National Park Journal

Keep a Journal Designated for Your Visits to National Parks


There are so many wonderful ways to capture memories on trips with journaling.  Keeping a National Park journal is one way to do that.  When my boys were just 3 and 5 years old, we visited our first National Park, The Grand Canyon.  I'm glad I had the foresight to begin a special journal designated just to our visits to NPs.  We have now visited 9 NPs and it's fun to have all these visits recorded in one journal.  The boys think it's funny to see the drawings they sketched when they were young.  They also like to try and read what they wrote years ago with their phonetic spelling. 


The boys begin their NP journals with a visit to The Grand Canyon
The boys begin their NP journals with a visit to The Grand Canyon


We have followed a basic format for each NP we've added:

  • Title
  • Dates visited
  • Park brochure cut up and taped inside
  • Postcards taped inside
  • Colored-pencil sketches of favorite spots within the park
  • A personal reflection of something that stood out to them (when they were too young to write this themselves, they dictated to me and I wrote it down in their journal).

I also included a US map of all the National Parks so that every time we visit one we can mark it off.  Did you know there are 58 National Parks in the US?  It's great awareness on their part to see where we've been and see where we could still travel to.  As the boys have gotten older, they have become more involved in planning upcoming trips, expressing an interest in NPs they would like to visit.


How to:

-Take along a blank sketch book (something with nice sturdy pages from an art store), a good set of colored pencils, and double-sided tape.

- Cut up your park brochure and tape as a collage into the journal.  Include other memorabilia such as postcards and stamps.

- Draw your own map of the park and the route your family took.

- Sit down and draw something beautiful that stands out to you.  This could be something big like a canyon or little like a desert flower.

- Record interesting things you learn about the history of the park, how the geological features were formed or the plants and animals that make their home there.

-Don't forget to also record funny things that happened, things that surprised you, things that didn't go as planned, etc.  These are always fun details that help you relive your trip after it's long over.

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