1. Pack snacks – and plenty of water.
2. Dress in layers. Bring extra sox.
3. Don’t forget sunscreen, bug spray, owie spray, wipes and band aids.
4. Have your kids each carry a whistle, and a light. LED headlamps are great! They’re fun to wear, give you extra light when you are looking under rocks, and leave both hands free.
5. Teach your kids to “Hug a Tree”, whistle, and wait for help if they get separated or lost. Make sure they have their name, address and phone number in a pocket.
6. It’s a good idea to check out a trail by yourself, before you take your kids. But if you’re on vacation on a trail you’ve never hiked before, be sure to check it out with a map – or online – before you start.
7. Bring a magnifying glass and something to collect the “treasures” you will find. Small, clear plastic tubs work for bugs and fragile things. Ziploc bags are great for everything else.
8. Plan on stopping to recharge frequently – or to watch the slug cross the path.
9 . Set the total time for your hike and let your kids set the pace; when your watch says your halfway, it’s time to turn around. Be ready to turn back before everyone is really tired out – even if that means you don’t get to the end of the trail, or even to the waterfall.
10. Most important – Have Fun!
Kid-Friendly Hiking Areas