Toddler Friendly Nature Vacation

Updated on January 28, 2012
S.F. asks from Westborough, MA
7 answers


We are interested in taking a vacation (most likely Summer, but could be Spring) to Utah. My husband and I love hiking, but our toddlers are now too heavy to carry and can only hike a couple of miles on their own. To those who might know Utah well, could you suggest an area where we might rent a cabin, see some beautiful night skies, swim in a beautiful pool of water, hike, and perhaps do something like ride a train, look at dinosaur bones or go fishing? (we have boys ages- 3 and 4) I have a hard time knowing how much we could take on in a week- and don't want to subject our boys to long days in the car, so one area that offers a lot would be interesting to me. Also- do you have suggestions of accommodations? I can do a motel, though I would much prefer a private cabin.

I am also not completely set on Utah. We would like to explore the Northwest which is a new area for us.

Thank you so much!

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answers from Miami on

You know Oregon was my most favorite vacation. We stayed in a few areas that you might like. We spent a week and circled the state. the river gorge area was beautiful and they have this train that takes you up a bit to a cute outlook. Kid loved the train. We stayed in a cabin in Mt. Bachelor. Wow woods, a few trails, cabins. Loved it. We did crater lake, though when we went it was still frozen over but they have a mile trail down to the bottom. when we hit s. Oregon we went into your very own California and visited a redwood tree area. It had a little stream, a few paths and some huge redwoods. We did this all with a 4 year old and she had a blast. Now if you ever fly east I can discuss upstate Ny or N. Carolina. Have a great trip

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I you choose Southern Utah you will want to go in the spring; central or northern Utah would be summertime trips. Mommy of 1 suggested Park City and I'd add nearby Heber City. Lots to do and a variety of lodging options, including a train ride on the Heber Creeper. If you want dinosaurs, you'll have to head to north-eastern Utah and the town of Vernal. I don't know about the availability of cabins. Although, you could make it a day trip from Heber City over to the Dinosaur National Monument. The south-east part of Utah is famous for numerous national and state parks such as Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef and Glen Canyon (Lake Powell) -- no train rides, but the scenery and hiking are fabulous. Moab would be your best bet for lodging. Oh, you could rent a houseboat on Lake Powell (kids might be a little young for that??) Then there's the southwest with Zion and Bryce Canyon. Both parks offer shuttles (Zion required) and many of the sites are roadside or short hikes. It's a bit of a drive between the two, so I would stay near each park. Ruby's Inn is your best bet for Bryce Canyon. Springdale is just outside Zion and St George is a short drive. Cedar City and Brianhead / Cedar Breaks are close too; but state route 14 is closed near Cedar Breaks due to a landslide last fall, so check with the Highway Patrol before trying that route.
The Northwest is also a beautiful area with lots of attractions and things to do. We drove up the coast and through Olympic National Park this summer. Good luck with your planning.

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answers from Philadelphia on

Have you looked into geocaching? I don't know what is available in your area, but we did lots of it when the kids were toddlers. Many of our local state parks had geocaching which included some aspect of learning about nature....

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answers from Los Angeles on

You sound like you want to leave California, but if that's not the case, I would highly recommend heading to Mammoth Lakes. You can stay in the Village, (you could rent our condo - Fireside at the Village #108! and not use your car very much. We head up there with our 4.5 year old and 1 year old all the time. Mammoth has lots of activities good for kids - fishing at the various lakes, hikes out of the Red's Meadow trailhead that is shuttle accessible, scenic gondola rides, and short hikes on the mountain, great parks, etc. The Village has free evening movies and concerts in the summertime. And our complex has a pool. The free trolley is also fun to ride around town. You can get in a good amount of nature with the flexibility that is important for a toddler. National Parks are rough on a toddler - too much driving around if you want to look at wildlife, and they're not yet ready for big hikes. We tried Yellowstone & Grand Teton when our son was 2, and it just wasn't very fun - too much car time for our little guy.
Also, there is an AWESOME train museum that we just discovered outside of Bishop. Very fun for little guys especially.



answers from Pittsburgh on

No clue.
Just wanted to suggest using when you DO nail down a location to find a cabin, etc.

They list privately owned vacation homes, condos, cabins, etc all over the world that you can rent directly from the owners--no middle man!

Have fun!



answers from Los Angeles on

Zion!!! :) The creek is beautiful in the summer and they have cabins as well. I am sure you know.



answers from New York on

I was in Park City with my 3 year old 2 summers ago and it was one of the best vacations EVER. In fact, we can't wait to go back. There is so much to do - my daughter was never bored.

There is a large reservoir where you can rent a boat and a place to BBQ for the afternoon. You'll have to look up the name.

There is horseback riding, biking, and all sorts of activities for families. And the best part is that rates in the summer are fabulous whether you're looking for a cabin or a resort (more my speed).

Go to Park City - you will LOVE it.

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