For parents wishing to provide vacation getaways for their children that are a bit more authentic than your average theme park, Mother Nature can be counted on to step up to the plate. As a rule, children respond well to the natural world, making it the perfect choice for family excursions. Here are four of my favorite ways for families to get back to basics. Affordably.

National Parks:

When it comes to affordable nature experiences for the entire fam, few venues can top a national park. Entry fees can typically be purchased on an annual basis, providing year-round entertainment for snowshoeing enthusiasts, hikers and the summertime family camping crowd. Impressive national parks can be found around the world. Canada and the United States certainly have their fair share, as do Croatia, Ecuador and Jordan.


Whether you are working with your teenagers to learn responsible speleology methods, or simply want to check out a well-known tourist attraction like Luray Caverns, caves offer an earthy and impressive way to explore the natural world as a family. They also provide an educational backdrop to reinforce classroom lessons based on the various natural formations found in cave systems around the world. Those interested in touring world-class cave systems will find them in such locations as Lebanon, Slovenia and the southwestern United States.


Misahualli, Ecuador, the world’s rainforests are a platform for children to have up-close and personal encounters with animals, plantlife and in certain cases indigenous populations that don’t routinely interact with the outside world.


Headed to a great beach location? Consider packing or renting snorkeling equipment to fully enjoy your available marine experiences. Snorkeling offers children a chance to interact one on one with coral reefs, tropical fish and in the Northern Marianas Islands, giant blue starfish. It’s also a fun way to explore an eco system they might otherwise have to see in an aquarium. Other fun places to snorkel include the Bahamas, Bermuda at the Caribbean island of St. Kitts.

While it’s all well and good to plan ahead for a family vacation geared towards interacting with the natural world, the truth is it’s possible to visit for a while with Mother Nature on nearly any vacation. Simply make a point to visit parks, check out the walking trails and search out earthier venues regardless of your destination.

Myscha Theriault

Myscha Theriault

A lifelong money cruncher who can squeeze a nickel ‘til it cries, Myscha is a syndicated columnist, best-selling author, and founder of Trek Hound and We Be Sharin’.