Photo by Pabak Sarkar
Looking to get more out of your family trips to parks and fresh ideas? The traditional hiking, swimming and camping activities are always fun, but we think these will add a nice kick to your family days outdoors! Plus, ParkVisitor makes it easy for you to discover new places and things to do with its “activity” filter so you can search parks by what you’d like to do.
Short on time? You don’t have to spend a whole weekend camping to get a quality outdoor family experience. How about packing up a bag of groceries and making an easy dinner outdoors? Lots of parks have designated picnicking areas and some even have grilling stations. Before you go, do a quick search to make sure your preferred park offers these amenities so you enjoy your meal in an approved eating area.
In some parks, visitors are allowed to pick fruit right off the trees! Not all parks allow this, so you may have to do a bit of research, but it’s all worth it in the end when you get to see joy your kids biting into juicy sweet fruit they got to pick themselves!
- Wasatach Mountain State Park in Utah has a secret apple orchard which lets visitors pick apples right off the trees during the fall season.
- California Citrus State Historic Park also still produces lots of fruit, but fruit picking is limited to the tour guides when you sign up for a tour. You still do the eating though!
Whether you have a backyard or not, a new environment for games make them much more exciting! Playing I Spy with little ones get them to become more aware of what’s in the park and allow for deeper appreciation of natural surroundings. Take it an extra step with a scavenger hunt where kids can run off in a competition trying to get everything off the list.
In addition big open spaces to play soccer and football, many parks offer kayaking, golf, surfing, paddle-boarding, and even Ultimate Frisbee fields that are just as fun for adults and kids. And when winter comes around, that doesn’t mean less sports- it may mean more! Some parks offer snowmobiling, sledding, and other snow sports
Make your park visit a learning experience with ranger guided tours, presentations, musical festivals and other events offered across state and national parks. To find an event near you, search here
Yes, playgrounds! Every park is different, so you never get tired of taking your kids to the same play area if you make it your mission to visit different parks for new adventures.
We don’t mean climbing any tree, for safety reasons, but because kids are curious about climbing things, it’s not a bad idea if you do it in the right setting. Georgist State Parks Tree Top Excursions facilitates intro, individual and group climbing exercises, but requires that your children be at least 8 years old to sign up for the intro climbing class. Check out their website for details.
If your child is in the 3rd or 4th grade, we recommend taking advantage of the free park visitors pass for 4th graders through the Every Kid in a Park program. The pass expires in August so current 4th graders can still take advantage and 3rd graders can apply for it this fall.
Want more specific ideas for what to do with kids? Find printable scavenger hunt lists, itineraries and safety tips on our Parks with Kids board on Pinterest!