Posted by Nancy D. Brown

Your international travel budget may be in sorry shape, but that doesn't mean crossing summer vacation plans off your list.  Look to your backyard for summer travel.  The USA has our own crown jewels in our national parks system.    

Think national parks this summer and give extra thought to packaged, all-inclusive, small group family tours that can save money, planning and logistics time and maximize sightseeing opportunities and experiences.

Specializing in family travel, Austin-Lehman Adventures notes that national parks offer both value and the stay-closer-to-home mantra of today’s economy.

"Now’s the time to start planning; early interest in U.S. programs has been surprisingly strong," says Dan Austin, ALA’s co-founder and director. His company was singled out as one of the top 13 outfitters in the world in National Geographic Adventure magazine’s annual "Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth" issue.

Here are several national park trips for value-minded families:

Photo courtesy Austin-Lehman1) Yellowstone National Park:

Kids go crazy for: The mineral hot spring-fed pool at Chico Hot Springs Resort where they gather for their own private pizza party while parents have a romantic, adult-only candlelit dinner in the historic dining room.






Photo Courtesy National Park Service2) Yosemite National Park:

Kids go crazy for: Getting misted at Bridalveil Fall. Watching deer and coyotes go about their business in the park.




  Grand Canyon photo by Nancy D. Brown 

3) Grand Canyon National Park:

Kids go crazy for: The cascading waterfalls and Travertine limestone pools of Havasu Creek.








Horses by Nancy D. Brown4) Grand Teton National Park

Kids go crazy for: Spotting enormous Bull Moose under towering Tetons. Watching the bucking broncos at the Jackson Hole rodeo.


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