21 Ways You and Your Family Can Enjoy the Outdoors

  1. Stop watching all those Halloween movie reruns, and take the family camping.  Ghost stories around the campfire are much more exciting than watching Michael Myers do his thing.
  2. Visit a new state park each year.  Enjoy the scenery and pack a picnic lunch.  Check out www.stateparks.com
  3. Hike an interesting trail.  Hint: water attracts kids like a magnet and everyone loves to see a great waterfall.  Refer to my free resource on Day Hiking 101.
  4. Go geocaching.  Look for hidden treasures with the help of your GPS.  You probably won’t find any gold, but the clues and the search are the fascinating part.  Younger kids really like this activity.  Learn more at www.geocaching.com.
  5. Orienteering.  This is probably better suited for older kids, but it’s an excellent method for learning how to use a map and compass.
  6. Bike an abandoned railroad track converted into a trail.  These are old railroad beds transformed into bike paths.  Find out more at www.railstotrails.org
  7. Paddle faster when you hear the banjo music.  Seriously, whitewater rafting is a family friendly adventure.  Pick a river that’s appropriate for your kid’s ages and skill level.  These trips are normally accompanied by an experienced guide.
  8. Hunting or fishing.  Yeah, I know it’s not for everyone, but what a great way to teach young people about conservation and outdoor skills.
  9. Buy a nice telescope.  Enjoy a view of the heavens, and relax with the night sounds.
  10. Join a Boy Scout Troop or Girl Scout Troop.  Again, it may not be for everyone, but scouting offers a great format for learning about the outdoors and life skills.  Another good alternative might be the Royal Rangers:  www.royalrangers.com
  11. Create a backyard sanctuary to attract different birds and other animals.  Get the family involved with the design.  Then sit back with the binoculars and enjoy.
  12. Rent a boat and do some tubing or skiing.  If you have time, try out a jet ski.
  13. Discover some cool, relaxing swimming holes.  Sometimes you may have to hike a ways to find the less-crowded spots.
  14. Crawl—or walk—into the bowels of the earth.  Take your family caving, but be prepared:  this could turn into some dirty fun.  Note:  this is not for those who may be claustrophobic.
  15. Zip-line through the tree tops.  I haven’t tried this one yet, but I hear it’s a blast—if you’re not afraid of heights.  This sport seems to be growing more popular.
  16. Canoe or kayak around a peaceful mountain lake or down a calm stream.  Carry the fishing pole or take the binoculars.
  17. Take up archery and learn the techniques of shooting a bow.  Not an archery person?  Then check out the shooting sports.  I thoroughly enjoy the sport of shooting skeet or clays.  No, you don’t have to be a hunter and your kids can even join clubs or enter competitions.
  18. Saddle up!  Hit the trails on horseback.  Do your research and find a competent service.  If horses terrify your family, this might not be the best choice.
  19. Make that annual trip to the beach.  Feel the ocean breeze and enjoy the wide open waters of God’s creation.  When you get tired of the salt water, pull out the metal detector and find your wife a slightly-used diamond ring.  Or maybe a quarter instead.  Okay, how about a pull tab?
  20. Take in some outdoor tours or events:  zoos, botanical gardens, living history camps, reenactments, Civil War battle sites, Indian mounds, old forts, etc.
  21. Rock climbing or rappelling.  Okay, this requires some skill and effort, but I do know some families who love doing this activity together.  Get the right gear and training.  Any outdoor sports come with some amount of risk, but you can learn how to minimize that risk and have a good time in the process.
Please share with us you and your family’s favorite outdoor adventures.
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3 Responses to 21 Ways You and Your Family Can Enjoy the Outdoors

  1. Jenni Veal says:

    Great post – lots of good ideas for outdoor fun.
    I just wrote a piece about rock climbing with kids in Chattanooga (http://www.nooga.com/20351_rock-climbing-with-kids). It’s a great individual sport for kids who aren’t into group sports and a fun family activity.
    Best wishes, Jenni Veal

  2. Pingback: Just Add Water | Trails of Life

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