This post is sponsored by Northside shoes, all opinions are my own.
Living close to a National Park has so many benefits for our family. We get to enjoy unspoiled nature, great views, wonderful rivers and amazing hiking. How thankful I am that here in America we are blessed with 59 National parks and hundreds of state parks and state and national forests. So many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. I believe in teaching my children the benefits of being outside and enjoying nature. Saturday May 20, 2017 is the 7th annual Kids to parks day which has many ways to encourage our kids to get out and explore our national and local parks. This year the goal is to get 900,000 participants!
One of the ways we like to enjoy our National Park is to hike (especially my husband) and today I am going to share 5 hiking tips that will help you have a successful hike with your family.
#1 Pick a destination hike
What does this mean? Kids need an end goal, something that is exciting and that they can look forward to. Waterfall hikes, like Spruce Flats Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains, are very popular with kids and can help propel them to the end of the trail. If you do not have a waterfall hike, or cave at the end of the trail think of another landmark that can be their goal.
#2 Research the trail
Hiking a trail can be rigorous work. It can be steep and the trail to your destination can be long. Pick the length and elevation changes that your kids will be able to conquer and still be happy. We want to push them physically but not to the point where it seems impossible and everyone ends up miserable.
#3 Bring Snacks/lunch and WATER!
Snacks are a must on a hike and a great way to get the kids involved before hand. We like to bring trail mix or granola bars. Ask the kids what they would like and even let them mix up their own trail mix. They will love it. You can also bring lunch along. It is always wonderful eating outdoors. Just remember to pack out all your trash! And please don’t forget to bring enough water. Hiking makes everyone thirsty.
#4 Watch your pace!
This one can be a little tricky. If you have little ones, you need to be mindful of their pace and not push them to go to fast. Remember they have little legs. If you are like me and have teenagers, sometimes you feel like you have to drag them along. Find a pace that is good for everyone. Maybe trade out who leads.
#5 Good Shoes/equipment
Did you know that there is a difference between hiking and regular shoes? Hiking shoes are made with more support. The soles are more stiff and ridged and don’t bend as easily (especially when compared to sneakers). Why? It helps with the rugged terrain. The stiff soles protect your feet from feeling every little rock and root. They also support your ankles more from turning. I realized on one hike that my kids were feeling miserable because they were feeling all the rocks and ruts through their sneakers and I had on hiking shoes and was hiking happily along. The right equipment does make hiking more enjoyable.
Purchasing the correct shoes doesn’t have to be over-priced either. Northside shoes is a family owned company that wants you to be 100% satisfied with their functional and durable outdoor footwear. They have everything from sandals to snow boots to help you enjoy to outdoors (such great styles too). Northside gifted our family outdoor shoes and we love them. My husband has been wearing his new hiking boots to work to get them ready for an overnight hike he is about to take.
I am so excited that I am able to give away a pair of Northside shoes to one of my readers! I want you and your kids to get outdoors and enjoy our National Parks! Simply enter the rafflecopter below.