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Best family adventure holidays, as recommended by parents

Looking for an adventurous family holiday? Discover wildlife watching, spectacular landscapes and bucket-list tours in our roundup of the best family adventure trips, as recommended by parents on the Mumsnet forums. 

By Kim Gregory | Last updated Sep 14, 2022

Woman with two kids overlooking a mountain

Relaxing by a hotel pool is great but sometimes you might hear the call of the wild and crave an epic adventure. And guess what? You can still plan a bucket-list break with kids. Thanks to expert travel planners and family-friendly tours, you can travel to once-in-a-lifetime destinations and tick off memorable experiences as you go. They’ll feel all the more special when you're sharing them with your children, whether you're gazing at the Northern Lights in Finland or zip-lining through cloud forest in Costa Rica. Joining specialist tours - often alongside other families - will mean you’re offered safe, useful guidance on things from age-appropriate activities to family-friendly accommodation. It's worth the price tag for unique, unforgettable experiences - and without any hassle of planning.  

From a Scotland island-hopping break to a cultural escape in Japan, we’ve gathered recommendations from Mumsnetters to help you choose the best adventure trip to suit your family. 

What are the best family adventure holidays?

Note: You may need to arrange vaccinations to visit some destinations on our list. Always check with a health professional to confirm.

OUR FAVOURITE FAMILY ADVENTURE HOLIDAY SPECIALISTS

1. Best for activities: The French Alps

"The Alps in summer are great. Loads of different activities to try - walking, biking, stand-up paddle boarding on lakes, outdoor swimming, high ropes courses, summer sledging” - recommended by Mumsnet user, Muchtoomuchtodo

"We did a summer holiday in the French Alps - Morzine. There was lots going on - chair lifts and gondolas to the mountaintops for hiking, mountain biking, white water rafting, canoeing, horse riding, a toboggan run. The town has a brilliant outdoor pool with slides. Loads of nice restaurants. Still a bit of the apres ski vibe, without the snow. You can also visit Geneva and Evian etc. Kids absolutely loved it, one of our favourite holidays" - recommended by Mumsnet user, Twoevils

Active families will have seemingly endless outdoor pursuits to enjoy on a summer trip to the French Alps. Pick a resort to call home (Chamonix, Morzine, Megeve and Meribel are popular spots) and try exciting activities in the mountains and lakes, from white-water rafting to paragliding. There’s even summer skiing at some of the higher resorts. Younger guests can enjoy kids’ clubs, adventure parks, guided walks in spectacular scenery and the surrounding traditional villages where you can try local cuisine. 

Mumsnet travel partner, Take the Family can help take the stress out of booking a family adventure holiday in the French Alps by arranging hotels, flights, tours, activities and more. Quote Mumsnet when booking and receive John Lewis vouchers for bookings over £1000.

2. Best for winter adventures: Finland

Huskies in Finland, underneath the Northern Lights

"We did an amazing winter family activity week in Finland a few years ago when DC were 9 and 12. Husky sledding, skimobiling, Northern Lights, cross-country skiing. Not cheap but kids say it was their favourite holiday" - recommended by Mumsnet user, GiraffeorOcelot

Finland adventures are like no other. Admire the unique landscapes as you whizz by on snowmobiles, husky safaris or reindeer-led sleighs. Watch the Northern Lights in wonder and stargaze from cool accommodation like lodges, cabins and glass igloos. Young kids will love the magic of Lapland - home of Santa - and you can all explore cool cities like Helsinki

3. Best for a tropical adventure: Costa Rica

Alajuela Province, Boca Tapada, Costa Rica

"Would strongly recommend Costa Rica - I went and saw raccoons, monkeys, sloths, coati, geckos etc. There was ziplining a few hundred metres up, rainforest, active volcanoes, horse riding through jungle, hot springs, water slides through jungle. We went with TUI so AI and activities like kayak, windsurfing, SUP, beach volleyball and food included, stayed at RUI Guanacaste." -  recommended by Mumsnet user, PenguinPandas

You’ll experience mesmerising wildlife, flora and fauna across Costa Rica’s rainforests, coastline and mountains, where you and your children will learn about nature by being right in the heart of it. Spot sloths, monkeys and toucans in Manuel Antonio National Park with a knowledgeable guide and join informative tours of coffee and chocolate farms (tastings included, of course). Don’t miss thrilling activities like zip-lining through Monteverde cloud forest. An epic Costa Rica break may be better suited to older kids.

4. Best for natural adventures: Canada

Lake Louise, Canada

"West coast of Canada: Vancouver, Whistler and Vancouver Island. Surprisingly short flight, great city, close to the mountains, tons of activities - swimming in lakes, canoeing, bear watching, whale watching. Great food, reasonably priced" - recommended by Mumsnet user, ImNotChangingMyUsernameAgain

It’s hard to choose what to see in ginormous Canada - that’s where a tour can come in handy. From visiting cities like Toronto and Vancouver to exploring natural highlights including Niagara Falls and the Canadian Rockies, there’s something for every type of family in Canada. Fancy touring a glacier or seeing whales and bears? The adventures are big in this spectacular country and you’ll always be impressed by the landscapes.

