Summer Family Adventure 101: Where to Go & What to Bring

Pry your kids from behind their cell phones and video games, and give them a taste of the exciting world beyond with one of these summer family adventures!

Summer Family Adventure 101: Where to Go & What to Bring

Go Camping in Big Sur

Take your family on an outdoor adventure they’ll never forget and go camping in Big Sur, California where the stunning coastline is straight out of a romantic movie. There are numerous hiking trails and miles of forest to explore here, and this area has something for everyone in your family.

Where to Stay: Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park has plenty of campsites available with conveniences such as an on-site camp store. If you prefer something more off the beaten path, score a coveted reservation at Saddle Rock, Site 1, in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, just south of the main part of Big Sur. This small site is just behind McWay Falls, and is right along the coast offering panoramic views. You’ll be lulled to sleep by the sound of the waterfall. This site books months in advance, but you may get lucky and find a last-minute cancellation.

What to Pack: Pack everything you’ll need to sustain your family for the duration of your trip since Big Sur is fairly remote. You won’t find the conveniences of home for miles, and with little cell phone coverage, this is truly the place to unplug and unwind. Bring a book, plenty of water and food, as well as hiking gear to explore your surroundings with daily hikes.

Try Snorkeling in Riviera Maya

The Riviera Maya stretches along 90 miles of coastline starting just 16 miles south of Cancun. With world-class snorkeling in the many cenotes, white sand beaches to explore, and the turquoise Caribbean Sea and Mayan ruins, there’s plenty of adventure and relaxation here.

Where to Stay: Ana y Jose Charming Hotel & Spa is a charming boutique hotel with suites and villas right on the beach. It’s a stone’s throw from local attractions like the Aktun Chen and Xel-Ha cenotes.

What to Pack: Bring plenty of insect repellent. The lush beaches of Tulum are just beyond the jungle inland, making the perfect tropical climate where mosquitoes thrive. Be sure to bring backups of your most-used essentials, like extra contact lenses and spare lenses for your sunglasses. There are very few options to find replacements in the small-town shops here.

Explore History in Washington, D.C.

Bring your tween’s history class to life and explore our nation’s capital. Tour political monuments such as the White House, the Capital and the Lincoln Memorial. Explore some of the nation’s world-class (and free!) Smithsonian museums, which offer something for each child’s interests. Add some exercise to your adventure by exploring D.C. on bicycles instead of driving or taking the metro. Capital Bikeshare offers affordable rates with many convenient stations near the city’s biggest attractions.

Where to Stay: The Washington Plaza Hotel is conveniently located within walking distance of the White House and there are three nearby metro stops. The rooms have been newly renovated, and the hotel offers affordable rates.

What to Pack: Make sure everyone has at least one pair of comfortable walking shoes. Even if you don’t plan to walk many places, you’ll quickly rack up a few miles just walking around inside the monuments and museums.

What adventures have you taken your family on this summer? Do you have one planned? We’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below and tell us about your adventure!

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  1. We’re about 96 miles from D.C. Rhonda – I’m planning on taking the kids to D.C. to see the cherry blossoms this year since they have spring break the 1st week of April. I can’t wait! I haven’t been to D.C. to visit since I was a senior in high school back in 1985 lol! I would love to visit Big Sur and the Riveria. You’re so lucky to have been!!!

  2. Thanks Kim for giving us a few rest places to relax and unwind. I’m not much of a camper, but I have visited the Riveria Maya and the Mayan Ruins. The turquoise water is beautiful and the snorkeling doesn’t get any better. I’m an hour from Washington, DC., great place for site seeing.

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