Once you start a family, it seems like your adventure activities are all over. With kids, vacations often have more to do with hanging out with your relatives and planning what you’re going to eat next than they do with exploring the great outdoors and having an exciting adventure. But it doesn’t have to be that way, as kids are great at making the most of any activity, so the next time you plan a family vacation, think about taking the whole gang on an adventure they won’t soon forget.
If you’re a DIY type of parent, then you can take almost any adventure activity that you enjoy and tone it down enough to be able to take the kids along, but if you’re not feeling inspired to create your own trip, then you’ll want to explore the booming new industry of family adventure travel. There are lots of great choices of places to see and trips to take as a family, which most travel agents will gladly arrange for you, but there are a bunch of travel and adventure companies that either specialize in, or offer, adventure trips for kids and families.
1. REI Family Adventures: Outdoor retail giant REI offers adventure packages for families, which follow itineraries that have been created specifically with kids in mind, and have destinations and activities “to delight and satisfy young, curious minds and high energy levels”. Choose from adventures in Costa Rica, African safaris, the Grand Canyon, the Galapagos Islands, and more.
2. Kids Can Travel: This site is a great resource for exploring a bunch of different options for traveling with kids, including active adventure travel. While you still need to do the planning yourself, Kids Can Travel might help you to narrow down your options (or get your kids to weigh in on their choices). “Not only do we believe that kids can travel, travel with kids is fun and it’s a great way to introduce children to the world beyond their backdoor.”
3. KE Adventure Travel: KE has 28 years of experience in adventure travel, and specializes in taking small family groups to some of the world’s most beautiful places. From Chamonix to Oman, from Crete to the Himalayas, KE has a great variety of offerings for active adventure trips. “Exotic cultures, breathtaking natural environments and amazing historical treasures have never been more accessible for the whole family to enjoy.”
4. Wildland Adventures: The family adventures at Wildland are catered to parents traveling with young children, so your kids are part of the focus. The company offers authentic travel experiences out in nature and also among local indigenous communities, and include travel with expert local guides and plenty of impromptu fun for kids and adults alike. “We know by our own experience, if the kids are stimulated, having fun, and safe while traveling, then parents are usually having a good time too!”
5. Western River Expeditions: If you’d like the family to experience some of the best of the west, as seen from the river, then a trip with Western River Expeditions might do the trick. The company offers a special class of adventures, just for parents with young children and teens. “Western’s trips on the Green River in Utah and Salmon River Canyon in Idaho offer a dedicated “River Jester” who leads games, nature exploration and other activities, a special kids menu and selection of oar boats, paddle boats and kayaks providing lots of hands-on action for the whole family.”
6. Great Alaska: Seeing a grizzly or going on a wildlife safari or sportfishing in Alaska are among the offerings from Great Alaska Adventure Lodge, all of which are iconic American adventures to share with the family. Great Alaska offers a riverfront lodge, as well as private, fly-in camps with access to a wide variety of activities in the last frontier. “Experience glacier cruising, wild bear viewing, moderate hiking, cultural touring, Talkeetna and Denali and the Alaska Railroad.”
Whether you book a family adventure trip with a travel company, or you spend the time to create your own itinerary, if you keep in mind that your kids need to have fun in order for you to be able enjoy your vacation, you’re more likely to create an adventure trip to remember – and not a family trip from hell.
[Image: D Sharon Pruitt]