Hopefully you’ve already read my first two tips for a successful nature walk with kids. If not, you can do that here:
5 Tips for a Successful Nature Walk with Kids
Once you’ve got a nature buddy and you’ve settled on some sort of schedule for your nature walks, it’s time to pick a destination. Better yet, you’ll want to start a whole list of family-friendly nature spots in your area.
Check out my top tips for choosing the right spot for your nature explorations…
Tip #3. Choose the Right Spot
1. Bathroom facilities
For us, the right spot always includes access to a bathroom, even if it’s just a port-a-potty. 🙂 Take it from me, this one factor will make a huge difference in the comfort and length of your nature adventures.
2. Trails, Water or Open Space
We prefer trails over wide open spaces, and proximity to water is always nice. Our favorite spots tend to include all three.
3. Picnic Spot
Picnic tables are a bonus, although we do keep a picnic blanket in the back of the car at all times, just in case. Some nature spots have benches, steps or stone walls. Tables are best, but as long as there’s a relatively clean and level spot to sit, you’ll be good to go.
4. Extras: Nature Centers, Playgrounds and More
Several of our favorite nature destinations also offer some type of extra amenities such as an official nature center, playground or other special features like a discovery garden. It’s definitely not necessary, but can add interest to regular outdoor adventures with kids.
How to Find Kid-Friendly Nature Spots in Your Area
Are you at a loss for where to go? Maybe you’re new to your area, or you’re new to the concept of regular nature adventures with kids in tow.
Don’t worry; every location has its own variety of nature spots. Below are a few tips to point you in the right direction.
1. Ask around.
The best folks to ask are:
- Other parents
- Native or long-time local residents
- Employees of your local tourism office, parks & rec, library, etc.
2. Search online.
Use the following terms, plus the name of your town, city or county:
- hiking trail
- nature trail
- nature walk
- nature place
- nature center
- nature for children
- nature program
- outdoor spot for kids
- children’s garden
- farm for kids
- naturalist guided walk
If you happen to live in Loudoun County, Virginia, here’s a great resource for you:
Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy: Loudoun’s Great Places.
My Family’s Favorite Nature Spots
- Nature centers
- Short woodsy trails
- Trails with water access
- Children’s discovery garden
- Playgrounds adjacent to trails or natural features
- Our local paved bike trail
- Our neighbors’ trails
- Local farms
Whether you live out in the country or in a big city, I guarantee there are more great nature spots near you than you might think. Have fun tracking them down!
Check out the rest of the series 5 Tips for a Successful Nature Walk with Kids:
- #1 Find a Buddy
- #2 Make it a Habit
- #3 Choose the Right Spot
- #4 Gear Up
- #5 Keep it Simple
- Bonus Tip: Read Up