An adorable sloth guaranteed to delight the whole family, Costa Rica (Shutterstock)
List Words : Team Wanderlust | 01 July 2019

9 amazing adventure holidays for families

Having kids doesn't need to be the end of your travels. With tour operators wising up to the fact that families want more than beaches and theme parks, here are 9 fantastic family adventures...

1. Wild times in deepest Borneo

A proboscis monkey in Borneo (Dreamstime)

A proboscis monkey in Borneo (Dreamstime)

Combining adventure and education, this could well be the perfect family holiday. You and the kids will stay in authentic tribal longhouses, experiencing the local lifestyle first hand, as well as learning skills like lighting fires and shooting blowpipes that are essential to surviving in the rainforest.

The kids will also experience unforgettable encounters with the legendary wildlife of Borneo. On Selingan Island, your children will help on the turtle conservation project.

At the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, they’ll learn how these great apes are being rescued and rehabilitated. And a river boat trip up the mighty Kinabatangan River will reveal a host of wildlife superstars, from pygmy elephants to the extraordinary proboscis monkey.

Trip: Borneo Family Adventure

Who: Intrepid

Type: Small group

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: 11 days

How much: From £1,184 (exc. flights)

2. Discover the Wild Wild West

Cowboy looking at the horizon, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park (Shutterstock)

Cowboy looking at the horizon, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park (Shutterstock)

Camp under the stars in iconic US national parks and explore Yosemite and Monument Valley on this 12-day family adventure with Grand American Adventures.

Your kids will be blown away by the epic grandeur of the Grand Canyon, the mysterious hoodoos casting shadows over Bryce, swift rivers carving winding canyons in Zion, and granite peaks and waterfalls sparkling above evergreen forests in Yosemite Valley.

Highlights include a backroads tour of Monument Valley, led by a Navajo guide, as well as a visit to the spooky ghost town of Rhyolite and two full days in Yosemite National Park.

Trip: Western Family Discovery

Who: Grand American Adventures

Type: Small group

When: Jul & Aug

How long: 12 days

How much: From £1,539 (exc. flights)

3. Chasing the Big Five in South Africa and Eswatini

Young girl spots an elephant in Kruger National Park (Shutterstock)

Young girl spots an elephant in Kruger National Park (Shutterstock)

Combine unforgettable cultural and wildlife experiences on this incredible family safari through South Africa and Eswatini (Swaziland) with Intrepid.

After visiting South Africa’s most famous township, Soweto, you’ll head out into the wilderness, stopping at a Zulu village and experience activities such as hiking, kayaking and rafting, before arriving at Kruger National Park for unbelievable wildlife watching.

You’ll visit other Southern African game reserves too, putting you and your family right in the midst of the mighty 'Big Five' game of Africa.

Beautifully lit by candles and parafin lanterns, your spacious campsite in Hlane National Park, for example, is just a stone's throw from a floodlit waterhole frequented by elephants and rhinos.

Your kids will talk about this African adventure for the rest of their lives.

Trip: South Africa Family Safari with Teenagers

Who: Intrepid

Type: Small group

When: Apr to Aug, Oct & Dec

How long: 13 days

How much: £1,143 (exc. flights)

4. Wild and wet in Costa Rica

Just hanging around in Costa Rica (Dreamstime)

Just hanging around in Costa Rica (Dreamstime)

Costa Rica is arguably the world’s best family holiday destination – combining amazing wildlife, spectacular beaches and rainforest and the odd adventure activity, like white water rafting.

Starting in the country’s lush Central Valley, you’ll visit the Poás Volcano, La Paz Waterfall and help out at a wildlife rescue centre. Then it’s on to Arenal, with its dramatic volcano, hot springs and a host of activities like birdwatching, rafting, horseriding and zip lining.

Finally, unwind on the long, sandy beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula, before returning home refreshed and invigorated.

Trip: Family fun in Costa Rica

Who: TravelLocal

Type: Tailor-made

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 18 days

How much: From £1,130 (exc. flights)

5. Camping and kayaking in Baja California

Kayaking in Baja (Dreamstime)

Kayaking in Baja (Dreamstime)

If your kids are a little older and the active type, this sea kayaking expedition around Espiritu Santo Island in Baja California could be just the family adventure you’re looking for.

