Family Travel

U.S. Creates Three New National Parks

Get the scoop on brand new parks and a new initiative that aims to get more kids enjoying nature.

Exciting things are afoot at America’s national parks. Here’s the scoop on brand new parks, an upcoming big birthday, and a new initiative that aims to get more kids enjoying nature.

New Parks

This week, the National Park Service inducted three new national parks into the system. Pullman National Monument is Chicago’s first national park. The park preserves the historic district that was an industrial town for the Pullman Company in the 1880s. Honouliuli National Monument in Hawaii is the site of a World War II Japanese internment camp. And Browns Canyon National Monument in Colorado protects an area of outstanding natural beauty and world-class recreational activities. 

Every Kid in a Park

What a year to be a fourth grader. The new Every Kid in a Park initiative gives kids who will be in fourth grade during the 2014-2015 school year, plus their lucky families, free access to national parks and public lands.

Upcoming Centennial

The National Park Service turns 100 in August of 2016. The Park Service and the National Park Foundation are already working on ways to get every American to “explore, learn, be inspired or to simply have fun in their 407 national parks.” Expect events throughout the year at parks around the country, and know that if you’re planning a national park trip in the summer of 2016, you’ll likely need to book early to beat the rush.

(Photo: Bureau of Land Management via Flickr)

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By Christine Sarkis

There's a 95 percent chance Senior Editor Christine Sarkis is thinking about travel right now. Follow her on Instagram @postcartography and Twitter @ChristineSarkis.

Christine Sarkis is an SATW-award-winning journalist and executive editor at SmarterTravel. Her stories have also appeared on USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post, and Business Insider. Her advice has been featured in dozens of print and online publications including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and People magazine. She has also shared travel tips on television and radio shows including Good Morning America, Marketplace, and Here & Now. Her work has been published in the anthologies Spain from a Backpack and The Best Women's Travel Writing 2008. She is currently working on a travel memoir.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: The Trtl Pillow. It's easy to pack and comfortable, and makes it so I can actually sleep on flights.

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Seeing the Aurora Borealis from the comfort of somewhere warm, like a glass igloo or hot spring.

Travel Motto: Curiosity is an amazing compass.

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: Aisle all the way.

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