Category Archives: Family Adventures

Stories, photos, and videos from our family’s many wilderness adventures hiking, backpacking, skiing, kayaking, rafting, and climbing, including in many U.S. national parks.

May 27, 2015 Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, Idaho.

Photo Gallery: Idaho’s Craters of the Moon

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By Michael Lanza

Few places bear a name as simultaneously hyperbolic and yet as descriptively true as Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in south-central Idaho. Over the past 15,000 years, eight distinct lava flows erupting from fissures in the earth have created the largest lava field of its kind in the continental United States, made up of about 60 flows and 25 cones and sprawling over more than 600 square miles. Explore the place with young kids and they just may believe you’ve transported them to the moon. Continue reading →

May 25, 2015 Above Stillwater Canyon, Canyonlands National Park.

5 Classic (Age-Appropriate) National Park Adventures for Families

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

What national park adventure should we take with our kids? That’s a question I get frequently from parents. It’s a tough one to answer, given all the great choices. But my advice always focuses on the ages of kids, because that’s how I’ve always thought about picking the right trips for my kids. I ask myself: What’s the most fun, safe adventure we can take them on at their ages?

I’ve compiled below my top five recommendations for absolute, must-do national park trips for families (with links to my story about each for more info and photos), arranged in order from the easiest, for younger kids, to the most challenging, for older, more-experienced kids. Continue reading →

May 18, 2015 Fishing at Lake 8522, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.

Photo Gallery: My Father-Son and Father-Daughter Adventures

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By Michael Lanza

The annual tradition began when my son, Nate, was five years old, and we hiked about a mile up a trail in the Boise Foothills, starting at a trailhead a 10-minute drive from our house, and camped beside a creek small enough to step over. It was the most mellow trip we’d take, and the closest to home, on the annual father-son outdoor adventure that we’ve come to call our “boy trip.” My daughter, Alex, two years younger, adapted that name and gave me a pass for my inferior gender when we began taking an annual “girl trip” together. Now it has grown into something bigger than any one, individual outing. Continue reading →

May 14, 2015 Grand Prismatic Geyser, Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park.

New at The Big Outside: Ask Me Menu Page

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Family Adventures, Gear Reviews, Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skiing, Skills   |   Tagged , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

Ever since I launched this blog almost five years ago, readers have emailed me with their questions about trips they’re planning, gear, taking kids on outdoor adventures, or some kind of outdoor skill. I always respond, and because my readers ask good questions, I share most of them, and my responses, in the feature I call Ask Me. I’ve now amassed enough Ask Me blog posts that it seemed to make sense to organize them onto a page, listed in several categories. Now, if you have a question for me, or are researching gear or a national park or any topic I write about at The Big Outside, go to my Ask Me page for a complete menu of all existing blog posts in which I’ve answered questions from other readers. Continue reading →

May 12, 2015 Wildcat Mountain, White Mountains, N.H.

Ask Me: How Do You Protect Your Kids and Yourself Against Tick-Borne Diseases?

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Hello Michael,

I just stumbled on your amazing blog and ordered your book—I can’t wait to read it! I am completely inspired by your blog. I have one question: I am from the Northeast originally and a cousin of mine had very serious, chronic Lyme disease, which has instilled a huge fear in me of that and other tick-borne diseases. How do you protect your children from these things? Do you spray them down with insect repellent?  (I try to avoid chemicals as much as possible.) Thank you so much for your help and your wonderful blog!

Sincerely,
Sarah
Encinitas, CA Continue reading →

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