January 22, 2018

21 Ways to Get Outdoors on Your Family Vacation


girl riding a bikeBack in May, I let you know that I partnered with the Active Family Project, a new health and wellness initiative set up by Merck Consumer Care, to help moms promote healthy, active lifestyles. Today, I wanted to share 21 ways to get out and have fun on your next family vacation.

1. Canoe Down a River. Just grab sunscreen, a lifejacket and a paddle, and you’ll be on your way.

2. Hop on a Bike and Explore. Bring your bikes or take advantage of a bikeshare program to explore a new city at your leisure.

3. Have a Family Park or Beach Clean-Up. Grab a trash bag and pick up trash so others can better enjoy the surroundings.

4. Pick Wildflowers. Pick up a nature book and go hunting for wildflowers. Maybe even make a pressed flower picture book or collage.

5. Take a Nature Hike. Grab your backpack and a bottle of water for a morning or afternoon hike. Use TrailLink to find trails near you.

6. Have a Picnic. Most parks, even city parks, have picnic tables and restrooms, so pack a picnic lunch and head out for a day in the park.

7. Go on a Photography Walk. Grab your camera or smartphone and start taking pictures of everything interesting that you and your kids see.

8. Go on a Scavenger Hunt. For a fun way to explore a new city with kids, try a scavenger hunt. Try Urban Quest.

9. Catch a Meteor Shower. Imagine seeing so many shooting stars that you can’t count them all. The Perseid meteor showers take place in mid-August.

10. Take a Local Tour. Learn about a vacation spot by taking a tour either by bus, on a bike, by foot or on a segway.

11. Watch the Sunset. Take a late afternoon hike with your kids. Head to the top of a mountain or a tall city landmark and watch the sun set. 

12. Go Underground in a Cave. Grab the kids and go below the earth’s surface to take in breathtaking caves and caverns across the country.

13. Try Out a Farm Stay. Take your kids to stay overnight on a working farm to teach them how a farm operates on a day-to-day basis.

14. Perfect Your Bird Calls. Grab the kids and your binoculars and notebook to prepare for a day of birding. Some parks even offer special birdwatching walks.

15. Explore Fun Public Art Sculptures. If your kids aren’t up for art galleries and exhibitions, check out the public art sculptures in many cities across the country.

16. Go on a Mural Tour. Some of the best works of art can be found on the sides of buildings. Ride bikes to explore the various murals on your own.

17. Visit a Nature Center. Speak with an interpretive naturalist to find out more about wildlife programs, as well as local hiking and fishing opportunities. 

18. Go to a Water Park. On a hot summer day, cool down at a water park or a splash park. Look for discount tickets on daily deal sites, like Groupon. 

19. Try Out Different Playgrounds. Pack a picnic lunch and try out a few new playgrounds to the delight of your kids.

20. Take an Alphabet Photo Tour. Grab a camera for each child and go on an Alphabet Photo Tour, taking pictures of what you see that start with each letter.

21. Go on a Night Hike. Take a night hike with a flashlight, or go on a scavenger hunt, looking for nocturnal animals.

Make sure to also check out ActiveFamilyProject.com for loads of tips, tools and fun activities to help you have fun together as a family, and remember to always keep safety top of mind! Do you have special ways that you like to stay active as a family? Just let me know in the comments section below. 

Photo Credit: Adrienne Johnson


  1. Great list! I live in Dominica, the Nature Island of the Caribbean and pretty much everything there is to do here is outside! The Caribbean in general is conducive to outdoorsy vacations because of the (mostly) great weather. I encourage people to really sink deep into their experience in the outdoor world and take everything in at a slower pace for it to really be an enriching experience!

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