What is a typical day at a Summit?

6:30am – Wake up and join in early birding, yoga or just get ready for a busy day of activities.

7:30-9:00am – Join family and friends at a hearty buffet breakfast. We have plenty of choices including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free. Your kids may want to eat with their new friends while you discuss the hike options with some of the more experienced hikers at the table.

8:00am – If you have younger kids, you will drop them off with their group for day. They may be hiking today or exploring a stream, whatever it is, it will be exciting!

8-10:30am Be sure to be on time for your activities! Our trips are action packed and we can’t wait for long. Grab a bag lunch if you have an all day trip planned.

noon-1:00pm – Lunchtime back in the dining room. Eat with new and old friends and family. If you have kids, they might stop by and tell you about all the fun they are having before running off to eat lunch with their new found friends or eat lunch as a family and find out the about the morning adventures.

1:00pm –   For those with young kids, drop them off for their afternoon activity. They might be plein air painting or listening to a Native American story teller. You head out on a butterfly field trip.

3:30pm –  Most people return from the afternoon activities. You may take a nap or enjoy an all family or solo activity like a storytime, high ropes, horseback riding, book club, and more

5:00pm – A delicious dinner with friends and family in the dining hall. One night, we always have a dinner traditional to the area such as lobster in Maine or shrimp and grits in North Carolina

7:00pm – If you aren’t exhausted from the day, gather with the other attendees for the evening program – possibilities include local musicians or story tellers, a wildlife presentation, ice cream social/dance, skits and presentations.

8:00pm – Participate in an evening star party, geology lecture, or an a trip to see night time animals. These activities may be adult-only or family friendly depending on the content.

What are the accommodations and food like?

We strive for accommodations that provide comfortable bedding and variety of room configurations in a spectacular natural setting. We also look for places that have a variety of meeting spaces for Summiteers to gather. The specific accommodations have varied from the rustic simplicity of Ghost Ranch New Mexico to 5 star luxury at St. Andrews by the Bay at New Brunswick. For what to expect at the next Summit, please go to the Next Summit page. 

The food is part of the accommodations fee that the resort charges. They provide all 3 meals while you are at the Summit.We contract with the chef to provide healthy food to help fuel our active days. If you have an all-day field trip we supply sack lunches.

We make sure that we can accommodate a variety of dietary needs and restrictions. If you have specific concerns, please contact us to discuss further.

And one night of each Summit we have a special meal of local food like lobster in Maine or shrimp and grits in North Carolina.

How much does the Summit cost?

The cost of the Summit varies based on location. There will be two fees: program registration fee and a separate housing/meal plan fee. Please visit our Next Summit page for specific costs.

What kind of activities do you offer?

Our activities vary with each location, but you can be sure there is something for everyone.

Our adrenaline folks will enjoy vigorous hikes, kayaking, mountain biking, and our ever-popular adventure race (a competitive event that includes orienteering, biking, running, and water sport).

More laid-back or physically limited folks have plenty to choose from too! Our rambles are a chance to go slow and observe nature at close range. We have story tellers and demonstrations of crafts and skills. We have field trips to local points of interest like cherry orchards, vineyards or sustainable farms or businesses. Our plein Air painting class is always popular.

The scholars among us will appreciate the environmental experts teaching freshwater ecology, butterfly rearing, or the effects of climate change to the region’s environment.

Do I need to rent a car for the Summit?

Once you have arrived at the Summit site you will not need a car. When available, we provide information about shuttle services between the nearby airport(s) and the Summit site.

For more specific information about transportation, please see our Next Summits page.

Who are Summits for?

Family Nature Summits are attended by a wide range of people including multi-generational or single families, groups of friends of all ages, and solo travelers looking for a unique experience focused on nature.

How many people attend a Summit?

We typically have 300+ attendees – ranging in age from 0-100.

Where are the Summits held?

We hold Summits all over the United States- and sometimes Canada – wherever we can find an amazing natural setting with plenty of activities. We are always scouting new locations.  Typically, we alternate locations east of the Mississippi River and west of the Mississippi River. But you never know! 

For specific previous locations, please visit our map on our home page.

When are the Summits?

Typically the Summit is held over July 4 week, but depending on the location, we vary the date from mid-June to mid-August.

What scholarships do you offer?

We offer two scholarships: Craig Tufts Environmental Education Scholarship for youth 8-18 and Teacher Scholarship.

Craig Tufts was a naturalist who made the Summits his mission.The Craig Tufts Educational Scholarship Fund is intended to continue Craig’s legacy and to replicate the spark that he provided for so many because of his extensive knowledge of and appreciation for the natural world. The Craig Tufts Scholarship page has more information about the scholarship, application process, and how to donate.

The Teacher Scholarship brings a teacher to the Summit so that she/he can learn about how to bring nature to the classroom. The Teacher Scholarship page contains more information about the scholarship and the application process.

Who is currently on the Family Nature Summits board?

Please visit our Board for more information.

What is the deal with the scarves?

Scarves at Family Nature Summits are a tradition started by the National Wildlife Federation (the first Summit hosts) to show how many Summits a person has attended. The scarf is a fun way to start new conversations and connect with other attendees. Many people choose to wear their scarves throughout the week and there are no rules for how you wear it. Let your own creativity be your guide.

Yellow 1st year! Welcome!
Green 2nd through 4 year
Blue 5th through 9th year
Red 10th through 14th year
Purple 15th through 19th year
Maroon 20th through 24th year
Robin Egg Blue 25th+ year
Orange Faculty
White Volunteer

How do I spread the word about the Summit?

Fantastic! We have a Get Involved page where you can find more information about what you can do. We have materials online that you can print out to share. If you have a specific event, we can create a custom flyer and other presentations. Please contact info@familynaturesummits.org

How do I get group photos from previous years?

Here is the link to our Store to purchase photos.

Who organizes the Summits?

Our faculty, hiking director and programming director scout the location for the best in natural education and experiences it has to offer. We reach out to the established local organizations to provide us with the expertise we need. The transportation director is also involved in making sure that we have the transportation necessary to run the Summit. While a few of the positions are paid, we are volunteer run organization with volunteers providing key aspects of the Summit experience. We are so grateful to the Summiteers who live near the Summit location for vital connections and information.