With seemingly infinite Netflix shows to binge, video games to conquer, and a growing culture of “click bait” geared towards young audiences, weekend getaways outside have never been more important for families. Adventuring with kids looks different for every family, but the benefit of fresh air, active movement, and time spent together is universal!
To make the most of your weekend adventure, we rounded up some tips for adventuring with kids!
When choosing where to go, it’s helpful to make a list of places that are known for having multiple types of activities for kids to enjoy. This will be helpful later on when they get tired of the trail but you are just getting going! Outdoor hubs with mountains and lakes or rivers are great for this; mountains typically indicate hiking and biking, while lakes or rivers open the option for water sports such as swimming, rafting, kayaking, or standup paddleboarding.
It can also be fun and helpful to involve the kids in this step as well. By involving the whole family in the planning process, kids will feel more engaged and excited about the trip. They will know what they get to look forward to, and you will know what activities they are most excited for!
Places like the Olympic National Park with short hikes to waterfalls, lakes and tidepools, or Moab area with drive up points for intriguing rock formations, arches, fossil hikes in the Arches and Canyonlands National Park, or Glacier National Park with abundant wildlife and several lessons in geology behind the granite walls, disappearing glaciers, and colorful pebbles are some great choices.
Depending on their age, you can either get them involved with looking up an Atlas and discussing locations, or if they are old enough to use devices, have them research the activities at the destination. Teenagers can also help with routing options for road trips or help figure out logistics via online research. Other ways to get them excited and involved with planning can through books or games about the destination that allow them to learn about what the destination has to offer, its history, or geology.
Packing the right snacks - and plenty of them - can be a true game changer when it comes to weekend getaways and road trips. It’s tempting to grab only convenient and often sugary snacks when traveling, but keeping spirits high involves balancing treats with sustained energy. Consider sandwiches, veggie dippers, fresh or dried fruit, and granola bars. And of course, packing your kids’ favorite treat can be a great mood boost!
Getting out the door can be difficult, and when packing is left to the last minute it’s all the more likely that important items will be left behind. Make your list ahead of time so when it’s time to hit the road, you’ll know you aren’t missing any essentials. A few often forgotten items to add to your list are: sunscreen, sunglasses, bug repellant, first aid kit, flash lights, travel sized toiletries, and an extra power bank for small electronics.
Start by encouraging your kids to pack their own bag; it’s an important life skill that they can benefit from in the long run. It can also be a fun activity for kids to pack their own bags with a mom or dad approved checklist. For a detailed list of adventure essentials for kids, head over to our blog The Kids Hiking Gear You'll Need For Family Adventures.
Our final tip for getting outside with the kids is…don’t overthink it! There are bound to be hiccups along the way, but the memories created with your family is what you will remember, not the minor roadblocks. After a couple tries, weekend getaways will become easier and more routine as you learn what works for your family. Do your best to prepare, then set the worry aside and have fun with it!
For ideas for your next family adventure, check out some of our favorite family vacation spots to visit!
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