Whether you are conducting your own summer camp at home or are just looking for some fun things to do with your kids this summer, here is a can't-miss list of fun family field trips.

Hit the Beach!

I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but I can't tell you how many moms have told me that they dread a trip the beach with their kids! All of the stuff to load into the car and lug from the parking lot to the sand… all of that sunscreen to apply and re-apply. But c'mon people — there is no better way to celebrate summer than to spend a day with your kids building sandcastles and splashing in the surf!

To make the process a bit easier, we purchased a mesh bag into which we've loaded all of the sand toys — buckets, shovels, frisbees, etc. Next we've put together a beach bag to hold all of the swim goggles, hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug spray, tissues, and a first aid kit. (By the way, this bag goes with us on most family outings!)

In the morning after the kids have finished breakfast, they each make and pack a sandwich for lunch, put it into the cooler where I will add frozen juice boxes and water bottles to keep everything cold, along with some watermelon slices, and some chips. I'll also pack the two beach umbrellas (and those cool sand anchors to hold the umbrellas — you do have those don't you?), and a beach chair for me. All that's left is for each kid to get dressed in his or her swimsuit, put on flip-flops, and grab a beach towel! See…not so hard!

Geocaching

Geocaching is a great activity for kids because is combines the fun of hiking with the thrill of treasure hunting. If you aren't familiar with geocaching, here is how it is described at www.geocaching.com:

"Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location."

Here is a video that explains the process:

All you really need to get started on your first geocaching adventure is a GPS-enabled smartphone, and a free membership at Geocaching.com. Don't forget to take along some trade-out treasure to replace what you collect when you find the cache (matchbox cars, bouncy balls, or other small plastic toys are all good candidates), and make sure that you also have a trail map for the area where you will be hiking, good sturdy shoes, plenty of water, and some sunscreen and bug repellant.

Visit a Historic Site

A great way to work a little education into your fun summer plans is to visit a historic site that is of interest to your child, preferably one that is not on the field trip list for school! Where we live in Northeast, there are hundreds of places to tour to learn about life in early America — from re-created colonial villages, to military battlefields, to homes of famous Americans. Wikipedia has compiled a complete list of Historic Landmarks By State, which is a great place for you to get started!

Check Out Mother Nature's Best: Tour a Cave or Visit a Waterfall

Kids love to explore nature at her most awe-inspiring, so why not take them to see a real cave or a waterfall this summer? A visit to a cave usually includes a tour with a guide who explains all of the details on stalactites and stalagmites and how they form, how old the cave is, and how it was discovered. On every cave tour I have been on, the guide will shut off the underground lights for just a moment (with proper warning first!) so you can get a good sense of what a cave is like when first explored. If you are interested in checking out some caves that are close to you, Wikipedia has a full list of caves by state.

In contrast, a hike to see a waterfall can be a more private adventure, especially if you avoid the weekends. This week my kids and I visited a beautiful waterfall here In New York at the Minnewaska State Park, and for the entire hour that we sat admiring the view and climbing over the rocks to get a closer look, we had the place to ourselves. We felt just like an original explorer! Geology.com provides a listing of waterfalls by state.

I hope this list has inspired you to pursue a few family field trips of your own this summer!

More Summer Fun: