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5 Best Summer Outdoor Pursuits for Families

4 March 2024

Summer is on the horizon, and it’s time to get outside and move after a long winter hibernating indoors. With the school summer break around the corner, why not plan in some family time, too?

There’s an ever-growing list of summer outdoor pursuits for families to enjoy together, and we’ve put together 5 of the favourites here.

Stand-up Paddleboarding

With its origins in surfing, modern stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP as regulars know it, has been around since the 1970s and has grown enormously in popularity moving into the 21st Century.

Stand-up paddleboarding involves, as the name suggests, standing on a large surf-type board and using a paddle to move the board through open water.

SUP is fun, excellent for physical fitness and mental well-being, accessible to everyone, and perfect for family groups.

British Canoeing recently became the national governing body for Paddleboarding in the UK, and SUP schools are emerging at many beach and lake resorts. Check online for your nearest.

For safety reasons, paddleboarders need to be able to swim - as you will fall in! It's all part of the fun.


If Stand-Up Paddleboarding isn’t your thing, perhaps the family can try Kayaking!

Kayaks are available to suit everyone.

For complete beginners and very young children, a tandem kayak enables a more hands-on experience, both in guiding and supervising.

For those increasingly independent in their kayaking abilities, the ‘ride-on’ rather than ‘sit-in’ kayaks may be suitable. Ride-on kayaks are less restrictive and it’s easier to detach and escape if the kayak capsizes.

Alternatively, your children may be older, more experienced, and capable of paddling the waterways in a single-seater traditional kayak.

Remember: as with all water sports, safety should always be your top priority!

Some great worldwide family kayaking holidays are available for those keen to try.


Have you heard of canyoning before? Do you know what canyoning is?

Whatever your response, canyoning is undoubtedly one of the fastest-growing adventure activities available, with many companies offering it as part of their family holiday catalogue.

Canyoning uses what nature provides in abundance as you navigate waterfalls, jumps, gorges, cliffs, rivers, slides, and so much more, all negotiated with the expert assistance of a qualified guide.

Due to the physically challenging nature of the activities involved, canyoning is highly regulated. Age restrictions apply, safety equipment and expert instruction are provided, and a certain fitness level is assumed.

Family canyoning holidays and day bookings are available throughout the UK and Europe, catering for all abilities, but to avoid disappointment, check the Terms and Conditions before booking.


Summer certainly brings out the cyclists among us as we dust off our bikes and take to the roads during the lighter, drier, sunnier summer days. It ticks all the boxes for spending family fun time together and promoting a healthier, more active lifestyle.

If you are beginners to cycling out as a family, careful planning will help everyone get the most out of the experience.

Whatever bikes you use, whether owned, borrowed or hired, make sure the frame is the right size for the rider, it is in excellent working order, and ALWAYS wear a well-fitted helmet. ‘Piggyback’ bikes, tandem bikes, and toddler seats for adult bikes are available for less confident or younger children and riders.

Start with a small local cycling trip together to try out those cycling legs, and then - the world is yours! Why not try these 50 family-friendly cycling routes for size?

Climbing and Abseiling

Climbing and abseiling are activities the family can enjoy together, whatever the weather!

Indoor climbing centres like ‘Clip and Climb’ can provide realistic climbing walls and novelty climbing experiences inside. Alternatively, many holiday companies offer outdoor climbing among beautiful scenery in locations such as the Peak District or the Brecon Beacons in Wales. For many of us, once we’ve climbed up, we like to come down the same way, which is where the abseiling comes in!

Climbing as a family experience can provide great bonding and team-building opportunities in learning together. Expert guides offer advice and guidance on safety, equipment, and techniques while catering for all abilities and ages.

So, dust off Winter, and bring on Summer! It’s time for some adventure!

Photo by Stephen Andrews

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