From island adventures to bustling cities, these trips will open your teenager’s eyes to the world around them.

By Liz Cantrell
May 05, 2021
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Traveling with teenagers might seem like a big undertaking—Will there be WiFi? Will they be bored? Where should we go?—but showing your teen the world can be a rewarding experience for you and for them. Taking a trip as a family will give you memories to last a lifetime, and might encourage them to keep traveling once they leave home. Here, T+L's travel advisors recommend seven trips that will give your teenager a taste of everything the world has to offer, from outdoor adventures to thought-provoking museums (and of course, places for your teen to snap a picture-perfect Instagram.)

Panoramic view at Picton harbor, New Zealand
Picton harbor, Marlborough, New Zealand
| Credit: Getty Images

Italy's Amalfi Coast

A week on the Amalfi Coast will leave your teenage kids spellbound and not wanting to come home. Start by exploring the jagged coastline by motorboat, stopping on the islands of Capri, Ischia or Procida, while skirting Positano, Praiano, and Amalfi. Take a hike and have a picnic lunch on the Path of the Gods, with breathtaking views that John Steinbeck captured in his writings. To add a cultural element, visit the archaeological parks of Pompeii and Herculaneum, or explore Naples' underground tunnels first dug by the Romans and, most recently, used as air raid shelters in World War II (and as hiding places for the local mafiosi.) —Gary Portuesi, Authentic Italy

Belgium

Belgium provides a wide range of activities and interests, all within one to two hours distance by high speed train (with internet access, so your teenagers can stay in touch with friends.) Your teenager may legally try one of the thousands of Belgian beers at the age of 16, and culinary delights range from casual Flemish fries with a myriad of sauces, to world-class chocolate, to a Michelin-star dinner. If your teens are into comics, visit the Tintin Shop or the Brussels Comics Art Center. Belgium is also full of "weird" things that your teenager will appreciate, like the giant, 102-meter tall Atomium, a great Instagram backdrop, and the "bug room" at Brussels' Royal Palace— the ceiling of the main hall is covered in 1.6 million iridescent green beetles. If your ancestors happened to come to the US from Europe by boat, visit the Red Star Line museum in Antwerp to get an idea of what that experience was like. And if your teenagers simply want to meet local teenagers— easy: English is widely spoken, so they can easily chat with local kids of their own age. — Rob Clabbers, Q Cruise Travel

Nyhavn district in Copenhagen, Denmark
The colorful Nyhavn district in Copenhagen, Denmark
| Credit: Julius Jansson/Getty Images

Copenhagen, Denmark

With a mix of touring, shopping, music, museums and food to explore— plus nearby forests and beach areas for some resting days—Copenhagen has it all. It's accessible for everyone, safe, friendly, and dynamic, so that every season and every year there is something new and exciting to discover. — Melissa Lee, Royal Travel

Seattle, Washington

This walkable city has access both to beautiful nature (there are three national parks within a few hours' drive, plus plenty of close day hikes) and world-class museums. Our favorite for families is the Museum of Pop Culture, which will engage both teens and their parents alike. Of course, no visit to Seattle would be complete without a visit to Pike Place Market, which is sure to please all types of palates. Seattle is full of amazing photo ops for teens looking to make their friends jealous on social media—Lillian Rafson, Pack Up + Go

New Zealand

New Zealand offers a diverse range of outdoor activities to entertain all teenagers and give them very little time to be on a device. From sparkling coastal waters where sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, surfing can be enjoyed, right down to glistening glaciers for day hikes or multi-day hikes through pristine rainforest (or even bungie jumping off bridges) the offerings abound. Equally, wildlife encounters—from swimming with dolphins, kayaking with seals, or visiting conservation programs to learn about flightless species like the penguin, the kiwi and the kakapo— make a very meaningful visit to our shores. Beyond physical pursuits, New Zealand has filmed numerous world-renowned movies, such as Lord of the Rings, so a visit to the movie set at Hobbiton or a behind-the-scenes tour of Sir Peter Jackson's WETA Workshops studio is fascinating for teens.—Sarah Farag, Southern Crossings

Old houses in Bolea village, Aragon province, Spanish Pyrenees
Old houses in Bolea village, Aragon province, Spanish Pyrenees
| Credit: Getty Images

The Spanish Pyrenees

This lesser-known mountain range, particularly the western edge in the region of Catalunya, is perfect for families with a love of the outdoors and a sense of adventure, who seek local cultural experiences. The Pyrenees are suitable for all active families with children aged 10 and above. In a trip over 5 or 6 days, combine some of the best rafting in southern Europe, spectacular biking descents from ski resorts, canyoning, and hiking in a national park. Also spend a day with a shepherd and learn about life in a mountain village, goat tending and the local cheese making process. The must-do private camping in a glorious location by a river makes this an amazing adventure for families. — Nigel Hack, Madrid and Beyond

A Warm-Weather Cruise

During the summer, there are always other teenagers who they can make friends with and also enjoy family time. We took our entire family on a cruise to Bermuda. The group included three teenagers, and they had the time of their lives. They did all kind of water and beach activities, then we always were together as a family for dinner. They keep asking when we can do this again. —Ruth Turpin, Cruises ETC