Come as You Are …5 Reasons to visit a National Park

Posted on: April 25th, 2017 by

We were hired by the National Park Trust and Northside Shoes to share our love of the National Parks in honor of Kids to Park Day.


Have you explored a National Park with your kids?

It was almost by accident that we discovered our first national park. We were in Fredericksburg Virginia for our family travel series. We were collecting stamps as part of the Visit Fred foot tour. One of the locations listed on the map was the Fredericksburg Battlefield. It was a bit off from the other historic Fredericksburg attractions, but still, I felt called to explore it with my boys. I am so glad we did. It was the beginning of our love for the National Parks.


Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park National Park Stone Wall

Pretending they are soldiers protecting the wall from being seized by the other forces at the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park National Park Stone Wall


We came to the Fredericksburg Battlefield and were immediately greeted by a National Park Service park ranger. That moment changed everything for us. I didn’t realize the battlefield was part of the National Park system. He told us about the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park National Park and the Junior Ranger Badge program. His enthusiasm was contagious. In a matter of moments, my boys were excited to earn their first Junior Ranger badge. I was excited for them. The Junior Ranger program is such a fantastic way to get your kids excited and engaged in learning during your family vacations.


Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park National Park Park Rangers

Learning from the National Park Ranger about the Junior Ranger program


With Kids to Parks Day coming this Saturday, May 20, 2017, we were thrilled to be able to partner with the National Parks Trust and Northside Shoes to help you to get out there and have some grand adventures with your own family. Like us, both of our partners in this article feel that families should “explore outdoors, the parks are yours.” In fact, Northside Shoes has a special giveaway for Jersey Family Fun readers. Keep reading for those details.


Come as you are…


5 reasons to visit a national park


5 Reasons to visit a National Park


  • Visiting the National Parks on Kids to Parks Day or any day can be such an easy addition to your family’s vacation plans. With over 400 National Parks in the United States, there is bound to be one near your next vacation spot. Visit the National Park Service’s site at to find the closest National Park to you or visit our listing of National Parks in New Jersey.


waterfalls at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park in New Jersey

Look at this amazing view at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park.


  • Why wait for a vacation? New Jersey has 6 National Parks. Pennsylvania has 19, Delaware has 1, and New York has 23. A visit to a National Park can be a great day trip.


Morristown National Historical Park

Morristown National Historical Park was just a 2 hour ride from Southern New Jersey.


  • You don’t need a big budget. Visiting a National Park can be very affordable. Through one program, 4th graders and their families are eligible for free admission. (Click over to learn about that program.) With another program, admission is free on designated holidays. See our schedule of National Park Free Admission Days. Some locations like the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park offer free admission year-round. And others like the Morristown National Historical Park offer free admission for ages 15 and younger, but even then the adult admission was only $7.


Washington's Headquarters Museum at Morristown National HIstorical Park


  • No fancy clothing or expensive equipment required. Come casual. Come as you are to the National Parks. Be comfortable. Let the kids dress in play clothes. Our partner for this article Northside Shoes doesn’t want a lack of shoes to be a problem. They make affordable outdoor shoes suitable for hiking, biking, kayaking … all kinds of outdoor activities. They are waterproof with rugged soles that come in sizes for adults and children. As part of our writing this post, we each were outfitted with a pair. They are comfortable and did a great job helping us walk safely along the paths we explored at our National Parks, state parks, and other trails last week over spring break. They are rugged enough for hiking trails or walking through museums. In fact, since Northside Shoes is so committed to getting everyone outdoors, they have provided us with a gift code for a pair of shoes. One reader is going to win a free pair of Northside Shoes.


Climbing trees with Northside Shoes at Hacklebarney State Park

Climbing trees with Northside Shoes at Hacklebarney State Park


  • Free activities are included. With the Junior Ranger Badge program, you never have to worry about your kids getting bored while visiting our country’s most historical parks. The Junior Ranger Badge program is available as a free program at most National Parks. Just ask a park ranger for the booklet when you arrive or print it out from home from their website ahead of time. Activity worksheets ask kids to draw, write, or answer questions as they work their way through the park. Before you leave, check in with the park ranger to have the kids claim their badge. The badge is free as well. To date, my boys have earned 4 Junior Ranger badges. You can read about their experiences earning Junior Ranger badges in the blog posts below.



Earning our Junior Ranger Badges at Fredericksburg Battlefield



Washington DC National Mall Junior Ranger Badges


  • Paterson Great Falls (coming soon)


Junior Ranger Badge program at Paterson Great Falls National Park


  • Morristown National Historical Park (coming soon)


Washington's Headquarters Museum at Morristown National HIstorical Park


  • More coming this summer.


National Parks


kids to park day logoReady to visit a National Park with your kids for Kids to Park Day?

Visit these links to help you plan your trip


Here’s your chance to win Northside Shoes for you or your kids!


