If life for your family works best when it flits from activity to activity like an MTV video, booking a “sampler” trip may make you a hero. This way, if one kid is screaming to go rafting and the other is set on mountain biking, you can be the great compromiser and make everyone happy. Herewith, a summer’s worth of
On Escape the City Streets’s five-day hike/bike trip, you’ll pedal through Utah’s remote Red Canyon crossing a meandering stream exactly 44 times. While that particular day should appeal to any kid who likes serious mud, other days are just as good–biking through the red sandstone rocks around Bryce Canyon, hiking up the famously claustrophobic
walls of the Zion Narrows, and cliff-jumping into the Virgin River. Outfitter: Escape the City Streets, 800-596-2953. Cost: $655-$855 per person. Family deals: Kids under 16 (one child per adult), half price; students, 15 percent off. Departures: July 7, August 18, September 8.
Backroads’s new six-day family trip through Puget Sound employs so many modes of transport your kids will be too winded to whine “Are we there yet?”: They’ll bike through the tulip beds of Skagit Valley, ferry between the San Juan Islands, hike through forests of Douglas fir, and kayak along coastal inlets where orcas hang out. Stay at a variety of
secluded inns, or opt for a camping trip. Outfitter: Backroads, 800-462-2848. Cost: $1,698 inn-to-inn, $798 for campers. Family deals: Kids six and under, 40 percent off; 7-12, 20 percent off; 13-17, ten percent. Departures:
Inn-to-inn, July 13; camping, July 27.
The ideal ten-day turf and surf combo begins at Idaho’s Hayden Creek Ranch with four days of horseback riding, fly fishing, mountain biking, and hiking through the Lemhi Mountains of Salmon National Forest. Then you head downstream to the Salmon River for five days of shooting Class III rapids. There’s also a river-bluff rappelling lesson. Outfitter: Wilderness River Outfitters and Trail Expeditions, 800-252-6581. Cost: $1,700 per person. Family deals: 30 percent discount for children 12 and under. Departures: July 4 and 12.
For kids who prefer paddling their own boats, thank you, Coastal Adventures runs a six-day backpacking/sea kayaking tour of Nova Scotia’s coastal archipelago. Sea kayaks are the stealthiest way to slide up behind seals, and spot the eider ducks, osprey, and cormorants that nest here. On shore you can explore the abandoned settlements and graveyards
left behind in the last centuries by European fishermen. Outfitter: Coastal Adventures, 902-772-2774. Cost: $660 per person. Family deals: Ten percent discount for families of four or more. Departures: June 29, August 7.
Once you set up camp at Madeline Island’s Big Bay State Park, the hub of Trek and Trail’s five-day family exploration of Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands, your kids can pedal along Madeline’s paved roads, or paddle kayaks to hikes on Lake Superior’s most secluded islands. Outfitter: Trek and Trail, 800-354-8735. Cost: $469 per person. Family deals: Half price for kids under 12. Departures: Every Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
If you have any doubts that a multisport trip could please every member of your clan, The Road Less Traveled can customize a trip for groups of eight or more that can include everything from kayaking Utah’s Green River to hiking past Anasazi ruins to climbing the Grand Teton–variety that ensures even the most quarrelsome siblings will find something
to agree on. Prices vary; call 312-348-4100.