This summer, you might have plans to trek through your favorite state or national park. Whether you’re after the sight of snowcapped mountains or a refreshing swim in a natural spring, there’s a park and place perfect for you and your family!
Of course, no matter where you go you will want to pack the essentials and prepare for your day of adventure. Below, we’re sharing our best tips and strategies for a successful day at
Plan out your day
We all want a taste of spontaneity on days at the park—however, having a rough plan in mind can make your overall experience even better. By knowing what activities you hope to do (whether that be swimming, hiking, a family picnic, etc.), you will be better able to pack for the day ahead.
Dress with comfort and versatility in mind
While weather will vary from park to park, it’s always wise to dress with comfort and versatility in mind. If you plan for a day of swimming after your hike, for example, toss on your bathing suit under light, tightly-woven clothes for an easy, comfortable experience. And of course, never forget the added essentials such as a hat, pair of sunglasses and comfy walking shoes!
In many state or national parks, the weather can shift greatly from day to night. Be sure to plan accordingly and, when necessary, pack along a warm sweater or similar pieces to stay comfortable.
If you’ve ever been hiking or backpacking, you know the importance of packing light. Put this mentality to use during your time at the park so that you have what you need—but nothing more. You’ll thank yourself later!
Don’t skimp on the essentials
Of course, packing light is no reason to skimp on the essentials. Never forget must-have items such as your phone, sunscreen, first-aid kit, and plenty of water to stay cool and hydrated throughout the day.
Bring a map
Upon entering the park, be sure to stop by a visitor’s center to pick up a map. Even if you’re an experienced hiker, having a map on hand will help you and your family navigate the paths ahead and regroup easily when necessary.
Know the rules ahead of time
Every park has its own set of rules about camping, eating, swimming, and other activities. By knowing and following the rules of your specific park, you can enjoy a safe experience that will keep the park functioning at its best.
Have important numbers handy
It’s always smart to jot down a few important phone numbers—such as park services, for example, or family members’ numbers if you plan on splitting up during the day—on a physical piece of paper. This way, you will be able to get in contact with the right people using a guest phone should yours ever lose charge during the course of your day.
Take advantage of nearby storage
Finally, to lighten the load on your back, take advantage of nearby storage options. Some parks may hold items for you in cubbies or lockers. If you’re taking your boat to the park, you might choose to leave certain bulkier items on board (like camping gear or water toys) so that you can come back for them when you need them, without having to lug them around all day.
No matter where you roam this summer, we hope that these ideas help you enjoy your park time to the fullest!