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8 Of The Best Family Outdoor Adventures In The United States

8 Of The Best Places For Outdoor Family Adventure In The United States | AdventureHacks

8 Of The Best Family Outdoor Adventures In The United States

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Outdoor Family Adventure is the cure for modern stress.

Whether that stress is from school, work, traffic, bills, mortgages, or whatever else…

It takes its toll on your overall well-being. 

Wouldn’t you rather load up the car, head into the great outdoors, and get away from it all, together with your family?

Even for a short while?

Nothing recharges me better mentally, spiritually and physically than a trip spent hiking, biking and/or camping in nature. 


Nothing teaches your kids practical skills, the value of hard work, and how to appreciate nature more than a transformative outdoor adventure

“But, where should we go?”

I’m glad you asked. 

Enjoy An Outdoor Family Adventure

While one of the joys of traveling is the feeling of being in an unfamiliar place, you should still think ahead and plan your trip, just in case.

Where to go, what to do, and what to bring will all depend on your budget and available vacation time.

For inspiration, and according to me, here are 8 of the best American outdoor adventure destinations to experience with your family:

1. Middle Fork Salmon River, Idaho: Rafting and Camping

Middle Fork Salmon River

Idaho’s Middle Fork Salmon River is awesome for family adventure as it meanders through the second-largest federal wilderness in the continental United States.

At nearly 2.4 million acres, the Middle Fork River is renowned for its raw beauty which is second to none.

People come to Middle Fork to experience the vast wilderness, enjoy the thrills of the river and bask in the picturesque scenery.

We especially recommend a guided float down the Middle Fork River for starters.

The entire experience will be enough for you and your family to return for more. 

You can book your Middle Fork river rafting tour here

2. Custer State Park, South Dakota: Hiking and Kayaking

Custer State Park South Dakota

Located in South Dakota’s famous Black Hills about 40 minutes south of Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park spans over 71,000 acres.

It’s common to see mighty 2000+ pound buffalo roaming the park’s wide-open spaces.

The park itself offers various family-friendly outdoor adventure activities.

From hiking and horseback riding to fishing, swimming, and kayaking, there’s something for every member of the family. 

For a proper wilderness tour, check-in at the State Game Lodge resort and sign up for their popular Buffalo Safari Jeep Tour.

Then feel like an authentic cowpoke by reserving a spot at the Blue Bell Hayride and Chuck Wagon Cookout, which comes with souvenir cowboy hats and bandanas for everyone. 

This is the Custer State Park official website

3. Yellowstone National Park: Wildlife Watching

Yellowstone National Park Wildlife Watching

Yellowstone National Park is world-renowned as the United States first national park.

Some would even consider a visit a requirement for American citizenship – it’s that famous and important. 

Looking to spot some wildlife?

Yellowstone has critters that hearken back to what natives would have seen in the past.

The park has something for all ages.

Erupting geysers, natural hot springs, bubbling mud pots, whistling fumaroles, plentiful hiking trails and beautiful waterfalls are just some of the natural wonders you’ll find in Yellowstone.

Depending on the time of year, you and your family can try a cross country skiing adventure on the 2.5-mile trail through the park’s Upper Geyser Basin which takes you past one-fourth of the world’s active geysers – not something you see every day. 

Learn more about Yellowstone National Park here.

4. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee-North Carolina: Tubing and Salamander Spotting

Great Smoky Mountains

Another place that offers something for everyone is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Located in both Tennessee and North Carolina, you’ll find something interesting to do both inside or outside the park. 

Fancy some hiking?

Hike up to the 80-foot-high Laurel Falls. 

Get ready to spot some wildlife as the local fauna include black bears in Cades Cove and elk in Cataloochee.

Perhaps the most famous among the local wildlife, though, are the 31 different species of amphibians that gave the park the title of “Salamander Capital of the World.” 

Plan your trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park today.

5. Zion National Park, Utah: Hiking and Backpacking

Backpacking Zion National Park

Zion National Park is home to Zion Canyon and its many trails.

Its backcountry sports cliffs of pure white and blood-red sandstone that tower hundreds of feet in the air.

Rippling rocks, labyrinthine slot canyons, and isolated mesas are common sights along its landscape. 

There are several options when it comes to family adventure activities in Zion.

For starters, you can go on a scenic drive along the canyon. 

You and your family can also explore the local trails and hike up to Angel’s Landing.

Several of these trails are rated kid-friendly so you’re bound to find one that’s perfect for every family member of any age. 

For a more challenging time, you can opt to go on a backpacking trip into the sprawling landscape of Zion’s backcountry. 

Here is my Essential Ultralight Backpacking Gear List.

6. Bar W Guest Ranch, Whitefish, Montana: Mountain Biking and Fishing

Mountain Biking Whitefish Montana

The Bar W Guest Ranch in Whitefish, Montana is a great place for your family adventure.

Unwind while also letting the kids explore and play. 

There are plenty of family-friendly activities to do like trail riding (for riders age 7 and up), hopping into a wagon ride dinner, and even a Junior Wrangler program for young cowpokes aged 2 to 6. 

The ranch also offers opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and canoeing so there’s plenty of stuff to fill your daily itinerary. 

If mountain biking is your thing, here are 7 Simple Tips To Improve Your Next Mountain Bike Ride.

7. Everglades, Florida: Canoeing and Birdwatching 

Canoe and Kayak Florida Everglades

The Florida Everglades sports some of the most diverse species of birds in the US.

Along with local species of birds, more exotic species like white ibises, roseate spoonbills, black anhingas, and brown pelicans regularly make their home among the Everglades’s mangrove tunnels and mazes.

Apart from birdwatching, you can also take your family on a canoeing and camping adventure on one of several wild beaches in the area.

Don’t be surprised to find a dolphin or other large wildlife in the water. 

Next time you’re in Florida, be sure to visit Everglades National Park

8. Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Georgia: Gliding and Zip Lining

Zipline Callaway Gardens Georgia

If you’re looking for a destination with more thrills, then signing up for a Summer Family Adventure at Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Georgia is the way to go. 

You and your kids aged 3 to 17 have several adrenaline-pumping opportunities to choose from.

These include zip lining, water skiing, tubing, and even gliding on a trapeze while being guided by members of the Florida State University Flying Outdoor Family AdventureHigh Circus.

You can then wind down the day by participating in scavenger hunts and circus performances.

While you’re in Georgia be sure to hike a section of the Appalachian Trail

That’ll do it for the 8 best places to have an outdoor family adventure article. 

As always, I hope you’ve obtained valuable insights today.

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-David Aston

I'm David Aston, Founding Nomad of AdventureHacks, Inc. My mission is to inspire adventure on the ground, in the water and through the air. If I also happen to inspire you to purchase gear, my team and I plant a tree in its native environment for every order.

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