Monday, May 11, 2015

17 Summer Outdoor Activities for the Family

Myrtle Beach Family Kid Picture
I can't believe summer is right around the corner. As a family, we love taking short weekend getaways. Here are 17 fun family outdoor activity suggestions, along with my family favorites in the southeast.

Oh! I had to share the humorous family kid picture on the left (taken at Myrtle Beach). My 3 year old wanted a sip of her older brother's frozen smoothie and he said, "No" right as I took the picture. It captures the true family personality when on vacation! It's never picture perfect, but filled with lots of fun memories!

Hiking / Walking Trails
This is one of the easiest activities for a family to plan and do. There are so many hiking and walking trails. You can go to your local park or visit a National State Park. Locally, we visit Colonel Beatty Park on a regular basis. However, the following are some of my favorite hiking places in North Carolina.
Chimney Rock Park
Chimney Rock Park in NC

Professional Baseball or Soccer Game
We don't have an MBA team here in North Carolina. But we do have a minors baseball team, the Charlotte Knights Baseball team who we support. Sometimes we even have professional soccer teams. Last year, Bank of America hosted the Gold Cup soccer tournament which I took my oldest son to see. It was amazing! He got to see one of his favorite soccer players, Lionel Messi of Argentina.
Bank of America Soccer
International Soccer Game Liverpool vs AC Milan

I grew up camping in New Hampshire and still love it. It's such a great way to teach your kids survival skills and nature. It also provides great family bonding time. We usually campout at a lake where you can canoe, fish, grill out, take nature walks, build a campfire and roast up some marshmallows and Smores. 

Canoeing and boating
We usually canoe and boat on a lake or pretty good sized river. Kids really enjoy it, especially if you can boat to small little islands, park your boat and explore a bit.
Boating Lake Lure
Boating at Lake Lure
This is another really easy family activity to plan and do. You can have a picnic in your backyard, a local park or National State Park. 

All of my kids love to fish. They've fished at a creek behind our house, a small pond at our local park, river and lake. Typically they'll catch a fish and then let it go. 
Fishing in North Carolina
White Water Rafting
This is a huge hit with kids! The best part is kids three years old and up can actually do it.  There is a U.S. National Whitewater Center here in North Carolina which offers white water rafting, kayaking, paddle board, biking, adventure rope coarse and zip lining. 

Zip lining
I went zip lining for the first time at a YMCA this spring. It was quite a rush! If you like adventure, this is a blast to do. Even if you only do it once. Zip lining has become such a hot activity that you can try it at most local YMCA's and amusement park's. 

Pack a backpack full of snacks and start peddling. You can take a ride around the block, to your local look or enjoy a day at the park. We've even rented bikes before.

I got into rollerblading when I lived in Chicago. It provides great exercise and can be lots of fun for the family to do together. My only recommendation is to make sure you have all the safety gear such as helmet, elbow pads and knee pads.

This is one of our family favorites! Here in North Carolina, we usually visit the Riverbanks Zoo & Gardens. However, we've also been to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. 
Riverbanks Zoo
Riverbanks Zoo

Another favorite of ours is Lazy 5 Ranch. It's a drive thru animal farm filled with exotic animals.

Amusement and Water Park
We make an effort to take our kids to an amusement and water park every year. When we go, I usually pack a lunch and bring lots of snacks, since the cost of food at amusement parks are ridiculously priced. Our favorite amusement park's in the southeast are CarowindsDollywood Theme Park and Dollywoods Splash Country.

Dollywood Theme Park
Dollywood Theme Park

Local Outdoor Music Night
Here in the Charlotte, North Carolina area there are bands that play every Friday and Saturday night at various shopping strips throughout the city. We'll bring chairs, bottle of wine, food and enjoy a night of dancing with the kids. Charlotte Parent provides a great list of outdoor music and movie locations for people living in southern North Carolina.

Local and State Southeast Festivals
We love heading to local and state fairs and festivals! There are art fairs, beer festivals, BBQ festivals, music festivals and more! Our favorites here in North Carolina are the North Carolina State Fair and Renaissance Festival. 

Outdoor Movie Night
Another one of our family favorites! We started going to movies in the park when we lived in Chicago and have continued the family tradition when we moved to Charlotte, NC area. A couple of tips...make sure you bring lots of bug spray, glow necklaces and snacks! The glow necklaces help to locate your kids when they head to the bathroom.

Beach Day
My kids love the beach! We'll spend the day swimming in the ocean and building sand castles. If we spend the night, we'll wake up early the next morning in search of sand dollars and unique sea shells. 
Myrtle Beach
In the southeast, our favorite beach spots are Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head. You can golf, swim, build sand castles, dig for crabs, sail, whale and dolphin watch, snorkel and shop.

Lake Trip
I love spending a weekend in a log cabin at a lake. Especially a lake that's surrounded by tree's to help provide some shade from the heat of the sun. 
What are you family favorite summer activities?

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