Planning an Adventure-Packed Montana Family Vacation

The best family vacations create life-long memories and allow parents and kids to have fun together.  Over the years, parents have found that taking a family adventure vacation is one of the best ways to make new family memories and enjoy the outdoors together.  In fact, family vacations have become one of the fastest growing segments of the adventure travel industry.

Planning a family adventure vacation can be a daunting task. One of the hardest parts is choosing where to go, but there are several additional steps that are necessary to ensure your trip will be a memorable success. Here are eight tips that will help you plan an unforgettable adventure vacation for your family in Montana this summer:

** Get the kids involved. Find out what your kids want to do and encourage them to help in planning your next trip. You can do this by setting aside some time at dinner and asking the kids to think about the fun things that they would like to do on vacation. Make your kids official members of your family's vacation planning team. Let the older children scour the Internet for great ideas while the younger ones can help by thumbing through brochures and looking for interesting pictures. Montana has a website called www.montanakids.com to help kids find exactly what they're seeking.

** Find age-appropriate activities that every family member can enjoy.  The secret to planning a great family vacation is to make everyone happy by including activities and attractions that will be fun for everyone. Both adults and children should have an exciting and memorable trip. Consider your family's ages and interests, such as cowboys, dinosaursfishing and wildlife viewing, and plan activities to match.  In addition, take a look at lodging options that offer special programs specifically for children, such as those featured at some of Montana's ranches and resorts.

** Define your own idea of adventure. Adventure means so many things to different people. It can mean camping and roughing it, wrangling at a ranch, soaking up the water at a hot springs, or staying at a luxurious resort and enjoying lots of outdoor activities. Don't let the word "adventure" fool you, there are lots of soft adventures that are safe and fun for every member of your family. Montana offers a wide range of options, allowing you to choose the type of adventure vacation that fits best for your family and your budget.

** Choose a destination that offers something for everyone.  There are millions of exciting adventures out there for you to experience. The trick is to choose a destination that will give your family the perfect blend of adventure opportunities. Consider what would you like to do as well as what would the kids like to do. Montana is "nature's playground" -- you're sure to find lots to love here and the kids will never get bored!  Each of Montana's tourism regions offers a wide variety of unique and special attractions for your family to discover.

** Plan a trip that allow your family to experience new things together.  Sharing outdoor adventures allows families to bond, learn more about each other, and create common experiences.  These opportunities can be particularly memorable because everyone is equal in their discovery -- no one person is the expert. Montana offers so many options for new adventures, such as whitewater raftinghorseback ridingmountain bikingfly fishingcattle driving and kayaking. Many of these activities can be adjusted to fit a variety of age groups.

** Build in some free time to relax and reconnect. Avoid overpacking your vacation schedule. Leaving plenty of opportunities for downtime allows the memories to happen. Montana is the home of the Big Sky -- it's the perfect place to get away from it all and bond together. Have fun together splashing in one of the state's many water parks, take a family bike ride, lay on a blanket together at night and watch for shooting stars, or plan a picnic at the lake

** Provide a few learning opportunities -- but don't let the kids know!  Adventure vacations are the great way for kids to have fun and learn about nature at the same time. The amount of knowledge kids absorb on vacation is amazing. In fact, it's one of the many reasons families love adventure vacations. In Montana, kids can learn about dinosaurs on the Dinosaur Trail, go to Taylor Planetarium in search of other worlds, visit Indian Nations, explore old mines and ghost towns, learn about the ice age at Glacier National Park, take a ride on a wagon train, and walk the in the steps of Custer along the Little Bighorn River. Your children will actually enjoy learning with this types of activities.

** Plan ahead and create your own family memories.  Ask every member of the family what they think will be their favorite part of the trip and then look for activities and options that will meet their expectations.  By planning ahead, you'll be sure to create special memories your family will treasure for years to come. Take a look at destination websites and find out what is available. Montana's site is full of ideas. Then, when you go on vacation, give each of the kids a disposable camera and maybe even a journal to bring along on the trip. You'll be surprised at how many memories they capture and all that they'll have to share when you come home.

For more information on planning a trip to Montana, visit the Travel Montana website at http://visitmt.com and request your free vacation planner or view it online at Montana 2007-2008 Online Vacation Planner - Welcome.

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