I love getting ideas and inspo for family adventures. It makes me feel happy to know that you can still be adventurous after having children. It might take a bit of planning, some sideways thinking and a dose of reality, but it can be done! Here’s some top family adventure ideas that I’ve found.
Don’t get me wrong. I adore my kids – even more so as they are growing up. Just so funny! (And so much energy. Need some.) But when I first became a mum, I went through, what I now see many other mothers go through, an identity crisis. Before kids I was a fairly adventurous sort. I ran across the Sahara, cycled across the UK, ran many marathons and ultras, and loved indie travel.
After moving out of London to the ‘burbs and going on maternity leave, I suffered a fairly large case of pnd and most of it was down to FOMO. I felt like I wasn’t allowed and couldn’t join in with all the action anymore. I had gone from a gad-about-town-gal to a suburban frumpy mum (or that’s how I felt at the time).
Of course, now I’m on the other side of babydom, I can see that there is a MAJOR fun life to be had after having children. It’s a different life, for sure, but one that definitely can be adventurous.
What’s your situation?
Everyone’s situation is different of course. For example, I would love to go away travelling for a year with my family but my husband’s job wouldn’t accommodate it and now my older son has started school, so we’re limited by that too.
Families with primary school aged children can do different things to those with younger children, for example, there may be more opportunity to do something by yourself, or training for something a little more challenging if you are feeling more rested and are getting enough sleep.
Families with younger children may not relish the idea of a week-long ultra (they’d rather be sleeping!) or may not fancy the idea of a cycling adventure with young kids.
It’s all dependant on you and your family’s personality, financial and social situation. We don’t have any family nearby to help out, so doing something together over a weekend is much more feasible than taking a month out to travel the length of the country.
Anyway, with that in mind, I’ve collected a variety of big and small family adventure ideas together to help inspire you and your next adventure.
Mini family adventures
Go geocaching – get outside for an hour or two and see your local environment in a fresh way.
Take part in an orienteering race – it’s such a fun way to see somewhere new, learn new skills and get kids involved.
Sleep outside – start off in your garden or go for broke on public land. I’d love to stay in Dartmoor (the only park in England you are legally allowed to wild camp), Dernwood Wild Campsite or Wicken Fen Wild Campsite.
Try something you’ve never done before – abseiling, canoeing, wild swimming, paddleboarding, climbing.
Do a 24 hour challenge – even if you have family commitments, you can usually find 24 hours for yourself. Things to consider trying include hiking a new route, running around the administrative edge of your town, travelling somewhere on train by bike and cycling home or signing up to an outdoor swimming event.
Climb your nearest mountain – we went west to Pen-y-Fan as it’s very family-friendly, but you could be bolder with older kids.
Sleep on a beach – this one is on my wish list.
Go on a night walk – pack up a bag with snacks, a torch and map and head out for an hour after dark. Don’t forget to enjoy the stars!
Tick off some of the National Trust’s 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4 – I think we’re up to 8 items!
Trail run in Scotland – Jo Cowper loved trail running so much she set up Glasgow’s first trail running festival.
Enter a race – it doesn’t matter how far or fast, it will get you out of your comfort zone and make you feel amazing.
Medium family adventures
Have an island adventure – find your nearest island and go visit it by as active a means as possible. Sail there and stay overnight if you can.
Try 5 nights in 5 bothies, with a 5 year old – Kerry-Anne Mairs and her 5-year-old son go hiking and camping overnight in some of Scotland’s bothies.
Think up 4 adventures in 4 months with a 4 year old – I try out new adventures with my 4-year-old son such as climbing and kayaking.
Run a ultra in the UK – Lizzie Rosewell is a passionate ultra runner and mum of two young kids. Her blog about running is so enthusiastic and should make you want to get out there and have a go.
Walk a long-distance path – Fiona Orrell is walking a section of the Coast-to-Coast walk each month over 2018.
Train for a triathlon – Sarah Logan hasn’t even let cancer get in the way of getting out there, taking part in triathlons, running races with her daughter and travelling through Italy with her kids over summer.
Cycle a long-distance cycle route in the UK – I want to try cycling the perimeter of the Isle of Wight.
Take a ferry trip to Europe – we recently went by ferry to Northern France and loved it.
Bike across Europe – like my heroes of all time the Pelling family.
Tackle 3 peaks near you – or go for broke and do the big three.
Pick the cheapest destination to fly to – go there for the weekend, and camp or stay in a hostel.
Mega family adventures
Run a race overseas – add a little excitement to a 10km race (or longer) by timing it with your next overseas trip. Find a list of world races here. I’ve bucket-listed the Lewa Safaricom marathon in Kenya – one day!
Live and travel overseas – Jenny Lynn and her family lived in India and have spent over a year travelling in Asia and Africa with their young children.
Bike around the world – Alice Goffart and her family biked around the world – for seven years!
Go diving in Indonesia – Catherine Edsell is another heroine of mine. She’s an expedition leader and all round adventurous spirit.
Hike one of the world’s best family-friendly routes – my favourite is Tenerife. It looks awesome.
Kayak down an uncharted stretch of river – like Laura Bingham, mum of one.
Walk across Australia – like the Jones family who are walking across the Outback with their young family.
Row across the Atlantic – like four mums from Yorkshire did.
Travel round the US in a school bus – this family did!
Go long – Walk across the UK along one of the paths or complete LEJOG.