. We had already done the Grand Canyon Railroad on our last trip, so this time we just did some hiking and enjoyed the campground. And, of course, saw the beautiful canyon.
Zion National Park
The next stop on our roadschooling trip was Zion. Oh. My. Word. The best word I have to describe this place is majestic. During our drive in we were able to go through the tunnel and look down into the park. It was a foggy day, so the view wasn’t what it could be, but the mist added a special something that still made my heart go wild.
By the first evening, everything cleared up and you could see the beauty of the mountains around us. One of the unique parts of this park was that you could walk to the visitor’s center and even leave the park on foot and go into town to visit some shops or restaurants. It was so cute and quaint.
The mountains all around the park are biblically named. This made it even more special to us as we were reminded about the One who created this beautiful place for us to explore.
Grand Tetons National Park
We weren’t supposed to go by the Grand Tetons. That was, until my husband realized it would only be a two hour detour on our trip to drive by them. So, why not?! We didn’t venture into the park, but the detour was worth every. single. second. You guys, these mountains were AMAZING!! Do yourself a favor and go there.
Yellowstone National Park
Y’all, Yellowstone in May is COLD. We had packed some cool weather stuff for our trip, but quite clearly, not enough! It snowed on us and we were not expecting that. So…we were a little grumpy. Well, at least the kids and I were. But, the sights we saw made up for all of the chilly weather!!
I’m pretty sure it’s a must to see Old Faithful when in Yellowstone. What I didn’t know much about were the beautiful hot springs at the park! The colors in them were absolutely amazing and you could feel the warmth coming right off of them.
But, my very favorite park of Yellowstone was the bison! And guys, there were babies!!! Nothing is cuter than babies. They caused quite a few traffic jams and we also were able to follow (at a crazy far away, safe distance) a whole herd of them around for a while. I love bison!
Mt. Rushmore National Monument
The next stop on our trip was Mt. Rushmore. I was so surprised about how much the visitor center had there! We had to make it a quick stop that day, but we easily could have spent an entire day there. Before we arrived, we read up about Mt. Rushmore and Gutzon Borglum in the WhoHQ series (I talked ALL about this amazing book series here).
We explored the grounds and visitor’s center to work on our Junior Ranger badges, looked at all of the state flags, and found some fun stuff in the store during our short visit.
James A. Garfield National Historic Site
Last, but not least, was the James A Garfield Historical Site in Ohio. We have family in the area, and I lived there for years, but I hadn’t been to the Garfield house since I was a little girl! I didn’t remember any of it, so it was a treat to see it all and learn the history about that time in our country. I was apparently tired of all of the picture taking, because this is all I snapped on this stop. I guess that means you’ll just have to visit it yourself the next time you find yourself in Northeast Ohio!
The trip of a life time
We had many more stops during this trip, but this post would just be too long to include them all! But, this trip is what has caused us to make a long term plan to tour all 49 states that we can drive to in the future. Until we can officially hit the road, we will be going on as many short road trips as we can, seeing as many National Parks sites as we can! Roadschooling and learning about our country in this way is the ultimate history lesson.
Where are you favorite vacation spots or National Parks? Let me know in the comments or in my online homeschool community.
For more roadschooling resources and stories of our adventures, click the image below.