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The best vacations with teens are those where both parents and kids are happy. This might include exploring places that combine beach fun with wildlife, culture, photo opportunities, and shared family adventures.

Take your teens out of their comfort zone with a thrilling trip to the Galapagos, or head to the sun-drenched US Virgin Islands for a beach vacation with some of the best snorkeling in the Caribbean. Zipline over rainforests in Costa Rica, hunt for bears in Alaska, or discover ancient Pompeii in Italy.

Whether you explore Europe’s cities and shorelines while throwing a bit of history (and gelato) into the mix, or head for the beaches and limpid seas of the Caribbean for relaxing family fun, a well-planned vacation together will create a lifetime of memories.


Aruba, one of the best vacations with teens


Sunny Aruba, located in the far south of the Caribbean, is a wonderfully laid-back destination to visit with teens. On the soft, white sand beaches, the sea shimmers aquamarine and the opportunities for watersports are abundant.

Head to gorgeous Eagle Beach for kayaking, windsurfing, and snapping selfies in front of the iconic fofoti trees. One of the best things to do in Aruba with kids is to kick back on De Palm Island, a coral island with beaches, waterslides, snorkel tours, and flamingoes.

Trail within Casibari Rock Formations, Aruba

Casibari Rock Formations, Aruba

For a break from sunbathing, head inland to the Ayo and Casibari Rock formations, two huge, monolithic boulders on which you can climb. Pathways lead to the top of these ancient sites, from which you can enjoy sweeping views across Aruba’s arid landscape.

Puerto Rico

Colorful street of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a great destination for active families as there’s so much to do. Teens will love wandering through the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, lined with brightly painted, colonial-era buildings, colorful street art, and quirky boutiques.

For an educational outing, head to the 16th-century Castillo de San Cristobal, complete with the original barracks, dungeons, and store rooms. Cannons hundreds of years old still point out to sea.

Aerial view of Escambrón Marine Park, Puerto Rico

Escambrón Marine Park, Puerto Rico

There’s great snorkeling in Puerto Rico close to the city center of San Juan at Escambrón Marine Park, where there are coral reefs just offshore.

Or take the family to the tropical rainforest of El Yunque. Here, enjoy one of Puerto Rico’s best hikes as you look out for lizards, bats, colorful birds, and the native coqui frog, with a distinctive call.


Aerial view of Playa Mia, Cozumel

Playa Mia, Cozumel

Cozumel can be what you want it to be on a vacation with teens: fun-packed and lively, or more serene and contemplative.

For the former, head to Playa Mia Grand Beach Park, one of Cozumel’s best beaches. Even the most energetic kids will wear themselves out on the Adventure Floating Park while you relax on the white sand.

Marine life in Cozumel National Marine Park

Cozumel National Marine Park

For a more close-to-nature experience, take the family snorkeling in Cozumel. The Cozumel National Marine Park stretches around the southern tip of the island, protecting some of the most dazzling reefs in the Caribbean.

Some 262 species of fish have been logged here, so teens can spend hours trying to spot as many as possible.

From Punta Sur Eco Beach Park, you can take a boat trip into the peaceful lagoons, passing shady mangroves and keeping a lookout for crocs in the water.


Whale watching tour in Iceland

Whale watching in Iceland

Iceland is a thrilling visit for all the family, simply because there’s nowhere like it on earth. Bathe in the warm, milky waters of an Icelandic hot spring, Blue Lagoon, where teens can slop therapeutic mud all over themselves for selfies.

Join a whale-watching trip in the Westfjords, where multiple species of whales are abundant in summer, including sleek black-and-white orca.

Ride sturdy Icelandic ponies across landscapes of jet-black lava, or take a guided tour in a specially adapted 4×4 over vast, creaking glaciers. Iceland is, of course, famed as the setting for a certain popular fantasy drama, and there’s no shortage of location tours led by guides who are full of insider gossip.

Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman, one of the best vacations with teens

Grand Cayman

The famous Seven Mile Beach of Grand Cayman—in reality, a string of pretty coves and stretches of soft sand—is lined with restaurants and watersports concessions, so there’s plenty to keep teens amused here.

Boat tour in Stingray City, Grand Cayman

Stingray City, Grand Cayman

Take a family trip to Stingray City, where you can stand on a shallow sandbar and wait for the 90 or so resident stingrays to arrive in search of snacks provided by the guides. The rays mill around you and it’s possible to touch them gently.

Another fun thing to do in Grand Cayman is to visit the Queen Elizabeth Botanic Park, a series of beautifully landscaped gardens. There’s a conservation project here to protect the endangered blue iguana, endemic to the island.

St. Thomas

St. Thomas, one of the best vacations with teens

Magens Bay, St. Thomas

St. Thomas is famed for its fantastic beaches, and rightly so. Head to the beautiful half moon of Magens Bay for a lazy day by the sea; there’s a beach bar here selling pizzas, burgers, and other snacks.

