Can your family benefit from an eco-friendly adventure vacation?

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Would you and your family prefer to scale a mountain in Colorado or the Himalayas, go scuba diving in the Caribbean or Australia, or wander through a farmer’s market in Italy or Vietnam? What counts — for each of us — is the new ways we see the world — and possibly make new friends in foreign places.

For families, this type of experience is almost impossible.  In between sports practices and games, music lessons, volunteer work, and course heaps of school projects and homework, families are pressured to prepare children for college. As a result, an emerging family travel trend is blending vacation time into a child’s school curricula for history, literature, geography, and science. The emerging trend is called eco-adventure vacations. This type of family travel focuses on fun, outdoor experiences and the impact these meaningful travels can have on a child’s imagination.

Eco-adventure vacations offer up-close-and-personal views of nature led by naturalists and historians

Eco-adventure vacations bring education alive and help a child better understand their world.

Duke and Daisy help on how to choose for a family eco-adventure

You can discover and prepare for a family adventure trip that everyone, from your 5-year-old to your teen, will enjoy for a family venture. Here are some tips for finding and getting ready for your first family adventure travel trip.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: Depends upon the type of adventure.

Get Your Kids Involved in the Planning

If they have a say in picking an adventure trip, they’ll look forward to it more. Let everyone old enough to read look at brochures to learn about each trip you are considering. (Show toddlers pictures.) While looking, one locale may resonate with some kids because they’ve studied it in school. If one child hates biking, but they all love hiking and rafting, you’ve narrowed the field. A trip and everyone will have a better time. Let the kids help with the planning by brainstorming places, activities, and dreams. Let them help with gathering the information. Finally, let them plan the trip.



Here are some suggestions that offer something for every family member yet provide a range of adventure activities.

National parks

There are nearly 400 places with a total of 84 million acres of land protected by the U.S. National Park Service, and most all of them are accessible to families. Many of these national treasures are childhood homes of presidents, remnants of ancient civilizations and wars, and countless trails and natural phenomena. At national park sites, families can stay in local hotels or on campgrounds. The National Park Service also hosts events during the year at various parks, such as Presidents Day programs at several childhood homes. A visit to, the Web site maintained by the National Park Service, can get you started.




National Geographic Expeditions Family Adventures

Visit Alaska, Greece, the Galapagos Islands, the Arctic, and several other international destinations with the experts from National Geographic Expeditions, the travel program of the National Geographic Society.  Their trips include naturalists, archeologists, biologists, and historians to lead hands-on activities and seminars. For example, on the Alaska trip, children will explore the feeding patterns of humpback whales and learn to identify bear tracks in the wild.  Or take an eco-friendly visit to the Land of the Polar Bears (aka the Arctic) includes hiking, kayaking, and animal viewing. These trips can be pricey, but they fulfill the requirements of a complete eco-friendly family vacation.

Visit:  National Georgraphics for details.



Sierra Club

One of the largest — and oldest — environmental nonprofit organizations in the country hosts several outdoor excursions specifically for families. In addition, there are programs for all family members.

On a family service trip, the club’s Web site notes, “children learn to be good stewards of the environment on fun, kid-centered projects.”

Visit sierra club for details.




Traveling as a family can be an excellent opportunity to spend quality time together away from hectic schedules that tie up our everyday lives. In addition, it can provide children with unbelievable, “hands-on” learning experiences and inspire young minds to understand, respect, and appreciate other cultures and environments.

To start, visit AdventureLife.










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Judy Kundert

Judy Kundert, a recipient of the Marquis Who’s Who Excellence in Authorship award, loves storytelling, from folk and fairy tales to classics for elementary school children. She authors award-winning middle-grade novels designed to inspire and intrigue children. After she left her career as a United Airlines stewardess, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola University, Chicago and a Master of Arts from DePaul University, Chicago. Most recently, she completed a master’s Certificate in Public Relations and Marketing from the University of Denver. For fun, she likes reading (usually three or four books at a time), watching movies from the oldies to the current films, traveling, biking, and hiking in vast Colorado outdoors with her husband. Learn more at can find me at the foot of the Colorado Rocky Mountains hiking, biking

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