Spending time in nature can help improve a child's confidence, foster a sense of discovery, and nurture environmental stewards of tomorrow. Here are five ways your family can do it:
Dive to discover the world. From Bonaire and Grand Cayman to Yap and Palau, Family Dive Adventures and Kids Sea Camp provide education about the underwater world and the tools needed to become safe, confident divers.
In the last 15 years, the company has certified more than 5,400 kids. Children and their parents will learn about coral reefs, sharks and more in global marine conservation during Kids Sea Camp weeks. Join other families during organized group trips or customize your own getaway. www.familydivers.com
Hike the canyons in Springdale, Utah. Find your way into southern Utah's canyon country. From curvaceous slot canyons to tabletop plateaus, this peaceful countryside offers a visual bonanza of color, shape and form. Consider the Narrows, a spectacular 16-mile corridor that requires one rigorous day for fit family members.
Most recommend an overnight, or choose the Bottoms Up hike that lets you see the most stunning aspects in four to six hours. www.americaswonderlands.com; and nps.gov/zion
Paddle the Boundary Waters, Ely, Minn. Your family will enjoy this pristine wilderness area. Listen to the waves lap against the shore as you drift to sleep in one of 2,000 secluded campsites that dot the lake region. Wake to birds chirping in the birch trees and hear loons on the water as you prepare for breakfast over a campfire. Set off to explore more than 1,500 miles of canoe routes that crisscross the waterways. www.piragis.com
Getaway on the Gauley, W.Va. Choose your level of excitement when you plan a weekend in the wilds of West Virginia. Slice through white-
water, fly through the trees on a zip line, or learn to rock climb. You can also camp and sleep under the stars or in a lodge or rustic cabin. Discounts for kids with early booking. www.adventuresonthegorge.com
Birding in Tubac, Ariz. Southern Arizona is considered one of the nation's best spots for birding. Declare the historic, family-friendly Tubac Golf Resort & Spa your base camp and get to exploring. Hike from the resort, which is on the 500-acre Otero Ranch in the Santa Cruz River Valley, with views of the Tumacacori and Santa Rita peaks in the distance. The Tubac Takes Flight birding festival continues through April. www.tubacgolfresort.com