5 Action-packed Family Adventures

From off-roading to kayaking, here are some family-friendly trips to get everyone’s adrenaline pumping.

In an age when both you and your kids can easily spend eight hours a day in front of a computer screen, it’s important to take charge and schedule some quality time with Mother Nature. Recently the Mikulecky family took their 2015 F-150 to Hungry Valley, Calif., for some off-road dirt biking and ATVing. But you don’t have to have a stunt heritage to plan an active experience in the great outdoors. From zip-lining in the Great Smoky Mountains to horseback riding through the Gila Wilderness, here are five extraordinary trips for you and your kids.

1. Mountain biking in San Juan National Forest

San Juan National Forest covers 1.8 million acres in the southwestern corner of Colorado, and it’s known for crisp air and well-kept campsites. For some of the best mountain biking for all ages, try setting up your base camp at Boggy Draw. Located just outside of Dolores, Colo., this mountain-biking destination is fantastic for riders of all ages. Boggy Draw has lakes for wading and fishing, fields for riding, and single tracks for all abilities and ages, so load up a 2015 F-150 with your camping and fishing gear and use the available BoxLink™ system to tie your bikes down securely.

2. Kayaking in Lake George

Take the family to New York State’s Lake George, a river-like expanse surrounded by the peaks of the Adirondacks. Start on Green Island, where you can rent kayaks and paddle out in the calm morning waters. Follow the paddling ducks past picturesque Green Island homes and you’ll soon hit the open water, where you’ll see Dome Island, the heavily wooded centerpiece of Lake George. After you’re done, you can give your sea legs a break by driving the kids to the Ashville Game Farm Exotic Zoo.

Finally, cruise one of the beautiful byways crisscrossing the Adirondacks. Navigate the High Peaks Scenic Byway using the F-150’s available 360-degree camera with Split-View Display to help you maneuver its narrow passes as you snake between towering mountains and rushing waterfalls.

3. Zip-lining in the Great Smoky Mountains

Straddling the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains are renowned for their diverse plant and animal life and beautiful ancient peaks, which can be explored by foot and by truck. Use the F-150’s four-wheel drive and Hill Descent Control™ to make your way along gravel paths before stopping to set up camp at the Cataloochee campground in Tennessee. Here you can take a biodiversity tour on Boogerman Trail to see wonders like red-spotted purple butterflies, grazing elk and poplar trees with trunks six feet in diameter. Once the family’s tuckered out, it’s time for a campfire dinner with s'mores, accompanied by the fireflies, fox fire and the hoots of owls.

The next morning, drive to Nantahala Outdoor Center, where a breathtaking zip-line adventure awaits you. Take the Mountaintop tour and go ridgeline to ridgeline for a half mile 500 feet above the Nantahala River. The kids can also try out the Zip Line Adventure Park, where riders who weigh as little as 60 pounds can enjoy more than 16 aerial adventure elements.

4. Snorkeling in Ko Olina Ocean

Once they go snorkeling in the Ko Olina waters on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, your kids will never want to leave this tropical paradise and their new undersea friends. The first stop? Take a swim with dolphins at the Ko Olina Ocean Adventures. Hold as still as possible to extend this majestic experience, which has been scientifically proven to promote a state of well-being. When you’re done with the aquatherapy, head over to “Turtle Town,” where green sea turtles congregate to have their shells and skin cleaned by algae-eating reef fish. Then snorkel on through the coral gardens among the kaleidoscope of colorful reef fish and exotic ocean creatures. For families with very young children, hit the Ko Olina lagoons, where the water is a little calmer and protected from the ocean currents.

Take a break from the beach with a leisurely day’s drive through Oahu, where waterfalls, jungle hiking trails and splendid rocky cliff views await you and the family. Cruise the rolling byways from Waikiki to the Paul Highway and use the F-150’s available Lane-Keeping System and Curve Control to keep you on track all day. And make sure to stop at one of the Kahuku shrimp trucks for a garlic-and-butter stir-fried treat.

5. Horseback Riding in the Gila Wilderness

The desolate Gila National Forest borders Arizona in southwestern New Mexico. Drive the desert-tested 2015 F-150 through the unique landscape on the Geronimo National Scenic Byway, and immerse your family in Apache history along its Geronimo Trail as you pass the hot mineral springs used by the chief and his warriors. Then travel to the Gila Wilderness, where 10,000-foot peaks tower over the desert canyon, a lonely river, and herds of elk, bighorn sheep, black bears and mountain lions. Saddle up and explore this southwestern expanse on horseback. Ride through large stretches of ponderosa pines and tall saguaros, then soothe your aching joints in the cool river under the clear night skies.

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