Hit the trail

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12 Helpful Tips For Hiking With Kids

Get ready for your next adventure.

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Whether you trek a tree-lined mountain trail, hit up a hilltop path, or take in a scenic beach view from atop a rocky route, these tips for hiking with kids will make your next trip so much easier.

Pick a kid-friendly route on an interesting trail. Look for trails marked beginner, with flat surfaces to walk on, and lots of scenic areas to keep kids engaged while hiking.Shutterstock
Dress everyone in weather-appropriate layers — the more lightweight (but insulating), the better. Definitely check the weather ahead of time and prepare accordingly.Shutterstock


Plan some activities that kids can do while hiking. Give them a magnifying glass, a book to identify plants, binoculars, or have a scavenger hunt along the way.

Pack plenty of snacks and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Trail mix, granola bars, rice cakes, and apples are all great kid-friendly hiking staples.Shutterstock
To make the most of hiking with kids when you have babies or toddlers in tow, use a comfortable carrier to wear your littles.Fly View Productions/E+/Getty Images


Prepare to take lots (and lots) of breaks when hiking with kids. Their legs may tired faster than yours, so be on the lookout for spots with boulders, logs, or stumps where you can sit and relax.

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Let kids carry their own lightweight backpack on longer hikes. Something small and comfortable that they can put their own water bottle and supplies in works especially well.

Carry a pair of dry clothes (in a sealed bag) when you go hiking with kids — you never know when you might need them. Keep them in your pack or in the car for the ride home just in case.Cavan Images/Cavan/Getty Images


Plan for potty breaks and learn where any nearby bathrooms are located before you head out to hike with kids. A portable potty and extra diapers are also crucial for younger kids.

Wear sunscreen, hats, and other protective clothing. Even if you’re hiking with kids where it’s shady or chilly, sunburns can still happen when you’re outdoors for long periods of time.d3sign/Moment/Getty Images
Weather permitting, find a spot to swim on your route when hiking with kids. This gives everyone some built-in break time and a way to cool off.vernonwiley/E+/Getty Images


Test out your gear ahead of time before you set out on a hike with kids. Make sure all zippers work, any baby carriers or packs are comfy, your kids know how to use their walking sticks, and your shoes don’t leave blisters.