"We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey."Who wouldn't want to live a life full of journeys and exploration? In fact, children who get the opportunity to see the world can surely be deemed fortunate. Young minds always tend to view the world in the right perspective, since their thinking is pretty much clean and not biased. If we are to educate our kids about the world, the best means would be to actually take them out there.
―John Hope Franklin
Seems like a fine idea on paper, isn't it? Especially when parents have to contend with a thousand chants of "I'm bored" and "Are we there yet?" throughout the journey. Well, this certainly is the drawback of traveling with kids. But we do urge you to browse through this list of kid-friendly adventure travel destinations―you can't be assured of a no-complaints trip, but they will definitely be reduced to a bare minimum.
Japan doesn't just have to be the good ol' Land of the Rising Sun, neither should it be limited to just another exotic eastern destinations. As a matter of fact, Japan happens to be a winner of a destination among young children and teenagers alike. Well, with their sterling anime and manga culture, and of course, Hello Kitty, it isn't really a surprise.
What got Japan a spot on this list?
▶ The uniqueness of Japanese culture is something which needs to be observed and experienced up close.
▶ Their style of architecture, the topography of the country, their mannerisms, language, cuisine, and lifestyle is vastly different from ours―which presents a fabulous learning opportunity for children.
▶ Disneyland is always a hit with children and parents alike, which is why you can have fun at the Japanese version of this fabulous theme park.
▶ Watching a Sumo match, riding a dizzying roller coaster at Fuji-Q Highland, and tasting the very unique Japanese cuisine can be a novel experience for young children.
▶ WalkJapan conducts these very interesting and off-the-beaten-track walking tours that are enriching, adventurous, and highly entertaining for the adults along with slightly older kids.
Pharaohs and mummies? You bet! All thanks to Hollywood, no kid is really immune to the mystique of ancient Egyptian culture and those lofty Pyramids of theirs. Seeped in tradition, your preteens and teenagers are bound to have a blast here in Egypt.
Isn't there a travel advisory against going to Egypt?
▶ Umm ... unfortunately, there is. But things should hopefully change in the near future, as it would be a pity for families to miss out on a spectacular destination such as this.
▶ If you do get the chance to visit this nation, do be aware that the Giza Pyramids are simply the tip of the iceberg among all Egyptian attractions.
▶ The humongous lakeside temples of Abu Simbel, the Valley of the Kings, Luxor Temple, the Lighthouse of Alexandria―Egypt does not have a dearth of places to visit.
▶ From ditzy camel rides, felucca sailboat cruise, to snorkeling in the Red Sea, your children will have a lot of exiting things to look forward to; more importantly, none of which include an amusement park.
Who isn't enamored by the beauty of the African continent? We sure are. South Africa, in particular, has everything you need to enjoy a funfilled adventure with the entire family. The Rainbow Nation lets you make the most of your holiday by bringing you close to nature, and packs an urban punch as well.
Do tell us more!
▶ A South African holiday can turn out to be the mother of all adventures, with a visit to Shark Alley, close to the fishing hamlet of Gansbaai near Cape Town. Here, you will get the opportunity to experience a caged dive with the most ferocious creature that inhabits our seas, the Great White Shark.
▶ The coast of South Africa is also home to the African penguin; and there isn't a better place to spot these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.
▶ Speaking of natural habitats, an African safari is a must when you're visiting this continent, and there cannot be a better way of letting your children experience nature in all its glory.
A trip to Finland is akin to visiting a land right out of fairy tales. This Scandinavian nation is not just about skiing, snowfall, Santa Claus, and sleds, it has a lot more going for it than you can imagine.
What is so special about Finland?
▶ The best part about Finland is that it has something for every season. Yes, it can be a matter of disbelief, but it's true, nevertheless. Adventure buffs, especially, can have a fabulous time in the skiing and snowboarding season. Alpine climbing is also a fantastic option.
▶ Wintertime in Finland lasts from October to March, which gives you ample opportunity to view the amazing phenomenon of aurora borealis (northern lights). Also, wintertime is festive season here, with Christmas being celebrated in full bloom in Lapland, the home of Santa Claus.
▶ The polar summers are a unique phenomenon as well, with the children getting a chance to experience prolonged periods of sunshine, referred to as the midnight sun.
To merge with the spirit of this vast land, you've got to hit the road. Campervanning is the best way to see Australia; and if the idea of doing so with kids gives you the chills, just relax. Road trips in Oz aren't just road trips, as you'll be wandering among the land of marsupials, exotic desert fauna, and weird poisonous species―all of this is sure to churn enough curiosity and excitement to last well beyond the trip.
