Adventure Vacations

4 Great Adventure Trips for Teens

Last updated 1st May 2019
Kara Goldin, an avid traveler and the founder and CEO of the healthy, naturally flavored water company Hint, has embarked on daring trips across the globe with her four teenagers. She shares four of their all-time favorite family adventure trips.


Belize has the ideal mix of eco-tourism and action sports. This trip was “a little bit of rainforest and a little bit of beach,” as my youngest son said. A major highlight here is cave tubing, where you float down rivers in the filtered jungle light past stalactites above and underground waterfalls below. We even got to see a crystal cathedral of the ancient Maya.

The Mayflower Bocawina National Park has the longest zipline in Belize and it offers a great aerial view of the rainforest, plus a rush of adrenaline like few we’ve experienced. We felt like we were flying through the jungle treetops like Tarzan and Jane.

At the beach, we stayed at Matachica Resort & Spa. It’s nice to add a bit of relaxation to the trip while still offering plenty of adventure opportunities like swimming and snorkeling to rev up our appetites for the delicious fresh sustainable fish dinners.

Discover the best family hotel in Belize


Patagonia is chock-full of breathtaking landscapes you won’t find anywhere else. Vast green hills and otherworldly jagged mountains greet travelers. We love to hike (we hike every morning in the hills behind our house in San Francisco) so this was a paradise for us. We went hiking and rock climbing practically every day and, depending on the terrain, the kids and the parents took turns taking the lead.

We also trekked along the glaciers in Chile. The Grey Glacier inside the Torres del Paine National Park overlaps into the Southern Ice Fields and all the gleaming glaciers are beyond beautiful. You get a real sense of the force of mother nature — and a serious workout, too.

Plan an incredible road trip through Patagonia

New Zealand

Flying over Fox Glacier, New Zealand.

We traveled all over New Zealand and found incredible adventures waiting around every turn. One highlight was driving through Hobbiton (the Shire) where they filmed the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogies. We also went bike riding through Queenstown, which is always crazy fun as a family. It’s a great way to see the sights and be active at the same time.

After seeing it first-hand myself, it’s no wonder Kipling described Milford Sound as “the eighth wonder of the world.” The fjords’ cliffs rise out of the dark waters as waterfalls cascade down more than 3,000 ft. We stayed overnight on a boat that took us out to the Franz Joseph Glacier for a truly unique experience. We went on another boat ride down the Dart River that was also a blast. The kids loved it.

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We decided not to stay on a ship, which is not easy, but we’re not cruisers at heart. Instead, we jumped from island to island and stayed in National Parks. We got some help with our adventure planning from Alaska Wildland Adventures, which was fabulous. Alaska, like many of our trips, was an amazing place to both appreciate nature and play in its midst.

We went white-water rafting (we love it as much as the kids do) and hiked all across the diverse terrain. Of course, we saw many glaciers and even a few bears (that part was admittedly a little scary). It’s a trip our family will never forget.

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