There are family vacations. And, then there are epic adventures that may qualify as the experience of a lifetime. Here are five to consider.
1. PLAN A FAMILY SAFARI
Visit northern Tanzania’s Serengeti for a wildlife viewing and cultural extravaganza. Home to more than 3,000 lions and 1,000 leopards as well as zebras, wildebeests, warthogs and waterbuck, it’s a magical sanctuary best known for the great migration. With the Four Seasons Serengeti as your basecamp, choose to explore via half- and full-day jeep tours, walking safaris, or from the basket of a high-flying, hot air balloon. The excitement doesn’t end when you return to the Lodge, where a watering hole, just beyond the Infiniti pool, serves up hydrating sustenance to elephant families on a daily basis. Dine on the veranda, with sweeping views of the plains, where giraffe, eland and topi graze in the distance. Kids can visit the on-site discovery center to learn about Maasai history and culture, the significance of the Serengeti Cheetah Project and life in the bush.
Relax at the spa, take a family cooking class and be amazed by a live performance of tribal dance and song offered by local Maasai.
2. REVEL IN A EUROPEAN RIVER CRUISE
Unpack. Settle in and let the adventure begin. Explore the Rhine, Danube or Seine river valleys with your family or multigenerational group from aboard a luxury AmaWaterways ship. With itineraries crafted to your family’s preferences, each day you’ll take part in active adventures or culturally immersive experiences in compelling destinations. Well-trained and knowledgeable Disney adventure guides, paired with local storytellers, combine talents to ensure each member of the family gets maximum enjoyment from the trip. That may mean engaging youngsters in evening activities so the adults may opt for a fine dining experience or a musical performance. Wander through medieval castles, sample local cuisine, pedal along the river bank and enjoy private tours and insider access to popular attractions. Expect an all-inclusive, curated, backstage pass-style adventure through the heart of Europe.
3. EXPLORE ALASKA
Our sparsely populated and endlessly captivating 49th state lures those who yearn for epic scenery, spouting whales and glaciers the size of small countries. Experience rugged Alaska via boutique yachts and expedition ships that set sail for adventure beginning each spring. Aboard smaller vessels you’ll have meaningful cultural experiences, find your way to natural nooks and crannies, opt for hiking and kayaking and discover rarely visited wilderness areas, increasing the chance for up-close wildlife viewing. Those who venture to America’s last frontier will be rewarded with Mother Nature in all her glory.
4. DISCOVER MINNESOTA’S BOUNDARY WATERS
Ease your canoes into the pristine water near Ely, Minn., and look forward to peaceful days of paddling amid a sparsely populated, 1 million-plus acre expanse of wilderness. Listen to the waves lapping against the shoreline and the haunting lullaby offered by local loons as you drift to sleep in one of 2,000 secluded campsites that dot the lake region. Wake to the sounds of birds chirping in the birch trees and enjoy breakfast over a campfire. Then set out to explore more of the 1,500 miles of canoe routes that crisscross the waterways.
5. RELISH ECUADOR’S GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
Given the island’s location on the equator, air and water temperatures remain relatively stable, making the Galapagos Islands a desirable destination any time of the year. Within this pristine and diverse eco-system, your family will thrill to the site of cliff-diving blue-footed boobies and the waved albatross known for an elaborate courtship dance that can include 20 minutes of bowing, honking, whistling and bill clacking. You’ll want to know about Darwin’s 13 finches, creatures that were central to the scientist’s evolutionary theories. Learn more about the volcanic island’s winged population as well as the abundance of sharks, sea lions, mantas and iguanas via a live aboard vessel (popular with scuba divers), a cruise or a hotel-based tour.
Gather more travel intel on Twitter @lohayes, Facebook, or via FamilyTravel.com
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