10 Adventure Ideas for Keeping Cool in Summer
Summer is here. And the world has warmed up. France recently hit temperatures of 45 degrees and even the rainy Lake District saw the sun for prolonged periods. If you are planning to head for the Med or other warmer climates and wondering ‘how I do keep my kids cool on holiday?’ then you have come to the right place. As part of my 100 outdoor adventure ideas for families series, I’ve picked ten active ways to keep cool and carry on…
How to keep cool on holiday
It’s amazing the things you’ll do to keep cool when you’re on the road and the sun’s beating down. The image below was taken on a cycling holiday as we approached the High Tatras in Slovakia. The kids decided we needed a way to cool down especially with a week of climbing ahead. So they took us to Lidl and we bought some dishcloths. Brilliant. Worked a treat.
Melting like a cheese
I think shortly afterwards we lifted some leerdammer out of he picnic basket to find it looked like Dali’s clocks. But you can’t always rely on a facecloth or a pack of sweaty cheese to cool the kids down. Sometimes you have to take more drastic action and go somewhere and do something. Here are my 10 adventure ideas for families to cool off this summer:. .
10 ways to keep the kids cool in the heat
1 Get splashed
In our 20 years of travelling with kids we have made getting splashed into an art form. Let’s start with a few of the obvious ways. If you are near the coast then head into the sea. If you are somewhere touristy, find a water park where the kids can slide and swim all day, or find a theme park with a great water ride. Blackpool’s Valhalla is one of the best I know for a total soaking although we got value for our money in Italy with the stylish Mirabilandia: the world’s tallest watercoaster is obviously a pretty fail safe method of getting splashed: watch the video if you have a head for heights:
At the Nick Hotel in Orlando the water park does free daily sliming. Yes, they pour green gunk on you from a great height. But don’t worry it is all water soluble; we washed our slime off in seconds and went back for more . If water parks are not your thing, many city centres have water zones that pipe streams of water out of the ground. Or you could always sit next to a gushing fountain. (Beware of taking a dunk in fountains in Rome as you will get a fine.) If you are in the countryside, one of our favourite things used to be to cycle under the sprinklers in apple orchards. However this all stopped when we discovered the farmers recycle grey water. (Better than yellow water but still!)
For a simple splash about, lay some plastic bags out in the garden, put the hose pipe on them and make your own water slide. Or if you want the professional version, gorge walking or canyoning. Here’s us in Austria:
One of the best and most terrifying ways Cameron found to keep cool was being shot out of a water cannon. It certainly created a splash. Check this out:
Area 47 – the ultimate crazy water park
Making a splash at the ultra stylish Mirabilandia theme park in Emilia Romagna
Getting a good soaking at Valhalla, part of the Blackpool Pleasure Beach experience.
2 Swim in a series of lakes
We love a swimming challenge. And I don’t mean a simple dunk in a lake or tarn. We love a BIG swimming challenge. This entails finding several lakes close together, and biking, walking or driving between them to swim in each one. Why? Little and often is fun! And if the water’s cold it’s a good excuse for getting out again after a quick paddle. This was our strategy for our seven lakes swim in the Scottish Cairngorms in January. We also chose to stealth bomb Fuji’s scared lakes in Japan. Watch the video of our dash below.
Check out our Scottish seven lake paddling challenge in the Cairngorms in winter. Just reading the post will likely send shivers down your spine.
3 Find the best ice cream – or make it yourself
We enjoy an ice cream in this family. And we also enjoy an ice cream challenge. Ice cream challenges can come in many forms and if this treat has passed you by up to now then feel free to steal the idea. (You weren’t so keen to copy the seven lakes in winter challenge I notice!) Once way of doing it is to set a target to eat as many ice creams in as many different shops or tea shops as possible in one day. This is particularly useful as a form of bribery if you are on a long distance walk or cycle. Or you can have a ice cream themed trip across a week’s hoiday, trying to pinpoint the best one in the region; voting on each one. If you fancy doing this in the Lakes check out my post on the best ice creams in the Lake District for LateRooms – I’ve done all the research for you!
If ice cream really is your thing then you have a duty to take the kids to Italy for gelato. If you are super keen then we recommend Gelato University in Bologna in Emilia Romagna. We learnt to make two different flavours of gelato in an afternoon including the rather strange but delicious kiwinana, Or was it bananiwi? You can also read below about our education on a traditional Italian ice cream parlour in….er Wales actually. Who said it was all about leaks and daffodils?
Our Red Boat gelato experience in a rather surprising seaside town.
4 Go indoor skiing
Obviously outdoor skiing is the ultimate cooler downer. But we cant all afford to find a glacier in summer to face-plant the kids into. So indoor skiing is your next best bet. You can do a taster lesson on a man made slope or just have a play around on the lifts for an hour at your local ski dome. We’ve had a go at summer skiing in places as diverse as a Dubai shopping mall, Tamworth and the suburbs of Manchester. Ok it’s not Banff but you can have a hot wine afterwards and pretend. Or dry slope skiing with your local club can be a good option too.
6 Sleep outdoors – at the beach or the desert
If you are booking a holiday see if there’s any traditional accommodation more interesting than a hotel room for an overnight adventure. We’ve done tours of Sweden staying in rustic cabins. We once slept in a gingerbread cottage in Denmark and were disappointed when we couldn’t eat the walls. Our month in Samoa was spent sleeping in traditional fale or house on stilts. But our best adventure was an overnight camp in the desert in Dubai and watching the sun rise over the dunes. It wasn’t jut chilled, it was freezing, but the camels kept us warm. Or actually that should be kept us up all night- boy are they noisy creatures.
Fancy a sleepover in the desert in Dubai? Then read on.
7 Go flying
It’s a good idea to get some height on a hot day. This could involve a roof bar. or a roof top swimming pool for some urban chill out. Or head into the trees. We’ve always found Tree Top Treks to be quite shady experiences and Good Leaf Tree Climbing on the Isle of Wight teaches you how to climb trees and sleep in hammocks for a double whammy of tree bathing. A couple of years ago I went one step further and took a tandem paraglide in the French Alps. There’s nothing like actually catching the breeze to properly cool you down.
Watching wind sports is also a cool way to relax. If you walk halfway up Skiddaw in The English Lakes you can watch the parachutes rise and fall on the wind. Or you can go fly a kite at the annual Morecambe Catch The Wind Kite Festival.
Read about catching the breeze in the French Alps
Read about catching the Wind in Morecambe
8 Do a waterfall walk
Waterfall walks are not all created equal. We first discovered this in Iceland where we walked behind Seljalandsfoss. With a drop of 60 metres that you can stand under without getting wet, It’s like stepping behind an icy cool curtain. We also found cooling down can be quite noisy when we camped out next to the birthday cake waterfalls of Dynjandi in the Western fjords and got precisely zero sleep.
Read about our walk to Iceland’s mighty Hengifoss
9 Find a swing
It’s not hard to find a swing. Head to a park and ask for a push! There are also some ingenious giant swings around. We encountered the one below in Snowdonia.
Check out our some great Snowdonia ariel blasts
10 Go cruising
If I told you to go on a cruise you might think I’d gone mad. Don’t worry, I don’t mean one of those monster floating boats, but a nice day out on a lake. And while you are there, you can do a seven lake swim, the ice cream challenge, have a swing in a park, sleep in a canoe and go skiing.
Only kidding about the skiing…
Here’s our suggestion for a grand day out on Windermere Lake Cruise’s Yellow Line.
Want more adventure ideas?
Check out our other posts in the 100 active adventures for families series: