Walking vacations for families

I wasn’t sure if all this time together just walking and talking was going to make or break us. It not only made us, but also gave us the best family vacation memories ever.
It can sometimes be a hard sell persuading children to go on a walking vacation for families. However, throw in a safari camp, a donkey to carry your bags, a mountain yurt or a swim at the end of each day and they start to warm to the idea. And if you get a guide who knows exactly how to get young people interested in landscape, wildlife and all the natural adventures that await, your vacation is made. There are some tricks, however. Such as having treats as bribes to get to the next peak or swotting up on your quiz questions. Covering the gamut of general knowledge as you walk will have you covering 5km before the children have even realised. Apart from that, walking time is pure family time. Something that is pretty rare these days.

See our health and safety section for more details on how to walk safely with your family.

What do family walking
vacations entail?

What’s involved on a family walking vacation very much depends on how old your kids are. Families with younger children should opt for a tailor made walking vacation, which will be designed around the needs of you and your brood. These vacations are self-guided and you’ll be provided with notes and itineraries so that how far you walk each day is your decision and you won’t have to worry about keeping up with a group when little legs get tired.
You could either be based in one place, going out to explore the local landscape each day and returning to the same bed at night, or go on a point-to-point break, where you walk (at a gentle pace) from friendly inn to friendly inn. If heading for the French countryside you could even make your family walking vacation that little bit more special by arranging for a friendly donkey to accompany you.

If your kids are eight years plus, things get a bit more exciting, as they can walk further and take part in more adventurous activities along the way, such as walking Machu Picchu in Peru or in the Annapurna foothills in Nepal. Small group walking trips as also possible once the kids are older. These are usually restricted to kids over the age of 12 as they involve longer days and more intense activities, and you’ll have to keep up with the other travelers on your trip. On small group vacations you’ll travel with like minded families, with a maximum of 16 people per trip. Walking is sometimes interspersed with other adventurous activities such as biking and kayaking.

When and where to go with kids

Most of our walking vacations for younger children take place in Europe, with the French Alps, the Italian lakes Catalonia’s coast all popular. Temperatures are at their scorching best during the August school vacations, but the mountains and the coast should provide a little respite, with lake and ocean dips to keep you cool. Outside of the summer vacations, May or October half term is a good time to hit southern and central Europe, with mild conditions that are perfect for hiking.

If heading further afield, the August summer break sees excellent conditions on Mount Kilimanjaro, in Canada’s national parks and at Machu Picchu, while Nepal is best avoided due to monsoon rains. If walking in Annapurna or Everest Base Camp, the Easter break around March-April is a good time to visit.

Staying safe on a family
walking vacation

The great thing about a family walking vacation is that it brings out the wild side of both kids and grown-ups. That’s not to say that health and safety rules should be thrown out of the window, though. Responsible vacation companies will always have procedures in place, use reputable, qualified guides and be able to answer all your safety concerns. Read our advice page for more information on keeping you and your family safe on a walking vacation.

Our top Walking family Vacation

Family Kilimanjaro trek in Tanzania

Family Kilimanjaro trek in Tanzania

A child friendly Lemosho route Kilimanjaro trek

From US $2450 to US $2900 10 days ex flights
Tailor made:
This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Walking or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Walking vacation advice for families

Jonny Bealby, founder of our leading supplier Wild Frontiers, gives his advice on walking vacations for families: “Don’t overstretch yourself on a family walking vacation, especially in remote parts of the world. Some children are great and can walk as far as the parents can, depending on age of course. But in general, it is better from a safety point of view to aim low and achieve, than aim high and not achieve. Because not achieving, in some of these places, can cause you some quite serious problems.”
Melanie McAnaw, walking vacation expert from our supplier, Headwater:
“We would recommend our single center vacations for families. These are great because you’re based in one hotel and can enjoy lots of other activities as well as the great walking routes. Or go for a combination activity vacation, such as our Dordogne or Austrian vacations,that combine walking with cycling and canoeing.”
Written by Catherine Mack
Photo credits: [Page banner: photobac] [Intro: Visit Lakeland] [What do family walking vacations entail?: Delpixel] [Jonny Bealby quote: Amelia Wells]