Trips with school-age children hit the family travel sweet spot. Long gone are the days of potty training and afternoon naps, yet the attitudes and scheduling commitments of the teenage years haven’t arrived. Attention spans are longer, meaning a kid-friendly tour of a great museum is not just manageable, but actually enjoyable. And their growth means school-age children are finally tall enough for horseback riding, ziplining and other fun physical activities while on vacation.
This is a great age at which to engage children in the planning process or cater to their interests. Come to Ciao Bambino advisors with your top priorities, whether those include sightseeing, adventure or relaxation, and we can craft an age-appropriate trip that school-age children will remember well into their adult years.
Any number of destinations work well with this fairly flexible age range. If your child has a unique interest, like seeing World War II battlefields or a specific animal species, we’re ready to help you start planning — there’s not a continent on earth that we don’t know from firsthand experience. But if you’d rather brainstorm ideas from some of our tried-and-true favorites, we can do that, too. Here’s a short list of some top vacation destinations with school-age children.
We’re big believers that Italy ranks high as a great destination at any age, but perhaps with school-age children most of all. Feast on kid-friendly foods, like the best pizza, pasta, and gelato in the world (and get them involved in making their own through our favorite cooking class experiences). Take scavenger hunt tours through big cities, then unwind in the countryside via bike rides and winery visits.
If vacation time is limited to just a week in the summer and you want to max out the family fun, a dude ranch is a great bet. School-age children are typically old enough to handle longer trail rides, and the additional onsite activities that our favorite ranches offer are sure to please everyone.
Say oui to a vacation in France with kids of this age. Combine a few days in Paris, where we love apartment rentals as a great lodging option with maximum value, with a few days in countryside regions like the Loire Valley or Provence. Private art tours, pastry classes and castle visits are great activities for the school-age set.
This Central American country has captured the attention of more and more families over the past few years, and with good reason. There’s so much adventure to be found, not to mention countless exotic animal species and stunning beaches. One of our top pro tips is to engage a kid-friendly naturalist who can lead your family on epic hikes through the jungle; they’ll help you spot those hard-to-see creatures. We know all the best guides and activity vendors to make the trip feel effortless.
Recognizable to most school-age children because of its popularity as a location in movies and books, England makes a fabulous vacation destination for families. Visit famous sites from films and from history with kid-friendly guides that we know by name. London is a fun city to experiment with modes of transportation — take a speedboat up the Thames, the Tube across town, black taxis for quick journeys and red double-decker buses for efficient sightseeing.
Some cruise lines and on-shore activity options have strict age limits, so many families delay their dream vacation to Alaska until children are of school age. But when that time finally arrives, families find this is a destination well worth the wait. Be sure to research what to pack; even in the summer months, warm clothing that’s waterproof is essential.
We absolutely love Switzerland for a family vacation with school-age children, in part because they’re old enough to enjoy one of Europe’s most beautiful natural playgrounds via hikes through the Alps. Lake swimming in summer and skiing in winter means this destination works in all seasons.
The Yucatan is ideal for families who want to balance lazy days on the beach at a kid-friendly resort with more exciting adventures, like snorkeling, sailing, turtle nest observations and hikes among ancient ruins.
This country makes a great introduction to Asia travel for families with school-age children, both because of the variety of experiences found here (beaches, cities, mountains and more) and because of its solid safety record.
If you find yourself feeling nostalgic for the adorable baby and toddler years or dreading the inevitable teenage transition, it’s time to start planning some amazing vacations with school-age children and take advantage of this ideal age group. There’s no better time to start instilling a love of travel in kids.
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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