Theme-park vacations with kids can be unforgettable, but FareCompare readers also can create memorable family vacations that are a bit off the beaten path. By choosing a great location and booking cheap flights, you and your kids can learn about other cultures and see some of the great wonders of nature first-hand. Here are five ideas for family vacations that can broaden horizons for children and parents.
Listen as FareCompare’s Anne McDermott talks about saving your sanity with LuxuryTravelMom‘s Kim-Marie Evans when flying with kids.
5 Family Vacations
1. Whale Watching on the Oregon Coast
The best times for watching these majestic animals are late December, late March and late August, though they can be spotted just about every day. One great place to visit is the Whale Watching Spoken Here Interpretive Center in Depoe Bay, off Highway 101. It is southwest of Portland, northwest of Eugene, and almost due west of Salem, and admission is free. Numerous local charter companies also offer whale watching trips on the water. Whale watching also makes an excellent day trip if you are enjoying a city vacation in Portland. Find cheap flights to Portland.
2. The Canadian Rockies in Banff, Alberta
Families who love experiencing wonders of nature will find year-round activities in the beautiful Canadian Rockies in and around Banff. Summer could find you enjoying the long days at a guest ranch or camping out, hiking or exploring beautiful nearby lakes. In the winter, it is all about skiing and snowboarding, though you can experience snowshoeing and even dog sledding. The natural scenery is unforgettable, but you will also find cultural and natural science museums and plenty of other rainy day activities. Find cheap flights to Alberta.
3. Eco-Friendly Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a terrific place for family vacations. It is relatively inexpensive, English is widely spoken and the scenery is amazing. Tabacon Hot Springs, Manuel Antonio National Park and the Children’s Eternal Rainforest are just a few places families can enjoy here. The Caribbean coast is less crowded than the Pacific coast, and activities range from quietly exploring wildlife habitats to riding ziplines and watching active volcanoes. Costa Rica is one of the most eco-friendly places in Latin America, with a national goal of complete carbon neutrality by the year 2021. Find cheap flights to Costa Rica.
4. Cornwall for Maritime and Iron Age History
Cornwall, in the southwestern United Kingdom, is steeped with early human history, made more interesting by the fact that there is little evidence of Roman rule there. The climate is mild, the scenery is impressive, and there are countless opportunities to learn about ancient and modern cultures. For example, in the summer you can sleep in a replica of an Iron Age roundhouse on the edge of a real Iron Age settlement. Lighthouses abound in Cornwall and you can visit the world’s largest biome, the Eden Project. Find cheap flights to the United Kingdom.
5. Wildlife in Pretoria, South Africa
The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa is one of the foremost zoos in the world. Located in Pretoria, it was established in 1899. The Zoological Gardens strive to conserve and safeguard precious wildlife species that include the rare white tiger. Pretoria is about 50 km from Johannesburg, and is slower paced and more laid back. Organizations like Footprints in Africa offer day trips around the city as well as tours further afield in Botswana and Mozambique. Find cheap flights to South Africa.