Your family’s devices help you stay connected when you are apart. But, when you are on vacation, the digital world can distract you from quality time together. This season, go off-grid, reconnect and get your adventure on with an unplugged vacation. We’ve rounded some of the coolest WiFi-free summer vacation ideas we could find. Go on safari in Alaska, stay at a dude ranch or explore the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. Read on to find out where you can take your family off the grid for the summer vacation of a lifetime.
1. Explore Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons in Wyoming
Experience the rugged beauty of Wyoming with an outdoor adventure guided by the professionals at OARS. This getaway cuts the whole family off of everything electronic for a week and includes hiking, kayaking, fishing and rafting. It's also a rare opportunity to experience an itinerary that takes you to remote areas on the water in the backcountry where you will encounter plenty of wildlife and little to no evidence of human life.
Get ready to witness Old Faithful in all of its glory, take in Yellowstone Falls, spend an evening beneath the Tetons on Jackson Lake, explore the waters of Bearpaw and Leigh Lakes, fish for trout in creeks and pristine waterfalls, paddle your way to Spalding Bay and enjoy a scenic rafting trip along the iconic Snake River. This OARS tour may only last five or six days, but the memories you make and take home with you will last a lifetime.
Price: Start at $1399
Ages: 5 & up.
Location: Starting Point The Lexington at Jackson Hole 285 N Cache St. Jackson, WY
2. Stay in a TeePee at a Horse Ranch in Klamath County, OR
Relax around the campfire at Heartline Ranch, just a short drive from the picturesque Crater Lake National Park. Here you can tent camp or reserve one of the teepees for the night. All six teepees have a fire ring inside to keep you warm at night, sleeping bags/pads, a picnic table and outdoor fire ring for s'mores. Visitors with horses can stay in the RV/tent spots that come with two horse stalls.
Visit with the friendly horses at the end of the day or book some time on the trail with Cowboy Bob. Kids 8 and older can take a trail ride to hear the history of this beautiful property. There are trails for hiking, nearby streams for fishing and a small town just a short drive away if you need supplies.
Nearby adventures include kayaking, ziplining, hiking in the national park and fishing along the many creeks and streams. Read all the Klamath activities here.
3. Live the Cowboy Lifestyle in Cedar Point Kansas
Saddle up and take to the plains and prairies of Kansas with the kids. Located in the Flint Hills, the Flying W Ranch sits on 7,000 acres of property where guests get a chance to experience the cowboy lifestyle. There’s tons of horseback riding to be done, but this family adventure goes beyond the average with cattle drives and prairie burns guests can actually participate in.
Between long trail rides, fishing trips, hikes and wildflower walks, your days will be filled with traditional adventure and the nights are no less impressive. Go on a moonlight horse and wagon ride or head out for hours of uninterrupted star gazing. Accommodations appear rustic on the outside, but they have all of the necessary comforts so you can get good sleep at the end of long days filled with activity. A trip to this ranch guarantees epic stories to be told long into the future and a likelihood the whole tribe will want to come back.
Price: Starts around $65/adult/night and $25/child (4-18)/night
Location: 1515 G Rd. Cedar Point, Kansas
4. Take a River Trip in Big Bend National Park Texas
One way to grab your kids’ attention is to take them into the untamed wilderness of West Texas. Far Flung Outdoor Center offers families the opportunity to float the Rio Grande on overnight excursions that can last anywhere from two days and one night to four days and three nights. They have a variety of trips to fit different interests and abilities, but one thing all of the options have in common is the lack of cell service, traffic, and people.
While on the water you’ll have the opportunity to explore the canyons of the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park. There’s plenty of time for swimming, hiking and mom and dad can even relax with a glass of wine. You may have to do some paddling, but you won’t have to do any cooking or cleaning. Far Flung staff takes care of the less vacation-y stuff and let you enjoy your time away from society.
Prices: Starts at $369/person
Ages: Depends on the excursion. Options for families with children of all ages
5. Take a trip to the Stony Creek Farmstead in Walton NY
Who would've imagined you’d find the ideal unplugged farm experience in New York? Retreat from city life to this safe haven located in the Catskills about two-and-a-half hours Northwest of the Five Boroughs. Accommodations at the farmstead are truly off-grid with luxurious platform tents to keep your sheltered. If the mention of tents gave you pause, not to worry. These roomy locations have canopied ceilings, canvas walls, wood floors and enough room for a cabinet bed, a set of bunks, and a large secondary room. And yes, there's a bathroom.
