An inspiring selection of vacation destinations for outdoorsy families: wonderful active holiday ideas for families with kids of all ages.
Do your kids love hiking, snorkeling, swimming, ziplinging and basically any and all activitieis that get them to be active outdoors? Then, when planning a family vacation, you need a destination that caters to their needs!
These are some fun destination for outdoorsy families that are fun for kids and adults.
Best vacation ideas and holiday destinations for outdoorsy families
Hiking and skiing in the Italian Dolomites
The Italian Dolomites are a paradise for active families both in winter and summer.
If you love skiing and ice skating, in winter the Dolomites are perfect winter wonderland: depending exactly where you are going, you can find baby ski camps, beginner slopes, cross country skiing opportunities, sledging and skiing slopes for all levels, all accompanied by the presence of wonderful family hotels with all comforts
Om summer, the Dolomites are perfect for hiking and have path for families with strollers, young walkers, all the way up to trails for more experienced kids and even multi-day hiking options.
We have been going to the Dolomites for more years that we can count and we have always found them to be a fantastic destination for outdoorsy families with kids of any age.
Travel resources to plan a trip to the Dolomites:
- Family guide to the Dolomites with kids
- Family friendly hikes on the Italian Dolomites
- The best places to visit on the Italian Dolomites
Go on a winter adventure in Iceland
Iceland is paradise for sporty families!
The country has out of this world beautiful scenery and very many outdoor activities options for all ages, many more than a country with long winters may lead you to believe!
In winter, Iceland offers you the option of going dog sledding, ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, glacier climbing (yes, you read that one right!) and in summer you can add to this hiking, horse riding and you can also take wildlife trips that may not have your legs burning but will sure give the kids plenty to be excited about!
As well as all of this, Iceland is easy to visit by car and has plenty of beautiful and relaxing options that will make it appealing to adults too.
Waterfalls, black sand beaches, natural hot springs and skies that in winter night tinge themselves with the magical colors of the Northern Lights are sure to regal you a family vacation you’ll love!
Travel resources for a family trip to Iceland:
- Things to do in Reykjavik with kids
- How to spend 3 adventurous day in Iceland in winter
- How to see Reykjavik in one day
- Visiting Iceland’s Golden circle in winter
- Packing list for Iceland in winter
Go on an active vacation in Grand Canyon
The great outdoor doesn’t get much greater than at the Grand Canyon, one of the world’s wonders and by far one of the most beautiful places in the USA and beyond.
The Grand Canyon is wonderful no matter how visited (even just one day at the Grand Canyon watching the views is enough to leave you in awe) however, there is no doubt that you appreciate its beauty even more if you get active in its beautiful nature.
The best activities for sporty families in the Grand Canyon include hiking, cycling, taking a mule back tour and rafting.
As well as adventure, the Grand Canyon offers plenty of opportunities to relax and play.
The park has accommodation options both inside the park close to the rim and in its vicinities and many of them are geared towards families sporting pools and, in Tusayan, even and Imax Theater
Our travel guides to the Grand canyon:
- Tips for visiting the Grand Canyon with kids
- Grand Canyon packing list
- Fun and interesting facts about the Grand Canyon for kids
Explore Yosemite National Park
Another stunning national park to explore with kids is Yosemite, UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful places in the world for mountain scenery.
There is plenty to do in Yosemite for sporty families!
The place to stay here is Yosemite Valley, where most of the visitors services are located nd from where you can explore the park.
Here, you can easily rent biked (adults and kids bikes available, also with trailers if you have a toddler too small to cycle on their own), you can hike, paddle in the river, go mule or horse riding and there is also a kids mountaineering school if you have a daredevil!
Yosemite has many accommodation options for families ranging from campsite to historical lodging and it well organized and easy to enjoy for kids.
In summer, stay in a hotel with a pool to escape the worse of the heat and make sure your kids participate in the junior ranger program for the best fun!
Travel resources to plan a trip to Yosemite with kids:
- Best things to do in Yosemite with kids
- Where to stay in and near Yosemite with kids
- Things to see in Yosemite
Hike in Bryce and Zion National Park
Ok so I admit I have a soft spot for US National Parks but seriously, it doesn’t get much better than this if you are looking for a top destination spot for outdoorsy families.
