Family adventure holidays

Forget biking and hiking: Alternative adventure holidays you didn’t know existed

Last updated 6th June 2018

Families are increasingly swapping the traditional ‘fly and flop’ holidays for something a little more active. Adventure holidays offer kids and adults alike the chance to try something new, enjoy a challenge and spend quality time together making unforgettable memories. Here’s our selection of the best alternative adventure holidays with something a little different.

1/11 Seven day Spanish school and adventure holiday, Picos de Europa

For an educational holiday experience why not challenge the family to learn a new language together? This trip combines language classes with outdoor activities for a fun and educational break for children aged 13 plus. From 9am until 1pm each day, guests will have intensive Spanish lessons at the residential language school near to the Picos de Europa in northern Spain. Afternoons are spent exploring the great outdoors, enjoying activities from canyoning to wildlife spotting. Guests can also choose to try surfing, horseback riding or caving as well as Via Ferrata climbing. Families will stay in comfortable 3* B&Bs near plenty of local cafes and restaurants for convenience. This holiday is ideal for those who want to improve their Spanish language skills as well as enjoying the sports paradise of the Picos de Europa.

What’s included: Accommodation, intensive Spanish tuition, listed activities with instruction, transport.

When: 12-20 August

Price: From £398 per person

Find out more and book at Responsible Travel


Photo: Oyster Worldwide

2/11 Seven days’ volunteering with monkeys in South Africa

Animal lovers will go wild for this volunteering adventure holiday in the African bush. Families will stay near the monkey sanctuary and attend each day to prepare the residents’ food, feed them, clean out their cages and of course play with them! Guests love walking with the baboons down to the river for swimming time, and bottle-feeding the tiny babies as they learn to integrate into the troupe. If you love the idea of being a surrogate parent to a baby monkey, the best time to go is November to February- the centre always needs extra arms for cuddles! There is a real community feel at the project, with volunteers eating meals and socialising together. There’s an on-site swimming pool for free time dips, and the Kruger National Park is a popular place to visit before or after the volunteer programme.

What’s included: Accommodation, airport transfers and three meals a day.

When: Dates flexible to suit

Price: From £547 per person

Find out more and book at Responsible Travel

Vintage classic american car in Havana, Cuba

3/11 Fifteen day self-drive Cuba holiday

This tailor-made holiday to Cuba is perfect for families who want the flexibility of a personalised itinerary with the convenience of organised activities from travel experts. Stay in Old Havana at a boutique homestay to get a feel of the local culture, and take a walking tour of the city to discover the best ice-creams and the Plaza de Revolucion. Drive in an American classic cabriolet for Instagram-worthy snaps and see the evening firing of the cannon at 9pm. Next, road-trip to the Cuban countryside, staying in a green valley and seeing how tobacco is farmed. Cave trips and horseback riding are also available, as is a trip to an organic farm and stunning waterfall. After this families can see the tropical side of Cuba with a trip to an orchid garden and tropical forest, as well as a fruit farm and coffee plantation. Other activities include snorkelling in the crystal clear waters of Cuba’s coast, taking a catamaran ride and visiting a remote plantation for al fresco dining and horseback riding. A trip to Cuba wouldn’t be complete without a tour of a cigar factory, before catching a flight back to the UK.

What’s included: Accommodation, transfers, some meals and activities within the itinerary. Breakfast is often included with homestay accommodation (recommended over hotels for families with children)

When: Dates flexible to suit

Price: From £1408 per family of four

Find out more and book at Responsible Travel


4/11 Eight days’ traditional Tuscany experience

Italian culture is famed for its family focus and slow pace of life. Staying in a 13th century farmhouse just 700m from the birthplace of Leonardo Da Vinci, families can get involved with an eco-tourism project run by a local partner. Guests will take part in an olive oil tasting masterclasses, pizza cooking sessions and Italian cookery lessons, using local produce to benefit the local economy. The cultural hubs of Florence and Pisa are within driving distance so families can enjoy shopping for local goods and taking in the incredible artwork as well as posing against the Leaning Tower! For more active families, rock climbing and a ‘cave and cascade’ adventure is on the cards, before a picnic lunch in the scenic Tuscan countryside. Canyoning and and mountain biking are also on the itinerary – after all these sporty activities it’s a good thing you’re surrounded by fresh and indulgent Italian food! Don’t forget to ask your host to show you the finest gelato shop in the area; it’s not to be missed!

