Fall is a fantastic time to go camping and hiking in the Great Lakes State. Summer has come and gone and you’ve had your fill of the state’s beautiful beaches. Now it’s time to enjoy the fall foliage, vibrant colors, and cooler temperatures that will keep everyone cool and comfortable on the trail.

But, what if you want to bring your kids along? Spending more time outside with your children has countless benefits, and it’s a fantastic way to bond as a family.

So, whether the kids have a fall break from school or you just want to go exploring on a long weekend, let this serve as your guide to taking kids backpacking in Michigan, and how you can enjoy every moment by planning, preparing, and staying present.

Why Should You Go Backpacking?

There’s no denying how enjoyable it is to spend time outdoors in the fall. The air is brisk, the colors are beautiful, and you don’t have to worry about as many bugs or other pests bothering you if you’re on the hiking trail. Maybe you already know and appreciate the benefits of being outside when it comes to your personal well-being. However, if you’re on the fence about putting together a camping trip with the kids, consider the many benefits that will come with it.

First, it’s important for kids to spend more time outside. Nowadays, kids tend to spend more time indoors than ever. Unfortunately, that can take a toll on their mental health. Studies have shown that kids who spend more time outdoors are smarter, more attentive, and less anxious.

Nature is a great healer, and will benefit your children’s physical and mental well-being. Some of the biggest benefits of kids spending more time outside include:

  • Better physical health
  • Reduced risk of anxiety and depression
  • Improved sensory skills
  • Greater attention span
  • Greater social/emotional development

In addition to the benefit of spending time outside, camping with your kids helps them build survival skills, boosts self-esteem, and gives them the chance to disconnect from technology for  a while. It’s a wonderful way to reconnect as a family and strengthen your bond.

How to Prepare Your Kids for a Backpacking Trip

Whether you’re a beginner backpacker or you have years of experience, it takes a little extra time and preparation to make sure your kids are ready for a backpacking trip in Michigan.

It starts with having the right gear. You might know what to pack for yourself, but it’s a good rule of thumb to create a checklist so you can ensure every family member has everything they need in their bag, including:

  • Raincover
  • Water bottles
  • Snacks
  • Extra clothes
  • First aid items

It’s also a good idea to pack some kind of bug protection in your backcountry kit. It might be fall, and there will likely be fewer bees, wasps, and mosquitos. However, harmful pests like ticks are still lingering in thick, wooded areas. They love to hide in dry leaves and grass, so keep yourself and your kids protective with the right clothing and repellents. A single tick can cause Lyme disease, which can make children especially sick. If you’re making your backpacking trip a family affair and bringing your dog along, make sure they’re on a flea and tick preventative to reduce the risk of them getting bitten.

In addition to packing the right gear, make sure to educate your children on how to stay safe while backpacking. Consider doing some “roleplaying” in your neighborhood or a local park to give them a better idea of what to expect. Your personal safety plan is up to you, but you might want to consider including things like:

  • Using a buddy system
  • Having your kids carry whistles
  • Making sure they know how to stay on marked trails
  • Teaching them to stay within your view while you’re hiking

By keeping everyone safe, you’ll all be able to enjoy your experience that much more. You’ll also implement better outdoor habits in your children from a young age that they will carry with them into adulthood. They’ll know how to keep themselves safe on the trail while respecting nature at the same time.

The Best Family-Friendly Destinations This Fall

Once everyone knows what to pack and how to stay safe on the trip, it’s time to decide where to go backpacking with your kids. Thankfully, Michigan doesn’t have a shortage of beautiful fall backpacking locations the entire family will enjoy.

If you’re planning on a weekend getaway or an extended trip, one of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in the great outdoors is to check out some of the state’s awesome campgrounds. You’ll experience the natural beauty of a Michigan fall and can enjoy some family-friendly activities when you’re not on the trail, including everything from roasting marshmallows over a campfire to telling kid-friendly ghost stories with a cup of warm apple cider in the evenings. If you’re backpacking with your kids, some of the best family-friendly campgrounds Michigan has to offer include:

  • Dunes Harbor Family Camp – Silver Lake
  • H. Day Campground – Glen Arbor
  • Lake Leelanau RV Park – Lake Leelanau
  • Logan Hills Campground – Hale
  • Sandy Pines – Hopkins

If you want to take a longer trip and head outside the Great Lakes State, the midwest is ripe with fall beauty and wonderful hiking trails. Consider visiting some nearby national parks in neighboring states, like Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. In addition to great hiking trails and beautiful colors, the park offers railroad rides. What kid wouldn’t love that?

