Yoho National Park Mountain Hut Trip
MINIMUM AGE: All ages welcome
DESCRIPTION: Who better to introduce kids to backpacking than a naturalist who was a teacher for 27 years? The owner of Back of Beyond, Bud Ettiger, puts his expertise to use in this hut-based, four-day taste of the Canadian Rockies. Hike about eight miles a day through glacier lilies to alpine passes.
KIDS WILL LOVE: Naturalist kits that include a butterfly net and magnifying glass
THE DETAILS: Back of Beyond (800-732-7251; www.backofbeyond.ca); approximately US$308; July 29, August 19
Family Canoeing, Atchafalaya swamp, Louisiana
MINIMUM AGE: 12
DESCRIPTION: During this weeklong immersion in the bayou, canoeing near Lafayette for 12 miles a day is the main event. But there's plenty of time for hikes among the cypress trees, Cajun storytelling, music, and dancing.
KIDS WILL LOVE: Paddling past gators
THE DETAILS: Sierra Club Outings (415-977-5500; www.sierraclub.org/outings); $795 per adult (must be Sierra Club member, $25 a year), $695 per child under 17 (membership not required); November 24
Turtles and Rainforest, Costa Rica
MINUMUM AGE: Six (12 for river rafting; younger kids will do a jungle-canopy tour instead)
DESCRIPTION: With a stay at a private leatherback-turtle research facility south of Tortuguero National Park, this eight-day Costa Rica Caribbean itinerary has a scientific bent. Also: Raft the wild Pacuare and hike and climb trees among toucans and sloths at the Selva Bananito Reserve.
KIDS WILL LOVE: Accompanying biologists on their rounds to measure the giant turtles
THE DETAILS: Adventure Life (800-344-6118; www.adventurelife.com); $1,195; every Saturday from March 18 to August 13
Buffalo Bill Family Adventure, Wyoming and Idaho
MINIMUM AGE: Seven (or mature six)
DESCRIPTION: Use your kids as an excuse to act out your own Wild West fantasies on this nine-day Yellowstone and Grand Tetons adventure, with five-mile walks through the parks, a rodeo, a hot-springs swim, and an optional Snake River float trip or hot-air balloon ride.
KIDS WILL LOVE: Digging for dinosaur bones
THE DETAILS: (800-779-0353; www.walkingadventures.com); $1,490; July 6
Georgia Islands Multisport
MINIMUM AGE: Six
DESCRIPTION: Visit Cumberland, Little St. Simons, and Amelia Islands to play like royalty during six days of biking, hiking, kayaking, fishing, and horseback riding before retreating to luxury lodges for blue-crab cakes and other gourmet grub.
KIDS WILL LOVE: The wild horses that roam Cumberland Island
THE DETAILS: Backroads (800-462-2848; www.backroads.com); $2,098; July 7, 21
MINIMUM AGE: Seven
DESCRIPTION: Cycling terrain doesn't get more kid-friendly than the flat, quiet roads that run from lake to lake on the islands off Denmark's coast. Ride for six days, about 30 miles a day, ogling castles in the countryside between quaint seaside towns.
KIDS WILL LOVE: The Little Mermaid in the Copenhagen harbor and the Hans Christian Andersen Museum
THE DETAILS: Euro-Bike and Walking Tours (800-321-6060; www.eurobike.com); $2,445 plus $140 for bike rental; June 29, August 3
MINIMUM AGE: Seven
DESCRIPTION: Packing the best of the Garden Isle into six days is darn near impossible, but this trip squeezes in hiking the Kalalau Trail, kayaking the Wailua River, mountain biking Waimea Canyon, and diving or snorkeling off the Na Pali Coast.
KIDS WILL LOVE: Getting sprayed by Spouting Horn, the natural blowhole on Lawai Bay
THE DETAILS: Austin-Lehman Adventures (800-575-1540; www.austinlehman.com); $2,625 (adults), $2,100 (children 12 and under); November 10, 17, 24, December 8, 15, 22, 29
Crossing the Andes: A Patagonia Family Adventure
MINIMUM AGE: 12
DESCRIPTION: This ambitious 13-day itinerary hits all the highlights of the Lake District in Argentina and Chile, from trekking in the snowcapped Andes to kayaking across deep, blue lakes rimmed by red volcanic ash.
KIDS WILL LOVE: Riding horses down an ancient Indian trail to Vuriloche Pass in Argentina
THE DETAILS: Outer Edge Expeditions (800-322-5235; www.outer-edge.com); $3,190; none in 2002, but plan ahead for March 2003
Masai Mara Migration, Kenya
MINIMUM AGE: Determined case-by-case (as young as four)
DESCRIPTION: A ten-day safari during peak migration season tracks zebra and wildebeest herds through the lush grasslands of this famous Kenyan landscape. Explore the bush on foot and four wheels, with an optional three-day extension to the spice isle of Zanzibar.
KIDS WILL LOVE: Visiting Jane Goodall's chimpanzee sanctuary
THE DETAILS: Wilderness Travel (800-368-2794; www.wildernesstravel.com); $3,995 (8-9 people), $4,295 (6-7 people); June 22, July 20, August 3, 31
Yangtze Interlude, China
MINIMUM AGE: Nine is recommended
DESCRIPTION: As much a history tour as an outdoor adventure, this 13-day trip from Shanghai to Beijing explores museums, gardens, and royal tombs and takes visitors on a Yangtze River cruise through fast-moving Devil's Gate and whirlpool-filled Witches Gorge. Last stop: the Great Wall.
KIDS WILL LOVE: Watching Chinese acrobats perform in Shanghai
THE DETAILS: Abercrombie and Kent (800-323-7308; www.abercrombiekent.com); $4,470 (adult, double occupancy or executive cabin), $3,240 (child under 12 with an adult); June 14, July 12