Our earth is changing before our very eyes, so it’s more important than ever to offer children a window into just how incredible this planet we call home can be. Nature and wildlife-focused trips can include things as simple as appreciating the natural beauty as you reach a mountain peak on a hike, or as spectacular as breakfast with giraffes in Africa. Children feel a deep connection with the outdoors as they associate it with play and fun. Nature and wildlife trips are a sure bet, and this type of vacation is one that most families will remember forever.

Yet as with any trip, it’s important not to be one-dimensional in planning. It’s not enough to just pinpoint a beautiful location on the map and book flights. Families need to identify kid-friendly lodging options that offer more than lovely views — they also need to feel comfortable and welcoming and provide dining that works with children. Rely on our firsthand experience with lodges, home rentals, hotels and resorts that immerse guests deep into nature.

Children are easily bored, so even the most stunning scenery grows tiresome after a day or two. Fun activities like scavenger hunts on a hiking trail, animal feeding or caretaking experiences, birdwatching and fishing lessons are all possibilities. Our preferred vendors and guides take the safety and the ethical treatment of animals seriously, so you can feel confident and secure in your family’s participation.

Some of our favorite ideas for nature and wildlife trips include:

African Safari

Africa is usually the first destination that comes to mind when animals and nature are top priority, but where to go on safari depends on lots of factors. For example, South Africa or Kenya work well for multigenerational groups due to their relative ease of travel and developed tourism infrastructure. Botswana has the world’s largest elephant population. And Tanzania is exceptional for its diverse animal species and for families who want to incorporate some beach time in Zanzibar. We can point you to the right tour operators, nature preserves and accommodations to fit your family’s preferences, travel style and budget.

Galapagos Islands

Children only need to hear the words “blue-footed booby” to be intrigued by the idea of a trip to the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. Due to their unique existence as an isolated archipelago, the Galapagos are home to some of the world’s most exotic and sought-after animal species. One of our pro tips when planning a Galapagos trip is to be sure your ship or accommodation is staffed by a naturalist who can engage the whole family in the incredible wildlife you’ll witness.

Alaska

Most families choose to visit Alaska by way of cruise ship, but regardless of how families structure their trip, they’re consistently blown away by the beauty they encounter and the animals they spot. Whale-watching outings and glacier hikes are perennial favorite activities among our clients.

U.S. National Parks

Don’t forget the incredible nature and wildlife experiences to be found right here in the continental United States. Notoriously crowded in the summer, the most visited yet most spectacular parks (like Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon) shine during the other three seasons, assuming you plan accordingly and know what to pack to keep warm and dry. Consider visiting in the off-season if crowds deter you.

Iceland

No pun intended, but Iceland is one of the hottest destinations in the world for kid-friendly travel that focuses on nature. The appeal here is in the rugged, wild landscape and the unique ways to experience it, like muddy hikes to hot springs, dips into thermal baths and off-road buggy tours.

Costa Rica

Families don’t just spot animals while on vacation in Costa Rica … the animals come to them! Imagine waking up to lizards catching a nap in the sun on your hotel balcony, or monkeys stealing snacks out of your beach bag. Go on nature hikes in the lush jungles, kayak around lakes in the shadows of volcanoes, pull over on the side of the road to see sloths — the options for nature-based activities and animal encounters are endless.

British Columbia

Experience the intoxicating thrill of finding yourself deep in the wilderness in Canada’s western province of British Columbia. Fabulous bear-viewing opportunities abound here, plus you may see orcas off the coast of Victoria. For those seeking true adventure, visit the islands of Haida Gwaii, often called Canada’s Galapagos.

Scotland

Europe might be better known for charming urban environments, but there are regions where it’s easy to find incredible natural landscapes and fun wildlife experiences. Scotland is just such a place. You can drive for miles and miles through the Highlands and never see another soul, leaving ample room to explore, hike and amble across trails and through fields. Consider booking activities like a falconry course or a boat cruise to see puffins.

Antarctica

That’s not a typo. Travel to the seventh continent is most definitely possible for families; in fact, it’s one of the most remarkable travel experiences on the planet. And yes, there’s more than just ice and snow in Antarctica. Families enjoy hiking among penguin colonies, watching seals pop up around their kayaks and skiing across glaciers never before touched by man.

Raising the next generation of nature conservationists and animal lovers might just start with one amazing travel experience. Let us help pique your children’s curiosity and design a trip that highlights the earth’s marvelous beauty and its incredible creatures.

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