State Park

There are so many different types of state parks out there and it's hard to find out what each one has to offer.

Pick a state from the list below.

CaliforniaMaineNevadaNew York

That's where Great-Kids-Parks strives to help you.

Whether you want to enhance your child's understanding of your state's history or immerse your child in nature typical to your region, Great-Kids-Parks can help you find a spot that will offer those opportunities…plus many more!

What is a State Park?

It's an area of land preserved on account of its natural beauty, historic interest, recreation, or other reason, and under the administration of a state.

They're similar to national parks in many ways, but are generally smaller and are under state rather than federal administration.

Some examples of state parks:

  • Underwater preserves, reserves, and parks
  • Wildlife reserves
  • Beaches
  • Recreation areas
  • Forests
  • Lakes and reservoirs

State parks can also include historic parks, historic homes, and historical dwellings, as well as museums, visitor centers, cultural reserves, and preserves.

state railroad museum

Some of the more interesting parks contain lighthouses, ghost towns, rock pinnacles, railways, waterslides, conference centers, and off-road vehicle parks.

There are some 3,600 of these parks in the United States.

Which One to Visit?

The state park you take your kids to will depend a lot on what you want them to experience. Each park offers a unique experience, even if it is only a spectacular sunset.

Years ago I drove almost 100 miles to go to Anza Borrego State Park in Southern California just to see their famous wildflower bloom. I was not disappointed!

I remember visiting some of California's missions one summer when I was young. We learned so much about the Native Americans and that important period in our state's history! Two of those missions are now run by the state park system.

Now with my own family, our travels focus around what our kids enjoy. My son loves trains and when we were up in California's Gold Country we took him to Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown. We could not have made a better choice for him! He loved seeing the old trains and the roundhouse and in the process learned so much!

What About Play?

Did you know that almost one-third of California's coastline is run by its state park system? That means numerous opportunities for beach and dune play, cove and tide pool exploration.

From Asilomar to Moonlight, California's state beaches offer fun in the sun for just about everyone.

state beach

What if you are more of the hiking persuasion? There are tens of thousands of miles of hiking trails within state park boundaries.

Some are relatively short hikes to monuments or other attractions, some are designed as day hikes, and others are meant for overnight backpacking trips. You and only you know your kids well enough to know what they can handle.

Plan accordingly and be sure to have lots of gorp (trail mix) on hand!

State Parks and YOU

Most state parks are not amusement parks, nor do they have the typical climbing/play structures you find in public parks.

This can be a problem for some kids. However, the more exposure kids get to open spaces with infinite play opportunities, the more creative their play becomes.

I encourage you to visit your state parks and see just all that they have to offer. Just keep in mind that that many state parks are a day trip, so do your research to make sure that you're not disappointed when you finally arrive.

Find a Park

Pick a state from the list below.

CaliforniaMaineNevadaNew York

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