Top 5 Outdoor Family Vacations

  1. Treehouse Adventure

    Out’n’About is a unique “treesort” consisting of 36 acres of pasture and woods near Oregon’s Siskiyou National Forest. And, yes, you really do stay in a treehouse. Accommodations range from The Majestree some 47 feet up a Douglas fir (for six people with a kitchenette, loft and private deck) to the smaller Treeloon, designed to look like an Old West-style saloon, to the roomier Swiss Family Complex (a pair of treehouses connected by a swinging bridge). In some treehouses, you can choose to exit by swinging down a rope or sliding down a fire pole!


    Credit: Adam Crowley/Blend Images/Corbis

    Area activities include treehouse ziplining, horseback riding, river rafting, arts and crafts, hiking, biking and lessons on building your own tree fort. Out-n-About is a family-run, family-friendly unique vacation.

  2. The Hills are Alive

    Fans of The Sound of Music will love visiting this gorgeous site in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Built by the descendants of the famous von Trapps, the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe offers spectacular views, quality skiing and family activities that range from outdoor summer concerts to mountain biking lessons from Maria von Trapp’s grandson Sam. The resort—located on 2,400 acres—includes a dog-friendly, 96-room Austrian-style hotel plus luxury villas and chalets to accommodate larger groups. Amenities include heated swimming pools, a fitness center and kids’ programs.


    Sofie re-enacts Maria’s iconic movie twirling on the grounds of the Trapp Family Lodge.

    The Trapp Family Lodge makes a great destination in every season: Area activities include wine tastings, maple sugaring, and horse-drawn carriage rides. Be sure to check out the von Trapp History tour. Enjoy skiing in winter, maple sugaring in spring, meadow concerts in summer and hiking the colorful foliage trails in fall.


    The von Trapp Family Singers toured the U.S. in the 1940s, settling in Stowe, Vermont.

  3. All-Inclusive Nature Resort

    All-inclusive getaways simplify things for families with kids. At River Dance Lodge in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, one price includes accommodations, meals and activities. Situated in the Rocky Mountains near three designated Wild & Scenic Rivers and the historic Lewis and Clark trail, River Dance Lodge offer log cabins, private hot tubs and seasonal packages. Each day is a choose-your-own-adventure from kayaking and fly-fishing to horseback riding or floating down the Clearwater River. Professional guides assist in activities, most of which are accessible to kids ages four and up. I like that River Dance Lodge’s owners make a point of being green: recycling, green cleaning products, native plant landscaping and cabins built from dead-standing pine trees.


    River Dance Lodge’s eco-friendly cabin made from dead-standing trees.


    Enjoying Idaho’s Wild & Scenic rivers. Photo: River Dance Lodge.

  4. Down on the Farm

    Unplug and reconnect with the earth at a family farm stay. Long popular in Europe and Australia, this type of vacation is fairly new to America. It is a “working” vacation in the sense that participation in farm chores is expected. But that’s the fun of it! Collect eggs from hens, milk a cow, hug a lamb or learn how to make cheese. Enjoy a relaxing pace of life that follows the rhythm of nature instead of the rhythm of your smartphone.


    Sofie milks a cow on a Vermont farm.

    Farms range from the rustic, composting toilet type to more luxurious farms with a jacuzzi bath. Area activities may include hay rides, berry picking, creek swimming or starry-sky bonfires. Find a farm stay vacation in your area.

  5. Yurtin’ for Certain

    Ever been in a yurt? A modern version of an ancient Mongolian tent, yurts are becoming more popular at campgrounds across the United States. It alleviates some of the stress of camping—like pitching the tent while toddlers run rampant or hoping that rain doesn’t soak into your sleeping bag at night. The enclosed structures resemble a cabin with beds, table and chairs, lights, electrical outlets, a porch and (in some places) heat. Everything but the bathroom. You still cook by campfire and enjoy nature.


    A yurt at Nickerson State Park.

    Cape Cod’s Nickerson State Park is one campground that offers yurts for just $30 per night. Located in the heart of the Cape, Nickerson is a pine and oak-forested park with access to eight freshwater ponds. A vacation on Cape Cod is relaxing and family-friendly with 560 miles of coastline and over 50 beaches, including the 40-mile National Seashore. Activities include hiking, biking, whale watching, museums, drive-in movie theaters and the Cape’s own baseball league.


    Menauhant Beach, Cape Cod


Ready to go on your vacation? Check out my packing tips with downloadable checklists.

This post is featured on Small Footprint Friday and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.


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2 Responses to Top 5 Outdoor Family Vacations

  1. These are such AWESOME ideas! I’m very excited to gather up the family and try one! … now, I just have to hold out until our next vacation lol!
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. mary romero says:

    Wishing I was those places.

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