Since National Parks Week happens from April 15, 2017 to April 23, 2017, we recently embarked on a family-friendly hiking adventure. Spring is the perfect time to hike. Not only is the weather crisp and cool, but you also don’t have to worry about the bugs that come out in the summer. To create a lifelong memory, go on a family hiking expedition in a new destination. With an adventurous spirit and some helpful tips, you can enjoy your time in the great outdoors.

4 Tips For A Family-Friendly Hiking Adventure

For parents with small children, hiking is a unique adventure. Check out four tips for making your hike a success.

1. Check that the trail will work well for your children.

Whether you live near mountains or low terrain, you should choose a trail that works well for your family. Remember that children can tire easy. In addition to the length of the trail, consider the elevation. Not only does a high elevation tire hikers more quickly, but it can also be more dangerous to hike with children. If you find yourself on a steep path during a hike, keep children on the inside of the path and hold their hand.

For our family-friendly hiking adventure, we visited the McKeldin area at Patapsco Valley State Park. Although I had wanted to visit a national park, this state park was convenient to visit and offered trails that were easy to hike as a family.

At Patapsco Valley State Park, the McKeldin area has miles of trails.

At Patapsco Valley State Park, the McKeldin area has miles of trails.

When you plan a hike, read about the trail in advance. Some trails don’t return you to your original starting place. 

On our hike, we chose the Tall Poplar Trail, a 1.4 mile trail that loops around the park and takes you back to the front gate. Although the terrain was hilly, the children enjoyed the walk, and they were happy to discover a playground at the end of the trail.

We chose the Tall Poplar Trail, which worked well for my two children. Even though my daughter can tire easily when it's hot or when she's hungry, she was well rested and excited about our adventure!

We chose the Tall Poplar Trail, which worked well for my two children. Even though my daughter can tire easily when it’s hot or when she’s hungry, she was well rested and excited about our adventure!

As you plan your hike, read several different descriptions of the trails. Although the trail you travel on will be marked, sometimes going down a footpath can show the most beautiful part of the park. If you are traveling with children, you should have a good idea of where you will end up if you venture off the marked trail. Become knowledgeable about your destination before you leave home. 

2. Hike with another adult.

Hike with another adult for safety and support.

Hike with another adult for safety and support.

When you hike, safety is a priority. Although I love having mom and daughter outings (from a day trip to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore to a Disney Nature Born In China movie night), a hike in the woods is not the time to venture out alone. Bring dad along for your hiking expedition. Not only will you have fun with everyone there, but this will also give some much-needed support.

Hiking with another adult matters for three main safety reasons. First, you may need help recognizing your trail. Also, you never know who you will meet in the woods. Finally, if a child has a meltdown in the woods, you need all the support you can get. For a family-friendly hiking adventure, hike with both parents present.

3. Pack snacks, drinks, and other essentials.

Prepare well for your hike. Even to hike a short distance, you should have snacks. If your children get tired, an energy boost can be exactly what they need. Remember to bring water and other nutritious beverages

To make your hike a success, bring snacks and other essentials that children need.

To make your hike a success, bring snacks and other essentials that children need.

You might also need wipes! You never know when these would come in handy. From dirty hands to potty emergencies, a small containers of wipes is always useful to have.

4. Wear proper footwear.

Footwear can make or break your hiking expedition. Comfortable shoes are a must have. When my family goes on an active adventure, I choose from the many pairs of Chacos we own. For a casual hike in the park, the Men’s Brio Boot is ideal for a spring day. With the LUVSEAT Footbed that all Chacos have, these boots give the support that men need during hiking. The boots also look nice enough to wear for everyday casual occasions.

From Chaco, the Men's Brio Boot is a nice looking pair of boots for a casual hike.

For me, the Woman’s Barbary Boots worked well. These lace up boots fit snugly, while also providing enough space in the toe for a comfortable hiking experience. Although the Hopi boots are my favorite for city walks, the Barbary style has a more rugged look that works well on a nature hike.

The Woman's Barbary Boots from Chaco work well for a family-friendly hiking adventure.
These boots offer excellent performance for everyday adventures. In any season or weather, Chacos work well for active families. You can find styles for the whole family! From boots to sandals, the company carries shoes that offer comfort and support for children, men, and women.

Whether you are hiking for National Parks Week, to celebrate Earth Day, or just to enjoy nature, these tips will help make your family-friendly hiking adventure a success!

What are your tips for hiking with children? Share ideas in the comments!

For more outdoor activities with children, check out What You Need To Go Camping and 20 Spring Outdoor Activities Children Enjoy.

Disclosure: I received a free item, but it in no way influenced my opinion.

About The Author

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Theresa has been writing since 2010 in magazines and online. Her lifestyle and parenting expertise has been featured in publications, including ShopSmart and Scholastic. She earned an M.Ed in Elementary Education from Vanderbilt as well as a BA in History from Flagler College, and she is a certified teacher.

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