Chances are, you’re closer to a great backpacking or camping spot than you might think. If you have younger kids, consider looking locally at nearby parks or campgrounds to enjoy the backpacking experience without having to venture too far from home.

Indiana Dunes State Park in Michigan is another great option for backpacking with kids. While it’s typically known for being a “beach park,” it’s not to be missed in the fall. Indiana Dunes has great hiking trails, campgrounds, and serves as a great fishing site if you want to catch your dinner. It’s also a popular geocaching location for locals and tourists alike. If you’re spending a few days there, try going geocaching with the kids almost anywhere in Michigan. It will help them build map-reading and problem-solving skills, and they’ll love being able to look for “treasure”.

While many people consider summer the best time to head out and go exploring with the family, fall might just be the superior season! If you’re looking for something fun, educational, and beneficial to enjoy with the whole family this season, consider taking your kids backpacking in Michigan. You’ll teach them a lot about nature, and enjoy some time together without digital distractions or the stress of everyday life. You might even start an autumn family tradition that you come back to each year.

The USA is home to such a variety of ecosystems, but some of the best national parks, like Death Valley, are near-impossible to visit during the summer due to the extreme climate. The good news is, there are some US National Parks that are even more stunning during the winter! On top of that, by visiting these US National Parks in winter, you’ll be avoiding the crowds. Read on to see the best National Parks in the US to visit during the winter.

1. Joshua Tree National Park, California

Visit Joshua Tree National Park in Winter

Beat the heat by visiting Joshua National Park in winter

Joshua Tree National Park in the winter is perhaps the best time of year to go to get the most out of your trip. For one, you can hike for longer since you won’t have to deal with the sweltering heat. However, keep in mind that you should bring plenty of water with you even in winter, since there is a serious lack of shade in Joshua Tree National Park. Plus, even during the winter with cooler temperatures, there is still a risk of sun exposure and dehydration. While the most popular time to visit Joshua Tree National Park is from March to May, or from October to November, we suggest visiting in winter for a unique experience.

2. Zion National Park, Utah

Zion is one of the most popular US National Parks, but with great popularity comes great hordes of crowds. If you want more solitude in this stunning national park, it’s a good idea to visit Zion National Park during the winter. It can get cold, but having more peace and quiet is a fair trade-off.

As long as you have the proper gear and clothing, you can still get the most out of Zion National Park in the winter months. Just be sure to check the weather forecast before planning your trip. From November until February, the weather can range from clear sunny days to full-on winter storms, dumping a couple of feet of snow, so you’ll have to keep an eye on the weather and stay flexible.

Also, be sure to pay attention to posted signs, since some trails like Angel’s Landing might be closed due to icy conditions.

3. Death Valley National Park, California

As the world record-holder for the hottest place on earth, it’s a no-brainer that you should avoid visiting Death Valley during the summer months. But in the winter you’ll have more freedom to explore this stunning National Park.

Death Valley is famous for its other-worldly landscape devoid of all life, which will make you feel like you’ve been transported to Mars. Pro-tip, don’t miss sunrise at Dante’s View if you visit Death Valley National Park during the winter.

4. Yosemite National Park, California

Winter is our favorite time to visit Yosemite for so many reasons

Winter is our favorite time to visit Yosemite for so many reasons

Who are we to judge the crowds of tourists who flock to some of the most beautiful places on earth? Yosemite is one of those places that sits at the top of the US National Park for visitors from far and wide. Sadly, that means that Yosemite can feel more like a theme park than a National Park during peak visiting months. Year-round, tour buses are driving in and out of the park, and it has all gotten a bit commercialized.

Nevertheless, with its unique rock faces, stunning waterfalls, and multiple networks of trails, Yosemite National Park still holds a special place in our hearts. To avoid the peak crowds and to connect more with nature, we highly suggest visiting Yosemite National Park in the Winter.

