In honor of National Take a Hike Day, we've rounded up the top five family-friendly (and warmer-weather!) trail destinations with the help of Foursquare. Users rated the best spots across the country for lacing up your boots and having a good time hitting the trail. Our picks from among those top spots promise tons of picturesque views and lots of entertainment for parents and kids alike, thanks to sights that are a history lesson (see #2), vocab booster (find out what a hoodoo is in #3) and solid workout.
#5: Stone Mountain Park, Stone Mountain, GA
You’ll trek through woods, along lakeshores, past granite slopes, and by wildflowers on various routes in this park. Opt for the 1-mile walk to the top of the mountain and you'll get a stunning glimpse of downtown Atlanta and the North Georgia mountains, plus there's a snack bar and souvenir shop at the summit. After taking a stroll, head to The Great Barn, which has slides and trampolines for even more active fun.
#4: Covert Park at Mount Bonnell, Austin, TX
You’ll have to climb steep stairs to reach the top of this park, at approximately 775 feet above sea level, but the breathtaking sight of Lake Austin (a portion of the Colorado River) makes it totally worth it, as does the view of the city skyline on your way up. Bring a packed lunch as a reward for your (and your teens') hard work, or head up later in the day for an ideal seat to watch the sunset.
#3: Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce Canyon, UT Choose between easy, moderate or strenuous trails (for the super-fit family), each of which boasts Douglas fir and spruce forests, mossy overhangs and tall, natural rock columns called hoodoos. Turn your one-day trek into an overnight stay and you can also take a gorgeous moonlight hike, go on a horseback ride or stargaze with telescopes.
#2: Lands End, San Francisco, CA You’ll want to start your journey at the Lands End Lookout—the park’s new visitor center, complete with historical background on this prime Bay Area locale. Then, stroll up the shoreline for photo opps of the Golden Gate Bridge, old shipwrecks and the Sutro Baths—ruins of large, privately owned swimming pools built in the 19th century.
#1: Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA With a whopping 53 miles of trails, you’ll never get bored. But for the best scenic route, start at the Griffith Observatory parking lot and climb to Mount Hollywood, the park’s highest point, where you can see the entire LA basin. You can also wander to the famous Hollywood sign for a frame-worthy family pic or make a pit stop at the LA Zoo.
Can’t get to any of these locales? Just slip into your sneaks and take a long walk in your own neighborhood. You’ll still burn calories and enjoy the mood-boosting benefits.
Got a favorite hiking spot of your own? Post a comment below and tell us what it is.
Photos courtesy of Foursquare