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Family Fitness Adventures for the New Year

January 20th, 2009 by bsmith | Filed under Uncategorized.

One of my family resolutions for the new year is to get the whole famly moving including the dog.  Over Christmas vacation this translated into lots of creative walks/scooter rides around Carlsbad.  We walked along Armada drive and checked out how the Flower Fields were coming along.  Mesquite must have smelled the fertilizer because she kept peeking over the wall.  We parked at Tamarack beach then took a walk just as the sun was setting…breath taking!  I also found this great park in Encinitas, Cottonwood Creek, that includes a small walking path, has super play equipment, and allows dogs.  My idea of the perfect park!

Let’s face it.  Squeezing in family fitness between school and activities doesn’t always happen.  All my best intentions have gone by the wayside now that we are back in school.  I plan to get everyone out today.   The sun is shining and a sapphire blue ocean beckons.  Hopefully I will meet up with an old college roommate and we’ll go for  a walk or a hike.

One of the best times for family fitness is when we’re on vacation.  Suddenly our time is unassigned, and we have unlimited choices for active family fun.   Here are some ideas that have helped our family have fun and get moving while on the road:

Bring Some Wheels

We have bicycled in Yosemite (a great way to get around) and skated in Santa Cruz.  If you are taking a  road trip throw in a scooter or skateboard.  Put the bike on your roofrack.  

Skateparks are great ways to keep the older kids busy.  In many communities skate parks are built close to a playground so everyone can be happy.  Sky Park in Scotts Valley, Ca ,  Jose Ave park in Santa Cruz, and  Great Oaks Park in San Jose, Ca are good examples of these.  If the park isn’t busy, the little ones may be able to try out the bowls.  Make sure that you pack helmets and elbow and knee pads for everyone.  They are usually required.

When camping, bikes can be a great way to get out and explore.  Also, lots of communities also have fun biketrails to that are kid friendly.  You’ll find beautiful ones in Larkspur, Ca and Tiburon California.  Westcliff  Drive in my old stomping ground of Santa Cruz is also a spectacular place to ride a bike.  Check out the Parks and Recreation websites for cities you will be visiting to get some ideas.


When my kids were smaller I dreamed of someone writing a guide to the location of local parks in all the towns we passed through.  Now, in my guidebooks I try to make parks a priority.  I think they are the best kept family travel secret in most towns.  They can dispell grouchiness on a long roadtrip and be a great way to give relatives you are visiting a little break from their guests.  Parks bring a sense of familiarity and stability to small children when they’re far from home.  Looking for a park which is full of family adventure?  One of my favorites is Dennis the Menace park in Monterey California, a real locomotive the best slides ever, wobbly bridges, that park has it all!

Take a Hike

Go off the beaten path and take a hike.  I love to watch kids discover the little things instead of the breath taking vistas, the little bug, the pile of leaves, the runaway squirrel  every detail holds adventure for the little guys.  I find that kids really surprise you with distances they can walk if they are really motivated.  When Justin was four, he joined us on a hike in Yosemite.  We adults were dragging by the end, but he was still going like the Energizer bunny.  When possible, let the kids plan your route.  It helps give them some power over their adventure.

Theme Parks

Theme parks may seem to be an unlikely source for family fitness.  If you think of how much walking your family will do on your average day at your local theme park, you may discover its a great way to get moving.

If you are free this weekend and are ready  for a more active theme park adventure, head to Legoland for the Keebler Kids Marathon Mile.  This kids event of the Carlsbad Marathon is a fun 1 mile run around Legoland.  There is also a diaper derby for the little guys.  Registered kid participants can hang out at Legoland later this weekend since the receive a Legoland/Sea Life parkhopper pass and an Ultra Star movie ticket for completing the race.  The cost is $20 for kids or adults and $30 for for a kid with an adult chaperone.  Visit  the Carlsbad Marathon website for more information.

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