22 Family Adventures For The Bold

Fatherly Magazine (May 24, 2022) by Jennifer Holmes & Tyghe Trimble

Sometimes you just want to go to the beach. Swim, lounge, nap, enjoy a cocktail at 4:59 p.m. It’s a relaxing vacation but, let’s be honest, not very memorable. It’s not the kind of time you’ll look back on later in life and say, that trip sure was something, wasn’t it? “Bucket list,” “epic,” “once in a lifetime” — these are the descriptors for a different type of vacation. One that requires planning and prep. One that requires patience and some fortitude. An experience that becomes core to the family lore — bringing everyone together with repeated retellings, long after we’ve settled back into our routines at home.

This list is your launching pad: 22 family-friendly adventures for the bold. The trips all have been experienced by the editors and adventurous friends of the editors of Fatherly, who can vouch that they’re the kind of adventure you’ll talk about for years to come. These are all suggested with a big caveat: Don’t jump into anything that isn’t labeled “Easy” if you’re new to the activity. Families with young children (under 6) should probably stick to Easy or Moderate. And don’t plan a trip based solely on the write-ups below. Planning is part of the fun. Get inspired, do some research, and then call a park ranger (you will find no more helpful person to give a kind but firm real talk). The world awaits.

Bikepack the Arizona Trail

Level: All In!

Location: Arizona

The 800-mile Arizona National Scenic Trail, designated in 2009, is one of the only of its kind that allows mountain biking. If you have the experience and setup, it’s one that should be on your bikepacking bucket list. Does it require some hiking? Is the temperature a bit extreme? Are there rattlesnakes everywhere? Yes, yes, and yes. But from cactus-pocked desert views to dense pine forests, the terrain is astounding. Oh, yeah, and it goes straight through the Grand Canyon, so there’s that. If you choose not to take on the whole trail at once (a month-long trek that requires shuttles and re-supplies), there are ample resources for taking the trail a section at a time.

Before You Go:

+ Check out the official site for the Arizona Trail, a recommended route with maps from bikepacking.net, and a 24-Day bikepacking journal of the trail in 2021, for inspiration.

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