RECOMMENDED FAMILY TRIPS
Have school age children? Find out which trips we recommend for families!
Our recommended family trips are great opportunities for families with school age children to travel as a family, enjoy amazing hiking destinations, and to feel confident that what you’re embarking on is appropriate for your family. The main criteria we use to determine a good family trip are the ruggedness of the hiking, the weight of the backpacks (10-20 pounds), and flexibility with itineraries. (In general, we do not include backpacking trips here. Go to our Family Backpacking Trips page to see a list of those recommendations.) Active, strong children 12 and older can certainly enjoy additional trips, so these are merely suggestions. Finally, appropriateness of a trip is subjective and should be determined on a case by case basis by evaluating the nature and demands of the trip, and the fitness and experience of your family.
Please note: we require children to be 12 years of age or older to join scheduled group trips. Families with children younger than 12 are asked to book private trips, which have special family pricing.
Feel free to give us a ring at 800-715-HIKE (4453) with any questions!
All Family Friendly Trips Trips (84 results)
Acadia: Summits to Ocean Inn-based
Mount Hood Lodge-based Tour
Yellowstone Snowshoe Traverse
Alaska Northern Lights and Snowshoe Tour Northbound
Alaska Snowshoe and Northern Lights Tour Southbound
Rocky Mountain Lodge Based Snowshoe Tour
Wild Olympic to Mount Rainier Snowshoe Adventure
Heart of Alaska Inn-based Tour
Alaska Basin Llama Trek
Best of Grand Canyon Tour
Best of Utah Inn Based
Bechler Llama Traverse
MORE ABOUT FAMILY TRIPS
THE WILDLAND APPROACH TO FAMILY TRIPS
We do not have family-specific trips other than a few specialty options like our Yosemite Family Camping Adventure, Observation Peak Backpacking Trip in Yellowstone, and our Portered Creeks & Peaks Trek in the Smokies. However, we do have trips we feel better lend themselves to families than other trips. On this page we list our recommended family trips, which means trips we feel are appropriate for an average family with school age children.
Many families and kids, however, are more than capable of doing nearly any of our trips, including in some cases Level 5 Difficulty trips. Having said that, on backpacking trips especially, it’s important to make conservative decisions. Hiking with a 25-45 pound backpack is very different than hiking without one, especially for many kids and teenagers, so we recommend erring on the safe side to start and selecting trips that are less difficult than what you believe your family can ultimately handle.
Families with kids 12 and older can join scheduled tours, which are departures with mixed groups and solo travelers. Families with kids younger than 12 are asked to book private tours.
CONSIDERATIONS OF HIKING WITH KIDS
There are many points to consider when booking a trip for your family:
- Pack Weights on Backpacking Trips: Backpacking trips require hiking with a 25-45 pound backpack, depending on the length of the trip. Many kids can do great at hiking, but hiking with weights like this is far more difficult. Sometimes parents are able to carry the bulk of the gear for the kids, but this is rare and not normally reliable. Instead, if you’d like to do a backcountry trip but are concerned with your kids’ ability to hike with weight, we recommend booking a portered trip or a llama trek.
- Length of Trip: If your family is new to hiking, trekking or backpacking, it might be wise to start with a shorter trip in the 3-4 day range. If you do go with a longer trip, consider doing an inn-based tour or camping tour, both of which are less committing than a long backcountry trip. On the other hand, if your family has plenty of experience hiking and backpacking, then a longer trip of 5-7 days is highly recommended. Particularly a Wildland llama trek of a longer length is a spectacular choice.
- Summer Heat in the Desert: Hiking in the desert in the summer is a difficult prospect for anyone, much less kids and teenagers. This includes summer trips in Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Southern Utah, Sedona and Southern California. Some hike, like our Havasu Falls Tour offer wonderful swimming which helps to cool off, but the hiking is still often in very hot temperatures. In general, we recommend doing summer family trips in the mountains, and sticking to fall, winter and spring for desert trips.
- Dietary Requirements and Allergies: allergies are on the rise in general, and serious dietary restrictions are more and more common and important. For this reason, we can cater to almost any special diets. We also recommend carrying an Epi-pen if you or your family members have had allergic reactions in the past.
- Overseas Family Adventure Travel: Wildland has recommended family offerings in the USA as well as some beyond its borders. Traveling to places like Nepal, Chile, Iceland and Peru with kids deserves some considerations. First, overseas travel can include very long travel times on flights and/or other modes of transportation. Do your kids do well with extended travel? Some areas, like Nepal, have very remote areas where help is not readily accessible. Do you or your kids have any allergies or medical conditions that would give you pause in an area like this? Are your kids picky eaters? In other countries, the food options are often much more limited than in the USA. Finally, many trips outside the USA are relatively strenuous and it’s important that all members be up for the adventure and the challenge.