9 Eco-Friendly Family Activities In National Parks To Experience

9 Eco-Friendly Family Activities In National Parks To Experience

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.
Eco-Friendly Family Activities

National parks are perfect for fun and learning, especially for Eco-Friendly Family Activities. They’re like huge playgrounds with trees, animals, and lots of space to run around. Imagine packing up your stuff, making sure you leave nothing behind—that’s what a zero waste camping trip is all about. 

It’s super important because it helps keep the park clean for everyone. In this guide, we’ll learn how to set up a tent, enjoy the outdoors, and make sure we take care of nature.

It’s like being a nature detective, finding clues on how to live without leaving trash. 

Ready to learn how to camp with no waste? Let’s dive into some cool ways to make camping fun and clean, just using a zero waste camping guide. It’s going to be a great adventure where you help the planet, one campsite at a time!

1. Zero Waste Camping Trips For Kids

Zero waste camping is all about having fun without leaving any trash behind. Imagine setting up your tent, enjoying the outdoors, and packing up without leaving anything except footprints! It’s like a game where the goal is to see how little you can leave behind. 

You learn to use reusable items, avoid plastic, and keep nature just as you found it. This kind of camping teaches you and your family how to enjoy the wild without hurting it.

It’s great for the planet and shows you how easy it is to take care of our beautiful parks. Ready to be a zero waste hero? Let’s go!

Zero Waste Camping Guide

  • Pack Smart: Use reusable containers and avoid plastic bags.
  • Clean Smart: Bring biodegradable soap and a portable trash bag for compostables.
  • Eat Smart: Prepare meals with minimal packaging and use washable dishes.
  • Play Smart: Choose natural materials for games and crafts.
  • Leave No Trace: Make sure to clean your campsite completely before you leave.

2. Have A Picnic

Eco-Friendly Family Activities

Pack your picnic basket and head out to the park for a fun day under the sun! Picnics are perfect for enjoying good food with family and friends in the great outdoors.

To keep it eco-friendly, use reusable plates, cups, and utensils. You can pack sandwiches, fruits, and snacks in containers instead of wrapping them in plastic. 

Picnics not only allow you to relax and connect with nature but also give you a chance to teach kids about eating sustainably.

Remember, every little step helps keep our parks clean and beautiful. Let’s spread out a blanket and enjoy a day filled with tasty treats and laughter!

Eco-Friendly Picnic Tips

  • Use Reusable Items: Say no to disposable plates and utensils.
  • Pack Smart: Avoid single-use plastics by packing food in reusable containers.
  • Clean Up: Make sure to pick up every piece of trash before you leave.
  • Choose Local: Bring foods that are local and in season, reducing transportation impact.

3. Hike A Trail

Hiking is one of the best ways to explore a national park and see all the cool plants and animals it has to offer.

When you hike, you get to move your body and breathe fresh air, all while learning about nature. Make sure to stick to the trails to keep the park safe for the wildlife and plants. 

As you walk, you can play a game to see who can spot the most types of birds or trees! Hiking isn’t just about walking; it’s about discovering the world around you in a way that respects and protects it. So lace up your boots, grab a water bottle, and let’s hit the trail!

Trail Safety And Etiquettes

  • Stay on the Path: Keep off the plants and away from animal homes.
  • Pack In, Pack Out: Carry all your trash back out with you.
  • Be Prepared: Bring water, snacks, and wear the right shoes.
  • Quiet Voices: Keep noise low to enjoy the sounds of nature and not disturb wildlife.

4. Host A Photo Contest

Grab your camera or phone and get ready for a photo contest in the national park! This is a fun way to capture the beauty of nature while practicing your photography skills. Challenge your family to find the best shot of a towering tree, a colorful flower, or a sneaky squirrel. 

This contest isn’t just about taking pictures; it’s about seeing nature through a new lens and learning to appreciate the tiny details.

Plus, it encourages everyone to look closer and respect the natural world. So, find your favorite spot in the park, aim your camera, and let the creativity flow!

Tips For A Great Photo Contest

  • Focus on Themes: Choose themes like wildlife, landscapes, or plants.
  • Encourage Creativity: Use different angles and lighting to make your photos stand out.
  • Respect Nature: Take photos without disturbing the environment or wildlife.
  • Share and Learn: Discuss what you liked about each photo and what you learned from it.

5. Complete A Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt in a national park is a super way to turn a regular park visit into an adventure! Prepare a list of items or features to find, like a leaf with two colors, a bird’s nest, or a smooth stone

As you search for these treasures, you’ll get to explore more of the park and learn about the different things that make it special. 

