Destinations for Kids That Offer Adventure, History, and Culture in Unexpected Places
From Fiji to Uganda to Patagonia, Rich Report lists kid-friendly destinations around the world.
We have been talking about where we want to go next - and we have big dreams. Our dreams are bigger and better than ever before. During the pandemic, we learned that traveling as a family should be to destinations not only in need of tourism dollars, but also in which locals want tourists to come and contribute to the conservation of land, landmarks, culture, and wildlife.
Our children will live in places in the world that will be altered, if not lost, as a result of climate change and population growth, so my partner and I decided to visit some of these destinations now - as they are and should be.
The past few years have taught us many lessons, including that travel is a privilege that can be taken away at any time, just like elephants, coral reefs, ancient forests, art, and architecture. All of us can be changed by travel - regenerative, conscientious, and intentional trips. It's true we are dreaming big, and we hope to be able to visit one of the following destinations in the near future.
Chimpanzees in Uganda
Volcanoes Safaris has a track record of sustainable and impactful conservation projects when it comes to getting up close with primates. The Kyambura Gorge Lodge in western Uganda offers deluxe bandas with private sitting areas and terraces for families. Experience the thrill of chimpanzee trekking in the Kyambura Gorge (kids 15 and older will also see and hear many hippos) in the nearby Queen Elizabeth National Park, home to tree-climbing lions. Participate in a local activity with Volcanoes Safaris' Kyambura Gorge Eco-tourism Project, a series of conservation and community programs designed to preserve Kyambura Gorge's delicate ecosystem.
Visit Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile
It is often difficult to reach the best places in the world. Getting to Chilean Patagonia can be challenging, but kids are capable of doing hard things and traveling long distances. Taking time to achieve something good teaches them patience. In Patagonia, hiking Torres del Paine is long and difficult, but it will remain in their memories forever. Tierra Patagonia offers wind-inspired lodges with experienced, engaging, and fun career guides. Pack a lunch for the full-day hike and set out early in the morning. As well as wildlife like foxes and pumas, international backpackers can also be observed along the way. At the top, spend some time in the natural amphitheater beneath the towers and by its sparkling blue-green lake, leaving everyone feeling accomplished and awed.
Visit the Valley of the Kings in Egypt
It is our goal to engage our children in culture, history, and current events in all of our travel experiences, and Egypt ticks all the boxes. It is exciting for families just to cross the street in Cairo. In conjunction with local guides, Intrepid Travel creates seamless and safe itineraries, including visits to the Great Pyramids, train travel to Aswan, and trips to Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. Seeing the mummy of King Tut and seeing the ornate subterranean tombs at the Valley of the Kings makes the history children learn in school real, and inspires them to keep exploring.
Hike the Nakasendo Trail in Japan
A traditional Japanese ryokan along the Nakasendo Trail, a trading route connecting Kyoto and Tokyo, has been on my personal travel wish list for decades. We can hike as a family now that my sons are seasoned hikers. Family travelers can join small group itineraries such as cycling through rural villages, taking a manga drawing masterclass, and learning taiko drumming with InsideJapan Tours.
The Great Astrolabe Reef is a great snorkeling spot in Fiji
It took me a while to believe what I was seeing when I first dove into the waters of the Great Astrolabe Reef. A vibrant coral garden in pinks, reds, purples, and blues resembled an underwater wildflower garden. The next day, I vowed to return with my children to show them how a healthy coral reef should look and to show them its importance to the ecosystem of the ocean. A diving team led by on-island marine biologist Cliona O'Flaherty can guide families to Great Astrolabe Reef and introduce them to the Coral Restoration Project, which grows and restores the reef house on Kokomo Private Island. The Kokomo Manta Conservation Project, in collaboration with the Manta Trust Fiji, tags, identifies, and offers an Adopt a Manta program if the timing is right, so children can swim with these gentle giants and help advance the project.
Visit the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador
In the early 2000s, I took my then-10-year-old son to Ecuador on one of my favorite trips of all time. The trip included exploring local markets in Quito and helping build schools, counting macaws overhead, learning about water conservation and cacao production, eating roasted grub (like bacon), and laughing well past sunset with the team from Me to We. We fell in love with easy-to-access Ecuador and have plans to return with the rest of our family — perhaps adding the historic city of Cuenca and the Galapagos Islands to our customized itinerary, while maintaining minimum impact on this delicate and biologically diverse environment. In the event that the timing is not right, we will wait to observe and preserve this unique "living laboratory of evolution."
Turks and Caicos
When it comes to reconnecting with your kids, there's no better place than paradise. In Turks and Caicos, an archipelago of 40 islands in the Caribbean. In about three hours, you can get away with smaller kids from the U.S. (direct from cities like New York, Atlanta, or Miami). A place of natural beauty, where families can create lifelong memories snorkeling through its cerulean waters, dining on freshly caught conch, and learning about its unique island culture.