|Family Travel Files Ezine Family Vacations Resource
|Add More Zip and Extra Fun to Your Next Family Vacation.
Prepare to zip, soar, jump, glide and feel free. Just shake it up. Zipline adventures add new perspectives; shake up your norm; build confidence; provide extra thrills, and will add “whoa!” moments to any family vacation.
For mountain people ziplines have long been method of transportation for people and supplies. Scientists have used ziplines and platforms for observation; secretly I imagine them having their own fun zipping. How times have changed. Now ziplines are synonymous with family fun and adventure.
Here’s the scoop. There are more than 700 registered zipline courses on the planet meaning possibilities abound. As anyone who has ever zipped knows, no two zipline adventures will ever be the same. Location, time of year, weather, time of day and age all make a difference but for families looking to share an adventure any time will be a good time. And for parents vacationing with “always bored” teens a zipline excursion may just be the answer. The chance to literally fly through the tree tops above boulders, streams, bogs, lakes, canyons, secret caves, and across meadows, traversing bridges, and jumping off rock faces will get the attention of even the most jaded teen. Really, it is all about being able to say “I did it!” which makes all the difference no matter what your age.
Treetop thrills abound. I have assembled seven of the most family-friendly places for a zipline adventure with your kids – places zipped by our readers as well as Family Travel Files staff.
ACE Adventure Resort near Oak Hill, West Virginia.
ACE has always offered families earth-friendly family adventures from rafting and mountain biking to caving and, yes, ziplining. The zip tour begins at the cliff’s edge with a series of ziplines linked by elevated platforms each with a spectacular view through the treetops to New River Gorge. The longest zip “Terminal Velocity” now measures 800 feet and runs along the lip of the mountain 120 feet off of the ground over Rush Run Canyon. Along the treetop route transverse the narrow Sky Bridge and take a free-fall plunge off an elevated platform. Extra Zip:
For those seeking a white-knuckle thrill ACE offers night time ziplining. Bonus Points:
At ACE it is possible to add a whitewater rafting adventure to your family vacation. Details:
ACE Adventure Resort Oak Hill WV, 25901. Toll-free 1-888-ACE-RAFT (1-888-223-7238), (304) 469-2651 or www.aceraft.com
Smoky Mountain Ziplines in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Perhaps the best zipline experience in Tennessee, this adventure spot offers fast, safe family fun. Enjoy the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains while zipping through the treetops along the largest course in Pigeon Forge. They are geared to first-timers and cater to families who want to zip together. In addition to multiple levels of platforms with great views, the course offers challenges and thrills for all levels of thrill seekers making it easy for families of all age combinations to share in the fun. The nine-platform route and the 14-platform route span a maximum of 95 feet from the earth and a speed of about 20 mph. Extra Zip:
The two super-ziplines begin at 125 feet above the ground and offer the possibility of zipping at 40 mph. Bonus Points:
Tykes ages five to seven or those weighing less than 60 pounds may travel the route in tandem with a guide. Details: Smoky Mountain Ziplines 3271 Parkway Pigeon Forge, TN 37863. Toll-free 1-865-429-9004 or www.smokymountainziplines.com
Rushmore Tramway Adventures in Keystone, South Dakota.
For decades tramway rides offered visitors to Mount Rushmore easy paced family fun riding above the Ponderosa pines and today the classic experience is even better because chairlifts have replaced the original gondolas. The double zipline at Rushmore Tramway Adventures spans 800 feet and is perhaps the ultimate, hands free, Black Hills' natural adventure. Additionally, families will find extra zip in the Aerial Adventure Park. The adventure complex includes ziplines, several ropes courses of varying degrees of difficulty, 60 platforms suspended ladders and elevated bridges, trapeze elements, transit tubes, cables and rings. Extra Zip:
Tramway riders have the option to descend the mountain via a high-speed Alpine slide or energizing zipline. Details:
Rushmore Tramway Adventures 203 Cemetery Road Keystone SD 57751. (605) 666-4478 or www.rushmoretramwayadventures.com
Forever Florida Adventures in the Wild near Kissimmee, Florida.
This location has the largest and safest guided zipline trail in Florida with seven dual ziplines, 10 observation platforms, and three sky bridges winding through the treetops over natural semi tropical habitats. Extra Zip:
Additional thrills include the Rattlesnake, the only zipline roller coaster in the USA; the Peregrine Plunge, the longest single straightaway zipline in Florida plus a 68-foot high challenge tower, and an extreme swing free fall experience. Bonus Points:
Ride the Cypress Canopy Cycle (The only one of its kind in the U.S.) is a reclining bicycle suspended on a steel cable trail about 25 feet above the earth. Details:
Forever Florida 4755 N. Kenansville Road St. Cloud, FL 34773. Toll-free 1-866-854-3837, (407)957-9794 or www.foreverflorida.com
Sky Valley Zip Tours near Boone, North Carolina.
Sky Valley offers a three-hour outdoor ziplining adventure amid the natural beauty of a 140-acre, third generation property. The treetop zips run rain or shine, and each begins with an off-road ATV ride through the river and up a mountain. Put your cellphone in airplane mode and prepare to zip and soar through the tree tops above boulders, streams, secret caves, and across meadows, traversing bridges, and jumping off rock faces. Bonus Points:
Every zip tour is accompanied by two trained canopy rangers and a photographer to capture all the crazy "whoa!" moments. Details:
Sky Valley Zip Tours 634 Sky Ranch Road, Blowing Rock, NC 28605. 1-855-4-SKY-ZIP, 1-855-4-SKY-ZIP or www.skyvalleyziptours.com
The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach.
The new Adventure Forest ziplining complex at Virginia Aquarium contains 13 different elevated trails color coded to indicate degree of difficulty. The trails include more than 170 crossings made of rope, cable, and wood plus more than 20 zip lines. The most challenging treetop routes are up to 55 feet above the ground and the longest zip line runs 315 feet and crosses Owls Creek. Bonus Points:
An additional 40 platforms, crossings, and zip lines scaled down for younger climbers ages five to nine make up the area dubbed The Labyrinth. Extra Zip:
For extra thrills try ziplining through the Adventure Forest at night. Details:
Virginia Aquarium Adventure park 717 General Booth Blvd. Virginia Beach, VA 23451. (757) 385-4947 (385-IZIP) or www.virginiabeachtrees.com
Cypress Valley Canopy Tours near Austin, Texas.
One of the country's first zipline adventures remains one of the best in Texas. It’s a way to see Texas Hill Country from a bird’s eye view soaring through giant old-growth cypress over streams and limestone walls. The zipline route includes two sky bridges, a series of treetop platforms, and five ziplines with the longest more than 350 feet in length. Extra Zip:
The most popular way to conclude the adventure is to rappel off the last platform. Don’t worry it’s optional. Bonus points: When the day heats up cool off with a dip in the nearby spring-fed private lake or clear water pool. Details:
Cypress Valley Canopy Tours 1223 S Paleface RR, Spicewood TX, 78669. (512) 264-8880 or www.cypressvalleycanopytours.com
Need more zipline suggestions?
Checkout the best spot to enjoy a zipline family adventures in California
Content researched and posted by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files. Copyright updated 2017.