Thursday, March 6, 2014


5 Tips to Make the Most of Snowshoeing as a Family

One of my favorite family travel writers joins us today to give a few pointers about snowshoeing - something I have never done but am dying to try!!

Not long ago, I traveled to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for a long weekend of outdoor winter activities I’d never thought to do, like snowmobiling, dog sledding and snow biking. One of my favorites was snowshoeing because it was both a fantastic way to explore the forest and it was an activity that could easily be enjoyed by every member in my clan.

Snowshoeing through Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Paradise, MI
I hiked with a guide and four others through Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Paradise, MI. The snow was deep, but fortunately, I was toward the back of the group, so the path was largely cleared for me as I made my way through the forest up to a very frozen Tahquamenon Falls.

If you want to explore the great outdoors as a family during the winter, put snowshoeing at the top of your list, and keep these five must-know tips in mind before you strap on your snowshoes.

1. Travel with a Guide: Not only will a guide help you to navigate the forest to keep you from getting lost, but he or she can point out animal tracks, different types of trees and seeds, and not-to-be-missed sites, like caves and waterfalls. It’s definitely worthwhile to make snowshoeing a learning experience.

2. Don’t Be Shy When Strapping on Snowshoes: If you don’t know how to put on your snowshoes, don’t hesitate to ask your guide to help you put them on. Same goes for your kids’ snowshoes. I honestly had no idea how to put them on and my guide was more than happy to help.

3. Keep Kids in the Back: Those who lead the way will be the ones to pack down the snow so those in the back can walk on a clearer path. The snow the day we went snowshoeing was at least knee-deep, so it was helpful to have three people ahead of me. This will also help kids from getting too tired too quickly.

4. Don’t Go Too Far: Especially when snowshoeing with kids, you don’t want to get too ambitious. The forest is peaceful. The snow is beautiful and fluffy. You can definitely get lost in your own mind as you trek through the woods, but don’t forget that you’ll need to walk back, so don’t go too far.

5. Stop to Enjoy the Scenery: Rarely do I find myself walking through knee-deep snow, so as I was snowshoeing, it was so nice to stop and take in the silence of the winter afternoon. Have your kids stop to take in the scenery, as well as point out different things they see along the guided walk.

Sitting on a bench in Tahquamenon Falls State Park. Snow was piled up over the seat of the bench. 
If you go snowshoeing as a family, be sure to also dress warmly and in layers. It was in the 10s and 20s when we went out into the forest, but I didn’t feel cold at all since I dressed for the weather. This is doubly important when you are traveling with kids.

Erin Gifford is a mother of four who writes about family travel at Kidventurous. She was recently a guest of Travel Michigan to explore Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and loved every minute of dog sledding, snowshoeing, snow biking and snowmobiling. However, all opinions expressed here are her own. 

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