Maybe you and your spouse are the adventurous ones, or maybe your kids are. Either way, every family, no matter how big or how small, is due for an adventure at some point. And, this adventure doesn’t need to only take place at Disney World or a family car ride to see the relatives. An adventure can mean all sorts of things, and fortunately, the opportunities for a good one are endless in the US. If you’re ready for your family adventure, here’s how to bring the kids along:
Talk to Your Kids:
As cool as it would be to surprise your children with an adventure, it’s advisable to talk to them about it first. Get an idea of what they like to do, how they feel about being outdoors, or if they have any idea about where they might want to go. You might be pleasantly surprised to learn something new about your child.
This might be a no-brainer, but the age or ages of your kids are very important when planning an adventure. If your child is too young, he or she may or may not be able to physically handle the same amount of hiking or time outdoors as mom, dad, or an older sibling. If your child is older, he or she might find certain ‘adventures’ to be rather boring. Take this into account when designing your itinerary.
If you’re new do this whole adventure planning, then do some research online. You’ll find a lot of positive things about bringing your children outdoors. There’s even an ongoing initiative called #everykidinapark, which will not only help you with your research, but maybe help you save some money as well.
Learn about Destinations:
There are some destinations in America that are some of the best places to go with a family. Beyond that, you’ll need to know what’s going to be best for your family. Before you even decide, know some of the best regions in the US to explore. The Southwest, the Pacific Northwest, and the Northeast could keep your family backpacking for days…or at least until the kids need to go back to school.
Think about Activities:
After talking to your kids, figure out what kind of activities would be ideal for the whole family. Perhaps the kids would like to see wildlife for the first time or visit a state they’ve never been to. Though everything on their list might not be realistic, you can learn what it is that your kids desire about these places. Maybe they want to try skiing, sleep under the stars in the desert, or hike a volcano. Who knows? It might be a chance for you to try something completely new, too.
Decide Where to Go:
So, your kids are down to go on an adventure, and you’re wondering where exactly you can take them. If you have no idea where to start on this one, consider a guided trip. These can take your family into many of the national parks, without having to lift a finger. However, if you’re looking to do something more specific, like a ziplining tour or a snowshoeing tour, then let those experiences lead your family in the right direction. Alternatively, you can always throw a dart at a map of the US and go from there…
Decide When and for How Long:
The kids need to be back at school and maybe you need to go back to work. While summertime is ideal for the children, it might not fit into your schedule. The summer may also not accommodate some of the activities your kids are hoping to do. If you can do an adventure over any school vacation, that’d be great. But, if not, going on a weekend camping trip would be just as fun.
Get the Gear:
The outdoors is free, but getting everything you need for a family adventure can be pricey. Stick to the necessities, and make sure your kids can hold their own stuff. Find them comfortable shoes, appropriate clothing (depending on time of the year), any medications they might need, and even a little toy from home (that they don’t mind potentially losing or getting dirty). That being said, make sure the older kids leave the electronics behind!
Deal with Mishaps:
Many of us parents, especially those who were the older sibling, can remember not thinking of anything more boring than traveling with our parents. Your kid might be happy to go, but maybe they feel a bit awkward about spending so much time with mom and dad. Acknowledge this, make sure your kid(s) get space, and encourage them to embrace the outdoors in their own way. Families will also fight, but don’t let that ruin the trip! If anything, use it as a time to bond with your children and see what’s going on in their lives.
Planning an adventure with your kids can be a very exciting time for your family. What are you waiting for? Start planning!