The go-to family vacations — think theme parks, beach weekends, treks to Grandma's — don't have to be the norm. It turns out kids love an adventure just as much as you do. When planning your next family getaway, keep that in mind as you select everything from your travel methods to your destination and activities. You might just be able to orchestrate something that'll be fresh and exciting for all of you.
Need a little help? Here are our picks for the best adventurous vacations for you and your family.
Many family adventures begin on a campsite — there are so many ways to explore and enjoy nature from there. It can be a daunting trip to take with kids, though, so you'll want to consider all the details before you begin your journey.
Start by settling on your travel method of choice. If it was you camping solo or with grown-up friends, you might opt to rough it in the truest sense of the term. But your kids might not like camping in a tent for a few days — then what? In this case, it's best to bring as many comforts of home as possible to ease the transition into camping. So, if you can, rent a camper to use for the week or weekend. We promise your kiddos will love to ride around in it, let alone sleep in it for a week.
Once you're on the site, be sure to make the experience as simple and fun for your kids as possible. Try sticking to their normal routine so their meals and sleeping hours don't fall completely out of whack. And, if you can't swing a camper rental this time around, be sure to rent a campsite that allows you to drive right up to your plot of land. Having the car nearby will be a big help.
2. Cruise Ship
A cruise ship might seem to be another mainstream, adventure-free option. If so, you're not looking at the right cruising options. Today, plenty of vessels take advantage of their slightly smaller-than-the-average-cruise-ship size and navigate their way into less touristy cities and incredibly scenic natural areas.
To that end, a family cruise to Alaska could be the perfect combination of cruise-ship comfort and natural wonder. You and your family will be able to see some of the world’s most amazing sights. Imagine going whale-watching with your kids, catching a glimpse of a grizzly bear or seeing a glacier that's the same size as Hong Kong. You'll find all that in Alaska, and your kids will love every minute of it. Oh, and traveling by boat will amaze them, too — and you and the other grown-ups in your party will also appreciate your luxurious surroundings.
3. Zip Line
OK, you and your family can't travel from home to your next destination via zip line. But an adventurous vacation in Central America would give you plenty of opportunities to glide through the rainforest, and the activity is kid-approved.
Costa Rica makes the list of bucket-list destinations for adventurous families because there's so much to explore and do. Aside from zip lining, your family can go on wildlife watches, visit butterfly farms, hit the beach, learn to surf... there's an activity for children of every age. And chances are, you've already taken your kids on a flight, so getting there will be a breeze — and a notable part of the adventure for them, too.
Many kids go through a period in which they're obsessed with trains — we can thank a long-lasting children's show for that. It turns out, however, train travel is an excellent option for families in the mood to explore. Trains efficiently get you from point A to point B, while giving you the opportunity to show your kids different parts of the country or world while you sit comfortably on board.
In the United States alone, plenty of scenic journeys will delight you and your kids. For instance, hop onto a locomotive for a jaw-dropping ride through Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains — then, hop off for a few days of camping and exploring the gorgeous surroundings. The Mount Hood Railway shows off Oregon's natural beauty as well, but it has some even family-friendlier options, too. One journey runs through Portland in October, so you can check out the changing leaves. Another simulates a Western-style train robbery, which older kids would love, too.
These are just four ways to get your family on the road to your next adventure. They'll create an air of excitement your kids will not only love but remember for a lifetime. Keep that fact in mind as you plan your next getaway — no matter how you get there, you'll be making amazing memories as you and your family explore the world together.