Looking to plan epic travel and adventure experiences with teens, tweens and kids? We’ve got you covered with 20 amazing ideas for teen travel to help you put together your next trip. This list has been put together from real travel experiences with our own teens and tweens. Each experience is perfect for building core memories, getting your teens out in the real world and off their phone and making your next trip fun for everyone.
If you are looking for even more adventure ideas, check out 100 Incredible Adventures with Kids: Have Amazing Family Travel Experiences.
How to Select the Best Teen Travel Experience
Not every experience below is perfect for every teen. Whenever possible, include your teen in helping to plan your trips and try to take their preferences into account. We truly think that traveling with your teen is an incredible experience and one of the best ways to build a strong relationship. You can find plenty of information on how to plan the best teen travel experienced on our family travel page of in the articles below:
- 10 Ways to Plan the Best Adventure for Teens
- Why Traveling with Your Teen is One of the Best Things You’ll Ever Do
- Why Getting Your Teens Outdoors is so Important
20 Teen Travel Experiences
Swim in a Bioluminescent Bay
Swim or kayaking at night in a bioluminescent bay for a one of a kind experience. In a few places around the world tiny plankton accumulate and when disturbed at night send of a flash of light. Swimming or kayaking in a bioluminescent bay disturbs these little creatures and you will float through a magical world of glowing light.
You can find 5 bioluminescent bays in the world: 3 are in Puerto Rico and other two are in Luminous Lagoon, Jamaica and Halong Bay, Vietnam. There are also many other places that have significant bioluminescence. Take a tour to one of these bays and kayak or swim through the glowing water.
Hike to a Backcountry Hut
If your teen enjoys hiking, than an overnight hut trip is an amazing adventure. You can find mountain huts around the world, but some of the best are in Europe in the Alps. The best part of hiking to these huts is you can just carry a day pack with clothes and layers and the hut includes bedding and food (you will need to bring a small sleep sack).
Based on your teen’s interest you can find huts with just a short hike or a much longer and challenging walk. In addition to Europe, you can find huts or hostels you can hike to in the United States and South America.
Try Local Cuisine
One of our favorite things about visiting another country is trying the food. Our teens love trying the local cuisine and we’ve planned our trips around trying interesting local food.
Some of the best places our teens have been and enjoyed the food include Paris, Rome, Thailand, and Mexico.
You can take this experience even further by booking a food tour or a cooking class. Try making Pizza in Italy or learning to make cheese in France.
Whether your teen loves to hike or prefers driving to beautiful destinations, planning a trip around finding waterfalls is an incredible adventure. Waterfalls can be found is so many countries around the world so you can make a whole vacation around visiting some beautiful falls.
One of the best countries to enjoy chasing waterfalls is in Iceland. This incredible country has so many waterfalls that you will lose track of the shear number of beautiful falls. You can drive the entire Ring Road of Iceland just going from waterfall to waterfall.
See the Best Waterfalls in Iceland.
Canoe in the Amazon
The incredible and diverse Amazon rainforest is a bit off the beaten path but is an incredible place to visit with teens. Spend a few days canoeing through the Amazon rainforest looking for pink dolphins, monkeys, snakes, sloths, and more. There are some truly lovely lodges in the Amazon to fit every budget.
We visited the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador recently and saw so many animals. Our teens loved this experience.
This is a perfect place to visit if your teens love animals.
See more about finding an Amazon Tour.
If you haven’t snorkeled with kids than this is a must-have experience. If your teens already love to snorkel, consider learning to scuba dive. Open up the entire underwater world and swim with fish, sea turtles, sting rays and more.
You can book a snorkeling tour, rent equipment on your next vacation or purchase your own snorkel gear.
Go mountain Biking
If your teen loves a bit of a thrill, mountain biking is a fun outdoor activity that can be done at many places around the world. There are many mountain biking centers that have ranked biking trails, making it wasy for beginners through advanced bikers. The best way to enjoy a mountain biking experience is to book this as a guided tour, or simply rent bikes for the day.
If mountain biking isn’t your thing, you can also rent bikes in many cities and towns and tour the city on a bike. We did this when we visited Ayutthaya in Thailand.
See more about biking in Italy.
Visit Ancient Ruins
If you,r teen is a history buff, they will love visiting some of the ancient ruins around the world. We’ve taken our teens and tween to visit the Colosseum, Pompeii, Stonehenge, the Mayan Ruins, and more. We love wandering ancient streets and learning about the people who spent their lives here.
While some of the biggest and most impressive sites may be far away, you can often find historic sites and ruins closer to home no matter where you live.
Sleep on an Island
We love to camp with our teens but one their favorite places to camp is on an island. Plan a kayak or canoe trip to an island or take a ferry to an island and enjoy a peaceful night near the water. You can find countless camping places on islands along the coast or in lakes and ponds.
If you don’t have your own boats, many places will rent boats for an overnight trip.
Looking for a fun adventure activity – try cliff jumping. My teens and tween absolutely love to swim and jumping off a rock, a dock, a bridge or really anything is one of their favorite things to do. Anytime I book a trip, I always try to find somewhere nearby to swim and cliff jumping is a bonus!
