How to adventure with kids

Bug and I smiling on the Smith River in our inflatable river kayaks

On this page, I offer some ideas for activities that might push your comfort zone a smidge. If you’re already an expert outdoorsman or woman, the ideas on this page might be old hat for you. Then again, you might just discover your next favorite adventure activity.

Choose Your Adventure

Many of these posts are based on our experiences, and some are from families who inspire us to dream about that next adventure. All are designed to help families get started, with fun and safe ideas for playing outside together.

Why Try to Outdoor Adventures with Kids?

If you browse through our destination guides, you’ll see that one of the itinerary days is usually dedicated to family adventure. This is because the act of pushing boundaries, whatever they might be, often results in my favorite travel memories.

Now, I say this as someone who is not particularly coordinated. I’m not athletic, and I’ve never excelled at any outdoor activity. My kids are terrified of the ocean, and I really struggle with riding a bike downhill. And uphill. I can count on our adventure exploits to stress me out at least once per activity.

So why do I drag my kids (and my husband) on adventure after adventure? It turns out that I’m one of those 5+ hour marathoners who doesn’t respond well to encouragement at mile 18 but loves that first sip of a finish-line beer. I’ve learned that with the help of some amazing people, I can do things I never imagined I would. Memories like ice-climbing on a Patagonia glacier, hang-gliding from a cliff in Rio, and paddling a tiny class 1 rapid with a giggling 6-year-old near Redwood National Park really shouldn’t belong to someone like me. But I love that they do.

Now John is the opposite. He’s coordinated and competitive. I have to drag him to things, and then he always ends up having a better time than me. But we both love to laugh about it together later. Family adventures work for all types, just in different ways.