Getting Kids Out Into Nature

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Urban Trails: Kitsap by Craig Romano – Book Review

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Urban Trails: Kitsap Cover

Many of you are familiar with Craig Romano, the prolific and energetic guidebook writer for Washington State. We use his books all the time to plan our hikes to wild and scenic locations. But it’s not always easy to get out to true wilderness. With iffy weather, packed schedules, family illnesses – sometimes we need a walk closer to home. Craig is now working on a series of books about urban hikes, and I got to review the first one of the series, Urban Trails: Kitsap. This slim, portable volume covers the geographical area of Bainbridge Island, the Key Peninsula, Bremerton, Silverdale, and Gig Harbor. Families will find 36 park and trail systems to choose from, giving abundant possibilities for adventure close to home.

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Banner Forest (Photo by Craig Romano)

Urban and suburban trails are becoming increasingly important for our growing population. We need places with easy access to recreate and reconnect. The trails in Urban Trails: Kitsap are low-elevation, so they are especially useful in the winter and spring months, when snow makes mountain travel more difficult. The parks cover a wide range of landscapes, including old-growth and second-growth forests, beaches, wetlands, and meadows. Some parks have historical structures, and some offer inspiring views. Craig points out which trails are family-friendly, what hazards to watch out for, which trails may be suitable for strollers and dogs, and even which parks have playgrounds. Restrooms are clearly marked, and he gives detailed driving instructions and GPS coordinates. It looks like there are many hidden gems in that area of Puget Sound; most of the parks I had not heard of before, and there are even some State Parks that I wasn’t aware of. Even trail runners and mountain bikers will find trails to follow in this book. All of these are described in Craig’s candid and engaging writing style.

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Anderson Point (Photo by Craig Romano)

I highly recommend Urban Trails: Kitsap for families to use as a hiking guide. It retails for $16.95, and deserves a place on your guide book shelf. (Mountaineers Link, Link.) This guide covers trails that you won’t find in the Seattle-centric urban hiking guides. If you prefer, you can get an eBook version. I can’t wait to check out a few of these trails for ourselves. And I’m eagerly anticipating the publication of his next book, Urban Trails: Bellingham, scheduled to release in June 2017. You can follow Craig’s adventures on his personal website, or on

mountaineers books, urban hikes, kitsap, craig romano, hikes for kids, families
McCormick Forest

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail : Washington, by Tami Asars, Book Review

  When I was younger, my biggest dream in life was to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. I was never able to figure out how to tackle that audacious goal, and life moved on, and I set that dream aside. But now Tami Asars has come out with a unique new book about how to…Continue Reading

Book Review: 100 Classic Hikes: Washington by Craig Romano

My bookshelf has two rows of various hiking guides, but recently a new guide came out that will have a prominent spot in the first row. Craig Romano has rewritten and updated Harvey Manning and Ira Spring’s original 100 Classic Hikes in Washington book from 1998, including some of the initial hikes, but adding some new…Continue Reading

National Parks Week 2016, and Review of National Geographic Guides

April 16-24, 2016 has been designated National Parks Week. This national event is a time to focus on and celebrate all that the National Parks have to offer us. During this week, admission is free to all parks, and special events are planned at many sites. The Park Service has created a special website for this…Continue Reading

Day Hiking: Mount St. Helens, Book Review and Interview

Mount St. Helens has held a special place in the soul of the Pacific Northwest since its eruptions in the 1980s. Many of us parents are old enough to remember following the saga on the news, and remember where we were on the day of the big eruption. We find it fascinating to visit this…Continue Reading

Exploring Nature with Wonder

Many years ago, Before Kids, I worked as an Environmental Educator for a local parks department.  We worked at the beaches and in a forested park, leading groups of children and adults, spring through fall, on field trips and nature discovery programs.  We would have several activities to guide children to learn more about the…Continue Reading

Craig Romano Talk and Book Signing

This evening I had the pleasure to attend a talk at the Edmonds Library by Craig Romano.  He spoke about hiking in Snohomish County.  He started with local walks and moved outward to some of the most spectacular scenery in the state and country.  Craig is an energetic, funny, and informational speaker.  He showed beautiful…Continue Reading

Exploring Nature Article in ParentMap

I’ve got another article up in the ParentMap online edition.  It’s chock full of great ideas for getting outside when you don’t have a ton of time.  You’ll even see a few photos of my own kids mixed in. There is so much you can do even if you can’t take time for a day…Continue Reading

Bird Note Podcasts

When we go on long drives, we bring a lot of things along for the kids to do – coloring, books, stuffed animals, paper and pencils.  We also like listening to podcasts to pass the time. One of our favorites is Bird Note, a local production on one of our NPR stations.  Each 2-minute show…Continue Reading