Smart Vacations

Sierra Club Outings

Adventures on Land and Sea

A pioneer of adventure travel, the Sierra Club offers trips for even the youngest family members. And what better classroom could there be than an ocean, a mountain, or a lake? That's what Josie Adams, a research and development manager in Cincinnati, thought when she signed up her family -- which included a 3- and a 1-year-old at the time -- for the Sierra Club's Cape Cod Family Trip.

Adams was not disappointed. On a boat trip with naturalists, her kids used nets to catch fish, which they were allowed to touch. They played in a freshwater pond, went whale-watching, and participated in a turtle-tracking adventure. "The trip had a great combination of activities," says Adams. This summer's Cape Cod trip runs July 8 to 14; participants bring their own tents and equipment and stay at a campground in Wellfleet, MA.

For families who prefer altitude to sea level, there's a family camp for kids ages 5 and up at Clair Tappaan Lodge, the Sierra Club's facility in California's stunning Sierra Nevadas (this year, it's August 19 to 24). Activities include hikes to pristine mountain lakes, swimming, boating, and language lessons for the kids. There's also a weeklong outing for grandparents and grandkids (July 29 to August 3).

Elsewhere, the Rocky Mountain Ramble, in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park, offers treks to meadows, waterfalls, the Continental Divide, and a 14,255-foot peak. There's even a daycare program for children ages 2 and older to enable parents to take the more strenuous hikes while kids learn about nature back at the lodge.

The Cape Cod and Clair Tappaan Lodge trips cost $445 for adults and $345 for children. The Rocky Mountain Ramble costs $950 for adults and $695 for children. For more information, call 415-977-5522 or visit

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