Planning a day trip with your family provides a variation of the usual routine and a change of scenery – while also allowing you to end the day in your own beds. Hiking, especially during the autumn season, is a relatively easy and very affordable way to visit a new place, enjoy nature, get some exercise and, most importantly, spend quality time with your family.
The Family Backpack’s favorite place to hike is Door County, a northeastern peninsula that’s also referred to as the “thumb” of Wisconsin because of the state’s shape. Door County offers a large variety of trails that range from easy breezy to rigorous in natural settings from beach to cliffs.
Wherever you decide to hike, family hiking takes preparation. Kids or teens might complain of being tired, bored, hungry or simply uninterested in such an event, but with the right gear and the right mindset, hiking can be a meaningful and traditional family activity.
For tips on how to make hiking age-appropriate for kids and, most importantly, fun, check out “Get Outside: Tips for Hiking with Kids” from Back Road Ramblers.
Or this post from Brave Ski Mom is chock full of tips and a video on how to successfully hike with kids in tow.
Of course, safety is most important, especially with younger children. It is important parents pick very flat, easy trails when hiking with toddlers or spirited kids. Internet research of the location prior to the excursion is extremely important to ensure the trail is a good fit for your family.
Having the right gear is also key when taking a family hike. Comfortable and supportive shoes or boots, water bottles, easy-to-eat snacks like fruit, meat sticks and granola bars, dressing in layers (sometimes temps change drastically during a hike depending on the elevation, terrain and shadiness) and a small first aid kit (or at the very least, band-aids).
“Kids thrive on adventure,” says Kristin from Brave Ski Mom. “Streams, waterfalls, big rocks to climb, dark forests, open meadows – all of these natural features keep kids engaged and interested in taking the next step.”
For smaller children, backpacks are recommended and for toddler age, consider a Piggyback Rider, which is reviewed here by 2Travel Dads.
“The Piggyback Rider came to our rescue […] now hiking with a tired kid or Mr. Attitude is no longer a problem,” writes travel dad, Rob Taylor.
For ideas on hikes around the world check out our hiking section.
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