Use these tips for hiking with kids to make your next family hike more enjoyable.
Hiking can be a fun and very frugal family activity. A lot of people with young children tend to stay away from hiking for several different reasons. Some think their children won't be able to handle a hike and others think hiking with kids is just too much work. Do yourself a favor and get out into the wilderness and get the family hiking, I promise you won't regret it. These tips for hiking with kids will make it easier.
Tips for Hiking with Kids
Research Hiking Trails in Your Area – A simple Google search “Hiking trails in such and such county” will lead you to a vast amount of information. At first glance, you might even be overwhelmed by the search results. Try looking for country or state sites first as these will typically be most accurate. When researching hiking trails most are going to list the difficulty level, how long the hike is and other helpful tips.
If your family is new to hiking or you have very young children, consider doing an easy hike to start with. If at all possible you might want to do a hike that is a loop. Doing a loop means you will end up back at where you started, instead of arriving at your destination and having to hike back.
Pack Water and Snacks – Adults and children are bound to get thirsty and hungry while on a hike. Make sure to pack plenty of water as well as some light snacks. You don't want to weigh anyone's tummy down. Fruit, granola bars, crackers and jerky sticks are great options when hiking.
Take it Slow – Take your time while on the hike and enjoy the scenery, there is no reason to make this a race. If the kids don't feel like they are competing to keep up they'll probably complain less. Set off on your hike early in the day so that you have plenty of time to make it back by dark.
Bring a First Aid Kit – You never want to go into the wilderness or even on a simple city hike without a first aid kit. You never know when someone might get stung by a bee, cut themselves on glass, brush up against poison ivy or anything else. Be prepared and make sure your first aid kit is stocked with all the essentials you need.
Make the Hike an Adventure – Your hike should be an adventure! Seriously, what kid doesn't love going on an adventure? Before you set off on your hike, take some time to learn about the area. Figure out what types of flowers, birds or landmarks your family might come across. Use this as a time to not only talk about the things you find but also encourage your children to actively seek out these items.
What tips do you have for hiking with kids?
More Nature Activities for Kids
Originally published June 6, 2014. Updated August 30, 2018.