You guys aren’t a normal family. You’re an adventure-loving family. And that means, 8-hour beach vacation days just aren’t your cup of tea. We get it! Try these just-for-you destinations instead.
Videos by Outdoors
The Gorge, West Virginia
Families that like to bond over white water rafting and ziplining would be have fun at Adventures on the Gorge, a 350-acre resort in West Virginia’s forestland overlooking the New River. With river rafting for kids 6 and up, and ziplining for those 10 and older, the resort also offers mountain biking and hiking trails, as well as horseback riding and laser tag. Snuggle up in a log cabin or glamping tent after dinner and live music on Fridays.
Pack your parkas and head to this Vail Resorts-owned ski area 90 miles outside Denver. With 3,000 acres of terrain over five peaks there are runs for every level of skier. Chasing powder not everyones thing? Beaver Run, a ski in/ski out resort, can set not-skiers up with any number of winter activities, from snowmobile tours and sleigh rides to ice skating and dog sledding.
Families interested in warmer climes will find a ton to do in this old west town, including roaming the same streets Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and outlaw Curly Bill Brocius once walked. Stay at the Tombstone Monument Ranch where kids five and up can do some arena horseback riding. Other activities include ATV touring and instructor-led archery. Greet each morning with a special Chuck Wagon breakfast served aside a campfire.
Los Padres National Forest, California
This 220-mile area that runs along the Big Sur coast offers well-kept trails for hikers, bikers and horseback riders. Fishing is a big draw here, with a whopping 400 miles of year-round and seasonal flowing streams. Stay at the oceanside Kirk Creek Campground which offers single-family sites for tent and RV camping. While there are no utility hookups, each plot comes with a table and campfire ring with grill.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
This 500,000-acre destination straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee and is full of gorgeous wintertime hiking trails. The two-mile Kephart Prong Trail is especially great for kids, with four log bridges that cross the creek that flows close to the path. At Cades Cove, they’ll be able to see white-tailed deer. When it’s time to tuck in at the end of the day retreat to Bear Camp Cabins, which offers lodging for families large and small.
Glacier National Park
Families seeking a more wintery escape will ove heading further north to Montana, where 700 miles of trails, melting glaciers and lakes greet visitors. After spending days exploring the park on snowshoe, cross-country skis or in a backcountry guided tour, stay at the Grouse Mountain Lodge, in Whitefish, where kids aged three and older can partake in ski lessons and apres-ski hot chocolate at nearby Whitefish Mountain Resort.
Hilton Head, SC
This coastal resort town on the Atlantic Ocean offers plenty of activities for families: Kids under twelve will enjoy the interactive exhibits at the Sandbox Children’s Museum before heading off to play mini-golf and arcades at The Adventure Cove. Shelter Cove Harbor’s eco park and aerial adventure courses will keep teens entertained for hours. Gather for a pre-dinner dip in the ocean at Beach House HHI, located right on Coligny Beach.
Thanks to average low temperatures of 18 degrees in March, there is plenty for the outdoor-loving family to do in Banff, located about two hours west of Calgary. That includes dog sledding, ice skating and even Banff Adventures’ ice-climbing lessons for kids aged 10 and up when accompanied by a parent. Continue the adventure with a stay at the Banff Springs Fairmont, which offers ice fishing and guided canyon walks.
White Sands National Park, New Mexico
A visit to the national park in the Tularosa area of New Mexico means spending the morning learning about how the dunes were formed, then an afternoon taking in the views on the 1.8-mile looped White Sands Backcountry Trail. No trip to the area would be complete without some sand sledding; bring your own or grab one at the visitor’s center where you can also get advice on areas with the best, most sledable grade. Extend your day with a sunset picnic before retreating to your cabin at the Cabins at Cloudcroft, about 45 minutes from the park.
This bustling town in southwest Colorado offers a host of kid-friendly fun. Snow-seekers can go sledding and snowtubing at Chapman Hill or they can hit the slopes at Purgatory Resort which also offers scenic snowcat tours. Relax with a soak at the Durango Hot Springs before snuggling in your own riverside log cabin at O-Bar-O Cabins. After a good night’s sleep, take the five-hour roundtrip ride on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Train that brings on a journey through the San Juan Mountains.