A Texas hike with Texas cactus. Makes us miss North Carolina! Don't get me wrong, Texas is beautiful and there are some great places to hike, just not in May-August!
We always find ways to beat the heat! The #1 best investment ever for hiking (especially with kids) is our great SwissGear hydration packs! We love them, bought them at Walmart for around $20 each. They are in a light backpack, small enough just for essential gear, but they hold 2 liters of water, the straw thingy attaches to the shoulder strap and the kids enjoy sipping out of them, so it helps keep them hydrated, AND carrying the water on your back also seems to keep you cooler.
Of course you should hike with the essentials and emergency supplies like an emergency kit, whistles for each kid, matches, compass, knives, granola bars. But we have found bandanas to be really vital for us for so many reasons! We wet them and wear them on our heads, use them as plates, carrying stuff, wipe sweat, you name it. We also like to have ponytail holders and clips for many uses as well (mainly to attach things to the outside of our packs when we get tired of carrying them). I also try to have some kind of great candy or sugar something for a rest stop when the kids are just beat, to perk them up and get them going again.
We look for 2 things in a good hike: a place so off the beaten path you can't get to it otherwise (there needs to be some type of reward: a good view, a waterfall, a destination of some sort). Second, we look for trails with some water to cross, it just makes hiking fun, and it cools us off if we need to stop and soak our feet or wet a bandana to put on our heads.