The climate of Yosemite Valley means that you might get snow if you visit during the winter months, but it’s relatively moderate winter weather. And seeing the valley walls dusted in the snow is a good look for Yosemite. You might even get lucky and score a camping spot right in the Valley of the National Park, but even in winter, you’ll have to battle with the waitlist and lottery system.

5. Arches National Park, Utah

Experience Arches National Park during the winter months

Experience Arches National Park during the winter months

Winter is the best time to visit Arches National Park for a variety of reasons. With a climate that is normally scorching, the winter weather makes it possible to enjoy hiking and overnight camping in this stunning National Park.

Plus, you might be able to see the famous arches dusted in a thin layer of snow. Simply stunning.


Don’t let the colder temperatures deter you from experiencing some of the greatest National Parks in the winter. In fact, we hope that you will agree that some of these National Parks are even better during the colder season! If you’re feeling even more ambitious, check out our summary of the best places in the USA for a multi-day backpacking trip in the winter. Wherever your journey take you, we hope you enjoy!

With the cost of everything soaring, the last thing anyone needs when they’re backpacking around Europe is to be hit with hefty data roaming charges that can leave a big hole in your wallet. But many Brits are still unaware that they’re racking up huge mobile bills when abroad, leaving them outraged when they get back home and discover they’ve been unknowingly clocking up data charges as they travelled.

Since Britain left the European Union, most mobile networks stopped providing free roaming in EU countries, which allow their citizens to make calls and use mobile data at no additional cost while in member states. But Brits may not know that when they’re in an EU nation and using data for such things as maps and messaging that they’re incurring charges that could add up to large sums.

According to a survey commissioned by mobile network Lebara UK, some Brits are paying up to £1,000 in roaming charges while on holiday in the EU. As many as one-third of British people holidaying in places like France, Spain and Italy were paying such enormous bills that were mostly made up of roaming charges, the survey found.

Other destinations where Brits were holidaying when they were being charged for mobile data roaming included Germany, Greece and Croatia. Respondents to the survey, carried out by OnePoll in early August and involving 2,000 people, also visited the Netherlands, Poland and Portugal.

What’s All the Roaming About?

When you’re backpacking around Europe, in towns and cities you don’t know, the most essential tool is right there in your pocket — allowing you to easily find hotels, bars, restaurants and clubs, and snap all the sights as you go. Sharing picturesque images with pals on social media is another must-do while abroad, making them green with envy that you’re on your travels in exciting places while they’re stuck at home.

So it’s no surprise that almost half of survey respondents (44%) said they used mobile data for social media use in EU countries — posting pics to Instagram, TikTok and other online platforms to keep their followers updated. A total of 42% of those who took part in the poll said they used mobile data for maps, so they could quickly locate the places they wanted to be. Others (28%) streamed music on their mobile devices; 20% used mobile data for gaming; and 16% were looking for love while abroad — not in pubs and clubs but via dating apps.

Avoiding Big Roaming Charges in the EU

Before you head overseas on your next big trip, check with your mobile network provider to see if free roaming in the EU is included in your package, or if there are extra charges. Even if you have to pay more, small sums can quickly add up when you’re downloading, streaming, scrolling or searching on your phone.

For those unlucky enough to have no free EU roaming, they may want to consider getting a SIM-only deal before they head away. These are available in the UK from networks like Lebara and they don’t tie you into any contracts and provide the amount of EU data roaming you’re likely to need.

So when you get to your destination, swap out your usual SIM for your new one, giving you the freedom to roam like home. You can then enjoy your holiday without the worry of clocking up data charges as you travel and being landed with a massive bill when you get back that would certainly ruin the happy memories of those carefree European days.

Backpacking is for everyone. There’s no cut-off age. Even in your later senior years, you can enjoy incredible backpacking and hiking experiences with family members or groups of friends.

However, as you get older, you’ll undoubtedly start to notice that your body probably isn’t moving the way it once did. While that shouldn’t keep you from exploring the great outdoors, there are a few things you should keep in mind now that you may not have had to consider when you were younger.

