Recipe for an Unforgettable Year of Outdoor Adventure with Your Kids

*Guest Post by Debbie Steinberg Kuntz*

A couple years back, my husband and I were coming back from a friend's wedding in Italy, sitting on the airplane, still basking in the glow of beautiful mountains and new friends. Filled with the lust of outdoor adventure, we started making notes on a cocktail napkin of the kind of adventures we wanted to enjoy with our kids.

We realized with a shock that we only had 10 years left until our oldest son, then 8, would be off to college. For how many of those years would he still be excited to hit the road with his parents? We heard the clock ticking. Loudly. We decided to get a little more intentional about putting family adventure on the calendar.

1. Plan One or Two Big Bucket List Adventures First

We agreed we would do everything in our power to take two 7-10 day trips a year. Living in the soggy Northwest, a winter trip somewhere sunny feels practically like a medical necessity. We also decided we would take a summer road trip each year to a national park. We brainstormed all the places we'd love to go and made an adventure bucket list. This year we're heading to Costa Rica in the winter and Glacier National Park in the summer.

2. Plan One Campout Per Month for the Summer

Nothing says 'magical summer' like camping with friends. All of our camping friends count on the fact that we'll be booking campgrounds nine to twelve months in advance, when reservations first open. This year, we'll be group camping with five families in June, about 15 families in July, and 5 families in August. We booked early to make sure we can snag the group campsites and also enjoy some of the most stunning scenery in our area. We'll be doing a different activity at each campout like biking, hiking and clam digging.

3. Make the Most of Three Day Weekends

Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends are great opportunities to get some outdoor adventure back in the bloodstream. We don't mind heading 5-6 hours in the car to get somewhere fabulous for a long weekend. From Seattle, there are tons of great places to go like Whistler, Bend, Oregon, and Winthrop.

4. Sprinkle in Outdoor Fun on Weekends Throughout the Year

We formed our own outdoor adventure group through OdysseyOutdoors.net, and now we have outdoor fun planned every month of the year. We've gone hiking, biking, camping, and done winter sports with the group one day a month for the past year. It's been a lot of fun for the kids and parents too. We find that when it's on the calendar and you know you'll be seeing friends, it's easier to get out in the gray, wet, or cold. Rain or shine, it always ends up being fun!

What outdoor family adventures do you have planned this year? Would love to hear how your family gets outdoors!
Andy Hawbaker
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Andy Hawbaker
Andy is a hiker, backpacker, snowboarder and outdoor fanatic. When he isn't exploring the Rocky Mountains, burning marshmallows or scratching his dog behind the ear, he shares his experiences here on the Sierra Trading Post Blog.
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