1. Pass the remote. Everyone longs for a getaway amid back-to-school craziness, but we have a better idea: a family retreat. Plan a fall camping trip to Hoh Rain Forest, one of the quietest places in the U.S.; journey by boat down Lake Chelan to a unique retreat center that welcomes families; or have an off-the-grid weekend adventure high in the North Cascades.
2. Hike back in time. Looking for a new fall family ramble? How about to a ghost town? Older kids will love the challenge of a history hike to the famous gold-and-silver mining ghost town of Monte Cristo in the Cascades, while younger kids will enjoy searching for evidence of coal’s heyday on an easy hike around Cougar Mountain.
3. Nab a fall family photo. Multitask by combining a fall color walk with a family photo session — the colorful leaves and soft light make for ideal family pics. Find ideas for outings that double as family photo opportunities, from a colorful loop in Mount Rainier National Park to parks that are ablaze in color.
4. Leap into a new sport. If your kid is less than inspired by typical team sports, encourage her to try an off-the-beaten-path activity this fall. Unique pastimes such as parkour, bouldering, karate and circus arts are leaping in popularity and offer many benefits for kids, from focus to flexibility to self-expression.
5. Fall into farm fun. From the sunflower/corn maze at Dr. Maze’s Farm in Redmond to the Pumpkin Hurl that kicks off the Snohomish Valley Festival of Pumpkins, fall harvest fun abounds in September. Find a farmer’s dozen of ideas for critter, corn and pumpkin adventures at parentmap.com/pumpkins.