Let’s take a look at some of the best backpacking tips for seniors so you can safely enjoy all of your backpacking experiences through your golden years.

1. Don’t Go Alone

While there’s something to be said for a solo hike, it can be risky for anyone. That risk becomes elevated as you get older. While planning and preparing are important, you can’t predict every little thing that might happen on the trail. You could lose some supplies, suffer an injury, or get lost somewhere.

While we’re living in a tech-forward world, digital devices don’t always work on the trail. Don’t rely on your smartphone to keep you “safe” on your own. Instead, plan your backpacking trips with other people.

2. Plan, Prepare, and Pack

Even if you can’t predict everything that will happen, it’s no excuse not to plan and prepare as much as possible. If you’re an avid backpacker, you probably have a mental checklist of everything you’ll need for the trail. However, it’s never a bad idea to double-check that you have everything you need and take into consideration any new items you should bring along just in case. Some of the basics include:

  • Hygiene products;
  • Appropriate clothing, extra items for changing weather, and proper shoes/boots;
  • Any prescription medications;
  • A first aid kit;
  • A communication device.

It’s also crucial to make sure you pack enough food and water. As we age, our energy levels tend to drop. Packing nutrient-dense snacks and water for backpacking will keep you satiated and hydrated throughout your hike and give you a boost of energy when you need it most. Integrating some extra vitamins and supplements into your daily routine even before the hike can also make a big difference for active senior hikers, so you don’t burn out on the trail.

3. Be Mindful of Your Body

No one likes to admit that they’re “feeling their age,” but it happens. You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone when you’re planning a backpacking trip. Instead, choose to be mindful of your body. Ask yourself if you’re really up for a strenuous hike or camping trip.

How do you feel? Do you tire out quickly? Do you deal with aches and pains each day? If so, you might want to hold off on your trip until you’re able to build some stamina and train for it.

Even if you’re already on a backpacking adventure, check in with yourself frequently. Listen to your body when it tells you to take a break or slow down. While it can be tempting to push yourself to your own physical limits, that will only put you at a greater risk of injuring yourself.

4. Research Locations

It’s a good rule of thumb to do your research on any location you plan on hiking. This is not only a backpacking tip for senior hikers, but for all adventure seekers. Whether it’s a local spot or somewhere across the country, make sure you’re fully aware of things like:

  • Terrain;
  • Trail length;
  • Common obstacles;
  • Local wildlife;
  • Weather forecasts.

Continuing to do your research, especially when it comes to weather conditions, is crucial right up to the day of your hike. Knowing as much information as possible about your hiking location will make it easier to pack properly, and mentally and physically prepare yourself for what’s ahead.

5. Talk to Your Doctor

Dealing with pre-existing conditions on hikes is something older individuals must think about. Some of the most common health concerns for seniors include:

  • Respiratory diseases;
  • Balance issues;
  • Cognitive decline;
  • Heart disease.

If you have any underlying health conditions, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before heading out on a backpacking trip. They’ll let you know if it’s safe to do, and can help you prepare by refilling your medications and offering suggestions on how to stay healthy.

Even minor conditions shouldn’t be ignored. For example, you should treat dry eye before gearing up. Dry eyes can cause a sensitivity to light and make your eyes feel like they’re burning. That’s the last thing you want when you’re spending all day outside. Taking care of these small-scale issues before you go will keep you comfortable, safe, and healthy on your hike.

Backpacking Tips for Seniors – Our Takeaway

As you age, your needs change. No matter how many times you’ve been backpacking in your life, don’t ignore those needs. Your main priority should always be to keep yourself safe and healthy, so you can continue to enjoy backpacking for many years. Keep these backpacking tips for seniors in mind as you plan and prepare for your next trip, and you’ll feel better about it every step of the way.

People go backpacking for any number of reasons. The genre really got off the ground in the late 1960s when hippies headed east in search of spiritual enlightenment, and by the 1980s, taking a year off to explore Australia or Latin America became almost a rite of passage.

Recent years have seen the rise of more niche backpacking trips, including long-distance hiking, visiting historic sites such as battlefields and especially sports. Every year, for example, thousands of English cricket fans follow their team to exotic destinations such as the West Indies, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, combining their sporting passion with exploring distant lands on the cheap.

