The Adventure Adviser

Family vacation tips from OutsideOnline.com's travel expert

Illustration by Gary Baseman    


I'm a climber; my daughter isn't. We need a national park that will please us both.

— Gerald Dunworth, Montclair, New Jersey



Adventure Advisor:

Simple. Head for 794,993-acre Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California and convert her. The grippy granite and funky formations are bound to inspire climbing urges. There are 4,500 established routes—challenging ones for you (like Touch ‘n’ Go, a 5.9 crag in a climbing hub known as the Hidden Valley) and confidence-builders for her (scrambling Skull Rock or 5.3 Knaug and Hyde). Should she loathe the vertiginous world, the views from the ridges of 5,813-foot Quail Mountain, the highest in the park, are worth the five-mile round-trip hike from Cap Rock. She’ll see spindly ocotillo and stands of Joshua trees with their arms raised high. Avoid visiting in the dead of summer, as the desert heat can be oppressive. Joshua Tree Rock Climbing School (800-890-4745, www.rockclimbingschool.com) offers full-day lessons for $85 per person.
Can you suggest a windsurfing spot to accommodate both experts and beginners?

— Susan Rosen, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania



Adventure Advisor:

Try a week on Long Caye, a private island at Glover’s Reef, about 35 miles off the coast of Dangriga, Belize. This 13-acre, palm-peppered speck has a calm, protected lagoon with shallow waters on one side and raucous waves with stiff winds over open seas on the other. The outfitter that owns the island has plenty of Mistral and Naish boards and sails—and windsurfing instructors who expertly dispense lessons on how to use them. You can also sea kayak out to places like the Aquarium, a popular reef, to snorkel with angelfish. Feast on fresh grouper for dinner, and spend nights in one of the island’s ten grass-roof cabanas, each with a porch right on the beach. Slickrock Adventures (800-390-5715, www.slickrock.com) books weeklong stays for four that cost $1,850 per person, including all meals, equipment, park fees, and lessons.

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