Family holidays can be difficult to get right.
Months of planning, hours of travel, and untold investments only to find your children saying there’s “nothing to do”.
The good news is…it doesn’t have to be that way if you choose the right holiday and activities.
Trust me, it’s the rare child indeed who wouldn’t enjoy, say, horseback riding or an underwater safari with spanking new scuba gear.
So, if you’re looking for holidays guaranteed to entertain even the most stroppy ‘tween, check out our 13 ideas for your next family adventure.
1. Brave the breeze kitesurfing in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Zanzibar.
Zanzibar is an ideal destination for kitesurfers—Paje Beach is wilder than anything you’ll find in Europe. There are steady sideshore winds, gorgeous sandy beaches, and flat conditions on the huge lagoons. It’s the perfect place to perfect your skills or learn new ones.
And if you’re not into kitesurfing, you can even swim with the dolphins off Paje Beach.
2. Search for Nemo and Dory snorkeling the house reef on a secluded island resort in the Maldives.
Don’t bother with a boat ride to find the perfect spot to snorkel—many resorts in the Maldives have fabulous house reefs you could explore for a week or more and never get bored! And the colorful marine life is captivating.
In addition to clownfish and blue tangs, you’ll see brilliant anemones, giant clams, butterflyfish, bannerfish, rays, and even octopus. You might even see a whale shark or two! Why not show the video above to your kids and see how excited they get?
3. Backpack the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and sip mint tea with the locals in a Berber village.
The snow-capped peaks of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains are a trekker’s dream with dozens of summits of 4,000 meters or more, although if you’re not quite that ambitious, there are plenty of lower peaks to climb, too. And with mules to carry your gear, you’re free to explore the rural villages, hidden passages, and panoramic views.
Arrange to visit one of the many Berber villages and enjoy a cup of fragrant mint tea with the locals for an authentic cultural adventure.
4. Do the “Batman” and the “Butterfly” as you fly over the cloud forest on a zipline in Ecuador.
Mindo is an adventurer’s destination, just 80 kilometers from Quito, Ecuador. Strapped to a zipline with the rainforest beneath you, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the toucans and owls and hummingbirds and butterflies that make their home among the colorful orchids and trees.
You’ll feel like you’re flying yourself as you make your way across the canopy—and kids as young as 6 can safely enjoy the adventure.
5. Learn to drive cattle and bison on a dude ranch in Colorado.
Why not learn some new skills in the saddle on a dude ranch in one of Colorado’s national parks?
Learn to drive cattle and even ride with the bison herds in Sand Dunes National Park—you’ll do everything a ranch hand does on a working cattle ranch. Even if you’re a novice on a horse, you’ll be matched with a wrangler to help you develop your skills.
Want a more rustic experience? You can even take an overnight camping trip on horseback in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
6. Can’t get enough horseback riding? Try a horseback safari at Ant’s Nest Lodge in South Africa.
Is it possible to improve on a South African safari? If you love horses, it is. A horseback safari puts you in the saddle, up close and personal with all the wildlife around you. Imagine galloping across the savannah, racing across shallow rivers and streams, following a herd of buffalo or tracing the path of family of giraffes.
You’ll never hear “I’m bored” on this adventure.
7. See glaciers, grizzlies, and whales on a tour of Canada.
Canada is a vast and gorgeous country teeming with wildlife and amazing outdoor adventures. Go kayaking and hiking, take a boat cruise, or even hire an SUV and explore the breathtaking countryside.
See the glaciers in the Canadian Rockies, watch for killer whales and bald eagles as you paddle through the fjords, and look for grizzly bears in Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia.
Outdoor enthusiasts will love every minute of an adventure holiday in Canada.
8. Get in touch with your inner Spartacus at gladiator school in Rome.
Roman gladiators were fierce warriors who fought to the death for sport in ancient Rome.
At Gruppo Storico Romano, one of the many gladiator schools in Rome, your kids will see demonstrations of how these warriors fought and learn the basic moves before putting their new skills to the test in a mock duel using wooden swords and shields in a lifelike replica of a gladiator arena.
Want to be the coolest parents around? Sign your kids up for gladiator school.
9. Make your own banh xeo at a Vietnamese cooking class in Saigon—or if you’d rather just eat, take a street food tour!
Vietnam’s food culture is one of its greatest appeals, so why not give your kids a true appreciation for Vietnam’s cuisine?
At many cooking schools in Saigon, your kids will actually go to the market to shop for ingredients—and even pick their own herbs and produce at the school’s private garden—before learning to make iconic dishes. And if cooking doesn’t appeal, take a street food tour and sample the fabulous pho, slippery noodles, and extravagant seafood dishes the city is famous for.
10. Brush up on your volcanology and hike the lava trails at Arenal Volcano National Park in Costa Rica.
The Arenal volcano is the most active volcano in Costa Rica; watching it eject streams of molten lava and fiery boulders and glowing puffs of smoke never fails to amaze visitors to Arenal National Park.
Hike the lava trails past stunning waterfalls and try to catch a glimpse of some of the park’s exotic wildlife—tapirs, monkeys, jaguars, sloths, and even alligators. You can also go whitewater rafting and horseback riding in the park, or take a canopy tour.
11. Take El Chepe, one of the greatest train rides on earth, through Mexico’s Copper Canyon.
Kids and trains are a natural mix—at least this particular train. El Chepe traverses the vast southern province of Chihuahua across Copper Canyon, which is much deeper and wider than its American cousin, the Grand Canyon.
This iconic train climbs to over 8,000 feet and winds through the Tarahumara Indian villages, where an ancient nomadic lifestyle is still practiced. The train ride is an adventure in its own right, passing through waterfalls and mountain tunnels and dark forests before taking a few precipitous plunges on the last leg of the journey.
It’s a ride your kids will never forget.
12. Unravel the mysteries of the swimming elephants in Gal Oya National Park in Sri Lanka.
No one knows why the elephants in Gal Oya National Park, Sri Lanka spend so much time swimming in the Senanayake Samudraya Lake—but swim they do, frolicking in the water for hours at a time.
Take a boat tour and watch for the telltale trunk moving above the surface like a periscope on a submarine; soon the elephant will surface, perhaps swimming alongside you for a moment, before submerging once again.
The baby elephants in particular seem to take special joy paddling around the lake and frolicking on the shore.
13. Hang with the penguins, sea lions, and seals in Argentina’s Peninsula Valdes.
The Peninsula Valdes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Argentinian Patagonia and it’s home to an amazing assortment of marine mammals and wildlife.
Sea lions and elephant seals bask in the sun (the peninsula is one of the most important seal breeding grounds in the world). Up to half a million Magellan penguins make their home in the Punto Tombo Rookery on Peninsula Valdes; visit in November to see the babies hatch.
It’s also one of the best places in the world for watching right whales and orcas swim and play, too.
Ready to Go?
So why not book something completely different and out-of-the-box for your next family holiday? Any of these adventures will keep the kids outside and on the go all day long.
And if you see something you like, contact us today and we’ll get the ball rolling for the ultimate stress-free family holiday of your dreams.