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Making memories together: 10 perfect family vacation ideas

Recently updated on April 4th, 2024 at 11:29 am

Dreaming of taking a family vacation this year? Whether you’re a nature adventurers, city explorers, or beach lovers, we’ve got the perfect family tour for you. From spotting sloths in Costa Rica or meeting Santa in Finland to hiking in New Zealand or eating gelato in Rome, here are 10 of the best family vacation ideas.

1. Exploring the Rockies in Banff National Park, Canada

blue lake snowy mountains Canadian Rockies

If you want to escape to the mountains with your family, Banff National Park in Canada’s Alberta province is an unparalleled destination. It’s the perfect place to get immersed in nature’s brilliance, with plenty of outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, kayaking and canoeing. Take in the natural wonders like the turquoise waters of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, and the Athabasca Glacier. Get a breathtaking birds-eye view on a gondola ride and go wildlife spotting, with chances to see elk, deer, and if lucky, bears in their natural habitat. Or go during winter to enjoy a skiing paradise, with slopes for all skill levels at Sunshine Village or Lake Louise Ski Resort. At the end of a long day, relax in the soothing Banff Upper Hot Springs.

Explore Canada on: Iconic Rockies and Western Canada

2. History and foodie adventure in Rome, Italy

traveller standing in front of the Colosseum in Rome

Rome is the perfect spot for a family city break. You’ll be entertained for days simply hopping around to all the iconic attractions, from the awe-inspiring Colosseum and the Roman Forum to Vatican City with its remarkable St. Peter’s Basilica and Sistine Chapel. Your family will also love indulging in the extraordinary food. Wander through the cobbled alleyways to find charming trattorias cooking up traditional Roman dishes like carbonara and indulge in perfect gelato from artisanal shops. Take a hands-on cooking class and learn how to make authentic Italian pizza and pasta and visit the Campo de’ Fiori for fresh local ingredients. Whether you toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain or roam the gardens of Villa Borghese, you’ll get your fill of food, culture, and history in Rome. 

Wander through Rome on: Best of Italy

3. Wildlife and nature in Costa Rica

traveller walking over hanging bridges of the cloud forest in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a dream destination for families passionate about wildlife and nature. Visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve where you can walk amongst the clouds on hanging bridges and spot vibrant wildlife like the colorful Quetzal. Go hiking along lava trails and soak in natural hot springs in Arenal Volcano National Park. Head to Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific coast for beautiful beaches and cruise the lagoons to spot wildlife like sloths and monkeys. You can also visit the Tortuguero National Park to spot sea turtles nesting on the beach. From surfing and kayaking to ziplining and white-water rafting, you’ll never get bored in Costa Rica. 

Experience Costa Rica on: Monkeys, Jungles and Volcanoes

4. Cultural experience in Kyoto, Japan

bamboo forest Kyoto Japan

Take a deep dive into Japanese culture with a trip to Kyoto. The city is home to over 2,000 temples and shrines like the stunning Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) and the iconic Fushimi Inari Shrine with its thousands of orange torii gates. Explore the historic Gion district and watch a Geisha performance, learn how to make pottery in the Kiyomizu district, or wander through the surreal Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Take part in a traditional tea ceremony, enjoy a hands-on sushi-making class, or learn how to dress in traditional kimonos. The Kyoto Railway Museum is a delight for kids with its interactive exhibits and train rides. 

Visit Kyoto on: Splendors of Japan

5. Adventure in Queenstown, New Zealand

sunset over Queenstown New Zealand

Known as the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown is perfect for families that thrive on adrenaline. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Southern Alps and Lake Wakatipu, there are a range of exhilarating activities like bungee jumping from the historic Kawarau Bridge and high-speed jet boating through Shotover River Canyons. Go hiking along trails like the Queenstown Hill Time Walk or get a breathtaking view of the mountains with a gondola ride up Bob’s Peak and an exciting ride on the Skyline Luge. You could even make the two-hour drive to Fiordland National Park, home to the iconic Milford Sound. In the winter, Queenstown transforms into a world-class ski destination with family-friendly slopes at The Remarkables and Coronet Peak. The town center is also great to explore with great shopping and restaurants dishing up fantastic food and wine sourced from the nearby vineyards. 

