Plan an Outdoor-focused Family Vacation

Expert Advice
Jun 2016

Everyday family life provides a unique set of struggles. Dealing with your own needs along with the daily needs of your active and adventurous children can feel like you are juggling a thousand things at once. You deserve a vacation. But the thought of finding a fun outdoor family trip that everyone will love can seem like an added stress.

There are so many things to consider when planning a vacation for your active family, and somewhere near the top of the list is the tricky task of finding activities that everyone enjoys. On our family-friendly trips, we try to always choose hikes and activities that are flexible so that we can easily add the right twist to make it more enjoyable for children and parents alike.

Kid-friendly Outdoor Activities

A few of our favorite surprises we keep in our back pocket for camping trips with kids and teens.

  • Fossil Hunting: this is easy to do when adventuring in the Colorado plateau region of northern Arizona and southern Utah. This area is made up of sedimentary rock and the landscape was formed under the best type of geologic conditions for fossil preservation. This one is easy for kids to enjoy and incredibly interesting for adults too.
  • Scorpion searches: with a handy pocket black-light in tow, it’s fun to go scour among rock piles in hopes of finding the creepily fluorescent outline of these arachnids. Our guides love to scout out the perfect spots for this unique late night entertainment.
  • Star-gazing: the dark skies of the American Southwest are acclaimed for their brilliant stars. We like to bring along some tools to help tell the story of the stars including high-powered stargazing laser pointers or a stargazing guidebook, making the night sky more approachable to kids.

Active outdoor vacations provide your family with an experience outside the ordinary (no pun intended). Turning your summer trip into a true adventure may be appealing and daunting at the same time, especially with kids in tow. This is where a guide company like us can make all the difference. Choosing to go guided can help you see visit both the places you dream of (and the places you didn’t even know existed), and enjoy them! No tourist traps here.

Benefits of a Guided Family Trip

Get an authentic adventure experience while being provided luxury accommodations, professional guides, and above all else a level of safety you could not obtain on your own. Small group sizes enables the guides to focus on each guest’s needs and make adjustments for situations that arise.

  • Gear and logistics are taken care of (just bring clothes!)
  • Healthy food provided and cooked for you
  • Professional guides lead you and take care of all the over-thinking, worrying, and dirty work (and driving)
  • Your kids get to enjoy the outdoors and (added bonus) learn a lot about the place you visit in a fun way

If you are almost convinced, but still have concerns, keep in mind that all guides are wilderness first responder certified and trained in risk management to ensure safety and a successful trip. Still think it’s too good to be true?? Check out our top three family friendly southwest adventures to find the perfect fit for your family!

Family Friendly Adventures in the Southwest


Take a family-oriented Grand Canyon hiking adventure deep into the canyon to the prize jewel of the southwest, Havasupai. But first, explore the south rim of the canyon at Grand Canyon National Park and camp for one night. Witness awe-inspiring views from the South Kaibab Trail and the Colorado River. Once you hike into the canyon and make your way to camp near Havasu Falls you’ll find that “kid friendly” activities abound and you may just feel your inner child coming out as you jump off small waterfalls and explore creekside. If you are tired from the previous day’s hike, feel free to lounge beside Havasu creek or read a book in a comfy camp chair.

Learn More About Our 6-Day Grand Canyon Ultimate Trip


Explore some of the most sought after parks in the southwest and hiking to locations described as “a scientist’s laboratory and a child’s playground.” As the sun sets over the whimsical hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park, experience every shade imaginable of red and pink as the rocks are brought to life with light. Spend your days wandering through the rock mazes and having your breath taken by monumental views. Spend each night around the campfire playing family friendly games until your eyes grow heavy. Let your children’s minds go wild with curiosity as you journey through Utah’s wonderland of wilderness during an active family vacation in southern Utah.

Learn More About Our 5-Day Bryce, Zion, and Escalante Hiking Trip


This iconic national park is the quintessential destination for an outdoor family vacation. You can find both camping and lodge accommodations within the park or just outside of the park if campsites and rooms are full. The options for hiking, riding bikes, rock climbing, horseback riding, and fishing (and more!) are endless. Whether your family is looking have an easy-going adventure – stopping at scenic points like Tunnel View, strolling through the park’s El Capitan meadows or walking the many accessible paths to waterfalls, or a more extreme adventure – whitewater rafting the Merced River and hiking to the summit of the iconic Half Dome, you’ll find the adventure right for your family in Yosemite National Park.

Learn More About Our 3-Day Yosemite National Park Weekend Trip




The family friendly benefits are endless with knowledgeable guides, your children will be learning about geology, history, biology, survival, and culture in a fun, engaging way! You need not worry about meal planning or sleeping arrangements because the guides are also the chefs and camp hosts! Our campsites are comfort focused so you and your children will be well rested to take on all the amazing adventures ahead of you. With our over-sized tents, thick sleeping pads, and access to restrooms and showers there will be smiles on your family’s faces from sun-up to sun-down. When mealtime arrives, brace yourself for surprisingly elaborate food presentation and a variety of delicious meals. See a list of all of our guided adventures here.