Or pack the snorkel gear and head on a boat trip to Buck Island, two miles south of St. Thomas. The underwater life here is dazzling, and teens will enjoy snorkeling over a shipwreck that’s been colonized by corals to form an artificial reef. There’s a good chance of spotting sea turtles here.

The Bahamas

Nassau, The Bahamas, one of the best vacations with teens

Atlantis Resort in Nassau, The Bahamas

The islands of the Bahamas are a paradise for teens. In Nassau, head for Aquaventure at the glitzy Atlantis Resort to play around on vertiginous waterslides or drift along the lazy river.

If your travels take you to sleepy Bimini, and your teens are confident in the water, join a guided snorkel tour to swim among docile reef sharks. Honeymoon Harbor is perfect for anyone who’s less of a daredevil, with snorkeling over a shipwreck and a spot where you can feed stingrays by hand.

Massive slide in CocoCay, The Bahamas

CocoCay, The Bahamas

If Aquaventure packs in the thrills, CocoCay doubles the fun; without a doubt, this is one of the region’s best family vacations with teens. Here, you’ll find Daredevil’s Peak, the tallest waterslide in North America, as well as the biggest wave pool in the Caribbean, a zip line, and a tethered hot air balloon.

There are places to snack all over the island, so you can let your teens loose in Chill Grill to feast on burgers, hot dogs, tacos, brownies, and ice cream. Parents, meanwhile, can unwind in a luxurious overwater cabana, where a slide takes you effortlessly from your private deck into the warm, clear water.

Costa Rica

Macaws in Costa Rica

Macaws in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a great education for teens, whether they’re interested in volcanos, zip-lining over cloud forests, or spotting wildlife.

The Natuwa Sanctuary works to protect majestic macaws, rehabilitating injured birds and releasing them into the wild, as well as running a captive breeding program. A visit here is a wonderful chance to experience Costa Rica’s nature and see these striking blue and scarlet birds up close.

Sloth spotted in Costa Rica

Sloth in Costa Rica

Or visit the Sloth Sanctuary in Puerto Limon; you may see sloths clinging to a high-up branch or moving with their characteristic slow-motion gait. At the sanctuary, you can see these sweet-faced animals up close and learn about their conservation in Costa Rica.

Another great wildlife-spotting tour in Costa Rica is a boat trip on the Tortuguero Canals, also accessible from Puerto Limon. Guides will help you identify monkeys, toucans, and sloths as you glide through “Costa Rica’s Amazon”.

The Galapagos Islands

Galapagos, one of the best vacations with teens

Galapagos tortoise

A trip to the remote Galapagos is the best vacation with teens for adventurous families. It’s a chance for kids to forget about social media and being online all day; here, you’re out in the wild and completely immersed in nature.

Teens will be thrilled at the chance to get close to sea lions and iguanas. Because these Galapagos animals have no fear of humans, they barely move when you approach, making this a fantastic location for budding photographers to hone their skills.

People snorkeling in the Galapagos

Snorkeling in the Galapagos

You’ll also find penguins popping up around you as you snorkel in the Galapagos, and black-tipped reef sharks and graceful sea turtles gliding gracefully through the warm water.

There’s very little time in built-up areas in the Galapagos, but you’re likely to spend a day in bustling Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz. Here, sea lions laze on wooden benches and pester the market vendors for fish. At the Charles Darwin Research Centre, you could observe giant tortoises and see the babies in the breeding pens.

Canary Islands

Scenic landscape of Teide National Park in Tenerife, Canary Islands

Teide National Park in Tenerife, Canary Islands

There’s plenty for families with teens to do in the volcanic Canary Islands. On Tenerife, take the cable car up Teide, Spain’s highest mountain, to see extraordinary lunar landscapes shaped by lava.

Head for the colorful Nuestra Señora de Africa market in Santa Cruz, the island capital, for sugary churros dipped in chocolate and empanadas.

Volcanic landscape of Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote, Canary Islands

On Gran Canaria, the rippling dunes at Maspalomas in the south look like a scene from the Sahara Desert.

Lanzarote has sand dunes, too, in Timanfaya National Park. Here, you can join a camel trek and make like Lawrence of Arabia. Later, taste steaks and seafood cooked on a grill powered directly by the geothermal heat of the volcano beneath.


People hiking in Mount Etna, Sicily

Mount Etna in Sicily, Italy

Kids are fascinated by volcanos, and Mount Etna doesn’t disappoint, particularly if it’s spouting steam and glowing lava. Take a day trip up the mountain to walk on still-hot lava flows and marvel at the power of nature that makes this one of the best places to visit in Sicily.

