Follow the Leader
The year's most intriguing guided adventures
PADDLING AND HIKING THE KENAI PENINSULA
Take six days to explore southern Alaska on a new trip—sea kayaking Resurrection Bay among Dall porpoises and orcas, hiking a three- to 12-mile portion of the Iditarod Trail and several glaciers, and mountain biking along the Seward Scenic Byway to the gold-rush town of Hope on Cook Inlet. Accommodations range from rustic lodges to a luxury hotel at Alyeska Ski Resort.
MINIMUM AGE: seven
KIDS WILL LOVE: seeing—and hearing—the Holgate Glacier calving into the Bay of Alaska during a boat cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park
DATES: July 20-25, August 3-8
COST: $2,498 per adult, $1,746 per child
OUTFITTER: Austin-Lehman Adventures, 800-575-1540, www.austinlehman.com
EXPLORING GUILIN AND CHENGDU
During a two-week journey from Beijing to the “gumdrop” mountains of Guilin, families will walk part of the 1,500-mile Great Wall, learn the art of Chinese kite-making, go rafting in Zhangjiajie National Park, watch baby pandas at Chengdu’s Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, and cruise the Li River on a three-deck ship. Overnight in hotels.
MINIMUM AGE: seven
KIDS WILL LOVE: squirting each other with bamboo water pistols during a lazy float trip down the Class I-II Maoyan River
DATES: June 14-28, July 5-19, August 2-16
COST: from $3,590 per adult, $3,490 per child age 12 to 17, $3,390 per child age 10 and 11
OUTFITTER: Thomson Family Adventures, 800-262-6255, www.familyadventures.com
BIKING AND KAYAKING CAPE COD
Pedal and paddle inn to inn through the classic summer towns of Chatham, Brewster, and Provincetown—biking on the paved, car-free Cape Cod Rail Trail and kayaking tranquil marshlands. The new five-day Cape Cod trip includes a seal-watching cruise to Monomoy Point. Lodging includes historic hotels.
MINIMUM AGE: none
KIDS WILL LOVE: playing hide-and-seek in the massive, wind-sculpted sand dunes of Marconi Beach near P-Town
DATES: July 7-13, July 20-25, August 3-8, August 10-15, August 17-22
COST: $2,098 per person, with discounts available depending on family size
OUTFITTER: Backroads, 800-462-2848, www.backroads.com
HIKING AND RAFTING ALBERTA
On this nine-day traverse of Alberta, you’ll travel from the arid valley of the Red Deer River, two hours north of Calgary, to the alpine trails and milky-blue lakes of Banff and Jasper national parks. Three- to five-mile day hikes include the Opal Hills Circuit, a former railroad; you’ll also raft a half-day on the Athabasca or Sunwapta river. Camp for six nights and stay in hotels two nights.
MINIMUM AGE: eight
KIDS WILL LOVE: hiking a portion of the 29-mile Dinosaur Trail in Horsethief Canyon, where many of the world’s finest dinosaur skeletons have been found
DATES: June 28-July 6, July 19-27, August 9-17
COST: $1,195 per adult, $995 per child age eight to 14
OUTFITTER: REI Adventures, 800-622-2236, www.rei.com
BUILDING TRAILS NEAR ASPEN
Take a working vacation, high on 14,092-foot Snowmass Mountain in White River National Forest, in which parents, grandparents, and children team up to build a snowshoe trail and plant trees. Work is moderate, using tools like shovels and your own hands. Families stay in tents at 10,000 feet—and everyone pitches in with cooking and chores. Spend five days working; take one free day to hit the streets and shops of nearby Aspen.
MINIMUM AGE: seven
KIDS WILL LOVE: fishing for trout in a mountain lake through Kenai Fjords National Park
DATES: July 13-19
COST: $345 per adult, $245 per child age seven to 17
OUTFITTER: Sierra Club Outings, 415-977-5522, www.sierraclub.org/outings
RAFTING THE LOWER KLAMATH RIVER
Float 39 miles in five days, through just-exhilarating-enough Class II and III rapids, from Indian Creek to Roger’s Crossing. The setting is the cedar- and fir-lined canyons dividing Northern California’s Siskiyou and Marble ranges in Klamath National Forest. Camp each night on secluded beaches.
MINIMUM AGE: six
KIDS WILL LOVE: playing in the rock pool under the twin 35-foot Ukonom Falls, reachable only by a three-quarter-mile hike into a side canyon
COST: $600 per adult, $540 per child age six to 17
OUTFITTER: Turtle River Rafting Company, 800-726-3223, www.turtleriver.com