Learn to be a Tourist in your own Hometown: Take a hike!

I don’t know about your family but whenever my family goes away on vacation we are always looking for a day or two of fun but free activities to keep everyone busy and help out our budget.  With summer vacation just around the corner our beautiful town has many activities to do to keep everyone busy and not break the bank.

Take a Hike!  Literally, with all of the parks and trails we have in Jackson you could easily take a hike every week of the summer on a different trail.  Jackson offers trails that are bike friendly to wheelchair friendly that are full of rough terrain for those more adventurous types.  My top choices are Dahlem Center located at 7117 South Jackson Road and MacCready Reserve located at 9243 Skiff Lake Road in Clarklake.  

 Dahlem’s Nature for all Trail is ideal for wheelchairs, strollers and walkers with plenty of benches along the way to take a break and just enjoy your surroundings. This 3/8 mile trail is a great first time family hike with plenty of birds and wildlife to enjoy along with native plants and wildflowers.  Feeling ready to tackle a little longer hike?  Dahlem has over 5 miles of hiking trails that wind you through the woods and grasslands.  Be sure to watch your step as you never know what little insect or frog will be crossing your path.  If the kids aren’t tired out after your hike Dahlem recently created a natural play ground.  The highlighted features include a climbing tree, giant rocks, hollow logs and a bridge.   Pack a picnic lunch and go out and explore the many wonders of Dahlem. 

You don’t have to explore all of the 408 acres of MacCready’s Reserve to enjoy this wonder filled park.  With 6.5 miles of hiking trails featuring towering hardwoods, natural springs and a variety of birds that call this place home.  Important features are: picnic tables, modern restrooms and its dog friendly.  If you’re worried about the kids becoming bored on the hike play a few games that keep their eyes open for nature.  The ABC game is always a favorite where they have to find something in nature that begins with every letter of the alphabet, pick a spot along the trail and have everyone sit down and close their eyes and just listen.  At the end of one minute have everyone list off everything that they heard.  Kids are amazed at all the different sounds they can hear in one minute. 

The most important part to any adventure is just getting out there and doing it.  Being a tourist in your own hometown doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your budget.

--- May 2017

Valerie Herr is a passionate community member, writer and regular contributor to the Experience Jackson Blog. This series of blogs, entitled Learn To Be a Tourist in Your Own Town was originally published in the Jackson Area Collaborative Kids Source (J.A.C.K.S) Newspaper and we've been graciously allowed to republish them electronically. Enjoy. 

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