Kid-Friendly

Lace Up Your Boots and Gear Up the Kids: It’s Family Hiking Vacation Time

You’re never too young for a hike; take the kids on a family-friendly hiking vacation. (Photo: JJ Pixs / Alamy)

If relaxing on a quiet beach with the family conjures visions of bored kids and antsy adults, your clan probably requires a more active getaway. Instead, grab your walking sticks and plot a family-friendly hiking getaway. Gaze at the radiant palettes of Mother Nature’s colorful landscapes as you trek past mountains, streams, and fields of wildflowers.

At less than two miles an hour, hiking allows your senses to fully absorb the vistas around you. Plus, at this relaxed speed, little ones can keep up and groaning is at a minimum.

Calling Adventure Lovers to the Great Smokies

Hiking vacations abound in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Start your vacation with a drive to Clingmans Dome, the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi River.

Walk the steep but paved, half-mile trail to the top for unrivaled 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
A river rushes over rocks in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (Photo: Sara Blancett / Alamy)

More adventurous vacationers (read: those unafraid of heights) should consider hiking the park’s Chimney Tops Trail for a challenging climb and superb views of Mount LeConte and Sugarland Mountain.

Reach New Heights on a New England Hike

New England sets the stage for exceptional hiking vacations with rolling hills, lush mountains, and historic villages.

Take a jaunt to Alpine Garden on Mount Washington along the Alpine Garden Trail. This easy hike is perfect for young families who want a breath of fresh air and to enjoy great views from Mount Washington.

Families traveling from New York or Boston, can take an easy trip to the Berkshire Mountains in southwestern Massachusetts.

City folk daring to head for the hills will find dazzling foliage plus quaint towns filled with boutiques, fine dining, and comfortable lodging. Hikers can traverse ample trails, but the kids might get a kick out of combining your hike with a horseback riding adventure at one of many local outfitters.

If you’re a fan of the New England landscape, consider a visit to Stowe, Vermont, and provision your upcoming expedition at Harvest Market.

Hike the Stowe Pinnacle Trail to the 2,500-foot bald summit for views of the mountains and valley.

For an aerial perspective, ride Stowe Mountain Resort’s gondola to the top of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak. We promise – these views will take your breath away if the hike didn’t already.

Mt. Hood, Oregon
Mt. Hood makes for a stunning family hiking setting. (Photo: Chip Phillips / Alamy)

Portland, Oregon: It’s Not Just for Hipsters

Mount Hood and the Columbia River waterfront near Portland, Oregon make for a fantastic hiking base with the kids.

Head south for a day trip to Silver Falls State Park, home to the Trail of Ten Falls, where you’ll trek past (you guessed it) 10 waterfalls ranging from three to nearly 20 stories high. This easy Portland hiking trail takes you behind the falls for heart-pumping excitement as thundering plumes of water roar between you and the valley.

If the weather’s nippy and your family’s bodies ache, release the tension with a soak in Bagby Hot Springs.

Follow the crystal waters of Hot Springs Fork to 100-year-old bathhouses where you can unwind in wooden tubs and hot mineral springs.

The springs are managed by the US Forest Service and open 24/7.