The family trip might seem a thing of the past, but it has, in fact, become a popular way to travel again. It’s about spending quality time with parents, grandparents and extended family in an era that heralds solo travel and posting epic pictures on Instagram. With historical sites, beautiful natural sceneries and action-filled activities, here are 10 destinations that make for great multi-generational trips.
The Galapagos Islands
There’s no need for the zoo when the islands are teeming with marine iguanas, sea lions, finches and other wondrous water, air and land creatures. Parents and children can snorkel and kayak while grandparents rest on the beach, and the whole family can go on a nature hike. The islands, home to some of the world’s most diverse wildlife, inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution so there’s no such thing as a boring walk, especially when stumbling upon giant Galapagos tortoises.
Safaris know no age limits and promise to keep everyone in the family happy. In Kapama Private Game Reserve, families can see elephants, lions and leopards, while Tswalu Kalahari offers interactive walks for children – while they’re learning how to differentiate various animals’ footprints, the adults can have a glass of wine in the lodge. Besides safaris, there are also activities such as horseback riding and whale watching, plus many beaches to swim in.
Orlando’s Walt Disney World is the quintessential multi-generational family trip and Cinderella Castle and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad never disappoints. At Discovery Cove, children can swim with dolphins, and over in the Florida Keys, where, besides going to the beach, families can go to the Turtle Hospital where they can learn about endangered sea turtles. For something more action-packed, experience zero gravity at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.
The Scottish Highlands are calling and one of the best ways to experience its culture, history and scenery is by car so it’s time for a road trip. Start in Edinburgh and make it up to Loch Ness in Inverness. There are plenty of family-friendly farm stays to spend a couple of nights in and exploring castles and lakes should keep everyone entertained. Along the way, stop at Stirling Castle, Glencoe, home to the famous brown, long-haired Glencoe cow, and Fort William for hiking and biking.
A slow boat down the Mekong can be at once lyrical and an adventure, watching water buffaloes graze by the riverbanks and visiting remote tribal villages. Pandaw River Cruises offers promotions for families where up to two children aged 5 to 18 stay free in a cabin. Usually, the journey starts from the Thai-Laos border town of Huay-Xai and along the way, stops at local villages such as Pakbeng, where getting there involves scaling bamboo staircases, before ending at Luang Prabang.
A holiday in Las Vegas is the trite and true family trip. Slide down a twisting water slide at the Wet ‘n’ Wild water park, sit on a roller coaster at the indoor Adventuredome Theme Park and take a picture on the gondola at the Venetian. There’s much more including the Shark Reef Aquarium and Flamingo Wildlife Habitat. Or, ask grandma and grandpa to babysit the kids while parents try their hand at blackjack.
Portugal’s capital might not seem fitting for a family trip at first thought, but it offers a wide range of activities that appeal to many ages. Take the popular Tram 28 up the hill for panoramic views of the city or learn about Portugal’s history through interactive exhibits at the Lisbon Story Centre. Order takeout from the Time Out Market and have some bubbly in the park outside while children play in the playground. A day trip to Sintra Palace to see the fairy tale yellow and orange castle is another option though the steps are steep.
Dubai might seem like an adults’ playground but there are many G rated options in the sin city of the Middle East. Ride camels across the popular JBR Beach, cage-snorkel with sharks in a mall and hit the slopes at an indoor snow park. Families willing to splurge can stay at the Atlantis which has its own water park, man-made beaches and conveniently, a babysitting service.
This island is ideal for families looking for a laid-back time on the beach where the priority is to spend time together rather than tick off items from an activity list. In northern Majorca, Alcúdia is a wonderful quiet resort town near an enchanting old town and Port de Pollença has calm waters to swim in. To change things up, explore Drach Caves in eastern Majorca.
With so many children’s books set in or inspired by London, it’s hardly surprising the city continues to marvel travellers of all ages. Pay homage to Paddington Bear by visiting the statue at Paddington Station and take a picture at Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross. Many museums have free admission for children but there’s more than just museums, such as the seven-storey Hamleys, one of the oldest toy stores in the world. During Christmas, look out for the window displays at Harrods and watch a pantomime – a musical comedy – at Windsor Castle.