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6 Adventure Vacations To Do With Your Teens

Parents of teens can have a hard time finding vacations ideas that engage and challenge these older kids and create the bonding opportunities families still need.  The trick: Instead of thinking about vacation destinations with teens, think about vacation activities, especially those that will take you off the beaten track. If you’ve never done it before, adventure travel is more doable than you might expect, especially with teens, and the life experience is worth it. Better still, you can decide what your family considers an adventure; it could be cooking classes in Italy or hiking to Machu Picchu.

use unique adventures in the outdoors to reconnect with your teen.6 Outdoor Destinations Teens Will Love

I organize small-group trips for amateur photographers. I try to create unique travel experiences that combine off-the-beaten-path and must-do attractions, all with an eye on bringing back great shots for you and your teens to share on social media (or however else you want to) . Below is a collection of photos of destinations that parents and teens alike can appreciate. I’d like to think they and show you why it’s worth it to seek out the road less traveled with your family, regardless of how you do it. Maybe one of these will  give you ideas for your next vacation. (Read more tips for planning vacations with teens.)

Hike in the Colorado Rockies

The Colorado Rockies are perfect for outdoor lovers and very accessible as a first adventure destination. You can spend your day outdoors and return at night to a cozy vacation condo or well-appointed hotel. We hiked here in late summer and early fall to get  nice shots of the Aspen trees turning yellow.

See South Africa Sunrises

Safaris in South Africa aren’t just about the amazing animals. Inspiring sunrises like this one in Entabeni Game Park made our photo lovers glad they’d woken up before dawn. Unless you’re adventurous enough to do a self-driving safari, these vacations involve far less roughing it than you might imagine. Whether you stay in a lodge or well-appointed platform tents you can expect good food and plenty of attentive service. (Read more about what to expect on an African Safari.)

Discover Hidden California

Northern California has so many hidden treasures like this one, an abandoned 1950’s fire truck we  came across while hiking near a secluded lake. California is another destination where you can decide how you like to travel and sleep in a VW van in state parks for total adventure or book unique lodges and inns if you prefer more comfort.

Explore Egypt’s White Desert

Egypt is magic and this photo shows why. On a photo tour to Egypt, our group captured many awesome sunsets like this in the middle of the beautiful White Desert National Park in the western dessert. While there have recently been restrictions on traveling here, when things settle down you can camp out in the dessert with a license tour guide.

Do a Tanzania Photo Safari

Taking photographs like this in Tanzania is amazing. We saw more than 30 hippos hanging out in a small pool in the Serengeti, among plenty of other wildlife. Just as in South Africa, Tanzania safaris can be as comfortable as basic or luxurious as you want them to be. Just expect to pay accordingly. (Read how we prepared for our first trip to Africa.)

Appreciate Hawaii’s Many Landscapes

One of my  favorite trees in the world is this tree swing on the Big Island of Hawaii. It demonstrates why it’s worthwhile to get off the beach and explore all that these islands have to offer. But of course Hawaii does have plenty of beaches, plus adventures like learning to surf as a family, mountain biking helicopter tours and more.

Take Specialized Group Tours With Teens

Group tours are one way to make adventurous vacations manageable. Forget your images of tourists in pastel Bermuda shorts pouring out of buses into Tchotchke shops. These days, tour groups come in many shapes and sizes (including many just for families). Teens and tweens can you help you choose a tour that matches your family’s interests in things like outdoor activities, culture, cooking, sports or history. Plus, you’ll spend your trip with a diverse group of people who share your interests (and there might be other teens for yours to hang out with).

Which of these exotic destination tops your family’s bucket list?  What’s the next adventure tour or vacation you plan to take with your teens?  Tell us!

Use Trip Advisor to check out hotel, activity and tour group reviews and rates for your next vacation.

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Planning a family vacation with teenagers? Think about activities as much as you do destinations. Adventure activities can offer terrific bonding opportunities and are easy to manage if you travel with a group. #travel #teens #adventure

Steve Juba is the founder of PhotoFly Travel Club, which emphasizes culturally authentic, small-group tours, often using smaller vehicles that can access places tours buses can’t. Mexico, Kenya and India are the next stops on the club’s wild travel ride with more trips each month. 

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  1. July 29, 2013 at 10:41 pm — Reply

    I love the Colorado Rockies. We used to go camping when I was a kid and I loved the mountains of Colorado. My favorite trees are the Aspen trees, very beautiful.

  2. Mary {The World Is A Book}
    July 16, 2013 at 6:55 pm — Reply

    I would love to go in any of these tours but have always been drawn to an African safari. Thanks for these great suggestions. Beautiful photos.

  3. Sophie
    July 14, 2013 at 3:10 pm — Reply

    Africa is such a wonderful continent, and Both South Africa and Egypt are exciting countries to explore – for children and teens, too.

  4. budget jan
    July 12, 2013 at 11:00 pm — Reply

    Those photos are enough to make anyone want to pack their bags and go looking for adventure.

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