What’s included: Apartment accommodation, some meals, activities on the itinerary, a welcome pack and a local guide.

When: Dates flexible to suit

Price: From £590 per person

Find out more and book at Responsible Travel


5/11 Seven night white-water adventure, France

Those looking for an adrenaline rush should head to Ardèche for a white-water family adventure. Guests will stay in a mobile home at a 3* campsite, with one night tent camping at a bivouac site in a local gorge. The week’s activities include white-water rafting, canyoning, trying out high ropes and rock climbing, as well as a two-day canoe descent into a gorge. The campsite is situated in the picturesque  mountains of the Cervenne, surrounded by vineyards and gorges. A swimming pool is also onsite so guests can unwind after their packed days of activities! This package is self-catering except for the two-day canoe trip; on those days families will enjoy a bivouac barbecue and breakfast in the great outdoors.

What’s included: Seven nights’ accommodation in a two or three bedroom 3* mobile home with swimming pool; a bivouac barbecue and breakfast; all activities including instruction and supervision.

When: 11-18 August

Price: £508 per person

Find out more and book at Family Adventure Holidays

Girl in zorbing ball

6/11 Seven night personalised activity break, Scotland

This award-winning activity break campsite is the perfect base for families who want a flexible, tailor-made programme. Staying in a two bedroom mobile home, guests can chose from a range of activities such as archery, crossbow shooting, climbing walls and snorkelling. For more adventurous guests there are sea-scooters, hoverboards and even Body Zorbs to ramp up the adrenaline. Families can enjoy bonding time through raft building sessions, den making and nail-biting laser combat games. For children aged 3-7 there is a Go Juniors programme that offers inflatable pool canoes and WaterWalkerz. There are also two heated indoor pools for little ones and an entertainment lounge for evening fun.

What’s included: Seven nights’ self-catering accommodation at Hoseasons campsite in Argyll, Scotland, including access to the entertainment lounge and swimming pools.

When: 10-17 August

Price: £586 for a family of four

Find out more and book at Hoseasons


7/11 Seven night Normandy Chateau Adventure Holiday, France

An ideal first adventure break for families with young children, this Normandy Chateau Adventure is an all-inclusive break that prioritises fun for adults and children alike. Families will be welcomed with a champagne reception and nibbles before kicking off a programme of engaging activities for all ages. Each age group has their own area to explore; ‘Chicks’ aged 3-5 years have their own paddling pool, playhouse and toys, as well as a mini farm and trampolining area. Older children will bake their own bread, enjoy t-shirt printing and get stuck into forest games and campfires. Adults can join in family assault courses, sports tournaments and group games after enjoying child-free time at archery, wine tasting and clay pigeon shooting sessions. There is also free time for families to discover the local area, visiting attractions such as Carolles beach and the famous Mont St. Michel. All food is prepared by French chefs and there are child-friendly options at every meal. Beer, wine and home-made cider is also included. Accommodation is in family rooms within the 100-acre grounds of the Chateau, which has lakes, waterfalls and orchards for children to explore.

What’s included: Seven nights’ accommodation in a simple room with bunk beds; all activities; fully inclusive board with wine and beer.

When: 11-18 August

Price: £460 per adult; £410 per child aged 6+; £160 per child aged 2-5

Find out more and book at Family Adventure Holidays


Photo: Intrepid Travel

8/11 Sixteen day adventure holiday, Costa Rica

Join this small group family adventure for a sociable and exhilarating holiday that you won’t forget. The trip starts with a tour of the INBio Park, National Museum and Doka Estate coffee plantation as well as a trip to a butterfly farm. Find out about Costa Rica’s history and culture before heading to Tortuguero National Park to navigate the waterways and view wildlife. Sleep in a riverbank lodge, spotting monkeys and colourful kingfishers as well as some of the 13 endangered mammals that call the park home. You may even get to discover the nesting ground of the green sea turtle! Birdwatching and a trip to Arenal Volcano is up next, as well as a visit to some fairtrade cooperatives. Horse riding, ziplining through the jungle and hiking the Central Pacific coast are also on the itinerary and will help your family create incredible memories.

