The thrilling journey of a 92-year-old grandmother and her grandson who explored every national park in the United States

Brad Ryan’s 92-year-old grandmother once told her grandson she had never seen a real mountain. So, Brad made it his mission to take her to almost every national park in the country, 63 in total.

The only one left is the National Park of American Samoa. Their adventure is almost complete, ending with a visit there.

Brad’s love for hiking, especially on the Appalachian Trail, inspired him to invite his grandma on this journey to see the beauty of nature across the nation’s parks.


Joy, who lives in Ohio, surprised her grandson when she admitted that she had never been camping or seen a mountain range.

She felt sad that she missed these adventures when she was younger. But now, she is thrilled by the experiences having with her grandson.

Brad felt sad to see his grandmother trying to imagine experiences she had never based on his stories. He realized she had missed seeing deserts, mountains, oceans, and other marvelous natural sights. Brad wanted to make sure she had the chance to experience these things and make her life story richer.


They started their trip by going to the Great Smoky Mountains. Then, they went to New River Gorge and Joshua Tree National Park.

Over seven years, they traveled more than 50,000 miles together. They did exciting activities like white-water rafting, hiking, and camping under the open sky.

Through their adventures, they’ve become more than just grandmother and grandson; they’ve become the closest friends. Their journey has strengthened their bond.


His parents’ separation broke the relationship between him and his siblings. It also brought on a lot of mental challenges for him. Joy, his grandmother, played a supportive role in helping him overcome these struggles, and their journey together was a source of healing and support for him.

After visiting almost all the national parks in the US, Brad now values the time he spent exploring with his grandma more than ever.


Traveling across the country and meeting different people was a big bonus. Joy thought it was the best thing ever in her life.

She felt amazed during their journey and was thankful for their good fortune.

Traveling can be expensive. Brad paid for the first trip himself. Then, he made a GoFundMe page to help fund his grandmother’s journey.

They managed to raise $12,000 for their journey, which allowed them to visit 21 national parks in 2017. They completed a long trip, visiting 20 national parks across 14 states.


Brad set aside some of his money for their travels, so they were careful with their spending. They soon decided they wanted to share their exciting adventure with others.

In 2019, Brad started posting photos and videos of their trips on social media. You can see their excitement by following Brad’s Instagram and Facebook accounts, @GrandmaJoysRoadtrip.

They shared these posts to show people in Duncan White what they were up to.


After sharing their content, they gained fame statewide. Many businesses and travel agencies reached them, providing enough funds for their trips.

Joy believed their shared experiences could inspire people of all ages.

 Whether the trips were short or long, Joy’s excitement always kept them motivated for their adventures. In July 2021, they took a physically challenging journey to visit Alaska’s eight national parks.


Joy had always dreamed of seeing bears catch fish. In Alaska, she finally got to witness it.

After visiting all the national parks, they planned to see state or international parks as part of their new bucket list.

Brad expressed his happiness, saying, “This journey has been amazing, truly. These past few years have been extraordinary, and I’m very thankful for them.”


Brad expressed that while not everyone can visit all the US National Parks, sharing their journey might encourage others to explore state parks instead.

No matter where life leads them, they’ll always be role models for those wanting to explore more and build strong relationships with their loved ones.