Top 10 holidays for adventurous families
So the lunch boxes are filled, the uniforms are on, and the kids are back to school. Time to think about next year’s summer holiday! Family holidays are the perfect way to bond and create wonderful memories, keeping the kids entertained as mum and dad enjoy the sunshine and well deserved time off. A beach holiday is of course an amazing way to spend some family time, but what if you fancy something a bit more adventurous? A holiday abroad is a fantastic way to give your kids new, unforgettable experiences, and a bit of education into other cultures and destinations, too. From exploring the vibrant culture of Vietnam, Thailand and Sri Lanka and enjoying adrenaline fuelled trips to Costa Rica, to fun yet educational holidays to the Capital Region and New England, here are our top 10 holidays for adventurous families for those hoping to experience something unique next year.
Sometimes you just can’t help but choose a sunny beach holiday – England’s version of summer isn’t exactly reliable, after all. Tobago is the perfect place for a family holiday in the sun – it still has a classic Caribbean charm, and isn’t quite as pricey as the likes of Barbados and St Lucia. The kids will love immersing themselves in the Caribbean lifestyle, with delicious BBQ food, lively kids clubs, and incredible water sports. Snorkelling, kayaking, swimming and scuba diving is a brilliant way to blend relaxation with adventure, meaning that mum and dad can sip cocktails in the sun, whilst the kids splash and play in the crystal clear waters. Turtle watching is a big past-time in Tobago too – the whole family will never forget watching baby turtles escape from their eggs and hurry their way into the sea. The aptly named Turtle Beach is a firm family favourite thanks to its abundance of magnificent turtles.
Further reading: How to beat expensive family travel in Tobago
9. New England
New England’s gorgeous foliage and quaint towns offer the perfect backdrop for leisurely family bike rides, enjoying the sunshine, exploring the coastlines, and tucking in to tasty seafood. This pretty cluster of states are full of maritime and colonial history and culture, so there’s plenty of opportunities for education activities – but that’s not to say that New England isn’t full of thrills, too. Take a trip to the Trapp Family Lodge, built by the real-life Von Trapp family for a historical tour, explore the charming town of Kennebunkport for an afternoon of waterfront yoga, face-painting lessons and kayak excursions, and get back to nature with fantastic moose spotting and whale watching activities. New England is full of wonderful day trips to create a whimsical family holiday.
More information and to book: Self-Drive New England Family Adventure
8. Capital Region, USA
America’s history is vast, fascinating and diverse, and though perhaps the kids won’t be besotted with the idea of having a history lesson for a holiday, there’s plenty of interactive, exciting ways to get the kids involved in the Capital Region – consisting of Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland – which means they’ll never be bored. The National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC is a brilliant example thanks to their real-life science experiments and experiences, including daily tarantula feedings, and a live butterfly farm in the Butterfly Pavilion. If your kids love playing spy, they’ll be enthused by the International Spy Museum, filled with lots of interactive experiences including the thrilling one hour live action adventure, Operation Spy. Virginia is a brilliant destination for families too, home to the exhilarating Busch Gardens, Virginia Safari Park, and water sports at Virginia Beach, whilst the kids will love Maryland’s Assateague Island, home to beautiful wild horses that roam freely along the beaches.
More information and to book: Self-Drive Capital Region Family Experience
7. Costa Rica
Little explorers will love the lush, tropical rainforest that spreads across Costa Rica’s landscapes, home to sparkling crater lakes, towering volcanoes, cascading waterfalls, and secluded, sugary sand beaches. It’s not just the exceptional sceneries and exotic wildlife that draws families in though – it’s the incredible outdoor activities on offer here, too. From white-water rafting in La Fortuna and whizzing through Santa Elena Cloud Reserve on a zip-line, to hiking through tropical forests and surfing along the Pacific coast, active families will be in their element at Costa Rica. You can include a bit of culture to your trip too, exploring the colonial city of San Jose, and visiting local families to learn to make traditional cuisine.
