Local hikes are a great family activity especially when hiking with children; one that can provide a chance for some family bonding with some healthy results. It’s something that can be modified to fit all abilities and age levels by finding flatter terrain for younger family members and more challenging trails for older, more athletic groups. Local hikes require as little equipment as you’re comfortable with and don’t call for much in order to participate. Here are some helpful tips for making your day on the trail enjoyable for all…
Do your research on the area you’ll be exploring. Did you decide on a hiking trail based on a friends’ recommendation? Were you made aware of a picturesque spot by a recent article? Regardless of how you stumbled upon the location of your local hike, be sure to check it out a bit by finding a map or accurate description of the area and difficulty level so you’re prepared. Little ones or seniors may be challenged by steep inclines not offering switchbacks or subtle inclines so when hiking with children keep this in mind.
Check everyone’s hiking gear. While the basic gear of good sneakers or hiking boots is obvious, you’ll also want everyone to have a lightweight jacket or sweatshirt, depending on the season or altitude of your local hikes. Hats are often a good idea, protecting you not only from the sun, but also from keeping small annoyances like gnats and ticks (depending on your region) out of your hair and away from your head. Speaking of insects, repellent may also serve you well, particularly on everyone’s ankles, as you’ll be undoubtedly be stirring up a lot of leaf litter as you hike along. Other hiking gear one or more of you may choose to utilize may be a walking stick or pole, and a compass. Sun protection for hiking with kids is also of major importance.
When spending a few hours in the great outdoors hiking with kids, you should always think SNACKS! Younger members of your family will most likely be looking for something to eat as soon as a half hour into your trek, so be sure to have something on hand to keep their energy up. Putting some thought into your choices may serve you well; you want them to have that protein-induced, lasting energy, yet don’t want them to crash hard off a sugar high. Protein bars, low sugar energy bars such as Clif Bars, are a good choice. Fresh fruit such as an apple or banana are smart picks, as are dried fruits found in trail mix, fruit leather and raisins. Be sure everyone has a water bottle, with a back up or two included in your pack, depending on the size of your party. Kids don’t like to drink water? If hiking and outdoor sports are a big part of your family life, invest in a CamelBak for them! What a fun way to carry you water on your back and stay hydrated even during local hikes.
Don’t forget your camera! Hiking with children is a great way to make lasting family memories and there will be plenty of beautiful scenery to act as a backdrop for your photos. With every local hike offering its own unique features, you’ll want to capture them all!
No matter the size of your family, Local hiking with kids is a fun, inexpensive way for everyone to get out together for some sightseeing and exercise. There are few family activities that can be had inexpensively for a large family and that can be tailored to include everyone. Don’t let the size or age range of your brood limit you; with a little thought and minimal planning, a local hike can turn into a great day for the family!