5 Thrill-seeking family adventures
Trips for your little adrenaline junkies
Brave the rapids
If you have kids over the age of 5, family white water rafting tours can be a great way to bond this summer. According to Rafting America (which offers maps of rafting tours), there are more than 24 states that offer rafting tours, making the odds high that one is within driving distance. The intensity of white water rafting tours are classified by Roman numerals, so if your family includes smaller children or older adults, opt for gentler level I, II or III courses. If you’d really like to immerse the family in a nature expedition, multi-day camping and rafting trips last anywhere from two to 15 days. Rafting trips can expose you to some intense thrills on IV and V courses and you’ll see remote locations only reachable by river travel. Aside from instilling invaluable lessons in teamwork, kids will appreciate experiencing a piece of nature that no Wii or iPad game can top!
A day of balloons
In its 30th year, the Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning is the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America. Held July 27, 28 and 29, 2012 from Solberg Airport in Readington, New Jersey, it features "mass ascensions of 100 sport and special shaped hot air balloons from around the world" and live music concerts. Additionally, entertainment includes fireworks, children’s amusement rides and a nighttime balloon glow where balloons are inflated and lit up like lanterns. Riders who are above 44 inches tall and want the full experience of ballooning in the clouds will find it here -- or try the shorter, tamer, tethered rides that stay closer to the ground.
Soar in the summer sky
Recognized by the The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) as one of the top thrill-seeking adventures this summer, the "Soaring Eagle Zip Line" just debuted at the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park in Canon City, Colorado. The attraction features zip lines that propel riders "1,400 feet from a 1,000-foot wall of the Royal Gorge, to 800 feet above the Arkansas River."
Extreme bike riding
Located in Frisco, Colorado, the Frisco Adventure Park Bike Park offers thrill-seeking fun for bike riders of all ages and levels. The park includes a skate park, pump track, downhill slope-style course and dirt jump facility for youth and adults. For little ones just learning how to handle their "wheels," the park offers a separate miniature-size track that offers the opportunity to learn new skills -- or just have fun getting down in the dirt!
Waterfall scavenger hunt
Feed your family's love of adventure by combining a scavenger hunt under the backdrop of rushing waterfalls on the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail. Located just south of Seattle, the trails feature more than 20 cascades, some of which are available by foot -- and two that can be seen only by kayak or boat.