The same goes for hardcore horse racing fans. The Sport of Kings boasts a long history not just in the US and the UK but around the world, and fans are willing to travel long distances to see the best races while at the same time poking around the towns and cities which play host to them.

We’ve picked three examples of great travel locations which boast classic horse racing along with plenty of other things to do and see to keep backpackers occupied during their short stay there.

Lexington

Lexington Kentucky, a famous destination for horse racing fans

Let’s start close to home and Lexington, Kentucky. Imagine combining history and horses in one short trip! They have been distilling bourbon, a type of corn whisky which takes its name from a French royal family, in the region for almost 150 years now, and Lexington sits at the very heart with a large number of distilleries to visit. The Buffalo Trace Distillery on the Kentucky River is one of the oldest in the land and even stayed open during prohibition. As for history, take time to visit Mary Todd Lincoln House, one-time home to the wife of Abraham Lincoln, before a peaceful stroll around the peaceful Lexington Cemetry, home to three lakes, 179 species of birds and more than 200 types of trees as well as being the final resting place of many a famous Kentuckian.

Then there are the horses! Whether it’s horse farms, museums, studs or the world-famous Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, in nearby Louisville, the equine world runs through the Kentucky DNA. Closer to Lexington itself is Keeneland which frequently plays host to the Breeder’s Cup, one of the biggest events on the US racing calendar. This year, Medina Spirit will be hoping to improve on second place in 2021, and put the disappointment of Ketucky Derby disqualification in the

Melbourne

Melbourne's Central Station

Melbourne’s Central Station

As mentioned earlier, there is a long tradition of backpacking in Australia. The vast distances involved, the natural beauty and the relative ease of getting around continue to entice travelers from around the world looking for an adventurous or sporting break. As the capital of the state of Victoria, Melbourne’s cosmopolitan population has left its mark on the city’s dining options, with Greek, Italian, Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants proving to be very popular. Then there are its natural attractions, including the spectacular Great Ocean Road with its beaches and bays as well as the Twelve Apostles, stunning rock formations jutting up from the ocean.

But Melbourne is also sports-daft! It hosts the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Australian Open in tennis and its own local games; Australian Rules Football often attracts attendances in excess of 60,000, while the official website Visit Victoria lists many other orthodox and less orthodox activities. But everything comes to a halt on one day in November when the Melbourne Cup hits Flemington. With many of the Covid-19 restrictions now behind us, race organizers can be looking forward to crowds of 80-90,000 returning for the biggest horse racing event in the Southern Hemisphere. And those crowds will be witnessing the favorite in the Ladbrokes horse racing odds, Loft, attempting to secure the $4.4 million prize. Whilst his stable will be expecting the win, the Melbourne Cup often serves up a shock, especially in 2009 when Shocking won, and it is this uncertainty which makes the race so special.

Ascot

Check out some horse racing near historic Windsor Castle

Check out some horse racing near historic Windsor Castle

Ascot, a small, nondescript town just outside of London, sits in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, and it is that regal link which explains its worldwide fame. A short drive up the road sits the impressive Windsor Castle, nigh on 1,000 years of British history lies behind its thick walls and the expansive Windsor Great Park, originally laid out as a private hunting ground for the folks in the castle but now a delightful place for a walk. On the opposite bank of the River Thames is the elite Eton College, where future politicians and inheritors of royal seats receive their expensive education.

Ascot comes alive every June for the Royal Meeting, one of the highlights of the British social calendar. Britain’s pomp and ceremony vie for attention with the racing as each day of the meet starts with the Royal Procession when the Royal Family arrive and take their place in the exclusive Royal Enclosure. But away from the pageantry and the dressing up, the meet offers up some of the finest races in the world, including the prestigious Gold Cup and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and the most budget-friendly place to watch these races is in the Windsor Enclosure, which provides a more informal environment. After witnessing the British all dressed up, head back to Windsor and enjoy a meal on the Thames as the sunsets on another exciting day out.


Backpacking started off as a cheap form of travel where interacting with local communities was just as important as visiting a museum. Themed trips such as those mentioned above continue that fine tradition.