Spend time in seductively beautiful Taormina, Etna brooding on the horizon, and introduce your teens to cannoli. This irresistible sweet treat that Sicily is famous for is a crisp pastry tube stuffed with sweetened ricotta. One of these is never enough.


Pizza in Naples

Pizza in Naples, Italy

Naples is the home of pizza, and you’ll find the real thing here. No filled crusts or fancy toppings, just a melt-in-the-mouth base topped with fresh tomato, shredded mozzarella cheese, and fragrant basil.

L’Antica Pizza Da Michele on Via Cesare Sersale is the most famous—and arguably most authentic—pizzeria, with just three toppings and crowds of locals.

Historic site of Pompeii, Italy

Pompeii, Italy

If you do one tour from Naples with your teens, make it a visit to Pompeii. The town was covered in ash when nearby Vesuvius blew its top in AD79, killing all living things but preserving the ancient buildings as though they were frozen in time.

A good guide is invaluable here, as they’re full of snippets and trivia from back in the day, bringing the scene to life for young visitors.


Alaska, one of the best vacations with teens

River rafting in Alaska

Active families will love the wild beauty of Alaska. Spend your time here observing whales in their natural habitat, or searching for bears scooping up salmon from fast-flowing rivers. There are endless adventures to share, from kayaking to rafting, mountain biking, and hiking.

People eating at a King crab shack in Alaska

King Crab Shack in Alaska

While you’re here, introduce your teens to king crab claws dripping in melted butter, and salmon cooked al-fresco on a wood fire.

In Icy Strait Point, teens can “race” down the mountain on a zipline via six parallel wires—a great chance for a family contest for those who dare.


Santorini, Greece, one of the best vacations with teens

Oia in Santorini, Greece

Volcanic Santorini is sheer drama, the whitewashed capital, Fira, spilling over a towering cliff like scattered sugar cubes.

There’s plenty in Santorini to interest teens, not least the concept that the whole island is the rim of an ancient caldera. They’ll love taking an iconic selfie with a blue-domed church in the background.

A trip to the archaeological site of Akrotiri is fascinating to learn about the time of the Minoans—and the excavations are beautifully displayed. There are beaches of jet-black sand for sheer novelty, as well as the dramatic Red Beach, near Akrotiri, a long strip of rust-colored sand at the foot of towering red cliffs.

St. Maarten

Airplane flying over Maho Beach, St. Maarten

Maho Beach, St. Maarten

Your teens will thank you for a fun day out at St. Maarten’s famous beach, Maho Beach, located at the end of the runway of Princess Juliana International Airport.

There’s a lively atmosphere all day long at the Sunset Bar and Grill, where the pizzas are named after airlines. Arrivals and departures are chalked up on a surfboard. When a flight is due, everybody stands in the shallows to experience the rush of a powerful jet thundering right overhead.

White sands of Orient Beach, St. Maarten

Orient Beach, St. Maarten

For a more tranquil experience, beautiful Orient Beach has watersports and beach chairs. There’s a fine urban beach in Philipsburg, too, where you can mix sunbathing and swimming with shopping on Front Street, where there are duty-free bargains to be had.

Refuel on Dutch pancakes, piled high with fresh strawberries and cream, or sliced bananas with Nutella.


 Mykonos, one of the best vacations with teens

Kalafatis Beach in Mykonos, Greece

There’s plenty of things to do on Mykonos for teens, not least spending time on the island’s gorgeous beaches.

Kalafatis Beach is a center for watersports, especially windsurfing; Mykonos is often windy, and this can be a great place for teens to take their first lessons.

Scenic waterfront of Little Venice, Mykonos

Mykonos Town, Greece

Wander through the streets of pretty Chora, or Mykonos Town, and head to Little Venice for refreshments. Here, lovely old merchants’ houses are located right on the waterfront, serving as bars and restaurants.

If you’re lucky, you’ll spot the resident pelicans, the island’s mascots, wandering casually into restaurant kitchens in the hope of a treat.

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, one of the best vacations with teens

Cable car in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Lively Puerto Plata is packed with teen-friendly activities. Head into the hills for a day of thrills at the 27 Charcos de Damajagua, a series of natural rock chutes worn smooth by the eponymous river. Here, you slide your way down the mountainside, cooling off in freshwater pools along the way.

ATV ride in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

ATV ride in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Other things to do in the Dominican Republic include taking off into the lush interior by 4×4 on an exciting off-road trip, or riding the cable car to the top of Isabel de Torres mountain for fantastic views down over the coast.

Wander around Puerto Plata, a handsome town with some quirky corners. Be sure to stroll through the colorful Umbrella Street; festooned with umbrellas, it makes the perfect background for an Instagram shot. This is the place to shop for amber jewelry, too.

Galapagos, one of the best vacations with teens


Are you inspired to plan an adventurous vacation for your family? A cruise is one of the best ways to see the world. Browse our itineraries here to find the best vacations with teens around the world.

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