If your family prefers hiking and mountain biking to lounging by a pool, or would rather zip line into an underground cenote than wade into gentle surf—in other words, if your crew craves adventure as much as mine—you’ll want to check out the following family adventure vacations.
1) Whale sharks and cenotes in the Yucatan
Why sit on the beach in Riviera Maya, Mexico, when ancient ruins, venomous snakes, cavernous sink holes, and whale sharks await? Join Alltournative guides for full day adventures that will take you from four-wheeler to horseback to snorkel gear…all before lunch.
2) Family rafting in the Southern Oregon sunshine
Camping without lifting a finger? Rafting without a care in the world? Sounds relaxing, but here’s the secret of OARS’ Rogue River Rafting trip: you can add a healthy dose of adrenaline any time you like. While I lounged in a sun-baked raft most of my days on the Rogue, my son sought out thrill after thrill along the river…and still had energy left over to explore swimming holes.
3) Kayaking off Vancouver Island
Older kids ready to command their own kayak for an island-to-island ocean voyage will find the ultimate in adventure with Majestic Ocean Kayaking. The four-day kayaking trip from the rugged western coast of Vancouver Island, BC to the Broken Group Islands takes families with teens through the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Younger kids can start with a day trip through the Ucluelet Harbor.
4) Adventure and education in Peru
Traveling with kids to locales such as the Peruvian Andes can be downright daunting to even the most adventurous parents, but with OARS holding your hand, the stress of international adventure travel with kids—even young kids—disappears. The Peru Family Adventure vacation offers a trifecta of water, mountains, and cultural excursions.
5) Grand Canyon lite
A rafting trip down the Green River in Utah combines stunning canyon geography (hello, Grand Canyon bucket list) and an off-the-beaten-path vibe with affordability families will appreciate. Kids will dig Dinosaur National Monument (no pun intended!).
6) Rail travel through the Canadian Rockies
When you book passage on VIA Rail’s The Canadian, be sure to outfit each kid with his or her own camera…they’ll need one. The splendor of the Rockies is breathtaking both en route—the Canadian will slow for iconic sites such as Pyramid Falls—and once you’re deposited in the heart of Jasper National Park. To add to the adventure, rent a car to explore Lake Louise and Banff National Park. On the rails, kids are entertained by fun dining experiences, cozy berths, and a car dedicated to board and card games.
7) Real Alaska with true Alaskans
Forget everything you think you know about cruising with kids: a tour of SE Alaska with Alaskan Dream Cruises is intimate, adventurous, educational, and 100 percent kid-approved. You won’t find unending buffet lines and mega-ship crowds here: instead, guests are treated to first-rate views of wildlife and natural wonders from the vantage point of kayaks, ATVs, and Zodiac boats.
8) Giddy-up in Wyoming
If the kids have always begged for a pony, a dude ranch stay in stunning Grand Teton National Park will get them off your back…and onto the back of their own horses for the week. Triangle X Ranch is the only all inclusive family ranch operating within the park, offering daily rides, hikes, bonfires, and even overnight pack trips for teens.