Cover Image: 50 Hikes with Kids California

50 Hikes with Kids California

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Super fun illustration. 

I don’t have kids but I am a novice adult when it comes to hiking.  I liked flipping through this.
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I quite love this book, and will likely be getting it for my daughter and granddaughter for Christmas. 

It doesn't include every wonderful hike in California, but keeping this book to just 50 allows it to include all sorts of wonderful details. All the hikes are under 5 miles, and all are rated Easy to Moderate.  But every hike includes a detail of elevation gained and lost, a more detailed difficulty explanation, and how long it should take to complete. These details can help a parent decide if their own child is up to it according to their own skills.

Of course there are also directions, the best season to go, restrooms and any fees required, then a suggestion of where you can find treats of food or drink. It even gives Twitter and Facebook information!

One of the best parts is the Scavenger Hunt for each hike.  It includes photos of different flora and fauna, insects and natural formations to find.  I went on a local hike recently (not included in this book) and was given a booklet of plants to find at certain points and I had a GREAT time checking off the list and reading about each find. I am certain children would love this too.

The hikes are divided up into different areas of California, but there is also a section where you can find a hike according to type: Waterfall, history, beach, caves, rivers, etc.  After that is a section according to the seasons.

There are beautiful photos, and lots of interesting things to read about each hike.  A child who can read will love going through and picking out a hike to try, and a younger child will love any hike their parent chooses for them.

Overall I cannot find anything lacking, and it's gotten me excited myself to find some hikes to try with my granddaughter.  I 100% recommend this book if you're an active family with children.

I received a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review, but I've just placed the paperback into my Amazon cart and I'm ready to purchase.
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*received from netgalley for honest review* Pretty good book, as with all physical activities its best to know what  the little ones can handle but I think this book is still pretty good, great photos but I think the download I got was incomplete? there were a few pages with empty "fact" bubbles?
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Lots of great ideas to inspire more exploration in nature. A nice addition to a collection of hiking guides and travel books.
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If you have kids and want to get them outdoors, this is a great book to start with. It contains some nice, short hikes that you can do with your little ones. The hikes are all thoroughly documented and each entry contains the detail you will need to know to plan your adventure. The book has some good advice and offers a lot of fun activities as well. 

The hikes can be found throughout the state. A map at the beginning shows their general locations. Each hike description gives more in-depth details. The book is broken into sections covering various areas of the state, like the southern part, the central coast, the north coast, etc. In each section are a selection of kid-friendly adventures for you to do as a family. 

Things I liked.

I liked that each account contains an elevation map of the trail. These are super handy to use when planning your adventure. You will know how much hill-climbing is involved. Little ones get tired faster than adults, so it’s important to plan ahead for their shorter legs on the trail. 

Each section also has a detailed map of the trail you will be hiking, with stopping points, or hand-holding points indicated. Also, the power-up stops are useful for those hiking with small kids, who need those rest breaks. 

In the section showing a California newt, the author properly warns to look but not touch due to the toxin in the skin of these newts. I also liked that she did not suggest that kids catch and hold onto and reptiles or amphibians (or any animals) in the book. This is good advice. These animals need to be left alone for many reasons. 

Most of the scavenger hunt activities can be done without collecting living parts of plants. I liked that the author consistently stated to only pick up fallen sticks, leaves, rocks, etc. i.e. Not to pick living leaves or flowers. She also suggests drawing many of the things you will see on the hikes. Or taking photographs. Or just checking out the leaves, flowers, etc. while they are still on the living plant. The reader is not being encouraged to damage the resource, which is a good thing. At the same time, kids will get to experience nature and all its textures, scents, sights and sounds, in person. But they also get a conservation message along with their adventure. 

The reader is also encouraged to get their kids to use their imaginations at these sites. So, one activity has a kid curling up into a ball and bursting forth as an imaginary flower. Or to pretend that a fern frond is a hat, but just to stand under it, not to pick it. Things like that will help engage your little hikers in nature while still being non-consumptive activities that leave nature just the way you found it. Perfect!

Many of the hike descriptions have a little bit about the history of the site. So, you learn what native peoples called that land home. Or who the ranchers were who first settled there to raise their herds. Or who built a particular feature you will see. There are also brief looks at the geology of the area. The plants, trees, and common wildlife are also described in many accounts. 

There are detailed directions to each trailhead, as well as recommendations on the best season to visit. Importantly, the location of the nearest restrooms is also indicated. If you’ve traveled with kids, you know how important that is. If there are fees for any of the hikes, those are indicated. You get some contact information for the land management agency responsible for that particular area, including their phone number, Facebook and Twitter contact information. Each hike has information on mileage and how long it is expected to take to walk the route. 

Things I didn’t like. 

Some of the accounts tell you to collect fallen flowers, leaves or cones, etc. Pressing plants is a great activity, but we also need to be mindful of where we are. One of the accounts offered this as a suggested activity in a national park. In national and state parks, taking anything, even a leaf, from the park is not allowed. So, read these sections with that in mind. If in doubt, don’t collect samples in a park. Regulations vary depending upon which resources agency manages that land. 

