The Ultimate Family Vacations for Kids of all Ages
January 10, 2020 by Allison Reiber DiLiegro
Especially in our fast-paced, ultra-connected lives, family vacations offer a precious opportunity to bond, make memories, and devise enough inside jokes to last a lifetime. We represent a range of properties perfectly suited to family trips, with multi-room villas, kids’ clubs and endless adventures for all ages.
Of course, some destinations cater more to certain age groups than others. We’ve suggested a few fabulous options to inspire your 2020 family vacations. While we’ve categorized them by age, these are not a hard and fast rule. Plenty of teenagers will love the Maldives and your little one may be ready to take on Estancia Vik. You know your kids best! Here’s to making memories in 2020.
Lankanfushi Island, Maldives
With its postcard-perfect beaches and calm, warm waters, the Maldives is one for the beach babes. Set just 20 minutes from the airport by speedboat, Gili Lankanfushi sets the scene for memory-making. Rather than a kids’ club, Gili Lankanfushi offers a long list of water and land adventures for little ones. The team of guest experience hosts – called Mr. or Ms. Fridays – is available for snorkeling in the shallow lagoon, marine safaris, traditional drumming lessons or babysitting when it’s time to sneak off to the spa.
Scottish Highlands, UK
Set in the magical Scottish Highlands, the Fife Arms ignites the imagination for kids and adults alike. Children will delight at the castle feel and fantastical decor. (There’s no better place to read Harry Potter, in our opinion.) There’s a Family Room to keep kids entertained, with board games, books and table football. But the real adventures lie outdoors: searching for animals in Cairngorms National Park with a guide, visiting the ruins of a remote village or learning the art of navigation. By night, cozy up by the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate.
The Great American West has long been a destination for family bonding. Rather than a cranky road-trip, head to Wyoming’s Brush Creek Ranch to live out your cowboy fantasies. Voted the #1 resort in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure, Brush Creek Ranch perfectly blends luxury with outdoor adventure. The Lil’ Wranglers program offers archery, hiking, horseback riding and so much more. For the older kids, there’s a basketball court, volleyball, an arcade and many reasons to put down the smartphone.
Musandam Peninsula, Oman
Set on the Musandam Peninsula in Oman, Six Senses Zighy Bay is surrounded by dramatic mountains, powdery beaches and bright emerald waters. Families with young children can choose their own adventure: total relaxation or active exploration. To make them “ooh and aah,” make your entrance by paragliding (for kids four and up). Then, spend your days relaxing in your private pool villa, snorkeling above the buzzing reefs, exploring the waters by boat or hiking through the surrounding hills. After sunset, head to the beach to watch a movie underneath the great expanse of stars.
Costa Rica tops the list for many nature-loving families. Costa Rican Trails arranges bespoke journeys to suit adventurers all sorts, with stays in the country’s most luxurious hotels and lodges. There’s horseback riding through the Cloud Forest in Monteverde, zip-lining through the canopy of the Congo Trail, or searching for sloths in the Arenal Volcano. (You might find toucans, iguanas and monkeys, too.) For adventure that’s a little lighter, think tropical beaches, nature walks, hot springs and floating safaris.
Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe
Few vacations bring the family together like the kids’ first safari (or their third, for that matter). Introduce your children to the majesty of Africa through Great Plains Conservation’s plush, eco-friendly camps in Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe. The Great Plains Young Explorers Program invites kids of all ages to become a Conservation Ambassador by learning facts about animal tracks, picking up words in seTswana or Kiswahili and keeping notes on their sightings – like buffalo, elephants, lions and brightly-colored birds – in their safari journal.
From small kids to grandparents, who doesn’t love Italy? Entrust your trip to Access Italy for a bespoke, perfectly-crafted jaunt through the country. (You’re in good hands – they’re the operator of choice for Oprah and the Obamas.) Access Italy excels in family trips, with a long list of engaging activities for kids. Whether you’re traveling to Rome, Florence and Tuscany, Venice or Piedmont, itineraries are designed to be fun and informative – think scavenger hunts and gelato-making workshops – so you leave with a deeper understanding of Italian history and your favorite gelato flavors.
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
As the birthplace of Darwin’s theory of evolution, the Galapagos Islands offer a history lesson and outdoor adventure all in one. The islands are home to a number of fascinating endemic species, like blue-footed boobies and the charismatic Sally Lightfoot crabs. While many travelers opt to explore the Galapagos Islands by cruise, the exceptional Pikaia Lodge is located on land. That means kids (aged eight and over welcome) have much more room to roam after a day of exploring.
Iceland and Scandinavia
For a European getaway that goes above and beyond the expected, take the family up north. Nordic Luxury plans custom itineraries through Iceland, Greenland, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and the Faroe Islands. With their wide range of expertise, itineraries can be arranged to suit your every interest. There’s heli-skiing and hot spring soaks, ATV rides, snowmobile safaris and dog-sledding. Or, go sailing through the icebergs of Greenland or walk through lava tunnels in a dormant volcano. If you’re traveling in the winter, you must catch the Northern Lights.
José Ignacio, Uruguay
Set on 4,000 acres of land, Estancia Vik invites exploration. Active families will be thrilled by the activities list, peppered with horseback riding, polo lessons, mountain biking and, yes, paintball. Sporty types can join a soccer game or play a round of golf at the nearby La Barra Golf Club. And that’s just on land – the beach can be reached by a 10-minute drive or 30-minute bike ride. Estancia guests are welcome to use the beachfront facilities at sister properties Playa Vik and Bahia Vik.
Open your children’s eyes to the fascinating, beautiful, complex contradictions of India. Banyan Tours arranges custom journeys through India, Nepal and Bhutan. Whether you’re interested in the enchanting bazaars of Rajasthan, the snowy peaks of the Himalayas, moving cultural experiences in Varanasi, or the Bollywood glamour-meets-local street food of Mumbai, Banyan Tours is the best in the business. Visit the glittering Taj Mahal, take a tiger safari or float through the backwaters of Kerala on a houseboat. Particularly for older teenagers, India offers an enlightening experience that’s sure to stay with them long after the flight back home.
Tetiaroa, French Polynesia
For the ultimate family bonding experience, take them to a private island. (There’s no getting away from you there!) Set on Marlon Brando’s private island, The Brando features 35 villas on six square kilometers of pristine nature. Both luxe and eco-friendly – the island is close to becoming carbon neutral – it’s a splurge you can feel good about. As the pricing is all inclusive, teens can have their run of the place. The whole family can explore the lagoon by outrigger, snorkel in the crystal clear waters, go stargazing with a naturalist and have family meals with your toes in the sand.
We’re just scratching the surface. Contact Hidden Doorways at firstname.lastname@example.org for more suggestions on unforgettable family getaways.