This activity is perfect for kids because it keeps them engaged and moving, all while they’re learning to observe and appreciate nature’s diversity. Ready to start the hunt? Grab your list and let’s see who can find all the items first!

Planning Your Park Scavenger Hunt

  • Make a List: Include items that are common in the park but also a bit challenging to find.
  • Use a Map: Teach kids how to use a park map to find different locations.
  • Be Responsible: Remind everyone to look without touching or disturbing the wildlife.
  • Reward Efforts: Have small prizes for everyone who participates to keep things exciting.

6. Learn A New Sport

Eco-Friendly Family Activities

Learning a new sport in a national park can be a thrilling experience for the whole family! Whether it’s frisbee, soccer, or even kite flying, playing a sport gets everyone moving and enjoying the outdoors. It’s a fun way to exercise and learn new skills in a beautiful setting. 

Plus, it teaches teamwork and sportsmanship as you play together. Choose a sport that doesn’t need much equipment and is easy to play in open spaces.

This makes it easy for everyone to join in. So, pick a sport, gather your gear, and get ready to have some fun and make lasting memories!

Choosing The Right Sport For Your Family

  • Consider the Space: Pick sports that fit well in the park’s open areas.
  • Keep it Simple: Choose sports that are easy to set up and play.
  • Focus on Fun: Make sure the sport is enjoyable for all age groups.
  • Respect the Park: Ensure your activities don’t harm the park’s natural environment.

7. Participate In Water Activities

Water activities in a national park can be a splash hit for families! From kayaking and canoeing to simple paddle boarding, these activities let everyone cool off and have fun while exploring the park’s waterways. It’s a great way to see parts of the park you can’t get to on foot and to learn about aquatic life. 

Whether you’re floating quietly on a lake or splashing around near the shore, water activities offer a fresh perspective on nature. So, grab your life jackets and get ready to paddle your way to an unforgettable adventure!

Safety Tips For Water Activities

  • Wear Life Jackets: Safety first! Make sure everyone has a proper-fitting life jacket.
  • Check Weather Conditions: Always know the weather forecast before heading out.
  • Stay Near the Shore: Especially important for beginners or when with young children.
  • Respect Wildlife: Keep a safe distance from any animals you see in or near the water.

8. Attend Events And Festivals

An attempt to have the largest yoga class in the world, led by Elena Brower. Rain canceled the event before it could be certified as a world record.

Events and festivals in national parks bring everyone together for unforgettable fun! These gatherings often include music, food, crafts, and more, all inspired by the natural surroundings and local culture.

Attending these events is a fantastic way for families to learn about the park and connect with other visitors. 

You might find storytelling sessions, guided tours, or arts and crafts workshops. It’s a chance to see the park come alive with activities that celebrate both nature and community. So, check the park’s calendar and plan to join in the festivities!

Getting The Most Out Of Park Events

  • Plan Ahead: Look at the schedule to choose the events that interest your family.
  • Pack Essentials: Bring sunscreen, water, and comfortable seating.
  • Participate Actively: Join in on activities and interact with performers or guides.
  • Learn Something New: Try to take away a fun fact or a new skill from each event.

9. Play Hide And Seek

Playing hide and seek in a national park is not just fun, it’s an adventure! This classic game gets a natural twist with trees, bushes, and rocks as hiding spots.

It’s a great way to let kids (and adults!) use their imagination and explore the outdoors creatively.

As you search for the perfect hiding place or seek out your hidden family members, you’ll also discover the beauty and secrets of the park. This game is perfect for energizing a park visit and making exercise fun. So, ready or not, here we come!

Tips For Playing Hide And Seek Safely

  • Set Boundaries: Choose a safe area to play where everyone can easily be seen and found.
  • Stay Together: Keep younger kids in teams with adults to ensure everyone stays safe.
  • Respect Nature: Remind players to avoid damaging plants or disturbing wildlife.
  • Check In Regularly: Use whistles or shouts to check in if someone seems too hidden.

Final Thoughts

As you try out these fun activities in national parks, remember to play responsibly. It’s important to enjoy ourselves without disturbing the wildlife or the natural environment. Always aim to leave no trace of your visit behind, which means packing up all your trash and keeping the parks as beautiful as you found them. 

By being mindful and respectful, you ensure that these amazing places remain safe and clean for other adventurers and for future generations to enjoy. Let’s keep our national parks pristine, proving that having fun and caring for nature can go hand in hand.


Greetings from Discover Outdoors, where each step we take is part of a wider journey towards immersive nature exploration and eco-tourism. I'm Julia, and I'm eager to lead you on this sustainable adventure.

You might also like:

Leave a Comment

Download the E-Book