I've always dreamed of spending my mornings like a homeschool family I read about in Mothering magazine many years ago. They started each day with a 2 hour hike at 7:00 a.m. The fresh air and movement made the rest of their homeschool day a breeze. It sounded amazing, but the thought of trying to figure out the logistics of a morning hike ensured that my dream never really got off the ground. That all changed when I had the opportunity to review a copy of Best Hikes with Kids: Washington, DC, The Beltway and Beyond. Now there was no excuse. It was all laid out for me in a well organized guide, complete with a detailed description of the trail, contact information and tips on how to make it a success. I could make my hiking dreams come true, starting with Fort Dupont park, right around the corner from my home. I have driven past this park a million times but never thought of it as a place to hike. Yet it was convenient and accessible. According to Best Hikes, Fort Dupont was one of 68 forts built by the Union Army around Washington, D.C., to defend it against the Confederate Army during the Civil War. History hiking - I love it!
My children and I decided to venture out on the Turkey Trot trail near our home, which we learned is a 1.25 mile loop. Thanks to the guide, we knew ahead of time exactly where the trail would take us and what we would encounter. This gave the children something to do while we walked and talked. Now that the weather is warming up, we will do a lot more hiking because of the all the details available in the Best Hikes With Kids guide. All of my questions have been answered ahead of time.
When I think of fabulous outdoor adventures, I didn't necessarily think of the DC region. The Best Hikes guide is filled with geography lessons and has opened my eyes to the low-cost hikes available to my family, from my own backyard to "spelunking in the limestone caves of the Blue Ridge." Even more exciting is that most of the hikes listed in the guide lead to water, rock formations, historical places, nature centers, or parks with activities!
This section of Best Hikes With Kids organizes hikes according to region: Maryland, DC or Virginia. Each trail also has a difficulty level, accessibility characteristics and a short description.
History and Geography Lessons
For busy homeschoolers packing up and leaving the house can seem like a distraction because there is so much more work to be done at home. But the Best Hikes With Kids guide provides so much information about the geography of the Mid-Atlantic Region that it is easy to build a lesson around hiking. Hiking along the "fall line" could be a whole unit study. I certainly had no idea there was a fall line in this area. Combining physical activity with academics is a great way to keep young people engaged and reconnect as a family. I can't wait to get my "one-word answer" teen on the trail. This will be a great opportunity to chat.
The Best Hikes With Kids guide offers a wealth of information for the beginning to the experienced hiker. No question is left unanswered, from what to bring on the hike to how to choose the right trail. Tips include how to encourage children to want to hike, making sure your hike with little ones is a success, and much more!
The fun of hiking has been made more accessible through the Best Hikes With Kids guide. The informative key includes information about the difficulty of the trail, length, hiking time, highest point and accessibility. I used to flip through my local catalog from Parks and Recreation. I would tear out a page and make plans to do a do a hike and it never materialized. The Best Hikes With Kids guide makes it so easy to choose a hike and make it happen. Even my teen can use it to find a hike to appeal to him. Now our goal is to hike at least one time per week. The Best Hikes with Kids Washington, DC, the Beltway and Beyond is a must have resource for families wanting to spend more time outdoors with their families. For more information, visit the website Hiking Along, an organization founded by author Jennifer Chambers that encourages families to get outdoors.