Like many of the adventure activities on this list, always use caution and try the activity at your own risk. If you plan to jump off a rock, make sure to check the water below.
When I asked my 14 year old daughter what she wanted to do on our next vacation, learning to surf was on the top of her list. Many beach destinations around the world have a surf break and offer surf board rentals or lessons. We spent a few days in San Diego recently learning to surf and not only did my teen love it, but I enjoyed trying to learn something new with her.
Go Horseback Riding
If you’re teens an animal lover, horseback riding is a great activity to try. You can find horseback riding tours at many different destinations around the world. It’s always worth doing a little research to make sure you are going with a reputable and ethic outfit.
Most horseback riding tours are for beginners so you don’t need experience. We’ve enjoyed horseback riding in Idaho, Georgia, Costa Rica, and Ecuador.
White Water Rafting
Your teens will love white water rafting! There are many rivers around the world that offer incredible opportunities for white water rafting. You can plan an entire vacation around a white water adventure or add on a half day tour to your next trip.
You can find a list of some of the best white water rafting trip here, or search on Viator for white water rafting tours near you. You can also find tours that offer white water kayaking or other water sports like paddleboarding and canoeing.
If you are looking for fun winter activities, a ski trip is one of the best adventure trips for teens. Visit a mountain resort and spend a weekend or week enjoying outdoor fun in the snow. Most ski resorts offer more than just downhill skiing. Try cross country skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing, hut tub, tubing, sledding, and more.
There are so many excellent mountain ski resorts to enjoy across the United States and around the world. Since we live in New England, we’ve explored most of the best ski mountains in the northeast, but we’re planning a ski trip to the Rocky Mountains next winter and are hoping to make it to Europe to ski the year after.
See more about planning an epic ski trip with teens.
Take a Road Trip
Road trips are one of our favorite ways to explore with our teenagers. We love heading out on the road, camping and stopping at amazing destination. Some of our favorite road trips with teens involve exploring the US National Parks, but we’ve also loved road tripping through Italy and Slovenia and the Yucatan Peninsula.
When you plan a road trip with teens, make sure to get them involved in the planning – let them help with navigating and planning stops along the way.
See more about planning an amazing Road Trip with teens, tweens and kids.
Try a High Ropes Adventure Sport: Rock Climbing, Zip Lining, or Canyoneering
Trying extreme sports is one of out teenagers activities. In addition to white water rafting and skiing above, we often seek out other adventure sports. Some of these you can do on your own (like rock climbing with experience) but you can also book many adventure activities through tours – we usually book our tours through Viator.
Check out an Art Museum
Whenever we’re spending time in a city, we love checking out the local art museums. We’ve been to some of the most incredible museums in the world and if your teen enjoys art and culture, this is a great addition to a trip.
While you can find an art museum in most cities around the world, our favorite place to check out the art is in Paris. That said, we’ve also enjoyed smaller art museums, so don’t underestimate smaller, local museums.
Soak in a Hot Spring
If you are planning a visit to a geothermally active part of the world, enjoying a soak in the a hot spring is a top rated activity with teens. This is one of the best teenage travel experiences that involve a bit of relaxation. Hot springs range from public, luxury hot springs (like in the photo above) all the way to remote and natural hot springs that can be visited free of charge (like Fosslaug hot spring in Iceland).
You could easily plan an entire trip around visiting hot springs, or add in a stop during a road trip.
Take a Sailing Trip
If you are looking for a slightly different idea for your next vacation with teens, try going on a family sailing vacation. If you are an experienced sailor, you can bareboat charter or try booking a sailing adventure with a captain. If you and your teen are interested in learning to sail, you can find live aboard sailing trips for learning to sail, or stay in a resort and take sailing lessons.
See more about how to plan a Family Sailing Trip.
Ride in a Hot Air Balloon
This is on our families bucket list and we can’t wait to take our teens up in the air for a hot air balloon ride. The funny part is that of all the things on this list, this is the one that makes me the most nervous! But doing things with your teens that are out of your comfort zone is a great way to connect and build memories- so it looks like I’ll be heading up in a hot air balloon sometime soon.
Other Great Travel Resources for Traveling with Teens
- 20 of the Best Experience Gifts for Teens, Tweens and Kids
- The 10 Best Travel Books for Teens to Inspire Adventure
- 30+ of the Best Travel Gifts for Teenagers
Teen Travel Programs and Solo Teen Travel
We absolutely love traveling with our kids but especially as they get older we want them to try different travel experiences – sometimes on their own. You have two options for encouraging your teen to travel without you. One, you can help them organize or send them off on their own or with friends. If you’ve built good travel habits with your kids this can be an incredible way for you kids to see the world, especially for older kids.
Another option if you are reluctant to send your kids out into the world by themself if to send them on one of the many travel programs for teens. These programs off teen group travel experiencing all around the world. You can find teen travel programs or teen volunteer programs for almost anywhere around the world. These are often on the expensive side but offer incredible experiences for teens.
After working for several year for a teen travel adventure program I strongly encourage you to consider this if it’s within your budget.