It’s summertime in Southern Oregon and lucky for us it is easy and very fun to take our kids on great outdoor adventures. Recent studies show that kids who play outside are healthier, happier and more well rounded as a whole. Children experience an increase in self-confidence, self-esteem, optimism, independence and autonomy when regularly exposed to wilderness and outdoor settings. As a parent of three kids ages 2, 6 and 8, I know how easy it is to provide the distraction of tv, computers, or video games. But we as adults can largely determine how young children spend their time. That means making outdoor time a priority and limiting electronics for the well-being of our kids, and us!
I grew up in Ashland and now my husband and I are raising our three kids here so I remember all the fun things I did as a kid growing up in Southern Oregon and now I get to relive it with my family. Here are a few of our favorite outdoor adventures:
Jump into a lake. Emigrant lake is close and a great option when you don’t have time to go further but we really enjoy Hyatt Lake and especially Lake of the Woods.
Go for a hike. Oredson Todd Woods then up to the Mike Uhtoff trail is my personal favorite here in Ashland but that of course has a lot to do with the fact the trail is named after my Dad, but regardless of the name it is a beautifully preserved natural area. The trail is well established, follows a babbling brook and leads to a small secluded waterfall. My kids love to put on their backpacks loaded with snacks and head off down this trail. Even at 2 years old my youngest can easily walk the mellow mile or so trail there and back. As an added bonus we often find snakes and lizards sunning themselves in the hot summer months.
Pitch a tent To escape the summer heat we like to head up to Mount Ashland. The small campground offers an awesome view of Mt. Shasta. The star gazing is spectacular. It never ceases to amaze me that you can leave your house and drive up there and have a tent set up within 45 minutes – very cool!
Paddle a Canoe Rocky Point on the upper Klamath Lake offers 10 miles of canoe trails. We often spot beavers as well as hundreds of birds.
Go Butterfly Watching. Head up to the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument. The hike along the Pacific Crest Trail to Hobart Bluff offers not only outstanding views but over 100 species of butterflies have been identified in this area. Bring a butterfly net and watch the kids try to actually catch one.
I, along with my brother Chris and mom, Kathy have the Northwest Nature Shop. We specialize in the cool “get your kids outside” toys. We personally product test every toy we have and we sell the ones we love and have long lasting play value. We strive to provide you the tools to get kids outdoors, away from electronic media, and to experience our beautiful natural world and have fun. Stop by the shop for more detailed information on great hikes, birding spots and more adventures in Southern Oregon.