Traveling with children. It might not sound like it’d let you get your fill of both adventure and relaxation, but believe us when we say it can. We truly think that family travel done right can please parents and kids alike, and that it doesn’t have to be all about resorts and endless compromises.
This is why our family trips feature real life experiences over virtual ones, a mix of activities for all ages, and kid-friendly hotels with pools included. But the perks don’t stop there. There’s small group sizes, there’s lot of free time and, even better, the destinations on offer won’t fail to delight.
Without further ado, here are some of our favorite family vacation destinations for 2018:
Ah, Peru. It’s difficult to think of a South American country with as much to offer. Although it has so much more than Machu Picchu, the train journey to the sacred valley really is a memorable experience for all age groups. But what else does a Peru Family Adventure entail? Well, a whole lot of fun… (And a November departure that coincides with U.S. Thanksgiving!)
You start off in the capital Lima, where the museums, cathedrals and food scene will wow you in equal measures. From there you and the family explore the incredible Amazon Jungle. You’ll have a guide to teach you about the incredible flora and fauna, and will even stay in an eco-friendly lodge that’s a cool experience for all.
After a day-trip to the magical ‘lost city’ of Machu Picchu you’ll end the epic adventure in Cuzco. Here, you and the kids simply must feast on Peruvian street food, in addition to trekking, mountain biking or zip-lining.
Intrepid recommendation: Tick off all your bucket list sights on this awesome 10-day Peru Family Adventure.
Though technically an autonomous region of Portugal, the nine volcanic islands that make up the Azores are worlds apart – mostly because they’re located slap bang in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Here, the temperature’s always mild, the vibrant scenery has not a trace of pollution, and there’s adventures suitable for anyone and everyone.
The largest island, Sao Miguel, is home to much of this splendor, and you can go waterfall rappelling, volcano hiking, or to our personal favorite spot, Lagoa do Fogo. Translating to “Lake of Fire”, it’s as exciting as it sounds. A crater lake within a stratovolcano (!), it’s reachable via a really cool hiking trail that ends with unforgettable views of the lake and lush greenery.
Our trip to the Azores lets you and the family visit Sao Miguel (spoiler alert: you can swim with dolphins!) and visit a selection of smaller islands too. Other highlights include a shower beneath waterfalls, exploring underground lava caves, and a beautiful kayaking trip.
Intrepid recommendation: Take the kids to a unique paradise on this 8-day Azores Family Holiday.
Morocco is simply spellbinding – whether you’re eight or you’re 80. The cities are brimming with markets and and music and gardens and more (Marrakech, we’re looking at you) and the scenery is so diverse it ranges from the snow-capped Atlas Mountains to the near-endless Sahara.
In our humble opinion, it’s a great option for a family vacation. You simply can’t get bored on a Morocco trip that lets you and your children ride a camel, chill out in hotels with pools, and even learn how to cook bread in the traditional Moroccan style.
Our trip has a pretty diverse range of activities, but one of the highlights has to be coastal Essaouira (guide here), a peaceful fishing town with a laid-back beach and the freshest fish around.
Intrepid recommendation: See the stunning sights of Morocco on this 8-day Morocco Family Holiday.
Ask most people where they dream of travelling to and the Galapagos Islands are sure to crop up. After all, the Ecuadorian gem is nothing short of spectacular – as isolated as it is brimming with unique wildlife, it’s what (family) bucket lists made for. A cliché, sure, but where else can you find the famed Galapagos giant tortoise, friendly sea lions, awe-inspiring beaches and unmatched snorkeling opportunities? Nowhere, that’s where.
A dream for bird lovers, a heaven for conservation enthusiasts and a destination for anyone who appreciates beautiful landscapes, it’s not a tough sell. It’s even less of a tough sell because our Galapagos family trips give the whole family a perfect opportunity to learn about the biology and diversity of this paradise.
The trip will also let you spend some time in the country’s highly underrated capital, Quito (guide here). Oh, and did we mention that the November departure date coincides superbly with Thanksgiving in the U.S.?!
Intrepid recommendation: Witness the most incredible animals on this 8-day Galapagos Family Holiday.
What doesn’t Vietnam have going for it? The Southeast Asian gem is an adventurer’s dream come true. Or, more accurately, an adventuring family’s dream come true. Nowhere is this more obvious than on a trip through the country’s north. Hint: the region is home to the bustling city of Hanoi, the rural beauty of Luong Son, and the iconic waters of Halong Bay.
We might be biased, but we’re pretty sure our family holiday there highlights the best of the region. If you’re looking for an action-packed vacation then the cycling, kayaking, boating and hiking on offer is a literal dream come true. And there’s many other highlights, but the pretty World Heritage site of Hoi An and the trip to KOTO, a restaurant to help disadvantaged youth escape poverty, are two that stand out.
In terms of hidden gems, we can’t get enough of Ninh Binh province. It’s the perfect spot for you and the family to cycle through because of the otherworldly scenery you’ll be passing. Think limestone karsts, rice paddies, and sugarcane farms, and you’ll have some idea as to why this part of the world is so special.
Intrepid recommendation: Do something different with the kids on this 9-day Vietnam Active Family Holiday.
Costa Rica is a magical destination for nature lovers. The Central American country offers not just coastline and cloud forests, but also volcanoes, rainforest and tons of wildlife-filled national parks. In other words, there’s something to please travelers of all ages. Who wouldn’t find something to love about one of the world’s most biologically diverse countries?
Even better is the fact that our Costa Rica trip for families has just the right mix of opportunities to be active and to relax. Travel by boat along Los Canales in Tortuguero National Park, seeking out monkeys and turtles. Chill out in the thermal springs perched in the shadow of Arenal volcano. And end up in Manuel Antonio National Park, a pristine spot that incorporates 12 beautiful islands, opportunities to spot whales, and plenty of white-sand beaches.
Accommodation throughout the trip includes fully-equipped apartments with pools and an array of activities for both adults and children. The icing on the cake? November departure dates coincide with U.S. Thanksgiving, making for a dream vacation for any and all families looking for an adventure.
Intrepid recommendation: Discover vibrant Costa Rica with your nearest and dearest on this 8-day Costa Rica Family Adventure.
Interested in a hassle-free, excitement-filled adventure with your family? Learn more about our family vacations.
More useful articles to read about family travel:
-Debunked: 6 totally untrue myths about family travel
-The best thing about a family tour? Seeing your children make lifelong friends
-Family travel 101: What to consider before traveling with kids
(All images c/o Intrepid Travel)