The Family Plan

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside magazine, June 1995

The Family Plan
By Bob Howells

Bring on the small fry: kids are kept happily busy at most of these resorts. At Lone Mountain Ranch, daily hikes, trail rides, animal tracking, pond fishing, campouts, and a weekly Kids' Rodeo keep six-year-olds and up entertained, and they even have their own hangouts: the HideOut for arts and crafts and the Sarsaparilla Saloon for soft drinks, snacks, and games. Rates include meals and lodging: children ages two to three, $320 per week; four to five, $650; older kids, $850.

Sundance gets a solid G rating for its complimentary Kid's Camp, for ages six-12, from June 20 through Labor Day. Three programs run in repertory: Native American/Environmental Day (crafts and folk stories in a tepee), Recreation/Adventure Day (hiking, horseback riding), and Theater Workshop Day (kids create and perform an original play).

Strathcona offers a family adventure package August 8-13 for kids six to 13 and their parents: five days of canoeing, nature walks, kayaking, rock climbing, and orienteering (adults, $375; children, $185; meals and lodging included). At Gunflint Lodge, six- to 12-year-olds can join a weekly fishing trip, and anyone over three can go on the Hobo Hikes (kids carry lunch in a red bandanna tied to a stick).

Kids are bonkers for water sports, and at Northern Outdoors, those eight and older can join mom and dad on the Kennebec whitewater trip or in inflatable kayaks ("duckies") for self-guided floating on a flat stretch of river. Nantahala Outdoor Center runs kayak courses, beginner through advanced, for kids ten to 15; a three-day course costs $495, including meals and lodging. Those 13 and up can join adults in the sampler courses. Otter Bar Lodge offers one week of camping and paddling, August 5-12, for kids ages ten to 16 ($750, all-inclusive). At Catamaran Resort, Teen Sailcamp teaches 12to 17-year-olds how to kayak, sail, or windsurf, for $25 per day or $100 per week, while Camp Sailfish keeps kids from five to 11 busy with sand-castle building, pool games, Frisbee golf, and arts and crafts--at no extra charge.

The Peaks at Telluride has a KidSpa program for ages two and a half to 11. Toddlers join the Explorers Program ($40, full day; $25, half day); six- to 11-year-olds enroll in the Mountaineers Program for morning hikes, swimming, horseback riding, and panning for gold ($65, full day; $40, half day). At Topnotch at Stowe, the gratis Kids Program, for ages five to 12, includes guided nature hikes, face painting, and outdoor games in two half-day sessions.

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