Skip the mainstream touristy destinations that every other family has gone to for their summer vacation. If your family is game for a thrilling adventure, here are our top picks for some exhilarating adventures that will shake up any boring travel routine, as well as some float-tastic ideas to take along!
Go on a life-altering wildlife adventure in this Central American gem. The rugged beauty of the expansive rainforests is best enjoyed in the summer months of December to April when the “wet season” has passed. Although Costa Rica is a rather small country, there are plenty of things to do on this amazing travel destination for outdoorsy families.
For adrenaline junkies, hop onto the hair-raising canopy zipline, go white-water rafting in the churning rivers, rappel down staggering waterfalls into emerald lakes, or catch one of the massive waves off the coast. The endless stretch of beaches along the grand Pacific coast is perfect for a surf, with Tamarindo Beach being one of the most popular beaches. The best part is that Costa Rica has no shortage of child-friendly activities so that every single member of the family will be included in the fun. At the end of a long day, retire to one of the marvelous Costa Rican hot springs for a truly rejuvenating experience, or go horseback riding into the spectacular sunset.
It goes without saying that Costa Rica is very rich in history and culture, which are absolutely worth getting to know during your visit. Drop by one of the many museums to learn more about the diverse heritage, or explore one of the local flea markets to browse through the traditional trinkets handmade by the locals.
The Baja peninsula is full of pristine beaches and charming towns for you and your family to explore. The place is an adventure seeker’s haven, with many opportunities to experience sandboarding, surfing, or skydiving on a whole new level. One of the coolest things Baja offers is the rare chance to literally swim with great white sharks (albeit within the protection of a cage) in the crystal waters of Guadalupe Island.
Immerse yourselves in the stunning natural scenery of Baja California by going on a camping trip in one of the many ranches the place has to offer. With indescribably beautiful landscapes and scenery, it’ll definitely be an experience you’ll never forget. Scattered around Baja are cave sites that contain some abstract paintings of geometric designs, petroglyphs and Humanoid type drawings done by the first settlers of the land. For an insightful look at Baja’s long history, you certainly shouldn’t miss this out.
Head down to Sweet Home Alabama for some family vacation fun. With countless opportunities for camping, fishing trips, kayaking, and hiking, the outdoorsy families will have a whale of a time for sure! Follow the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail for sightings of rare birds and to get in touch with nature. Or, make camp at one of the outpost campsites in Gulf State Park for an authentic camping experience complete with fire pits surrounded by log benches just like in the movies.
Not limited to just outdoor activities, the Gulf Coast also houses a myriad of indoor opportunities for fun, with the most outstanding being the Space Camp at the US Space and Rocket Center. Be transported out of this world with this unique STEM experience and learn all about space here, where you can experience simulations, space explorations, and the daily life of an astronaut.
Alabama isn’t exactly a beachy-fun place but sometimes you want to cool down in the summer.
Enjoy the breathtaking scenery of South Africa’s countryside from horseback. Ditch the mainstream safari game drives where you can only watch the animals from a distance in the jeep. Being on a horse will let you get up close and personal with gentle animals like giraffes and zebras. Local family-run operations organizing these special tours of the countryside, such as Ant’s Nest, prioritize riders’ safety by ensuring that the reserve is free from dangerous animals like elephants and lions.
At Ant’s Nest, which is located on the Baber’s game reserve, you can expect to see rhino, buffalo, impala, zebra, warthog, hyena, mongoose, and more. The best part is that all these animals are so used to the presence of the horses that they won’t be spooked at all if you ride up beside them. Imagine being able to roam freely amongst the powerful animals and truly experience the savannah in its full natural glory, without the roar of a car’s engine infiltrating the peaceful wilderness. This experience will surely be one on our bucket lists!
Take the beaten path in the jungles of Mexico for a rugged adventure. Home to the famed Mayan temples, exploring Mexico will be a phenomenal experience for families with an interest in the fascinating Mayan culture and history. The impressive ruins can be found in hundreds of areas throughout Mexico, and you’ll be surprised to see that many of these are very well-preserved, taking you back to the times of the Maya civilization of A.D. 250-900 in a heartbeat.
Aside from archaeological wonders located deep within its mystical forests, the kids would totally love jumping into the secluded yet stunning cenotes for a marvelous swim. You can even go snorkeling to glimpse the myriad of colorful fish swimming in the water. Yucatan is famous for having a wide range of these beautiful underwater sinkholes and caves. Surrounded by the mesmerizing cave stalactites, shallows with crystal clear water, picturesque natural rock surfaces, and the authentic Mexican jungle, you’ll have a hard time leaving this oasis of nature.
The Rhine River
The Rhine is one of the most important rivers in Europe, traversing an astounding distance of over 1,200km from its source in the Swiss Alps all the way to the Netherlands. There are a great number of spots along the mighty river that boasts of exceptional beauty, with the Rhine Gorge even having been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along the Rhine’s scenic riverbanks, you can spot age-old castles, rustic towns, and plenty of trails for hiking and cycling.
To experience the swirling river, take a canal boat downstream. There are many picturesque regions along the Rhine for you to take in, and private river cruises are aplenty to help you do just that. While drifting peacefully down the river, you can admire the astounding flora and fauna, as well as the magnificent cliffs soaring above along the way.
From horseback riding across the vast savannah to diving into the spectacular cenotes, don’t be afraid to venture into the unknown and take a leap of faith for the adventure of your lifetime! After all, traveling together is the best opportunity for families to forge lasting memories on an unforgettable trip.