Zion and Bryce and close to each other and it makes sense to plan a trip to both of them together, dividing your time between the two.
In both cases, there is plenty to keep your sporty kid occupied!
In Bryce, you can hike and go horse riding in summer and snowshoeing in winter while in Zion you can go hiking, horse riding, cycling and even rock climbing as a family!
In terms of accommodation and family facilities, both Zion and Bryce have excellent accommodation options to suit most budgets.
You can find out family travel guide to Zion and Bryce at the following links:
- Planning a trip to Bryce
- How to spend one day in Bryce Canyon
- Tips for visiting Bryce Canyon with kids
- Family-friendly hikes in Zion National Park
- Where to stay in and near Zion
- How to make the most of one day in Zion
Get active in the clear waters of Curacao – one do the best winter sun destinations for outdoorsy families
If your kids love water sports and you are looking for a fun beach family vacation, the you should consider Curacao, the wonderful tropical island in front of Venezuela.
Dutch territory and home to Willemstadt, Unesco World Heritage Site, the island is a paradise for sports lovers and has plenty of water activities to keep your kids occupied.
Here, your kids can learn how to surf, get a junior scuba diving cert and go kayaking, as well as enjoying the many other family-friendly activities Curacao has on offer such a the islands’ children museum, crazy gold courses, water parks and children farms.
Easy to reach from both Europe and the USA, Curacao is a wonderful destination for families pretty much all your round and a fantastic option if you are looking for a winter sun destination for you and your kids!
You can find our guide to visiting Curacao with kids here.
Go snorkeling in Bali
Another fantastic destination for outdoorsy kids is Bali, a paradise especially if you have little mermaids and tritons who love swimming!
Bali has wonderful waters and plenty of opportunities for kids to enjoy them.
The most exciting and unusual is probably sea walking, which allows kids to walk on the sea bottom (really!), but there are also plenty of options for snorkeling, jet skiing and go have wild active fun in the island waterparks.
Bali is considered one of the most welcoming and child-friendly destinations in Asia and it one of the best beach vacation destinations for families in the world.
Get sporty in Ireland
Did you know that Ireland is a wonderful destination for active families?
I know that the country is usually mentioned as a destination for road trips (indeed, a trip around Ireland Is one of the best rod trips for families you can ever take) however, we live here and I can tell you there are plenty of opportunities to keep active kids entertained!
Depending where you are, you can go hiking, ziplining, climbing, surfing and you can decide whether to mix these activities for standard sightseeing or even put them at the center of your vacation staying in one of the amazing Ireland’s adventure center.
One you should not miss is the stunning Delphi Resort: located in stunning Connemara, it is a place where kids can go while mountain biking, swimming, running, doing archery and pretty much any outdoor activity you can think of.
Just bring a rain layer as it’s Ireland so rain is likely in all seasons!
Travel resources for planning a family trip to Ireland:
- How to plan a family vacation in Ireland
- Ireland perfect family itinerary
- Best things to do in Ireland with kids
- Family hikes near Dublin
- Family hikes in Wicklow
Get active in Canada’s Mont Tremblant National Park
I am going to close this list of out favorite destinations for outdoorsy families with the first national park we experienced with our kids: Mont Tremblant in Canada!
Mont Tremblant is an area of fantastic natural beauty close to Montreal and has plenty on offer for sporty families in both winter and summer.
In winter, the thick layer of snow that covers its wonderful mountains becomes a wonderful playground where kids can ski, go snow tubing, snowshoeing and horse sledding, while in summer they can choose between ziplining, hiking, go-karting, boating and hiking!
You can read about our experience in Mont Tremblant with kids here.
I hope you enjoyed this overview of our favorite destinations for outdoorsy families and it inspired you to start dreaming of your next trip.
Need to get geared up for your next outdoor vacation? Then you may enjoy reading:
- Best hiking shoes for kids
- Hiking list for kids
- Tips for hiking with kids
- Great baby and toddler carriers for hiking and travel
- Gifts for outdoorsy kids (to get them motivated and well equipped!)
- Gifts for kids who love hiking
Did you enjoy this selection of vacation destinations for outdoorsy families? Pin it for for future reference!