Top ten family adventure vacations

A beach resort with an activity-laden kids’ club may seem like an easy option for a family adventure vacation, but no matter how many windsurfing lessons, archery classes or treasure hunts are laid on, these vacations exist inside a sanitised bubble. Opt instead for small group or tailor made vacations that get you away from overcrowded vacation hotspots and into wild spaces, where you’ll stay in small hotels and guesthouses that are often family-run, and you can be sure that your money will make a difference to surrounding communities. Adventures take you outside the hotel confines and into jungles, up mountains and down rivers, where you’ll be accompanied by expert guides and instructors who are passionate about sharing their local landscapes and teaching others to protect them, too.

1. Activity vacation in Montenegro

It may be tiny but there’s no shortage of adventurous things to do in Montenegro. Lake Skadar makes an excellent base for families, with opportunities to kayak, fish and go wild swimming in the lake, hike in the surrounding karst landscapes and visit the local wetlands, where you can spot hundreds of bird species such as rare Dalmatian pelicans.
When to go: May-June and September
Our top selling trip: Activity vacation in Montenegro
See all our trips: Family vacations in Montenegro
Read more: Montenegro family vacations guide and Montenegro travel guide

2. Multi activity vacation in Croatia

Croatia offers so much more than beaches and overcrowded Dubrovnik. Multi-activity vacations explore a plethora of national parks, with white-water rafting, hiking and mountain biking all part of the fun. You’ll have expert local guides on hand to make sure you stay safe, and you’ll share your week away with other like-minded families.

When to go: May to August
Our top selling trip: Croatia activity vacation for families with teenagers
See all our trips: Croatia family vacations
Read more: Croatia family vacations travel guide and Croatia travel guide

3. Family adventures in Sri Lanka

A tailor made tour of Sri Lanka with kids in tow delivers big on the adventure front and allows you to set the pace according to their ages, while staying in small hotels and family-run accommodations. Ancient ruins at sites such as Polonnaruwa will set their imaginations racing, while hiking in the mountains or looking for leopards in the jungle will appeal to their wilder side.

When to go: July and August in the north, December to April down south
Our top selling trip: Sri Lanka family vacation
See all our trips: Family vacations in Sri Lanka
Read more: Sri Lanka family vacations travel guide and Sri Lanka travel guide

Our top trip

Activity vacation in Montenegro

Activity vacation in Montenegro

An active villa vacation at stunning Lake Skadar, Montenegro

From £745 to £845 7 days ex flights
Small group travel:
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Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about family adventures or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

4. Galapagos adventure vacation

The wildlife wonders of the Galapagos Islands are well-documented. But as well as wildlife-watching you can get down to a multitude of thrilling activities, from kayaking and snorkelling with sea lions to hiking up volcanic craters, along with expert guides who can tailor talks and activities for a younger crowd.
When to go: Year round
Our top selling trip: Galapagos adventure vacation
See all our trips: Galapagos family vacations
Read more: Galapagos multi activity vacations travel guide and Galapagos travel guide

5. Costa Rica family vacation

Bring all those wildlife documentaries to life and spend a couple of weeks exploring the rainforests and beaches of Costa Rica in search of turtles, howler monkeys and sloths, with a bit of surfing, rafting and ziplining thrown in, too. Whether you travel with a small group of like-minded families or on a private, tailor made tour, you’ll stay in small, locally run lodges and hotels, ensuring you get that pura vida with an authentic edge.

When to go: December to April
Our top selling trip: Costa Rica 13 day family vacation
See all our trips: Costa Rica family vacations
Read more: Costa Rica family vacations guide and Costa Rica Travel Guide

6. Activity vacation in Spain’s Altiplano de Granada

A little visited corner of Andalucía, the Altiplano de Granada is the perfect spot for a low-key, family-friendly multi activity break. You can stay in an off-grid hotel in the mountains and learn about ecological farming, as well as partake in more traditional adventure activities such as horse riding, kayaking and biking. Plus there’ll be wine tasting thrown in for the grown-ups.

When to go: Year Round
Our top selling trip: Altiplano de Granada activity vacation, Spain
See all our trips: Family vacations in Spain
Read more: Family vacations in Andalucía and Andalucía travel guide

7. Vietnam family vacation

In as little as two weeks you can take the kids from top to tail of Vietnam (or vice versa) for a journey that’s both eye-opening and adventurous. Travel will feature traditional junk boats, three-wheeled cycle rickshaws (cyclos), private minibuses and overnight sleeper trains. Homestays with island communities in the Mekong Delta meanwhile offer an insight into local life.
When to go: November to April
Our top selling trip: Vietnam family vacation
See all our trips: Family vacations in Vietnam
Read more: Vietnam family travel guide and Vietnam travel guide

8. Northern Lights family adventure in Finland

As well as taking in whatever winter activities your family desires – cross country skiing, husky sledding, visiting a reindeer farm – you’ll get way out into the snowy wilderness beyond the Arctic Circle to hunt the Northern Lights under some of the darkest, starriest skies on the planet. The (very frosty) frosting on the cake? A stay in a glass-roofed aurora cabin where you can watch any cosmic night shows from the cosy comfort of your beds.

When to go: December to March
Our top selling trip: Finland Northern Lights family vacation
Read more: Winter activity travel guide for families and Finland family travel guide

9. Family vacation in southern Madagascar

Madagascar makes for an unforgettable family adventure vacation. With flora, fauna and landscapes unlike anything else on the planet, it’s a hotbed of biodiversity, and your days will be easily filled with wildlife-watching, hiking, rafting and wild camping. Homestays in local communities offer a taste of Malagasy life.

When to go: Year round
Our top selling trip: Southern Madagascar family vacation, wild country & whales
See all our trips: Madagascar family vacations
Read more: Madagascar travel guide and Madagascar adventure travel guide

10. Family vacations in Catalonia

Forgo the overcrowded streets of Barcelona and instead base yourself in the Catalan countryside for a flexible activity break, where you and the kids can try your hand at mountain biking, kayaking, horse riding and zip lining, surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery.

When to go: November to March
Our top selling trip: Catalonia family mountain biking & activity vacation, Spain
See all our trips: Family vacations in Catalonia
Read more: Family vacations in Catalonia and Catalonia travel guide
Written by Nana Luckham
Photo credits: [Page banner: Beth Roberts] [Beach and safari: South African Tourism] [Montenegro: Green World Adventures] [Galapagos: David Ceballos] [Vietnam: Jack Young] [Catalonia: Angela Llop]