Even before becoming parents my husband and I were never big fly and flop on a beach type tourists. We’ve always enjoyed active holidays and now love active family holidays with our energetic and adventurous boys. Below are some of the best adventurous family holidays we’ve taken over the last few years and can thoroughly recommend to other families seeking a different type of holiday.
As our boys are still only young, (4&7) I’ve also included a few holidays inspired by other family travel bloggers which are firmly on our family holiday bucket list for when they are older…
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Our favourite active family holidays
Boating holidays with kids
Happiest when boating! As I recently said over on my Instagram page, I feel this is the perfect family moto for us. There is something really special about being out on the water, exploring canals, rivers or the ocean. Stopping when we feel like it, taking it in turns at the helm and waving at every boater we pass with a smile of mutual understanding.
We recently enjoyed a boating holiday in France with Le Boat and are already discussing where we can go on our next boating holiday. I’ve shared reviews and tips for boating holidays with kids in these articles – Boating holiday in France: Our incredible week with Le Boat! A boat holiday with kids: What is it really like? and Fun activities when boating with kids. We think this 4 minute time lapse video summarises our 7 days cruising the waterways in Brittany perfectly…
Cruising with kids
We are also huge cruise fans. Cruising is basically a boating holiday but on a much grander, more luxurious level with all food and entertainment available to you virtually around the clock. I love how you can visit lots of different ports in one holiday and yet only have to get your kids used to sleeping in one bedroom. A cruise is a brilliant option for active, adventurous families with every kind of sporty activity now available at sea. Some of these facilities include go kart racing, rock climbing, wave surfing, huge water slides, mini golf, ice skating, bowling and lots more!
I recently reviewed an 80’s cruise onboard the Royal Caribbean International Navigator of the Seas. You can check out some of the sports facilities onboard including Flow Rider (surf machine), rock climbing wall, mini golf and sports courts here – Navigator of the Seas with kids: Everything you need to know. For more cruising with kids inspiration check out my other cruise reviews and Cruising with Kids.
Glamping with kids
There is something really special about staying in a caravan, motorhome or camping pod with kids. It’s one huge adventure for your kids and yet you have all the home comforts you need. (Hurrah to not having to trudge back and forth to the campsite facilities to wash up!) It really is the best of both worlds AND a budget friendly family holiday option too.
We’ve enjoyed some brilliant holidays in my parents’ motorhome, which we loved for many of the same reasons as boating. Especially being able to stop and explore areas that took our fancy. A few of our glamping with kids reviews can be found here if you are looking for inspiration – Our two week Brittany motor home road trip itinerary. Review Tattershall Lakes; A fun weekend in a luxury caravan in Lincolnshire. A family break at Barmouth Bay Holiday Park.
Camping with kids at family festivals
Family music festivals are our favourite way to spend summer weekends together. If you’ve shied away from taking your kids to a music festival, I sincerely encourage you to give it a try. (Especially if you enjoyed music festivals prior to becoming a parent!) We’ve taking our boys to a couple a year since my youngest was two. Family festivals are completely addictive because the atmosphere is brilliant, it feels really safe as they attract parents with a similar zing for life and they are just great fun. We’ve always been very impressed by the standard of camping facilities at family friendly festivals. (Nothing like my fuzzy awful memories of V Festival portaloos!) The standard of facilities and entertainment for kids are also top class.
Here are a few of our fave UK family festivals and some camping tips which may convince you to sleep under the stars with your family this summer! Cornbury Festival: Tips for making the most of the family-friendly festival. The Big Feastival 2018 review. Wychwood Festival; The perfect weekend to introduce kids to festival life! 7 do’s and don’ts for first time camping with kids.
Adventurous family holidays on our bucket wish list. (Tips & reviews from other travel bloggers & experts)
Meeting Santa in Lapland
Like many families, firmly at the top of our family holiday bucket list is a trip to Lapland. Sledging, husky dog riding, tobogganing and of course meeting Santa himself is surely the most magical experience you could ever have as a family?
We had hoped to visit Lapland this winter however, we’ve decided to put it off for another year until our youngest son is nearly 6. My friend Karen from Mini Travellers went last year and had a magical time with her family. (You can read her tips here – 20 top tips for visiting Lapland). She did however say that it was incredibly cold, (the temperature got down to a whopping -32 degrees!) and her three girls ages 5, 5 & 6 found the cold weather sometimes difficult to handle.
As the next best thing, we’ve booked Lapland UK this year. (My boys don’t know yet!) I’ve read mixed reviews about it to be honest, some excellent and some saying they felt the experience was expensive for what it was. We’ve paid £300 for the four of us which is undeniably expensive but hopefully worth it for a magical day with Santa and his elves. I’ll report back and let you know how we get on!
Family ski holiday
We loved skiing prior to having kids and used to go regularly. I hand on heart don’t think there is a feeling quite like zooming down a snowy mountain on a pair of skis surrounded by other utterly exhilarated skiers. We haven’t taken our boys on a winter sports holiday as yet but we’ve been researching it with the expert help of my brother. He has six years’ experience working in various ski resorts and now works for a specialist ski travel agency. He’s shared his recommendations for the best value ski deals for families and the best family friendly ski resorts. He has even shared tips on saving money when buying ski clothes and passes. You can check out his tips here – Family ski holiday: Expert tips for saving money.
Family Interrail holiday
My friend Kirstie from Family Adventure Project has recently returned from a truly epic interrailing adventure with her husband and two teenage children. They spent three weeks travelling by rail from the UK to Istanbul and Athens and back. And for added challenge, took a set of folding bikes so they could cycle in cities along the way. I would love to do something similar when my boys are older. How cool is this video they created upon their return?!
Family safari holiday
And last but certainly not least. Surely a safari is on every persons bucket list? I’m very fortunate to have been on a few safaris in South Africa whilst working onboard cruise ships. Seeing animals in their natural environment is just utterly incredible, completely life changing and an experience I would love to share with my family.
My friend Jenny from Travelynn Family recently returned from an inspiring 101-day road trip through the Sub-Saharan Africa with her husband and two young children. They spent many days on safari and even camped overnight in parks in their Land Rover with roof tents. If this sounds like a family adventure you would enjoy click here to read Jenny’s tips for going on safari with kids.
What active family holidays have you enjoyed? Are you tempted to add any of these adventurous family holidays to your family bucket list?
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