Our planet has been fully explored and documented by now, so it’s challenging to find destinations that feel like a visit to the last frontier, especially with kids. But a polar expedition through the farthest regions to our north and south gives families an incredible sense of adventure, as if they’re walking on snow- and ice-covered lands previously untouched by humans (indeed, they very well may be). Even better, on these polar expedition trips, the long nights are often lit by the incredible phenomenon of the Northern Lights. This spectacle is Mother Nature’s fireworks show, and adults and kids alike have it on their bucket lists.
While seeing the Northern Lights is never guaranteed, as their visibility depends on unpredictable conditions like weather and air quality, our advisors know the best places to go in just the right season to increase a family’s chances of getting to witness this display. And we can organize a variety of activities to complement your evening views with daytime fun, like dog sledding and glacier hikes. We can also book families into kid-friendly lodging options in these remote areas: tree houses, yurts, husky farms, wilderness lodges or luxury-oriented, full-service hotels.
Also consider allowing us to design a polar bear expedition for your family. These trips are particularly time-sensitive, as the bears’ natural habitat is rapidly changing and their numbers are declining around the globe. A variety of destinations around the Arctic Circle offer an incredible opportunity for families to observe these magnificent animals, as well as other wildlife like walruses, seals and beluga whales. Our local tour and activity suppliers keep safety top of mind, allowing you and your children to get close — but not too close — to creatures in their natural element.
By day, enjoy Iceland’s rugged, wild landscape; by night, let the Northern Lights dazzle you. Families love activities like dog sledding, snowshoeing, waterfall hiking and swimming in thermal baths as they make their way around popular routes throughout the country. We can arrange both self-driving and chauffeured trips.
This Scandinavian country is where you’ll find Alta, one of the world’s northernmost cities. Largely considered the best place to see the Northern Lights, it’s surprisingly easy to access by air. We love helping our clients immerse themselves in remote fishing villages for countless winter sport activities, traveling via snowmobile to get there. Or let us advise you on cruise options that run throughout the winter; some are staffed by astronomers for an optimal Northern Lights and stargazing experience.
We encourage adventurous families looking for an off-the-beaten-path vacation to opt for smaller cruise ships that can get into Alaska’s narrow passageways or change course when unexpected wildlife viewing opportunities present themselves. The chance to hike glaciers here is an awesome way to engage with the polar ecosystem. For ideal Northern Lights conditions, consider spending a few nights in Fairbanks between late August and early April.
Capture the pure magic of a polar expedition and the Northern Lights all in one trip by traveling to Finnish Lapland. Reindeer-pulled sleigh rides, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are all fun, as is admiring the sky from inside Finland’s famous glass igloos. The area boasts Northern Lights visibility 200 nights a year.
Families who brave the arduous journey to Antarctica on an expedition cruise are rewarded with life-changing experiences. Our cruise partners offer incredible programming that engages kids fully in the experience of understanding this remote, icy wilderness teeming with wildlife, including whales and multiple species of penguins. Some vendors now offer flights for those who can’t stomach crossing the Drake Passage. And don’t worry about what to pack; our suppliers kit guests out with proper gear to keep everyone comfortable.
How would you prefer to see the Northern Lights: by dog sled, skis, horseback or snowmobile? A winter trip to Sweden includes epic experiences like these, plus unique accommodations to rival the activities, such as the world’s original ice hotel. Kids enjoy ice sculpting lessons or wilderness survival classes, while parents may opt for a traditional Swedish massage. Reconvene around the sauna to swap stories.
The northern areas of Canada are a true winter wonderland. Polar bear viewing, ice fishing on the lakes and admiring the skies from a private whirlpool tub are all highlights. Sparsely populated regions like the Yukon and Alberta provinces mean little light pollution gets in the way of Northern Lights viewing opportunities.
Remember, this nocturnal light show isn’t just a Northern Hemisphere phenomenon. You can see it in the Southern Hemisphere as well, in places like Tasmania, New Zealand southern Australia and, of course, Antarctica.
For families seeking otherworldly adventure and once-in-a-lifetime memories of witnessing the Northern Lights together as a family, a polar expedition to one of these far corners of the world would equal a great next trip. Let us make it truly enjoyable with our flawless planning and firsthand knowledge of these incredible destinations.
Our expert Family Travel Advisors are passionate about exploring the world with children — and empowering you to do the same. From handpicked accommodations to insider experiences, we can craft a custom vacation that’s uniquely suited to your family’s needs. Click to get started!Get Started
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This is a challenging time for our clients given the uncertainty around the spread of coronavirus, particularly for those with near-term travel plans in impacted areas. We’re working with our suppliers on being flexible with their booking conditions, and enabling families to postpone travel to a later date without a penalty, when possible. Likewise, given the unpredictability around destinations that may be impacted in the future, we’re helping clients planning new trips and understand ways that they can protect themselves until the situation improves. We are ready to help our clients work through questions and concerns.