Family vacationing at Acadia's Echo Lake Camp

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of May 21-27, 1998
Family vacationing at Acadia's Echo Lake Camp
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Family vacationing at Acadia's Echo Lake Camp
Question: My wife and I are struggling to find a worthy vacation for our family. We have children ages 6 and 9 who like to stay busy. We took a vacation to Disney World last year and are looking for something new to do with our valuable time. We would like to spend around $1,500. Can you please help us?

Eric Boyette
La Grange, Georgia

Acadia National Park's
Mount Desert Island

Adventure Adviser: It doesn't boast castles, a Pirates' Cove, or life-size Mickeys, but it certainly is a more down-to-Earth way to vacation with your kids. The Appalachian Mountain Club's Echo Lake Camp on Acadia National Park's Mount Desert Island is the ideal way to stay within a budget and introduce your kids to some of Mother Nature's finest work. The 1920s-era tent camp is on the shores of 2.5-mile Echo Lake near Southwest Harbor. Each day you can choose between kayaking, rowboating, canoeing, hiking, swimming, or biking, or you can also take a tour with a Club guide who will point out the unique and interesting wildlife and geology of the area. In the evenings don't worry about cooking because family-style meals are served in the Club's main dining hall. After dinner, you can take the chill out of the crisp Maine evenings by hanging out around the fireplace — somebody's bound to have a guitar. Though it's not the most private vacation, chances are your kids will find some playmates and keep themselves plenty entertained all week long. Almost everything is included in the price, but you'll need to bring your own sleeping bags and towels. The price is $65 per family for an Appalachian Mountain Club membership, plus $325 per adult, and $202 per kids age 4 to 10, making the total price $1,119. Call 603-466-2727 for details.

If Maine is a bit of a drive, consider something a little closer to home like New Castle, Virginia's Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing. Despite the fact that you'll be eating freeze-dried food for the majority of the week, this is quite the place for adventurous 6- and 9-year-olds. Not only will they hone their camping skills, something they'll use for the rest of their lives, they'll also go caving, scream down a 900-foot zip line, learn how to rock climb, participate in a high ropes course, and have daily instruction in animal tracking, friction fire-starting, backcountry etiquette, and insect and plant identification. Family Adventure weeks are June 7-13 and August 23-29. The cost, including gear, is $445 for ages 9 and older, $225 ages 6 to 8. Call 800-782-0779.

You may have been thinking more along the lines of beachfront vacations, and if that's the case, check out the endless ideas in Outside's Family Vacation Guide available for $3.95 in any major bookstore. Good luck.

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