14 Adventurous Family Trips That Your Kids Will Love from Outside jversteegh

The family that plays together grows together. But it’s not always easy finding something that pleases adults and kids alike. So we asked our travel experts to give us fresh ideas for unique trips at home and abroad that will have everyone too enthralled to check their phones—and that also promise an engagement with nature in new, wild ways.

Millions of bison once roamed the Great Plains but today their numbers are few. American Prairie’s restoration efforts in Montana are trying to change that. (Photo: Louise Johns)

Best Place to See Wildlife

Domestic: American Prairie, Montana

Spying the magnificent bison roaming the Great Plains might be the quintessential American wildlife experience. This is the largest mammal in North America, with males standing up to six feet tall and weighing as much as 2,000 pounds, and their numbers are rebounding on land managed by American Prairie, a public-private conservation partnership that plans to connect 3.2 million acres. Some 800 buffalo call these ranges home, along with growing populations of elk, deer, and pronghorn.

The 1.1-million-acre Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, which straddles the Missouri River in the state’s northeast, is the system’s anchor, with all manner of outdoor activities, from hunting and hiking to birding and boating. But for some of the best wildlife viewing, head to private Mars Vista, 75 miles north of Lewistown, off Highway 191, where you can take the kids on a two-mile nature trail and install yourselves at Antelope Creek Campground (from $18). For a legitimate safari, check out the more remote Sun Prairie property, pitch a tent at Buffalo Camp ($12), and cruise 50 miles of gravel and dirt roads looking for the resident bison herd. Remember to keep a safe distance from the animals, which can run as fast as 35 miles per hour. How distant is safe? Use the (literal) rule of thumb: Extend your arm and stick out your opposable digit. If the entire bison is covered up, you’re good. Bison calves are born in May and June, and adults go into rut—when males fight for the attention of females—in July and August. The elk usually follow suit, with their mating season in September and October. Graham Averill

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