Tips to make getting outdoors fun
Tips to make getting outdoors fun

Hiking with Children

Tips to make getting outdoors fun for the whole family

Tips to make getting outdoors fun

Soon the sultry days of summer will just be a memory. The pesky insects will tuck themselves away for winter and the trails that we enjoy the most will begin to dry up.

This time of year is so hard not to just jump back out on the trails! The cooler mornings can be deceiving as the heat and high humidity are still very noticeable as the sun raises high in the afternoon skies. Now is a time of planning. There are so many wonderful places to explore around us in Dade City!  So gather up the little ones and let them start planning your fall hikes. The best way to get them excited about getting outdoors is to let them be part of the planning!

Where to hike

We are surrounded by trails. The Withlacoochee and Hardy trails are easy and paved.  Green Swamp offers many options I have found the 4.8 mile Red Trail Loop to be very enjoyable on cool days. This trail has a lot of wildlife and takes you through many different ecosystems. The Withlacoochee River Multi Use Trail is an easy 1.9 mile loop trail. You can also find a wide selection of local trails by visiting

Tips to make getting outdoors fun

When to hike

It will still be a little while until hiking in cooler temperatures is an all day thing, so if you want to get out now start as early as you can after daylight. During November to May you can pretty much hike anytime and all day.

What to hike with

You ALWAYS need to take proper hydration – water either in bottles or a hydration pack. Wear proper shoes for the area you will be hiking in. Insect repellant, sun block, hat, camera and a map of the area you will be hiking in are a must any time of the year. Also – be sure to tell someone when and where you are going to be hiking and when you expect to be home.

Make hiking fun!

You family will appreciate being outdoors more if you make it fun and not just a “boring hike”.  Let your children take turns leading the way, it will build their confidence. Teach them how to read trail markers but keep them in sight.  Plan a few activities or games look for sticks and branches that look like letters or numbers, try to identify plants and animals with a phone app (iNaturalist is a great choice), or have them collect leave, pinecones or sticks for a craft when you get home. Try letting your little explores look for flowers, birds and animal signs.  The most important thing is to hike at their pace. Little ones can cover more ground than you think. Have a small daypack with snacks for them also, they can be special items they only get when you hike. And to keep them from eating all at once tell them for example that you will stop in 15 minutes for a drink and a snack. Let them keep a timer and tell you when it is time to stop sit down and have fun talking about what you have already seen, what they liked best (most will say the snack at first) and maybe pretend for a minute what it would be like if they were a deer, bear or butterfly – how the forest would look different. Where would they sleep, get food, get a drink. Soon you all will be enjoying your adventure!

Learn more about our guided outings at