6 Active Family Vacation Destinations
The NortheastHike and Bike in Acadia National Park 1 of 7
This serene, scenic park on the coast of Maine welcomes thousands of hikers, bikers, campers and water sports enthusiasts each year. In the cool spring temperatures, hike up Cadillac Mountain for the beautiful view or Schoodic Point to feel the ocean splash (no, seriously—you will get sprayed) if the weather gets too warm. Mountain bikers will love the car-free carriage road trails, which are relatively tame paths that cover 45 miles of the park.
The SoutheastKayak and Canoe the Everglades 2 of 7
Sure, alligators live in the park, but kayaking and canoeing are still safe. The water is warm and shallow, and rental places will require you to wear a life jacket (usually included). If this is your family's first kayak or canoe adventure, choose a guided group tour. Tours are generally around three hours and cover nature and wildlife basics of the Everglades. Flamingo Marina is a popular location for beginner kayakers while Hell's Bay welcomes more experienced paddlers who want to go through the mangroves.
The MidwestSki and Snowshoe at Voyageurs National Park 3 of 7
This park offers a completely different experience in the winter and summer, so take advantage of the snow before it melts away. If you're in search of a snowy destination besides the packed slopes of the Rockies, or cross-country is more your speed than downhill, Voyageurs is your place. Bundle up before stepping out into this winter wonderland, where you and your family can join guided snowshoe hikes and rent cross-country skiing equipment. With an average high of 35 degrees in March, spring break is an ideal time to visit Voyageurs to ensure snow while avoiding the bitter cold of midwinter.
The SouthwestExplore the Canyons of the Southwest 4 of 7
Do you have mini explorers in your house? Why not hit three national parks in one swoop: the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon with only 3.5 hours of driving total. The Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon are, of course, known for their natural beauty and abundant hiking opportunities. Zion National Park stands out for the Narrows, a walkable path through the deep rock crevices and often through a foot or more of water. To get your kids excited about the trip, look at books on canyon and crevice formation before the trip. Consider purchasing an annual pass if you choose to visit all three parks.
The WestRock Climbing at Joshua Tree 5 of 7
With classes available for climbers as young as 5, Joshua Tree is the ideal family vacation for rock climbers. The sunny, arid desert climate almost guarantees beautiful days, though you'll want to be sure to bring water bottles. If it's your kids' first time climbing, consider taking them to a climbing or bouldering class near home to make sure they are comfortable with the sport and have a healthy (but not overwhelming) fear of heights. In addition to scaling the rock formations, there's hiking, horseback riding, camping, mountain biking, geology tours and a wide-open sky for stargazing.
HawaiiDouble feature: Hike at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Then Snorkel and Scuba Dive at Kahaluu Beach Park 6 of 7
Ahh, paradise. If Hawaii conjures up images of lounging on the beach, think again. This vacation destination is the most active of them all. Start your trip with a visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for an out-of-this-world experience. Hike up the guided paths to see two still-very-active volcanoes and learn about how the spewing lava helped form the Big Island you stand on. Then, drive two hours around the island and cool down at Kahaluu Beach Park, known for its beginner-friendly easy snorkeling waters and abundant sea life.