Feel free to kick back or get busy pitching in. Your kids are sure to enjoy gathering eggs, visiting with the farm animals or wandering the property. Meals are served onsite, and you can end your day with quiet evening playing board games.
Price: Starts at $245/nt
Location: 1738 Freer Hollow Rd. Walton, NY
6. Become Naturalists at Little St. Simons Island in Georgia
For an opportunity to turn your young tech-heads into naturalists, head to this sustainable island paradise. Little St. Simons is an all-inclusive resort like no other located on Georgia’s Golden Isles. With seven miles of beach and 11,000 acres of the undeveloped wilderness, there are endless natural wonders to explore during your vacation. The property offers families a twice daily complimentary naturalist program that boasts guided kayak tours, garden tours, fish printing workshops and a chance to meet some sea turtles.
While there is plenty of time and opportunity to commune with nature, the all-inclusive aspect of your stay on the island shouldn’t be overlooked. You get to enjoy unlimited soft drinks, beer and wine and three full meals along with hors d'oeuvres and snacks prepared by seasoned chefs. And you have full use of recreational equipment like bicycles, kayaks, and skiffs, as well as the fishing tackle—so the fun never runs out.
Price: Start at $450 for double occupancy. Children 12 years and under cost an additional $100/night
Ages: The Island does not allow children under the age of 7 from October-April to ensure that all guests are old enough to enjoy the seasonal nature activities.
Location: 1000 Hampton River Club Marina Dr., St. Simons Island, Georgia
7. Travel Back in Time in Maine
A truly off-the-grid adventure awaits your family just beneath the towering wilderness of Little Spencer Mountain at Spencer Pond Camps in Maine’s Moosehead Lake Region. Stay in cabins that are over 100 years old with zero electricity and only wood stoves to cozy up by. This rare opportunity gives your family the chance to truly experience what life used to be like before the internet, phones, computers and central heating came along.
Each cabin has docks for the young swimmers to jump off and your family is provided with bikes, kayaks, and canoes to use throughout your stay. Imagine afternoons filled with frog catching, picking berries and just relaxing and listing to the local, natural inhabitants. If you want to take your Maine experience to the next level book an unforgettable float plane ride or a white water rafting trip. There’s even the option to take a cruise on the Steamship Katahdin on Moosehead Lake. Your family will love this very On Golden Pond experience.
Price: Start at around $260/night for up to 4 people but vary according to accommodation, number of people and length of stay
8. Explore a Volcanic National Park in California
Just four hours away from San Francisco, you lose WiFi and discover natural wonders in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Drakesbad Guest Ranch offers families a cozy mountain retreat with cabins that can sleep up to 10 people at a time. Some accommodations come with electricity, some give your clan the opportunity to spend your evenings in the soft glow of lamplight. Located 30 minutes from the nearest town, your stay comes with all three meals for convenience.
Finding things to do to fill your days is easy. The ranch offers horseback rides to locations like Boiling Springs Lake, which is the largest acid lake in the US. If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, there are plenty of hiking trails the whole family can enjoy. After a long, adventure-filled day, your family will rejoice at the opportunity to soak in the hot-spring-fed pool and relax under the starts.
9. Experience Living on a Dude Ranch in Emigrant, Montana
Mountain Sky Ranch is a dream opportunity for families looking to turn off electronics and tune into nature. Set on 17,000 acres of wilderness, the property is located in Paradise Valley and runs all the way to Gallatin National Forest. There are a variety of lodging options for families to choose from including restored cabins built in the '20s, small lodges with stone fireplaces, and options with picturesque views set to the soundtrack of a nearby babbling creek.
One of the best parts of the ranch experience is that it offers “choose your own adventure” options. Fill your family’s days with hiking, riding horses, fly fishing, and yoga. There are even kid and teen programs that will help your young'uns learn how to re-engage with their surroundings when separated from their digital devices. Additional opportunities include evenings spent around the campfire, hayrides, and getting your dance on—western style.