More information and to book: Costa Rica Family Adventure
6. Ranch holiday
Get away from the modern hotels and typical beach holiday and take the kids on an exciting ranching trip in America instead. This is a truly unique way to spend some time with the family, sleeping and dining in rustic, western-style accommodation amidst a background of soaring mountains and sweeping valleys. The kids will love the daily horse rides, and the whole family will be in awe of the impressive landscapes ahead. The western theme that resides amongst most ranches will be sure to excite the kids too, offering an insight into the authentic cowboy lifestyle. There are plenty of fantastic activities, including rodeos, stargazing, singing around a camp fire, and trying your hand at country line dancing, so despite the lack of theme parks and TV shows, there’ll be plenty to keep little ones entertained.
More information and to book: White Stallion Ranch
5. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka offers the most incredible backdrop, and a fascinating history lesson. There’s a host of amazing activities to keep the little ones occupied, but also fantastic ways to educate them too, thanks to the country’s impressive World Heritage sites and rich past. Dambulla Cave Temple, also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla, is a site that will certainly spark interest with adventurous families, its interesting statues and paintings hiding in dark yet enticing caves down below. There are lots of cultural activities to keep the whole family interested, from tea plantations and turtle hatcheries on the west coast, to wildlife spotting safaris in Uda Walawe and Hill Country train rides, meanwhile the white-sand beaches fringed with high-quality hotels offer the perfect place to relax in the sun and play in the sea.
More information and to book: Sri Lanka Tour & Beach
4. Canadian Rockies
A journey through the Canadian Rockies is truly awe-inspiring, and will open your children’s eyes to just how beautiful nature can be. Take them on a trip through these amazing destinations, offering spectacular sights, family-friendly hotels, and unbelievable activities along the way. Banff National Park is a brilliant choice, gracing families with great hiking trails, cool wolf dog viewing, and even the chance to see the world from above on the Banff Gondola, whilst the Icefields Parkway is certainly something that needs to be seen to be believed. Its ice-cold glaciers create a remarkable backdrop, and daring families will love walking along the Glacier Skywalk which juts out of the glaciers and overlooks the sweeping Sunwapta Valley.
More information and to book: Family Self-Drive Canadian Rockies & Coast
Asia is home to a colourful lifestyle completely different from our own, so why not show the kids just how fascinating another part of the world can be? Vietnam is a brilliant choice for immersing the family into a new culture, with plenty of interesting attractions and a great array of activities sure to tantalise all the senses. From cruising Halong Bay, visiting caves and meandering through vibrant floating markets, to embarking on cycling tours through rice paddies, enjoying authentic cooking classes and tucking into Vietnamese cuisine with a local family, a holiday to Vietnam is jam-packed full of amazing experiences none of you will forget in a hurry.
More information and to book: Vietnam Family Adventure
2. African safari
An African safari is one of the best options for an unbeatable family holiday to remember, giving your kids the chance to see incredible wildlife in their natural habitat, and see the world in its naturally beautiful state. How cool would it be for the kids to tell their friends at school that they’d seen a wild rhino? Or had followed cool animal tracks with a Maasai Warrior? Many camps include a family tent option too, so you can all enjoy the authentic African experience together, and there are plenty of kid’s club with fun yet educational activities for in between adventurous game drives. Kenya is a brilliant destination for family safari holidays, with brilliant child-friendly camps, and a myriad of stunning African animals including lions, giraffes, elephants and cheetahs.
More information and to book: Family Flying Safari
Thailand is a colourful hub of culture, history, and incredible attractions that will be sure to excite every age. The activities and experiences on offer in Thailand are so diverse – there’s something for everyone in this vibrant country, and the whole trip will be incredibly eye opening for the whole family. Immerse the children in traditional Thai culture with delicious cooking classes, fascinating visits to temples, and wonderful longboat tours, as well as taking advantage of the beautiful beaches and thrilling activities on offer, including zip-lining and water sports. Discovering an entirely new culture will be an incredible experience for every person in the family, visiting beautiful National Parks, experiencing the local lifestyle, and trying new, exciting food.
More information and to book: Elephant Hills Experience & Thai Beach Tour