Hiking with kids is a great way to get them to connect with the outdoors, and it's great exercise too!

These six hiking destinations are ideal for younger kids, with short, easy trails. Some of these also offer paved trails - great for strollers. And be sure to wear shoes that can get muddy!

Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

1111 E Brown Deer Road, Milwaukee

(414) 352-2880, schlitzaudubon.org

Open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission: $6 for adults and $4 for children.

Trail Map

This nature center is a perfect introduction to hiking. Of the six miles of hiking trails, many are easy and short, including many that loop. The Green Tree trail is about a 1/4 mile loop around the observation tower.

Wehr Nature Center

9701 W. College Ave., Franklin

(414) 425-8550, friendsofwehr.org

Open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Admission: Free

Trail Map

This nature center offers several short, looped trails as part of its five miles of maintained trails, including the Family-Friendly Trail, which is an 1/2 mile, easy walk over level to moderately sloping terrain and paths of woodchips and boardwalk.

Harrington Beach

531 County Road D, Belgium

(262) 285-3015, dnr.wi.gov

Open every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Admission: A vehicle admission sticker is required. The daily fee is $7 or $5 for an hour.

Park Map

The state park has seven miles of hiking trails and one mile of Lake Michigan shoreline. Simply walking along the beach offers children a chance to see the remains of a 700-foot pier that was used in the early 20th Century for shipping limestone from the nearby quarry. The Quarry Lake trail is 3/4 of a mile and is a easy walk.

Havenswood State Forest

6141 N. Hopkins St., Milwaukee

(414) 527-0232, friendsofhavenwoods.org

Open daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Admission: Free. You don't need a state park sticker.

Trail Map

Located right in Milwaukee, this state forest offers a look at the diversity of habitats, animals and plants right in the city. The People and the Land trail is 1.3 miles and tells the history of Havenwoods.

Lapham Peak at Kettle Moraine State Forest

W329 N846 Co. C, Delafield

(262) 646-3025, laphampeakfriends.org

Open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Admission: A vehicle admission sticker is required. The daily fee is $7 or $5 for an hour.

Trail Map

Many of the looped trails here are longer than the other parks, but the one-mile, Plantation Path trail is paved and goes through a prairie and wooded area. And don't forget to check out the 45-foot observation town, the highest point in Waukesha County.

Urban Ecology Center

1500 E. Park Place, Milwaukee

(414) 964-8505, urbanecologycenter.org

Open Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday from 12-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Admission: Free

Interactive Map

Explore the easy trails along the Milwaukee River. You can access Riverside Park via the Oak Leak Trail and Susie's Bridge. Be sure to stop in the Urban Ecology Center to take a look at the turtles and snake, as well as a ride down the "waterfall" slide.


Tips for hiking with kids from REI: Kids and Hiking

Thank you to Chelsey Lewis of Wisconsin Trails for suggesting some of these destinations. 

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