If your idea of an ideal vacation includes lots of pool time and frozen drinks, you’re not alone. But vacations don’t always have to be abut indulgence—or at least, not just about that. You can plan a family trip that involves volunteering together. You get to do some good for the world, have a bonding experience and, often, embark on hikes, cultural experiences and even diving trips in beautiful destinations. We rounded up a half-dozen opportunities to consider for your next getaway.
Blackfeet Indian Reservation
The Blackfeet Indian Reservation offers week-long vacations for families with children as young as 8 years old. Each day your family will help provide needed services to the community while learning about the culture of the Blackfeet Indians. Activities can include serving meals, landscaping, refurbishing buildings, entertaining kids, or visiting elders. Each day there is time available to enjoy cultural and natural activities on the reservation as well as participate in community events and celebrations-—uch as rodeos, pow-wows, and traditional “sweats.” The Blackfeet Indians also offer an add-on of tours around Glacier National Park.
Throughout the U.S.
Enjoying the outdoors over school breaks or summer is a great way to bond, to see America and be adventurous. Throughout the U.S. week-long trips can be arranged for travelers aged 15 to 80. Locations vary from National Parks, such as Joshua Tree National Park and Redwood National and State Parks to California-Leadville National Fish Hatchery or Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. During the week families help repair trails, build boardwalks, repair bridges, and create new trails around some of the country’s most beautiful locations. Time is always made in the afternoon and evenings for hiking, enjoying the parks and sitting around campfires connecting with each other and making new friends.
Habitat For Humanity
Across the U.S.
Helping give someone a new or improved home is a rewarding experience. Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity allows families to participate in this rich experience. Families might build, maintain, repair, or repaint houses or neighborhoods of people in need. Plan your vacation around an event listed on Habitat’s website, or if your family likes to travel by RV there is now a RV Caravanner program so your family can stop along your vacation route to help. Ages vary by event.
U.S., Nicaragua, Tanzania, Thailand, Laos, Nepal
Give Volunteers offer volunteer trips in the U.S. and abroad, On a nine-day volunteer vacation in Hawaii, families can spend the days on forest rehabilitation, indigenous land stewardship, marine debris removal or regenerative farming projects. Off time can be spent snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean or hiking across volcanic craters. The organization even offers an add-on scuba certification at the end of the trip! If mountains are of more interest, then head to the Pacific Northwest Excursion for seven days of environmental restoration projects. During your trip you can hike through old growth forests, swim in alpine lakes, summit peaks, float down the Snoqualmie River and go whale watching! Jobs vary, but can include restoring river buffers or helping protect the natural salmon habitat vital to the area.
North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol
A trip to the South Carolina Beach in North Myrtle Beach can be more than a vacation for family members of any age. Your family can help track baby sea turtles each morning by walking the beach and checking for footprints, or help inventory the nests after the hatchlings have emerged. Volunteers are needed from May 1 to August 15th. It is a great way to do some good, get some exercise and help an at-risk reptile.
Give the Kids the World Village
In 1986 World Village opened in Kissimmee, Florida to welcome critically ill children and their families for a week-long vacation. Volunteer families can participate in everything from assisting families with check-in, delivering pizza or gifts, operating accessible rides or serving “ice cream for breakfast.” Opportunities are available for children as young as 10. Your clan can help give another family beautiful memories while building a meaningful and impactful experience. Volunteering can be for three to four hours in one day or for as many days as your family chooses.