The Best National Park Virtual Field Trips to Take Right Now
Thanks to technology, you can see the beauty of the United States park system by taking some national park virtual field trips.
If your family has always wanted to tour the national parks, but you’re not able to visit in person, tour them from the comfort of home. They’re some of the most exquisite virtual field trips for middle school.
There’s a reason why these parks have been family favorites for generations. They’re gorgeous and filled with natural wonders.
These virtual tours are perfect for tweens who love the outdoors and nature. You can use these helpful tools during your science or geography lessons. They make wonderful additions to studies in nature and ecology, as well as the earth and its landforms.
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National Park Virtual Field Trips
While it would be great to visit these locations in person, if you can’t travel, don’t let it stop you from visiting these amazing locations. Use these tours as a learning tool in your homeschool or just for some family fun.
National Parks at Home
To begin your journey, visit the National Parks At Home site for all kinds of fun activities your family can do at home to explore the national park system.
You’ll find webcams, ideas for enjoying nature from your backyard, and educational activities. Kids can learn how to become a junior park ranger online and even listen to some park inspired music.
Arches National Park
The Arches National Park has over 2000 arches, the highest density of natural arches found in the world. These geologic formations are ever-changing and formed by water.
During the tour, tweens will discover that even though the terrain looks rough, it is actually quite delicate, which is why climbing is strictly regulated.
Everyone will be amazed by the beauty of the sandstone creations and the vibrant colors when the sun shines off of them. It’s definitely a field trip not to miss.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is known for its bizarre landforms. Surprisingly, its namesake, Bryce Canyon, is not even technically a canyon because it wasn’t formed through erosion from a central stream. Instead, the powerful force of rainwater and an erosional force called frost-wedging, combined to form limestone.
These rocks took the shape of windows, fins, slot canyons, and spires called hoodoos.
As you move around this park on your virtual tour, you’ll be in awe at the array of colors found within the rock formations.
As they visit the park, they’ll see thousands of Joshua trees, along with a multitude of cacti.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Carlsbad Caverns National Park contains over 119 caves, but only 3 are open for public tours. The most visited cave is Carlsbad Cavern. Kids will learn that this cave was not formed by water erosion, but forged by sulfuric acid.
This park is also rich in the history of the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived in the Guadalupe mountains many years ago.
During the field trip, take time to learn about both the interesting history and fascinating cave formations.
Death Valley National Park
Tweens will be happy that they’re visiting this national park on a virtual field trip instead of in person because Death Valley National Park has the driest climate in North America and is known as the hottest place on earth.
One thing that makes this park interesting is that aside from the heat and desert, you can also experience snow-covered mountain peaks.
Enjoy a tour of this national park without needing extra water or a jacket.
Denali National Park
Named after the tallest mountain in North America, Denali, the Denali National Park is a mix of landscapes including forest and glaciers at the extreme, located in Alaska.
While on this virtual field trip, aside from seeing the natural beauty, middle schoolers can learn about the science and research going on in the park, particularly with mosses and lichens and the important role these tiny plants have in this massive wilderness.
Listen to the sound scapes and watch Denali National Park live in actual time through their webcams.
Everglades National Park
The Everglades National Park is a famous wildlife area in South Florida. Most people think the Everglades are a swamp, but they are actually a slow-moving river. There is no other ecosystem like it on earth.
This complex system of ecosystems are home to several endangered species, including the American Crocodile. They are also the home of several plants and animals not found anywhere else on earth.
During your virtual field trip, plan to spend some time exploring the plethora of resources provided and when you’re ready, you can take a different trip with Google Earth.
Gates of the Arctic National Park
Gates of the Arctic National Park is a unique national park because there are no roads or trails through it. Instead, visitors experience wild, untouched land.
Lucky for you, you won’t need any special survival skills or a guide to take this virtual field trip. Tweens will enjoy the rare glimpse into an untouched part of the United States.
They’ll also love learning about the fascinating archaeological work being done here. Scientists are in the process of uncovering a Paleo-Eskimo camp. It’s amazing!
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is located in Montana, along the United States and Canadian border. Many refer to it as the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem, mainly because it is considered a pristine ecosystem.
On this website, you can take a virtual drive on Going-To-The-Sun Road, look for wildlife, go for a virtual hike, and much more. You won’t want to miss this beautiful site.
Grand Canyon National Park
Located in Arizona, Grand Canyon National Park is a breathtaking national park that is also one of the deepest gorges on Earth. Each year, it’s one of the most visited national parks. Now, you can see it for yourself without having to travel.
Do your tweens know about the Mystery of Blacktail Canyon? Find out all about it during this captivating virtual field trip.
They can also search for some of the over 500 species of animals, including the endangered California Condor. If your older kids are more adventurous, use the links on the site to further explore the Grand Canyon by taking a virtual hike or a raft trip.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island
Visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, located on the Big Island, and see the awesome wonders of two active volcanoes up close. One of them, Kilauea, is the world’s most active volcano. It erupted back in 2018. The other one, Mauna Loa, is the world’s most massive shield volcano.
This national park and its volcanoes have much historical significance for Hawaiians, which you’ll learn about during your online visit. You’ll also see dramatic landscapes and unique flora and fauna.
Joshua Tree National Park
As your tweens start their virtual tour of the Joshua Tree National Park, they might ask, what is a Joshua tree and why does it have its own national park?
This is a great place to learn all about these unique plants found in the Southwest United States. Kids will be shocked to find discover they aren’t trees at all. They’re yucca plants that grow in a tree formation.
Mesa Verde National Park
Located in Colorado, Mesa Verde National Park is rich in cultural history and protects thousands of archeological sites, including cliff dwellings.
Through this virtual field trip, tweens can learn about the Ancestral Pueblo who made their home here for over 700 years.
After taking a fascinating visual tour of a cliff dwelling, they can visit this site to learn more about this park and the fascinating history from first-hand experiences.
Mount Rainier National Park
Located in Washington state, Mount Rainier is the most elevated point in the Cascade Mountains. The Mount Rainier National Park includes a volcano surrounded by glaciers, forests, and waterfalls, mostly preserved as wilderness.
On this site, you’ll find some amazing resources to help your older kids explore one of the oldest and most visited national parks.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Also located in Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park is known for its beautiful panoramic views. These majestic mountains are home to 67 mammal species including Bighorn Sheep, Black Bears, and Yellow-Bellied Marmot.
The rugged terrain also provides unlimited hiking and sight-seeing opportunities. On this virtual field trip, teens can experience it all from the comfort of home.
Kids can watch webcams to see the park in real time and use the resources available to learn about all the wildlife found at this national park.
Virgin Islands National Park
Are you ready for the beach? Set in the Caribbean, the Virgin Islands National Park is known for its beautiful beaches and coral reefs. Its rich history dates back to 840 BC.
Take a virtual tour of the island and learn about the people who have visited and lived on these islands over the centuries, including pirates.
White Sands National Park
White Sands National Park is in Utah and is the world’s largest gypsum dune field. Sand made of gypsum is rare. It’s water-soluble, so it will dissolve in water like sugar.
The sand appears white because the scratches in the gypsum reflect the sun’s rays, but it’s actually clear.
During this virtual field trip, kids will not only get to see the beauty of the park up close but also learn all about the unique gypsum sand.
Wind Cave National Park
The Wind Cave National Park is surrounded by the Black Hills in South Dakota. This cave is one of the longest in the world and holds 95 percent of the earth’s boxwork formations.
On your field trip, you can inspect these unique formations and explore the inside of the cave. You can also virtually walk the trails and see a variety of wildlife, including the Wind Cave bison herd, one of the last remaining free-roaming herds in North American, located on public land.
Yellowstone National Park
Designated as the first national park in 1872, Yellowstone National Park has it all. Nowhere in the world will you find the variety of geothermal features that you find in this park, including the popular Old Faithful geyser.
Plan to spend some time exploring all the different biomes in this massive park during your virtual field trip. They also have some webcams set up so you can see different areas of the park live.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is a major tourist attraction in California, with over 3.5 million people visiting each year.
On this virtual tour, your family can explore Yosemite, including the iconic rock formations, El Capitan and Half Dome. Don’t miss Glacier Point, which has been described as one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
Another unique feature of this park are the giant sequoias, the biggest trees on the planet.
There are a bunch of resources you can use to learn more about the people and nature at the park.
Zion National Park
The definition of Zion is heavenly city, and after you visit Zion National Park, you’ll understand how it got its name. The stunning red rock landscape is so picture-perfect it looks surreal.
Tweens can take a virtual tour of the park and go on several virtual hikes, including one of the most famous, along the Angel Landing trail.
As you can see, it’s quite easy to take in the beauty of our national park system from home when you can’t visit in person. Hopefully, you’ve found a resource or two to add to your science and geography lesson plans.
Resources to Learn More About the National Parks
- Play Trekking the National Parks to learn even more about these special places.
- Use this National Geographic Atlas of the National Parks as a resource in your homeschool.
- Piece together this national park puzzle that highlights many of the locations you’re visiting virtually.
- Put your knowledge to the test with this national parks trivia game.
- See the incredible beauty of these parks in Treasured Lands: A Photographic Odyssey Through America’s National Parks.
- Spend some time playing the National Parks Opoly Jr. board game.
Additional Virtual Tours for Teens
- Make American history come alive for your older kids by virtually visiting Washington D.C..
- For even more natural beauty, take some tours of Alaska as part of your geography studies.
- Here’s a bunch of educational virtual field trips you can take. They include a variety of subjects, including art, history, animals, and nature.
- Visit New York City from the comfort of your home.