What’s included: Return flights from the UK, transfers, accommodation,14 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners. entry fees, transport.

When: 7-23 April

Price: From £1697 per person

Find out more and book at Responsible Travel


9/11 Twelve day Ultimate Canada Adventure

Intrepid adventurers will love this outdoorsy trip, exploring the wilderness of Canada from Vancouver to Calgary and everywhere in between. Starting in Vancouver, taste sticky local maple cookies and check out the totem poles dating back to the 1920s in the 400 acre Stanley Park. Drive from the city to a campsite in Whistler, where you can take a gondola ride, zipline through the tree-tops or rent bikes to explore the local trails. From there, your family will visit the Wells Gray Provincial Park in the Caribou Mountains, enjoying hearty barbecues and a stay in a rustic lodge. Jasper National Park is also on the itinerary, where guests can visit Angel’s Glacier and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the 4200 square miles of unspoilt wilderness from the cable car. Families will visit three more National Parks, featuring remote teahouses with the best chocolate cake in Canada, ice fields and even bear spotting opportunities. Soak in the Sulphur Mountain hot springs, enjoy a helicopter ride and visit the famous Calgary Zoo with its life-size dinosaurs.

What’s included: Accommodation (camping, hotel and lodges), all meals when camping, camping equipment (except sleeping bags), transport, guides, meals when camping and at the ranch.

When: 13-25 August

Price: From £1279 per person

Find out more and book at Responsible Travel


10/11 Seven night watersports holiday, France

Starting with a welcome barbecue to meet all the other guests, this ‘French Med Adventure’ watersports programme is the perfect holiday for families who want to socialise and enjoy an active week. Families will stay in a two or three bedroom mobile home with WiFi, fully equipped kitchen and nearby games rooms and convenience stores. A welcome hamper with tea, coffee, snacks, wine and beer will be waiting for guests on arrival for a luxurious start to your holiday. On the itinerary for water-loving kids are sessions of kayaking, windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding, white water rafting and more. Full instruction and supervision is included, and adults can have their own sessions as well as joining in family activities with the kids. Barbecues and packed lunches are included in the break, as well as beach activities such as volleyball and slackline and evening entertainment. This holiday is ideal for children aged eight and over due to the challenging nature of the sports.

What’s included: Seven nights’ accommodation in a two or three bedroom 4* mobile home; welcome hamper; two barbecues; three packed lunches; all watersports; access to private beach; Wifi; beach activities and evening entertainment.

When: 4-11 August

Price: £549 per child and £649 per adult

Find out more and book at Family Adventure Holidays


Photo: Stubborn Mule

11/11 Nine days’ cultural exploration in Jordan

Take an immersive and educational history trip with this tailor-made family holiday to Jordan. Kids can wander through the ruins of a Roman ampi-theatre, imagining the battles of long ago and watching Gladiator re-enactments before sipping sweet mint tea as the sun goes down. A firm favourite with young adventurers is a trip to the Dead Sea, where guests can experience the incredible flotation of the salty water and slap on the mineral-rich mud as a body mask. Next discover the ruins of Petra; the climb may be steep for little legs, so hop on a camel or a donkey to ease the way. The ruins have plenty of hidden trails and caves, and are ideal for a day of exploring and historical education. The Dana Nature Reserve is next- guests can stay in a traditional lodge in the local village and enjoy the stunning views of the reserve- before heading to Wadi Rum. Choose to explore with a four-wheel drive Jeep or the more traditional camel, and see where Lawrence of Arabia was filmed. Families will stay in an authentic Bedouin camp, watching the sun set before gathering around a campfire for Bedouin songs. Lastly on the tour enjoy some time in a coastal resort, swimming in the pool or snorkelling in the ocean.

What’s included: All accommodation (tailored to your preferences), listed activities, some meals and transfers.

When: Dates flexible to suit

Price: From £970 per person

Find out more and book now at Responsible Travel

Planning your holidays for the new year? Here are Cornwall’s best outdoor adventures all-year-round.