We did it!
On October 11th, 2011, our family visited Yosemite National Park and got our first National Park Passport stamp! It was a trip that would put in motion a new obsession for our family. But it wasn’t until 2014, when our kids were a little more able-bodied that we announced our family’s goal of visiting 100 National Park units by 2020.
In 2014 we took an epic road trip visiting Gettysburg, Valley Forge, The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Yorktown, and tons of small Civil War battlefields in between. Watch our “Wow” video here. This trip put forth a mission that took us all over the country for 4 years. We took advantage of long weekends to make trips to Shenandoah National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Congaree National Park. We also took advantage of winter breaks and spring breaks to journey to see the Everglades and New England. And of course, each summer we anchored our travel with epic 2 week adventures:
In the spring of 2015, our family took a long weekend and visited the National Park units in the Washington DC Area. This was anchored by a visit to Ford’s Theatre and also included visits to the vast array of memorials and monuments in the Capitol area. Read tips on planning a Washington DC National Park Adventure here.
In the summer of 2015 we took our family West to visit the Grand Circle of National Parks including the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Arches, Mesa Verde, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and way, way more. Watch our vacation movie here and view our in-depth itinerary here.
In the summer of 2016, our family traveled to Alaska’s inside passage visiting National Park units like Glacier Bay and Klondike Goldrush followed by an additional week in the Pacific Northwest including my favorite National Park of all time: Mt Rainier! Watch the short film of our Alaska Adventure here and our Pacific Northwest Adventure here. Then read our detailed itinerary here!
The summer of 2017 took our family to California where we spent 2 weeks driving the complete length of the state visiting National Parks like Joshua Tree, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Pinnacles, Redwoods, and Lassen Volcano. We also managed to fit in a family reunion in that trip! Watch the short film from our Epic California National Park Adventure here. Then read our detailed itinerary here.
And finally, this summer our family embarked on an epic adventure to Hawaii! We had always dreamt to finish our goal with a family selfie on the crater of Kilauea at Volcano National Park but we never anticipated the volcano to be erupting! Despite some last minute rescheduling, we still accomplished our goal at Volcano National Park on June 27th, 2018 opting for the still-open Kahuku Unit of the park!
A New Family Goal…with a Familiar Theme!
So now that we have accomplished our family’s goal, what’s next? After celebrating our accomplishment with a great dinner in Pahoa, Hawaii, we sat down to brainstorm our next family goal.
There were 3 main reasons we chose our initial family goal of visiting 100 National Park units as a family by 2020:
1. We wanted to experience the natural beauty that our country has to offer.
2. We wanted to learn about our country’s history by visiting historical sites.
3. We want to do everything as a family so we may have shared experiences that will last a lifetime!
We believe we satisfied all 3 criteria in the pursuit of our initial goal and we knew that our new family goal had to accomplish the same 3 criteria. We still have so much natural beauty and so many historic sites in our country to experience and visit!
NEW FAMILY GOAL: Visit all 50 United States as a Family by 2025!
That’s right! We are now going to try to visit all 50 States as a family! If you look up how others have accomplished this goal of visiting all 50 States the most common topic is what do you need to do to check off the state? Some people say you must eat a meal in the state or stay at least 1 night in the state. Others have said as long as you breathe the outside air, it counts. Everyone agrees that a layover in an airport does not count. For us, we are going to make it a little more familiar to our family.
As you know, there are 417 National Park units in the National Park Service and we while we accomplished our seemingly ambitious goal, we still have over 300 units to visit. So for us to count a state towards our goal we will need to visit at least 1 National Park unit in the state!
We are still looking forward to visiting as a family amazing treasures in the National Park Service like The Statue of Liberty, Yellowstone National Park, The St Louis Arch, The Rocky Mountains, The Alamo, and Mount Rushmore. But we are also looking forward to visiting other sites as a family like Bourbon Street, Niagara Falls, and the Kentucky Derby!
Follow Our Family on Our New Adventure!
We are very excited about embarking on our new adventure towards our new family goal! They say that you can only influence what you are being measured on. And with this goal, it will take our family to each state and encourage us to learn the unique culture, history, terrain, food, and dialects of every area of our great nation. It will also give us a great excuse to visit our extended family that live all over the country!
From our previous travels we have already visited 21 out of 50. We are already planning our next trip. Here is a map of the states we have already checked off our list!
You can always follow our progress by clicking to this page and on the hashtag #NgFamily50 on Instagram! Thank you for reading about our adventures. We hope that you will continue to join us in our new family goal!