“On every trip, try something new; come back knowing you did something you weren’t willing to try before,” tweeted Wendy Perrin, TripAdvisor’s Travel Advocate and a mom of two.
It’s a travel motto she shared in our recent family travel Twitter chat (#TL_Chat), and it’s one that we’d wholeheartedly retweet. After all, today’s best family trips are thrill rides of adventure, immersive cultural exchanges, and transcendent bonding opportunities with furry new friends. They’re opportunities to open—and blow—the minds of your offspring, while creating memories they’ll want to recount to future generations.
If you can imagine swinging through a canopy of trees in Costa Rica, your youngest child squealing with pleasure right behind you; or seeing your bookish son mesmerized as he wanders the ancient Greek ruins he’d seen only in the pages of his history textbooks; or shearing sheep with a fourth-generation New Zealander farmer, then you’ve officially outgrown your parents’ version of a family-friendly vacation. And these trips are for you.
The following family getaways have been tested by travelers we at Travel + Leisure know and trust and who hit the road more often than most CEOs—only with a significantly younger entourage in tow.
Whether you’re 55 going on 5 or the other way around, these family vacation ideas will get the kids as pumped as the parents for some quality time together.
And if things don’t go quite as planned, we recommend adopting another parent’s family travel motto: as Amy Tara Koch tweeted, “This is not a nightmare—it is an adventure!”