Price: Start at $3,190 per child/week, $4,780 per adult/week
10. Tour Wacissa River by Boat in Florida
Head to Florida for an off-grid cabin retreat on the stunning Wacissa river. Surrounded by towering white oaks, pines and ancient cypress trees you will feel secluded from the rush of everyday happenings. VRBO offers up a beautiful lodge that was built out of river logs pulled from the Wacissa river over 100 years ago for your family's rustic stay. The owners claim visitors will have an off-grid experience and they mean it. None of the utilities are powered by the utility company. Solar panels and a backup diesel generator keep the power running. You'll have central heat and a wood burning fireplace to stay warm by, but zero Wi-Fi is available!
Just outside the cabin’s door, a beautiful catwalk will take you and the kids down to the spring-fed river where a dock awaits. There is airboat access from the river to the cabin and airboat tours are offered for your family to enjoy during their stay. Your kids will love the eco tours which include a rundown on the river’s history, an opportunity to sharpen your photography skills, fishing, and sightseeing. They even provide frog gigging tours!
Price: $158 average/night
Phone: HomeAway Booking Assistance 888-640-7927
11. Unwind and Connect with Nature in California
Just four hours north of San Diego, your family can unplug, relax and commune with nature in the charming town of Ojai where you’ll find healthy bites, plenty of outdoor activities and a bit of luxury too. Set up your base camp in an Airstream at Caravan Outpost. There, surrounded by lush greenery, you can play a family game of cornhole, go for rides on the complimentary bikes and make campfire smores under the stars. The Ojai Valley Inn is another fantastic option that also offers a little pampering at its onsite Spa Ojai.
Ojai is home to a host of healthy eateries like Hip Vegan Café and The Nest. And your whole crew will enjoy spending the afternoons biking or strolling the Ojai Valley trail where you’ll take in mountain views and wildflower-filled landscapes.
Location: Ojai Valley, CA
Online: Find out everything you need to know here
12. Soar Through the Wilderness in Alaska
Ultima Thule Lodge is located deep in the Alaskan wilderness far from the WiFi and data signals of the city. Here your family is immersed in nature and has the chance to experience a flight safari adventure that takes you over the Wrangell Mountains and Chitina River to where few are able to step foot. If your crew prefers to hike, back-country ski, or view wildlife, the staff at Ultima Thule aim to please with customized adventure-filled itineraries that come and no added cost. That’s right. Adventures are included in your stay.
When you stay at Ultima Thule, you have your choice of bunking at the lodge or relaxing in your own private cabin. The main lodge, where all meals are served, sits on top of a hill where guests can look out over the Chitna River. This deep-wilderness retreat may have your family looking to make Alaska their new home.
Prices: Start at $7, 975/person (rates are all inclusive and included all meals and adventures)
Ages: 6 and up
Location: 350 miles east of Anchorages (true deep wilderness)
13. Stay in a Glass Bubble at a Jurassic Park on LA Reunion Island
Take your family on an adventure to another world. Located in the heart of the Indian Ocean between Mauritius and Madagascar, La Reunion Island could have easily been the setting for the movie Jurassic Park. Led by Off the Map Travel, families have the opportunity to go on helicopter rides through prehistoric jungle scenery to volcanoes. The highlight? You get to sleep in a clear bubble underneath the starlit night sky. Cell phones and the internet will be the last thing on your kids’ minds.
While on the island, the list of possible activities is endless, and the following are included in your stay: a tour into the lava caves; a jungle zip line; and a heli-hiking experience to Hiker’s Eden with lunch. This unplugged experience will create memories that will last a lifetime.
Price: from $2465 USD per person, based on double occupancy
Ages: 6 and up
Location: La Reunion Island
14. Take a Canoe Trip in Ely, Minnesota
Head to the Northwoods of Ely Minnesota where canoe country will sweep your family away for a stretch of time filled with wholesome, nature-based entertainment. If you prefer to lead your own adventure but appreciate a little help preparing and packing for your excursions, then head to Boundary Waters Outfitters. There you will find package options that set you up with all of the gear you need to explore the Boundary Waters.
Imagine guiding your crew along small rivers and across glacial lakes where you will spot bald eagles, river otters, and moose. Eventually, you can fish your way to a spot where you might spend the evening around the campfire and the nights staring up at the star-lit sky. No guide included, just you and your clan braving the untamed wilderness (no phones allowed). Packages do include trip routing and detailed maps along with a continental breakfast the morning of your trip and free showers when your return. The Griswolds would be proud!
Note: guided adventures are available for those looking for a more relaxed approach to their vacation.
Price: Family packages start at $965 for 4 days (family of 4 people)
Address: 629 Kawishiwi Trail Ely, Minnesota