1 Winner will win a gift code to select a free pair of Northside Shoes.


Some things to consider before you enter:

  • Unless otherwise stated, entrants can earn a free entry by checking the first free entry box.
  • You may earn an additional entry by leaving one comment on the Jersey Family Fun giveaway/contest blog post, that answers the question being asked during the timeframe of the contest. Comments that do not answer the question, while appreciated, will not be valid or count as meeting the requirement. Comments left after the giveaway/contest has closed will not be valid toward the contest.
  • Contact information is a requirement for entry: name and a valid email address is required. Other non-personal information may be required/requested for entry. This information will not be shared with the giveaway sponsor unless it is stated in the contest/giveaway blog post itself.
  • Our giveaways/contests are by no means sponsored by Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube or any other social media platform. You may use them to earn additional entries, but you are not required to use them to enter. None of these social media channels are responsible if you don’t win.
  • No purchase is ever necessary to win a Jersey Family Fun prize in an online contest.
  • Chances of winning are dependent entirely on the number of eligible entries received.
  • We will pick 1 winner. The winner will receive a gift code to use at the Northside Shoes website for 1 pair of shoes.
  • One winner per household of any prize within a 30-day period.
  • Once all entries have been validated, we will use Rafflecopter to select a winner. View our how to use Rafflecopter video here.
  • Unless otherwise stated, giveaways and contests are only available to residents in the United States.
  • Unless stated otherwise ticket and gift card prizes are only valid in New Jersey and for specific dates/performances. Void where prohibited by law.
  • You have until Tuesday, May 9, 2017, at midnight to enter. The winners will be announced Wednesday, May 10, 2017. The winner will need to claim their prize by 3 pm on Friday, May 12, 2017. Please claim your prize by emailing us back your name and mailing address to Melanie within 24 hours. All prizes not claimed will either remain with the company sponsor or Jersey Family Fun.

After you’ve entered here be sure to check out our other current giveaways.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

We were hired by the National Park Trust and Northside Shoes to share our love of the National Parks in honor of Kids to Park Day.


28 thoughts on “Come as You Are …5 Reasons to visit a National Park

  1. Ryan Biddulph says:

    Great stuff Jennifer. Always circling the globe these days but wow did I have fun heading out with the fam to all these parks as a kid in NJ. Sunday was family day. After church we headed to the Great Swamp or Morristown or anywhere nature or history themed, to learn. Brigantine on long road trips, The Raptor Trust, all blasts from the past. In NJ now for a while so my wife and I will hit up Wawayanda and those North Jersey national parks.

    Thanks for sharing!


  2. Laurajj says:

    Oh I think one of my families favorites was us raising monarch butterflies last year. We raised and released 247 last summer…was so beautiful watching them soar! So excited for them to return this year and see how many we can help raise!

  3. heather says:

    Favorite outdoor memory is when we went to the Grand Canyon together.

  4. Sarah Hayes says:

    Id like to visit Ellis Island

  5. Sarah Hayes says:

    I really like the santa cruz shoes

  6. Sarah Hayes says:

    our favorite is being at the beach! we love watching the sun rise

  7. Christy Gamber says:

    High Mountain Reserve Park

  8. Christy Gamber says:

    The Trinidad for all my hiking with the kids!

  9. Christy Gamber says:

    we love spending our summers in North Wildwood

  10. Laurajj says:

    Oh I would love to take our family to the Sandy Hook!!! We love visiting lighthouses!

  11. Laurajj says:

    Oh I would love to get the BURKE II for our little one!

  12. Kelly D says:

    We enjoy walking on a trail near a local lake.

  13. Carolsue says:

    Hiking in Yosemite is a favorite family memory of mine

  14. Carolsue says:

    Not totally sure, but I think I would get the Rampart Mid WP shoes for my son

  15. Lauren says:

    Visiting Yellowstone was my favorite family memory.

  16. Cheryl B says:

    I like the Burke 2

  17. Carolsue says:

    I think I would get the Tracker Jr. boots for my son

  18. Carolsue says:

    I would like to visit Thomas Edison Historical Park.
    (Is this giveaway good in states other than NJ?)

  19. mami2jcn says:

    I think I’d choose the YOUTH LITEWAVE SLIP-ON WATER RESISTANT for my sons.

  20. mami2jcn says:

    I would visit Morristown National Historic Park. I attended college in Morristown and grad school in neighboring Madison.

  21. Rosie says:

    Sandy Hook, Monmouth County, sounds wonderful – lighthouse, birdwatching, beach, nature trails, and so pretty!

  22. Rosie says:

    Our favorite outdoor memory was a camping trip to the Cape Breton Highlands! So nice!

  23. Rosie says:

    I adore the AKIRA II!!! So many nice choices!

  24. Kris I. says:

    We went kayaking in Maine; it was awesome!

  25. Shane says:

    My family’s favorite outdoor memory involves a silly day at the bay when we rented a boat and went crabbing.

  26. Shane says:

    The national park that i would like to visit with my son would be, Ellis Island. I think he would love the historical education, energy climb and chance to see the NYC city line.

  27. Shane says:

    I visited the website and I would pick the snohomish for trail hiking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.