5. Put the Groms on Belay

Yosemite National Park, California.

Yosemite's kid-friendly Nutcracker route     Photo: Photo by Kevin Steele/Aurora

Want to explore Yosemite but have extra baggage? Take the kids and sample some of the park's best adventures on Austin-Lehman Adventures' new family-friendly trip. Kids as young as seven will learn the basics of climbing—how to tie figure-eight knots and rappel—in Yosemite Valley's Curry Village. They'll also scramble around giant old-growth sequoias while hiking in Mariposa Grove and cool off in granite swimming holes after a four-mile jaunt to the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River. Guests spend their five nights in three park lodges: the Evergreen, Yosemite, and Tenaya, all of which have playgrounds or pools for the kids and spas or bars for you. Adults, $2,398; kids, $1,918; five departures in July and August; austinlehman.com

Alert: Merging Traffic
Yosemite National Park is requiring permits for all Half Dome hikers for the first time this year. The good news: the line to the summit will be only 400 long. The bad news: you might not be in it. But you can game the system. Backcountry permits do double duty, so if you want to walk up Half Dome, opt for the three-day backpacking trip from Tuolumne Meadows to the Valley. Spend night one at Sunrise Lakes and night two at Little Yosemite Valley, just 3.5 miles from Half Dome's summit.

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