With the holiday season upon us, it’s probably about that time when you start brainstorming gift ideas for your family. Have you ever thought about giving a family experience gift? Instead of some of the material presents that are played with for a day and then set aside, you can add in some experiences or adventure gifts that will create long-lasting memories.
Don’t get me wrong – I love seeing my kiddo’s face opening presents on Christmas morning. But I also know that adding in a few activity type gifts will create longer-lasting enjoyment as we engage in them throughout the year. Similarly, I’m trying to add physical presents that can be used for experiences as well (i.e. a pair of rollerskates for a few trips to the roller rink).
If you think about it, would this be something that could be useful in your family too?
If so, I hope you enjoy this list of the best adventure gifts to use as family experience presents. There are some that fit every type of family and age group. And since many of you are focused on living a healthy lifestyle, most of these have an active or healthy slant to them too!
Best Adventure Gifts for Christmas
If you live in an area where it snows, why not gift some snowshoes and plan to take the kiddos out at the first sign of that powdery white stuff. Whether you have toddlers and just want to bring ‘em around the backyard, or you have older kids that you want to take on a more serious hike – it’s a great winter way to stay active.
Up here in the Northeast, I highly recommend looking into Maine Huts and Trails for a family snowshoeing adventure. Essentially, you’ll snowshoe into a remote hut in the woods where you can spend some quality time with the family (disconnected from the hassles of everyday life). You’ll come together with other families for delicious family-style cooked meals, included in your lodging rate.
(Side note – if you’re not the snowshoeing type, you can also hike in and out in the summer!)
2. Horseback Riding
Does your kiddo love animals? Why not take them on a horseback riding experience? You can find both trail and beach opportunities depending on where you live. Most will require the child to be at least 7-10 years old to be able to participate.
Ziplining is a quintessential adventure gift, offering up the thrill of soaring through the air over the treetops. As long as no one is super scared of heights, this would be such a fun family day together!
Note that different zipline companies/courses will have different age restrictions. Many companies require kids to be around 10 years old to zipline, though some companies allow children as young as 5-6 to participate. Other companies offer weight-based guidelines rather than age (for example, at least 50 pounds).
If you happen to be planning a trip to the New Hampshire area, we’ve ziplined over at Alpine Adventures in Lincoln and it was amazing. Very well organized and super fun!
4. Rock Climbing Gym
Rock climbing is not only a great physical challenge, but it’s also a way to encourage your kids to use critical thinking and problem solving (figuring out the next step to take, planning ahead with each movement, etc).
A set of passes or a membership to an indoor rock climbing gyms – or general fitness facilities that offer rock climbing – are great adventure gift ideas. Like most things on this list, the age requirements will vary based on the location. However, those with rock climbing walls targeted towards youth may allow children as young as 4-5 to start climbing.
As an example, when we lived in our old town we were members of the YMCA. They had an indoor rock wall that allowed children as young as five to use it after going through a safety course. (Of course, a family membership to the Y is a great gift all around because it offers tons of other benefits too, like swimming, kids sports classes, and exercise equipment).
5. Ice Skating
Whether you want to invest in ice skates for your kiddos or you just want to buy a one day pass to the rink, this is a fun winter activity for all! Plus, ice skating can be started as early as 2-3 years old, making it a perfect adventure gift for toddlers.
6. Deep Sea Fishing Excursion
This was a family activity hat I didn’t think I’d personally like – but ended up loving it! Deep sea fishing excursions will take out on a large boat far out into the water. They’ll provide all the gear you need to fish – and most boats will even fillet what you catch so you can cook it up later that day!
This is ideal for older elementary through teenage kids. It’s not ideal for the really little kiddos, as it requires a bit more down time than their little attention spans can probably handle. Also, keep in mind the boat can get a bit rocky – so if anyone suffers from motion sickness, you’d probably want to pass on this.
7. Treetop Adventure Course
Treetop adventure courses are becoming more common throughout the US, so you’re likely to have a location near you. These courses offer things like ladders, bridges, cargo ropes, short ziplines, and more.
The age and weight requirements will vary based on the location – but middle and high school age kids are generally good to go.
Some facilities offer courses specifically for the little ones too! For example, Go Ape has locations in six states that offer “Treetop Junior”, a program for kids of all ages that meet the height requirement of 39 inches.
8. Indoor Trampoline Park
There is something about bouncing up and down on a giant trampoline that just evokes a laugh – in kids and adults alike!
A gift card to a local indoor trampoline park is on the list of gifts that we ask the grandparents for each year. It buys us hours of fun and is a perfect place to let a 3 year old use up all that energy!
If you’ve got kids in the older age range, it’s still an awesome idea. Many locations offer dodge-ball leagues, teen nights with pizza, or other age-appropriate activities.
9. Theme Park or Water Park Passes
While it might not be our adult idea of “adventure”, I know many kiddos would be thrilled to get a day pass or season pass to a local theme park or water park as an adventure gift. Bring on all the rides – am I right?!
You also might be surprised to discover that season passes are often only slightly more expensive than one or two day passes. For example, over at Six Flags New England, the price of daily passes is normally around $50 per person (without any coupons or discounts – though I know there are often several floating around!). A season pass costs $60-65 per person. If you’re the type of family that loves the theme park, it’s definitely more economical to invest in the season pass.
10. Passes to State Parks, National Parks, or Audubon
I’m lumping all of these together in one section, as you’ll want to check out what’s readily available in your neck of the woods. But any of these are great for a family that likes to explore the outdoors.
As a local example, here in Massachusetts you can get a parking pass for almost all the DCR State Parks for just $60 for the year. This includes popular spots like Walden Pond, Purgatory Chasm, and Nantasket Beach – along with many others. $60 for a year of family fun?! Yes, please!
Looking for more Christmas fun for the family?
Don’t forget to check out this Random Acts of Christmas Kindness advent calendar that you can use with your family, as well as this list of ways to give back to the community over the holidays. Both are perfect ways to celebrate the season leading up to the 25th!