Springtime is in full swing, and it’s the perfect time for hiking! Perhaps you’ve been hiking your way through this pandemic as a safe way to get out of the house, or maybe you’ve just caught your first case of spring fever and want to spend a little more time outside. The beauty of a hike is that it can be as easy or as challenging as you make it, and can be a great activity for families with children (and grown-ups) of all ages!
Nearby hiking spots
We’re lucky to live in an area with many wonderful places to hike that are just a short trip away! Here are just a handful of favorites. You can find many more places to hike at Mass.gov.
Multiple entrances to these beautiful hiking trails are walking distance from the library!
Just a short drive away, this location in Saugus offers both very easy “introductory” trails, and slightly more challenging “signature” trails.
If you’re looking for very easy, flat terrain, head over to Concord and explore these historic paths. (There are also lots of paved paths that are perfect for biking.)
If you’ve never hiked with kids before, a little bit of preparation might make your experience a lot easier.
- Plan a much shorter hike than you’d do with adults, and start heading back before your kids are tired. Kids’ energy levels are high but their attention spans usually aren’t, and there’s only so far you can give them a piggy back ride to get back to the car.
- Expect your pace to be far slower than grown-up hikes, even if your kids are usually faster than you. They’ll get distracted along the way and stop to explore – and that’s a good thing! Take the time to let them climb the rocks or examine the nature they discover!
- Make sure your child wears comfortable, closed-toed shoes to protect tiny toes from rocks and sticks along the paths. Socks are a must too, to prevent blisters.
- Bring a comfortable bag with water, snacks, a small first aid kit, and bug spray. Even though it’s still spring and the bugs aren’t terrible, you’ll want to be prepared.
- Take a minute to make sure you can identify poison ivy and poison sumac so you can be sure to avoid them. If you do touch one of these plants, wash with soap and water or rubbing alcohol right away and you will probably avoid a rash.
- Print or download a trail map to your phone before you head out. Cell phone reception isn’t always guaranteed
Make it Special
If you’ve already been hiking quite a big this year, you can always add a new activity into the mix.
Try making some trail signs to show which way you’ve gone. Or you can have your kids try and set out some trail signs to lead to a pre-chosen destination. You can use whatever nature you encounter: stones, pebbles, sticks, grass. These are just examples; you could also make up your own!
Do a scavenger hunt while you’re hiking! You could plan which natural items you’ll look for before you even leave the house. Or you can be a bit more spontaneous and call out challenges while you’re hiking. “Who can find something yellow?” At some locations, gathering items may be inappropriate or frowned upon, in which case you can take pictures of each item you find.
Interested in some more hiking ideas or tips, or stories about kids going hiking? Check out our booklist below. And feel free to comment and let us know: What are some other ways you could make a hike special? Where else have you been hiking that you’d recommend?