With summer wanning and school beginning to sprout into your thoughts, it may be time for one last hurrah with your family! And what better way to keep it short and simple than with a day-long hike? 

Where To Begin

First things first is to figure out where to go! This step relies heavily on your location, terrain, and the age of your children. If you have fairly young children, the shorter and less “hiking” the better. If your children are older and used to taking to the trails, then hike away! Figuring out which hike will be determined on your location as well. You could pick a local park where you can walk around the pavement trailways, and your younger children can play on the playground. Or you can choose a more immersive dive into a national park or other secluded area with lots of trees and foliage. See which one your family feels more like taking, and what’s feasible for your timeframe too. If you live in a warmer region, you’re only going to have so much time before it’s simply too hot to be out in the sun. You can search for family-friendly hikes online as well as hiking manuals for states and smaller regions. 

What To Bring

Another important consideration is what you will bring for the hike. If you’re just walking down to the local playground for some fresh air, chances are you won’t have to worry about packing much. But if you’re planning on spending the day hiking or at a national park, you’re going to want to bring along necessities. For a simple walk, just remember to always bring water, no matter how short of a time frame you have. You or your family could be thirstier than you realize, and that water won’t last long. If need be, you can always pack some snacks, a small towel, and any games that you may have that work well with an outdoor setting. 

For day-long or more strenuous hikes, you’re going to need a small pack at least with supplies. Of course, the first thing you should pack here is water, and more the merrier! It’s recommended to bring about half a liter of water per hour for adults. And for children, it’s about a quarter cup of water per hour of walking. This amount can quickly add up for a family out for a few hours hiking! You’ll also want to bring high-protein snacks, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, a Swiss Army knife tool, a compass, and a flashlight. There may be more specific items your family needs while hiking, but you always want to be prepared with some essentials you may need while out in the wilderness. 

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

No matter how you decide to get outside, it’ll be a great experience for all. Spending time in fresh air and nature does the body good, for young and old alike. Less time in front of screens and more time in the sunshine is a great way to spend what’s left of summer! 

Katie Kyzivat