Go Explore: Family Adventuring Favorites

It’s been a while since we’ve shared a list of things that we love – and there have been a few go-to items that we’ve been using on the regular.  The sorts of things that have been our absolute summer favorites through several adventures – and ones we’ll continue to depend on come Fall.

First up, is the best sort of collector (and game!) for kids to admire and arrange bits of nature that they pick up along the way.  We’ve been packing frisbees with us throughout several seasons.  They are perfect for admiring treasures, making flower mandalas and sifting through seashells.  And pretty soon they’ll be full with acorns.

exploring with children in natureteaching kids about nature

Supportive, comfortable and protective footwear is imperative for long hikes. Merrell continues to be our top choice for the children.  They are incredibly durable and seem to last forever.  Every year, we pick them up at Stride Ride.

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We can always depend on Lands’ End for comfortable clothing that allows kiddos to focus on the important work of exploring and playing.  The clothing maintains itself well, lasting through excursions and camp, dirt and washing. Below, the kids are outfitted in summer favorites, but we’re currently loving their Made Better collection for back-to-school and their Men’s options too!

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Where would we be without Mabel’s labels?  My kids have a tendency to leave things everywhere.  And while we are constantly working on responsibility and accountability – many lost belongings manage to come back our way (even in new surroundings) thanks to Mabel’s Labels.

Mabel's Labels

Bug Bites are awful, yet so is stinky and harmful DEET-containing bug spray.  We’re loyal to Guardian Repellant.  It’s effective, and safe for the kiddos too.

Please chime in the comments, and let me know what you’d add to my list!

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Family Glamping at Firelight Camps

When are we ever going to sleep in a tent, mama?” my seven-year-old pleaded after sifting through shoe-box photos from my New England childhood.  There’s something about the impending end of the school year that stirred up a sense of adventure in all of us –  but I was unsure about my overall confidence in successful family camping. Adjusting rocks under sleeping bags and schlepping all the proper gear perhaps just isn’t my speed anymore.

So when we were invited to go “glamping” (aka glamorous camping) at Firelight Camps, in Ithaca NY, we couldn’t wait to experience this rising travel trend.  We’d get to sleep in a tent with luxe amenities and be immersed in the outdoors – without roughing it on our own in the dirt.

Firelight Camps Safari Tent King Bed Glamping Glamorous CampingGlamping Safari Tent with King Bed Firelight Camps IthacaFirellight Camps Glamping Glamorous Camping

Located on the lower grounds of La Tourelle Resort & Spa, our large canvas tent (#15) came equipped with elevated hardwood floors, a king-size bed with 300-thread-count-linens, a private balcony, personal lanterns, mesh screening, and serious safari style.  A bathhouse, showers, and central lounge tent are just a short walk away with complementary locally-inspired breakfast and wine hour in the evenings. From girls glamping getaways to family summer camp experiences, and primitive pursuits Firelight Camps offers so many ways to experience an unforgettable fill of the outdoors in serene comfort.

We didn’t realize how badly we needed a family escape – disconnected out in nature – until we were in the midst of it.  With a direct path to the picturesque Buttermilk Falls State Park, we spent the majority of our time wandering around the property, and off in the trails admiring the lush forests, waterfalls and gorge-laden beauty of the Finger Lakes.

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I suppose that I went into this trip excited to teach the children about my love of nature with experiences gleaned from my childhood and time spent living on Oahu.  But as life often goes the kids are the ones who guide and lead us.

They remind us to stop and look up.

hiking with kids

And take as much time as needed to explore and pause and collect our thoughts.

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The beauty in this trip was found in the simplicity of being together, unplugged.

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And watching excitement over new discoveries and experiences.

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S’more-making experts by visits end.

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We had great conversations with our fellow glampers around the campfire well into the evening hours.  Over glasses of local wine, we made instant friends – meeting people who also found humor in my husband’s poncho.

Firelight Camps Glamping Ithaca New York Wine Hour

At night, we returned to our tent with a lantern in hand, admiring nature silhouetting on our massive canvas walls.  We laughed until our bellies hurt after I lost my cool over an Olympic-sized daddy long legs.  While the kids told stories of big hawks, jumping frogs and walking through real-life waterfalls.  Cocooned in our tent, we fell asleep to the tranquil sounds of the wind whistling through the trees and the hum of an epic downpour.

Safari Tent Glamping Firelight CampsGlamping Safari Tent with Porch

Elevated camping indeed.

 Accommodations provided by Firelight Camps.  Content and opinions, as always, are my own.

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