5. Best for island hopping: Scotland

Castle Stalker, Argyll

"Scotland? No issue with language or driving on the other side of the road and there’s some stunning beaches on the west coast. Island hopping might fulfil your lust for adventure" - recommended by Mumsnet user, emmathedilemma 

You needn’t fly across the world in search of adventure. Choose a skipper-led family sailing trip (best with older children) to explore Scotland’s stunning coastline and islands like Skye and the inner Hebrides. The skipper will show you the ropes as you sail - a great learning experience. Spot sea life like sharks and whales; anchor in calm waters to swim, snorkel or kayak and sightsee on the islands where you dock where you can go hiking and spot historic castles. You’ll make memories as you sleep on the boat under the stars. 

6. Best for epic landscapes: USA National Parks

Yellowstone National Park

"Staying in a cabin in the middle of Texas hill country, trekking through the national park on horses for a few days. Totally off grid - no TV, internet or phone reception - just us in a cabin with a fire pit outside, cold beers, a porch with easy chairs and lots of board games. Kids (6 and 10) collected flowers, swam in creeks and watched clouds between riding excursions. Amazing holiday" - recommended by Mumsnet user, MyFriendsCallMeOh

If you want to see epic landscapes, the USA is packed with them - especially in its famous national parks. Join tours that’ll take you across iconic destinations like Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, soaking up American culture and cuisine as you explore. Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains are a great choice for families. Hike inspiring trails packed with waterfalls, woodland and wildlife, including bears. Stay in an atmospheric lodge in nearby Gatlinburg, where there's a sky bridge and an aerial tramway with amazing views, or Pigeon Forge, home to Dolly Parton’s theme park, Dollywood. 

7. Best for culture: Japan

Tokyo

"Tokyo is excellent - Edo Museum, Disneyland, Mount Fuji close by, food yum and excellent public transport. Osaka has Universal Studios and a massive Harry Potter theme park and it’s close to Kyoto" - recommended by Mumsnet user, BobbyGentry

"Japan is incredible. Easy to travel around once you're there and some magnificent parks, trains and food that suits all ages” - recommended by Mumsnet user, EmbarrassingMama

Experience a culture like no other in Japan where futuristic hubs like Tokyo meet historic temple-studded cities like Kyoto. The whole family can learn so much from the unique culture here through food, traditions like sumo wrestling and celebrations like the Cherry Blossom Festival (if you time it right). There’s plenty of spectacular landscapes too like Mount Fuji and cool coastal towns. 

8. Best for wildlife: Kenya

Zebras on safari in Kenya

"Kenya safari! Would 100% recommend" - recommended by Mumsnet user, PepsiLola

"We went on a safari to Kenya in August. The weather was ideal. We spent four days inland on safari and it was dry and around 18-20 degrees each day. We then went to a Mombasa beach hotel for the second part of the holiday and it was around 26 degrees. Best holiday ever!" - recommended by Mumsnet user, Notatallobvious

Safaris aren’t for the faint hearted and are better suite to kids aged 12+. They often involve heat, early mornings, long journeys and camping. But there’s nothing better for nature lovers than these guided trips and Kenya is a particularly stunning spot to see some of the world’s most exotic animals in the wild: giraffes, lions, elephants and more. You can learn about the country’s culture, history and conservation too, taking home education and memories of a lifetime. 

9. Best for animal experiences: Borneo

Red leaf monkey, Sabah, Borneo

"We had an incredible time in Malaysia and Borneo. You can make it as adventurous or as luxurious as you like. We spent some time at an island resort, and some in the rainforest doing river cruises and walks of an hour or so. Wonderful experience which we’ll never forget" - recommended by Mumsnet user, lapofhonour5

Borneo is a bucket-list destination and not just because of its spectacular beaches, national parks, islands and rainforests. It’s known for its orangutans and monkeys and you can see them at sanctuaries and rehabilitation centres throughout the country. You’re likely to come across other special animals too and will go home with a wealth of new wildlife knowledge.

What’s the best destination for a family adventure holiday?

Decide what you’d like to see or experience first. Epic landscapes? USA. Wildlife? Kenya. Culture? Japan. You should also consider costs, travel times and the age of your children. We hope this handy guide provides some inspiration for memorable guided tours. Here are our tips on packing for when it’s time to jet off.

What’s a good age for kids to go on an adventure holiday?

Always consider the age of your children and their capabilities (and yours) when it comes to walking, activities and itineraries. This should inform the type of adventure holiday suited to you as a family. Many tours will specify a minimum age as some of the activities may not be suitable for young kids. You might also want to think about heat, vaccinations, your routine and journey lengths. Always listen to the experts! You might like this this planning guide for teens.

What’s the best adventure holiday for families?

Ask yourself what’s right for you and your family. The French Alps is a great place for activities, Finland offers unique adventures and you’ll all learn a lot while exploring Costa Rica. There are many adventures to choose from - we hope our tips help.

How we chose our recommendations 

Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which family adventure holidays were being recommended. We then did some online research, looking at which destinations had been featured in ‘best’ lists across trusted travel publications as well as user reviews. Having collated all that information, we then narrowed our list down to the best destinations at the moment.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.

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