Payoff We hit the water with a small armada of watercraft and 17 people, including eight kids. For five days, we enjoyed water fights, paddling, beach games, and riverside campsites. And the kids would occasionally look around—really, we saw this—and say, “Wow this is gorgeous.” Afterward, your child might even tell you (as mine did), “That was the coolest trip of my life! Can we do it again next week?” —M. Lanza
Do it The Green River snakes for 52 placid (read: flatwater, perfect for canoes packed with luxury items) miles through Stillwater Canyon in Canyonlands National Park, below a backdrop of redrock spires and cliffs where you might see bighorn sheep. Side paths lead up narrow canyons to Puebloan rock art and cliff dwellings. Riverside beaches offer heavenly lunch stops and campsites.