Over eight days, you’ll circumnavigate the island, pulling in at a series of rocky bays where the beaches are sugar white and the sea varies from cobalt to jade.

Here, you’ll camp for the night, feasting on freshly caught seafood, before casting off again onto the ocean where an abundance of marine life, including whales, awaits.

Trip: Active Mexico: Camping And Kayaking In Baja California

Who: Journey Latin America

Type: Small group

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 11 days

How much: £1,924 (exc. flights)

6. Hunt for vampires in Transylvania

Dracula’s Castle at night (Dreamstime)

Dracula’s Castle at night (Dreamstime)

On this three-day, Dracula-themed short break in the heart of darkest Transylvania, you and your family will be thoroughly immersed in the world of Bram Stoker’s creation and his real-life counterpart, Vlad the Impaler. We'd say this one's best for older children, or kids who aren't easily spooked. 

Starting with a ritual killing of the living dead, a traditional Transylvanian ceremony to help a haunted spirit to gain his peace, you’ll visit Bran Castle, known locally as Dracula’s Castle, and stay in the Medieval Saxon Citadel of Sighisoara­ – Vlad the Impaler’s birth place and the best preserved medieval citadel in Europe.

And on your final night? A vampire feast to celebrate surviving... 

Trip: Vampire in Transylvania - Three Days Dracula-Themed Short Break

Who: Transylvania Live: Expert In Transylvania

Type: Small group

When: Flexible

How long: Three days

How much: £538 (€599) (excl flights)

7. Jungles and ancient cities in darkest Peru

Meeting the locals at Machu Picchu (Dreamstime)

Meeting the locals at Machu Picchu (Dreamstime)

Introduce your family to the scenic grandeur, ruined temples, colonial cities and exotic wildlife of Peru on this Machu Picchu and Amazon adventure with Journey Latin America.

You and your family will travel from dizzy heights at the rim of the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest in the world, to the floating reed islands of the Uros Indians on Lake Titicaca. Next, Machu Picchu, the Inca Lost City, awaits – an unforgettable and hard-earned sight. 

Finally, a short flight and boat ride will take you to a wildlife lodge deep in the heart of the Amazon, where adventure and amazing wildlife are guaranteed.

Trip: Family Peru: Machu Picchu And Amazon Adventures

Who: Journey Latin America

Type: Tailor-made

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: 19 days

How much: From £3,340 (exc. flights)

8. A family adventure through China’s past and present

Riding a bamboo raft on the Yulong River in Yangshuo (Shutterstock)

Riding a bamboo raft on the Yulong River in Yangshuo (Shutterstock)

Look to the future while embracing its past on this incredible 14-day family adventure through China with G Adventures. 

Starting in Beijing, you’ll stop in at the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall before departing to Xi’an for a summit with the Terracotta Warriors. Later, enjoy three days in the rugged beauty of rural Yangshuo before winding it all up in bustling Hong Kong.

A beguiling mix of ancient and modern, your family will see where China has been – and where it’s headed.

Trip: China Family Adventure

Who: G Adventures

Type: Small group

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: 14 days

How much: From £1,439 (exc. flights)

9. Tigers and Temples in India

Male tiger standing on the rocky cliff in Rajasthan (Shutterstock)

Male tiger standing on the rocky cliff in Rajasthan (Shutterstock)

Full of authentic and memorable experiences, this family adventure holiday through Rajasthan with KE Adventure Travels, is an exciting introduction to the palaces and wildlife of Northern India.

This holiday is perfect for families who want to squeeze lots of fun and activities into their time in India. This trip will take you from the bustling, vibrant streets of Delhi to Rajasthan, a land of tigers, maharajas and ancient ruined palaces.

You will experience the magic of sunset falling upon the Taj Mahal and the equally beguiling wetlands of the Keoladeo National Park at Bharatpur. With two included game drives, your kids will have a real chance of spotting tigers in the wild at the world-renowned Ranthambore National Park. 

This incredible family holiday through Northern India is the perfect blend of history, wildlife and stunning landscapes.

Trip: Tigers and Temples of Rajasthan - Family India

Who: KE Adventure Travels

Type: Small group

When: Apr, Aug, Oct & Dec

How long: 10 days

How much: From £895 (exc. flights)

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