Eight Things to Pack For Your Next National Parks Trip

Planning a family national park trip doesn't have to be stressful. Don't forget to pack these items so that hiking and exploring nature is fun for the whole family!

Is your family planning a trip to one of this country’s great National Parks? There are a few things you need to pack before you get the kids in the car because you’ll want to be prepared for the next few days ahead.

Talk about an adventure! I think I’m jealous! ;)

Whether you’re hitting the trails for the very first time or you’re beginning your annual trek, consider the following eight items to bring along to make the day more enjoyable for all.

A baby carrier

Your baby might not be used to a carrier, but on long hikes, they will be begging for one! Little children just don’t have the stamina to keep up with the rest of the group. A baby carrier will do the trick! It will also free up your hands to handle the needs of the rest of your brood.

Natural insect repellent

I am sure that you will plan on spraying everyone down at the beginning of the trail, but you will all sweat and lose some of that magic along the way. Be sure to bring along an extra can in your backpack, because you absolutely will need to reapply.

Water bottles for everyone

Yes, I said everyone. It will be hot and you all will be thirsty. The number one rule of hiking is to stay hydrated. Teach this to your children while they are still young.

Proper shoes

Please don’t wear sandals or cute flip flops on the trail. This is coming from a fashion-obsessed mom! It PAINS me to say it… but you need sneakers or hiking boots and they need to fit properly. Every family member needs to be laced up for the trail.


You never know what will happen, so why not just pack a lightweight raincoat for everyone? Even when my family travels to Disney, we pack a bag filled with raincoats. Why let a little water ruin a memory?

A map

Yes, I know you have a phone with GPS. But riddle me this: what would you do if you walked so far into the national park that you no longer had access to Wifi? You need a map you can hold in your hand just in case you need to get back to your car without tech support to guide you. Grab one at the foot of the trail and throw it in your backpack.

A First Aid Kit

No one wants to even think about having to use a first aid kit, but should the situation arise, you will be happy that you have one. Get one that has all the basics. Carefully consider the supplies you may need and really choose one that covers all the bases.


Similar to bug spray, you will need to reapply sunscreen over and over again. Be sure to bring a bottle that contains a high number SPF and keep an eye on everyone’s overall appearance. Every few hours, stop – take a break and reapply.

These are my favorite items to pack when our family embarks on a hike through a National Park. Plus one: don’t forget your camera – there will be so many memories you’ll want to look back on!

And remember, wherever you go, Alamo has the perfect car for you to rent to get you to your final destination. So, book your flight and head out to explore all the gems of America! Alamo has the road covered. You just have to cover the trails.

About the Author

Vera Sweeney

By: Vera Sweeney, Alamo Chief Travel Mom and founder of Ladyandtheblog.com.

The Alamo Chief Travel Moms are a council of lifestyle bloggers and mothers who have partnered with Alamo Rent A Car to inspire and celebrate family travel while sharing their personal experiences and tips they’ve learned along the way