I also was not comfortable with telling kids to play in the waves on the north coast. I live on the north coast and we have drownings here every year due to people unfamiliar with the “sneaker waves” getting themselves washed out to sea. The author does advise to keep an eye on the waves, but I think that warning needs to be way stronger. Also, the water here on the north coast is very cold. Surfers here wear wetsuits for this reason. It is not really water you would want to swim in. 

The location of the “Treat Yourself” business in the last section is well over 50 miles from the hike location. I’d advise you to use a good map to choose the place where you will find refreshments after your hike. Also, businesses might close, so rely on current information. It’s a nice feature to include in the book, but could become inaccurate over time. 

A couple of inaccuracies turned up, such as the year the Gold Rush started (page 193). And one map says Humboldt Redwoods National Park, when it is actually a state park (page 266). (Full disclosure, this reviewer worked at that state park for ten years.) It may seem minor, but there are big differences in the way the two agencies manage their lands. Also, the California bay tree (page 199) is not a deciduous tree. Its leaves do not all fall off in autumn. 

Overall impression

Overall, I think this is a handy book to have with you if you will be traveling with kids in California. Wherever you are in the state, there should be a hike you can do with the younger ones that is safe, has little elevation gain, and has interesting features to awaken curiosity in nature. It is a good guidebook to get you started on introducing your children to nature. They don’t have to be older to enjoy outings in nature. There are fun activities you can do together and this book offers wonderful guidance for parents seeking a safe way to enjoy the outdoors with their youngsters. I recommend it to any parents.
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What a wonderful book! The information for each area of CA is great. Each hike has difficulty levels, fees, bathroom info and so much more! Then there are great things that the kids can look for on each hike. This is really wonderful and I would love to see this for all states!
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50 Hikes with Kids is another handy guide for anyone looking for guidance on finding great places to hike (a previous title in the series covered Washington and Oregon, this time the subject is California).

Again,  the title is being promoted as something designed for “…parents, educators, and caregivers that want to spark a love of nature,” my primary reason for wanting to look through 50 Hikes with Kids is because I am a senior, married to a senior who has limited hiking ability. I was once again looking to find some ideas for day hikes.

The hikes in this book may have been designed to be “perfect for little legs” with distances under four miles and an elevation gain of 900 feet or less, but that also makes them ideal for people in our demographic.
Each entry in books in this series includes simple directions, a detailed map, specifics on the length of the hike and elevation gain, things to see along the way, options for food near the hike, and (hooray!) bathroom access!! There are also some terrific color photographs.

Again, I suggest Timber Press might consider releasing this in a slightly modified  edition with a title along the lines of Day Hikes for Active Seniors. Seriously! This book was perfect for my needs, and I appreciate Timber Press and NetGalley providing a copy in exchange for my honest review. Five stars.
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I have been hiking regularly for over 10 years. It is my favorite activity for my mental and physical health. I do not have children, but I am recovering from a broken leg (while hiking) and I have been very trepidatious about getting back out on the trails. I thought starting with some kids hikes would be the perfect way back into the hobby. 

This book is beautifully laid out by area of California with highlights of features like lakes and waterfalls. It also has all the information for beginning hikers including how to research the hikes, what to bring, and being respectful of nature. Each hike shows a detailed map, elevations and mileage, best time to go, and something fun to do nearby after your hike. 

Each hike also includes a scavenger hunt which is wonderful for kids. It gives them things to look for so they don’t become bored. It also becomes a teaching moment. Take notes, take photos, and don’t forget, leave only your footsteps...

I was given a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.
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As a parent of children 1\2 who love the outdoors and others who want to see but not get dirty.  This book is a great introduction to families who are looking for a vacation away from crowds and theme parks.

It was an advance copy so it wasn't complete and it has issues that will be fixed I assume after it is published. 

This book will inspire parents to find a love for the outdoors as well as a vacation to California that will have everyone enjoying the adventurous outdoors.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher Timber Press for the advance copy of Wendy Gorton 50 Hikes with kids California.
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I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  			
From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.			

Award-winning author and educator Wendy Gorton is back with a brand-new guide to hiking with kids—this time in California! Family-friendly, fun, and trustworthy, 50 Hikes with Kids: California is handcrafted for parents and caregivers who want to spark a love of nature in childhood and beyond. The guide highlights the most kid-friendly hikes in California. Each route is under five miles with elevation gains of 900 feet or less—perfect for little legs. Every entry includes the essential details: easy-to-read directions; a detailed map; hike length and elevation gain; highlights to see along the way; bathroom access; and where to grab a bite to eat nearby. Entries also include full-colour photographs and fun activities that will keep kids engaged and having fun along the trail. Not just another guide book, 50 Hikes with Kids will help nurture a life-long appreciation and reverence for the natural world.

If you live in California or are planning a trip, this is the book to take along - even if you are NOT a kid you can get a lot from this book. It is well written and a joy to read and plan trips with. Although I am not going to buy this for our library as it is specifically California and California only, it is an excellent book that I am adding to the pile of books for my niece's baby shower as they are serious hikers. (Across Baffin Island with every single supply on their backs?  That was NOTHING to them!)

As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "Social Influencer Millennials" on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it 🌄🌄🌄🌄🌄
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