Explore Queenstown on: Contrasts of New Zealand

6. Safari in Kruger National Park, South Africa

herd of elephants Kruger National Park South Africa

A safari in Africa is one of the most exciting family vacation ideas, and Kruger National Park in South Africa is one of the best places to do it. As South Africa’s largest wildlife sanctuary with nearly 4.9 million acres of wilderness, families can go on guided safaris to spot the Big Five (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhino) and many more amazing species. You’ll learn all about the animals, their behaviours, and their habitats. Many lodges offer kid-friendly activities and educational programs about wildlife, along with swimming pools for a soothing dip at the end of the day. You can also find unique experiences like a hot-air balloon safari at sunrise, for stunning views of the park and its creatures, or walking safaris led by trained rangers for a close-up look at the South African bushveld. 

Go on safari in Kruger on: Best of South Africa

7. City break in London, England

Tower Bridge London

Your family will be enthralled by London, with an incredible mix of history, culture and entertainment. Head to the Tower Bridge and the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels and the Beefeaters. Visit Buckingham Palace during the Changing of the Guard, or get a panoramic city view on the London Eye. If you love movies and theme parks, you can’t miss the Warner Bros. Studio Tour where you’ll get a magical behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Harry Potter film series.

History, art and science buffs will spend hours at the world-class museums like the interactive Science Museum, the galleries like Tate Modern, and the Natural History Museum, with its iconic dinosaur exhibits. If you prefer to get outdoors, there are endless beautiful green spaces like Hyde Park, Regent’s Park and Kensington Gardens. Or grab a delicious snack as you wander through the Borough Market and Covent Garden. You could even catch a theater show in the famous West End. 

Wander through London on: London and Paris Explorer

8. Beach and culture in Thailand

boats on the beach in Thailand

Thailand is always one of the best family vacation ideas, with its gorgeous beaches, rich culture, and tasty cuisine. Hit the beaches in Phuket, Koh Samui and Krabi, or go on boat trips to the Phi Phi Islands for world-class snorkeling and diving. In Bangkok, explore glittering temples like the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Wander through the local markets for snacks and souvenirs, and don’t miss the floating markets for a unique experience. Head to Chiang Mai to see beautiful waterfalls and mountain-top temples, like the golden Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. You can also get further immersed in the cuisine with cooking classes that teach families how to prepare traditional dishes like Pad Thai, Tom Yum and Khaoi Soi. 

Experience Thailand on: Treasures of Thailand

9. Winter wonderland in Finland

northern lights over Finland

If your family loves the magic of winter and Christmas, Finland is your dream destination. Head to the northern regions to find a true winter wonderland, with fluffy snow, Northern Lights, and Santa Claus himself. Rovaniemi is the official hometown of Santa Claus, and families can visit the enchanting Santa Claus Village. You’ll meet Santa, enjoy reindeer sleigh rides and send postcards with a special Arctic Circle from the Post Office. You can also enjoy winter sports like skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. Cross the Arctic Circle, relax in saunas, and watch the dancing Northern Lights (from September to March). You can also meet some of the region’s Indigenous Sámi people and learn about their traditions like reindeer herding.

Explore Finland on: Nordic Adventure

10. Road trip through the Scottish Highlands, Scotland

Scottish Highlands

Is a family road trip one of your best family vacation ideas? Put Scotland on your bucket list. A road trip through the Scottish Highlands will be an unforgettable journey through rolling hills, mystical lochs and historic castles. Go hiking in the beautiful Glencoe Valley and see Ben Nevis, the British Isles’ highest mountain. Take a ferry to Isle of Skye, to admire the rugged landscapes, charming fishing villages, and mesmerizing Fairy Pools. See the iconic Loch Ness and take a boat tour to try and spot Nessie. Visit ancient castles like Eilean Donan, set on a tidal island, and Urquhart Castle beside Loch Ness. With hearty cuisine and cultural experiences like bagpipe music and the Highland Games, Scotland will be a memorable family vacation.

Road trip through Scotland on: Scotland’s Highlands Islands and Cities

What are your favorite family vacation ideas and destinations?

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