Thunder Down Under, anyone?
▶ Being as vast as it is, Australia has kid-friendly attractions that will take months to actually explore, but a spot that qualifies as unmissable has got to be the Great Barrier Reef. Go sailing along with the family to the Whitsunday Islands, where you'll be able to take a dip into the ocean to see the famous corals.
▶ Kangaroos, koalas, platypus―Australian wildlife is so unlike the rest of the world. Your kids may have seen them in the zoo, but to view them in their original habitat is a wonderful experience.
The Aloha State has fascinated children of all ages, owing to its image of a paradise island. Its varied topography has bestowed a landscape so beautiful, that everyone finds it hard to resist the charms of these islands.
▶ Beaches tend to have a favorable effect on the minds of all children, and as we all know, the beaches of Hawaii are second to none. Your children will relish the opportunity to go swimming with the dolphins, or even enjoy a caged dip with the sharks. For younger kids, snorkeling is a great activity.
▶ Got your fill of the beaches? Head to the mountains then. Take your children to explore the Haleakala crater in Maui, or the Diamond Head crater in Oahu. Hawaii, for one, is as beautiful from ashore as it is from the hills.
▶ Hawaiian marine life is precious and sacred to the locals, and they are all too eager to impart these values in the young. The Maui Ocean Center's Turtle Lagoon and Hammerhead Harbor are two amazing places for children to visit.
What can we say about sunny California? It is the one state that definitely deserves at least a visit; count yourselves among the fortunate if you happen to live here. One doesn't really need to ponder about places to vacation in California―one is simply spoiled for choice.
Where to, then?
▶ Disneyland and SeaWorld almost immediately pop up in mind, as does the very famous San Diego Zoo. The charms of San Francisco aren't lost on children as well as their parents.
▶ For the outdoorsy types, California can be heaven. Camping, hiking, skiing, rock climbing, ice climbing, mountain biking―name it, and you shall have it here. The Yosemite National Park is a favored family holiday destination.
▶ Coast-side activities are fun as well, with California's Pacific shoreline boasting of the best beach destinations in the world.
So why would we recommend you to drag your family into the hustle bustle of the Big Apple? That is precisely why. Children are sure to love everything "New York", right from its iconic skyline, to the delicious street food. It may not cater to the idea of adventure trips, but you've got to admit, NYC is one huge playground for kids to frolic about.
Describe our Big Apple bonanza.
▶ Do the essentials to begin with― the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Sony Wonder Technology Lab.
▶ The Bronx Zoo deserves a special mention, since it is the world's largest metropolitan zoo, with around 6,000 animals representing about 650 species from around the world.
▶ Prospect Park has everything from bicycling and baseball, to fishing and football. It contains several playgrounds, and you can roam through the borough's only forest, or let your kids ride the park's carousel, a 100-year-old vintage piece with beautifully carved horses.
Well, a trip to D.C. May not qualify as an 'adventure' per se, but the goldmine of history that it is, Washington is a must-see for all kids. The Capitol, the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Washington Monument are the undisputed highlights of D.C., but there are also a lot of strictly-for-kids attractions here as well.
There's never a dull moment in D.C.
▶ The National Mall is the epicenter of all things interesting, as well as educational. This area includes the Smithsonian Institution's famed museums―the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of American History, the National Air and Space Museum, and others.
▶ Half an hour away from D.C. lies Six Flags America, a phenomenally popular amusement park that promises an entire day dedicated to some awesome family fun.
SeaWorld. Walt Disney World. Islands of Adventure. Universal Studios. Need we say more about why you need to bring your kids to Orlando? I think not. Granted that Orlando shines over all other destinations in Florida, when it comes to vacationing with kids. But surprise, surprise, there is a lot more.
Bask in Florida's sunshine.
▶ St. Augustine's Pirate and Treasure Museum is a one of a kind place which has an actual pirate's treasure chest, along with an original "Wanted" poster with a 500-pound sterling reward for the capture of pirate Henry Every, dating back to 1696. The town itself has a historic district, which was founded in 1565, and is a regular haunt for history fans. The area is built around a central plaza which is the oldest public park in the U.S.
▶ Fort Lauderdale is known as the Venice of Florida, and its unmatched beauty and recreational facilities make it an ideal family vacation destination. Indulging in seaside activities like swimming and snorkeling is a must.
▶ Daytona Beach has the International Speedway and in the vicinity you'll also find the Kennedy Space Center. Besides, there are always the beaches to have some regular family fun.
Traveling with kids in tow is easier said than done. But as long as the destination manages to fuel the fancy of children, there isn't much left for the parents to do except to join in the fun. Have a fabulous holiday!