Holidays with teenagers: 6 of the best holiday ideas for families with teens

Desperate for ideas for holidays with teenagers? We've asked the experts for the top options

A family of four snorkelling
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Holidays with teenagers can be a challenge, but we've found six great ideas for family trips with older children.

Many parents eagerly await the time when the family holiday comes around - it's an opportunity to get away from juggling work with family life and spend some quality time with your kids. Whether you're heading for two weeks on the beach or squeezing in a couple of days away to make the most of your bank holidays, chances are you're satisfied with the escape, no matter what type of holiday it is.

But when it comes to the popular holiday destinations kids want to visit, the options are a bit more limited. You'll need a trip that offers plenty of things to do with kids that will keep them occupied, engaged and actively wanting to spend time with their parents - which might not sound like a big ask, but parents of older kids will know how fussy they can be.

With this in mind, we've spoken to two travel experts, who have revealed their recommendations for the best holidays with teenagers that are guaranteed to keep them satisfied - no matter your budget.

6 ideas for holidays with teenagers

1. All-inclusive resorts

There are a number of benefits to all-inclusive holidays for families. Growing teens will be able to curb their hunger at all hours with no extra cost, and a variety of dietary requirements will be catered for. Many all-inclusive resorts have great facilities to keep the whole family occupied, such as swimming pools, waterparks, sports centres and spas.

Mercedes Zach, travel expert at ASAP Tickets, explains, "It might seem like a more expensive choice at first, but if you combine all the daily meals, activities and transportation costs together, this option will help you save quite a lot of money at the end of your trip.

"Teenagers can explore the nearby area and meet other holidaymakers their age without you having to worry about their whereabouts. And the best part is that there are lots of great and budget-friendly beach resorts all around the world - from Southern Europe and Asia to the US and beyond - where everything is taken care of for you."

2. Safari adventures

Adam Schwab, co-founder and CEO of Luxury Escapes, explains that a South African safari is an excellent choice for families seeking an educational and immersive adventure. "This type of trip not only provides teenagers with the opportunity to observe majestic animals in their natural habitats, but also fosters a deeper understanding of the importance of conservation and the delicate balance of our ecosystems," he says.

He suggests booking a private tour, such as the Intimate South Africa Tour offered by Luxury Escapes. The trip begins in Cape Town and will take you to the Greater Kruger National Park, where you'll have the chance to witness the Big Five (lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalo) in their natural habitat.

Other popular destinations for safari holidays include Zambia, Kenya, Botswana, Tanzania and Namibia.

3. Take a hike

For families with younger kids, camping is often a popular holiday option. But teenagers may find these trips a little under-stimulating, which is why a more active backpacking or hiking trip could be a better choice for older children.

"Not only will it allow you to spend time outdoors and explore new destinations off the mobile screen, but it will also be a great chance to bond, make memories and overcome challenges that might occur along the way," travel expert Mercedes suggests.

She continues, "Whether you live in an urban environment or have direct access to wide open spaces and trails, I suggest starting with a moderate-level one-day hiking path that can be found pretty much in every country. From forest preserves and lakeshore paths to national parks and mountain trails, it’s not hard to pick a green space to explore in the outdoors."

Mercedes says you could come up with games to play together during your hiking trip, or even encourage your teen to bring along a friend or two to enjoy the trail as well.

A family of four wearing backpacks and hiking through a field

(Image credit: Getty Images)

4. Tropical paradise

Adam Schwab suggests choosing a tropical destination with plenty of sports and activities to keep teenagers entertained. If your holiday budget allows, he says, "Phuket, Thailand's largest island, is a fantastic choice for families with teenagers seeking a perfect balance of adventure, relaxation, and cultural exploration."

The island's many beaches offer opportunities for swimming, snorkelling, and water sports like jet-skiing and parasailing. "For a more immersive experience, take a boat trip to the nearby Phi Phi Islands, where you can explore hidden coves, spot colourful marine life, and even try your hand at rock climbing," Adam says.

Inland, Phuket's jungle-covered hills provide a perfect setting for hiking, zip-lining, and ATV adventures.

But if flights to South East Asia are a bit out of your budget, the Greek Islands a similarly spectacular destination for snorkelling and water sports, along with beautiful beaches to relax on.

5. City breaks

City breaks are a great option to keep kids of all ages entertained, because they offer so much to. If your kids like museums and art galleries then a trip to a capital city is sure to be a winner, but there will also be plenty of opportunities for shopping, trying popular restaurants and visiting local parks if that's more their vibe.

Travel expert Adam suggests New York City as an ideal destination for families with teenagers, explaining, "For teens, the city is a never-ending source of inspiration and discovery. Iconic landmarks that they’ve seen in their favourite movies, like the Statue of Liberty, Central Park and Times Square, blow their minds. Not to mention the food scene, street art, live theatre, shopping and NYC culture forming the perfect envious backdrop for TikTok."

Meanwhile, Mercedes Zach agrees that New York is a great choice for parents with older children. "One of the main perks to bringing teens on such a vacation is that it can be a great opportunity to entertain, educate and teach them about cultural diversity all at once," she says. "Each neighbourhood in the city has its own unique character and charm. And I'm sure teenagers will especially love to indulge in a classic New York-style pizza."

6. Surf camp

If you've got sporty teenagers who are full of energy, and you fancy getting some time at the beach in for yourself, a surfing holiday might be a good option.

Travel expert Mercedes says: "Even if they have never tried surfing before, it might quickly become their (and also your) new hobby. From mellow waves where you can learn the basics to more advanced surf camps to challenge yourself, the world is full of amazing places where you can make this dream a reality and take your family beach vacation to the next level."

She suggests Portugal, Morocco, Australia and California as some of the most popular destinations for surfing, but says you can catch decent waves pretty much anywhere where there's open water. If it's a holiday in the UK you're after, north Devon and Cornwall are considered the best areas in the UK for the sport.

In related features, here's everything you need to know about fines for taking children out of school, and the five reasons why all families should get travel insurance when booking a holiday. If you're after some winter sun, we've asked the experts where is hot in February, and these hacks to save money on holiday could help you get a luxury trip on a budget.

Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.