The 10 Best National Parks

Voyageurs National Park, International Falls, MN

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Voyageurs National Park

Total Acres: 218,000

Number of Family-Friendly Trails: Five (portions of three are stroller-accessible)

Best Time to Visit: July and August, which are the least rainy summer months and have high temperatures in the mid-70s.

  • Features numerous glacier-carved lakes, where families can fish for walleye.
  • Will host the Birder's Rendezvous Summer Festival on June 8 and 9; kids' activities are being planned.
  • Operates the Kids Explore Voyageurs Program to teach 5- to 12-year-olds to look for tracks and other nature clues.
  • Boasts more than 1,000 glacial islands, all accessible by boat for exploring.
  • Has 3-billion-year-old rock formations.

Named for the French-Canadian men who canoed through the area in the 18th and 19th centuries, Voyageurs is the ultimate water park. With more than 80,000 acres of water and only 10 miles of roads, families hop on a boat to access the peninsula, islands, and campsites.

"We cater to children," says Kathleen Przybylski, chief of interpretation. For instance, in the park's North Canoe Voyage program, families can paddle back into history aboard a replica of a 26-foot Voyageurs Canoe. The staff, dressed in period clothing, teaches kids the salutes that voyageurs did with their paddles. Other water-based activities that the entire family can enjoy include kayaking, fishing, and swimming.

Contact: 218-283-9821; www.nps.gov/voya.

Entrance fee: Free.

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