Weekend Trips

20 Easy (But Gorgeous) Hiking Trails To Do with Kids and Babies

By Shanti Hodges

Looking for a hiking trail near you? Great walking trails top our picks for fun summer activities and fall outings with kids. A hike is an opportunity for quality family time, exercise for kids, and of course, discoveries small and large, from bugs to waterfalls.

These getaway-worthy, family-friendly hiking trails are just a sampling of my favorite trails, highlighted in my new book, Hike it Baby: 100 Awesome Adventures with Babies and Toddlers. As founder of Hike it Baby, a nonprofit dedicated to helping families get on the trail with kids, I’ve been fortunate enough to sample nature trails across the country, including at our best national parks and campsites, and even those extra-special, smaller local parks that often offer the best hikes for toddlers and families with little kids.

Now I’m sharing 20 of my favorites, from Connecticut to Florida to Washington state, that are perfect for your next day trip or family vacation. Most are easy loop paths, but I’ve included some moderate trails and top destinations, such as Mt. Rainer and the Badlands. Many of these hikes are FREE, too. The list also highlights family-friendly perks like bathrooms, and benches for a rest or a nursing mom.

Coolest Rivers in Texas for Kid-Friendly Floating & Tubing

Lounging on a rubber inner tube and soaking up the summer sun while dipping your toes into chilly river water is basically a Texas rite of passage. There's no time like the present to introduce kiddos to the great adventure that is floating down the river. While any river will do, these five Texas rivers are our go-to spots. They've all go family-friendly runs (i.e. few or gentle rapids), great tube rental services, nearby accommodations, and gorgeous views to top it all off.

Whether you go for the weekend or carve out a bit more time to soak in all that tubing has to offer, these rivers make the perfect family getaway. Stick with our list of kid-approved river trips and you won't be disappointed, and for more summer trip ideas, check out our favorite family-friendly lakes close(ish) to Houston.

Rockaway with Kids: 25 Things to Do at the Beach and Beyond

Why schlep to the Hamptons? Thanks to its weekend-getaway vibe, Rockaway, Queens, is a popular family staycation destination in summer, and with the Rockaway ferry making daily round-trips, it's easy to get to.

Rockaway's beautiful beaches have soft sand and formidable Atlantic Ocean waves—it's the only shore in NYC where you're allowed to surf. Although this area was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, the boardwalk and Rockaway Park have been renovated with amazing playgrounds and water play areas. Read on for all you need to know to get to and enjoy this NYC summer favorite. 

Family-Friendly Boat Rides on Long Island

All aboard! Set sail this summer for sightseeing, whale watching, marine critter catching, or just a good time out on the water. All across the shores of Long Island, you can sample a variety of boat tours that take you on nautical adventures sure to create lasting memories.

Here are voyages we think are especially worthwhile. 

For more Long Island adventures, check out our guide to summer fun, our list of 100 great things do with kids here, and even our guide to seasonal day trips from Long Island.  

On a budget? See our list of 50 FREE things to do with kids this summer

8 Kid-Friendly LIRR Stops for a Fun Day Trip

Let’s face it. Traffic on Long Island is no picnic. In fact, sometimes the thought of taking a day trip to another part of this beautiful island makes us cringe when we think of the hours on the road and the challenge of keeping the kids in the backseat entertained.

But there is a another way to get from here to there…the LIRR! Taking the train is a convenient, fun way for families to get around the Island without the hassle of driving. From beach communities to charming downtowns to family-friendly museums, there are plenty of LIRR stops where families can hop off and explore the area for the day.

We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite family day trips reachable via the LIRR, highlighting the best attractions and sights in the area. All aboard!

Family Fun at Port Aransas: Clean Beaches, Fishing & More

When it comes to beach getaways, we regularly pack up and head down to nearby favorites like Surfside and Galveston Island, sometimes for a day trip, other times for a longer weekend stay. However, it rarely feels like an actual vacation because it's so close to home and so easy to do. So when we're in the mood for a longer family-friendly beach vacation, our destination is always the same: Port Aransas. Clocking in at almost four hours away, it's far enough from home to truly feel like we're getting out of town and packed with plenty of coastal town charm and activities that appeal to all family members.

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