Fun Family Vacations With Teens – As your kids grow, it becomes more and more difficult to find vacation destinations that keep them entertained and are also considered “cool” or “rad”. It seems teenagers these days would prefer to Facebook and text their friends all day then spend any time with the family. If your kids are anything like our son, they probably think your old fashion and cramp their style a bit. Our son is 15 now and I swear he has eaten the little boy we use to have and left us with this tall, hairy person with a deep voice as a replacement:). As my wife and I struggle with the fact that our son is turning into a wonderful young man but we really don’t want to give up those treasured family vacations. Gone are the days when he loved Mickey Mouse and couldn’t wait to see Shamu the whale, but we’ve moved on to different things and found that we can still have a great time as a family.
When looking for a great teen vacation destination there are a few things you have to take into consideration. Teens love things that keep both their body and mind entertained and they also want to see other teens around. If you kids are years apart in age, you might want to consider allowing your teens to bring a friend with them. This provides both a companion but also may help limit the non-stop texting they do. Here are some excellent teen friendly choices you might want to consider that should keep both their body and mind in motion.
Beaches offer an amazing number of activities for both families and teens. My family loves three beaches in particular: Outer Banks, Destin Florida and South Padre Island. I know there are lot of others, but these have been our favorites.
The Outer Banks of North Carolina are a great place to take a family. There are not only lots of hotel and resort options, but several excellent campgrounds. Teens can fish, take a surfing class, rent a waverunner or visit a lighthouse. When we were there, you could even have a small night time beach fire with a permit.
Destin Florida is one of the most beautiful beaches in the USA. The water is clear and looks more like what you would see in Cancun. Along with your normal beach activities, the town of Destin also has lots to offer. Teens can enjoy parasailing, boat rides and even waterparks within the city. There is also a great nightlife in Destin that your teens are sure to love.
South Padre Island is one of our favorites and we’ve been back almost every year. The island is connected to the mainland via a long bridge or causeway. The island hosts some of the biggest Spring Break parties, but during the summer the place is geared towards families. There are miles of beaches that offer teens volleyball nets, banana boat rides, waverunner rentals and just sunning. There is also a great pirate ship that has some fantastic trips during the day. And yes, your teens will love it!
Cruising is by far one of our son’s favorite things to do. Cruise ships these days are completely geared to all age groups and teen are no exception. Cruises enable your family to spend time together but also give your teens a chance to get away from you. Almost all cruise lines offer kid programs including a teen center that normally offers video games, hangout zones, organized dances and even some great scavenger hunts. Since cell service is provided at a cost via the cruise ships, we don’t even allow our son to bring his phone. No phone! How will he survive? Guess what, he found lots to do and never even missed it.
Really? Yep, Washington DC is great place to take teens. As you teens begin to study American History in school, you will find they really enjoy seeing things like the Declaration of Independence and the Smithsonian Museum. My son was beside himself when we took him to the Air and Space Museum. Washington DC takes a lot of walking and is best for kids that have the stamina to walk several miles each day. If you contact your state representatives you can get tickets to go into the gallery and actually watch congress in session. My son wasn’t sure at first, but found it to be very interesting. There are also lots of places to just sit and people watch. No matter your teen, I think they will think DC is cool.
Yellowstone National Park
Last but not least, Yellowstone National Park is a great family vacation. The sites are beautiful and the wildlife is plentiful. We actually camped in an RV in West Yellowstone and really enjoyed the experience. Any teen that loves to hike or climb will love the options available at Yellowstone. It can be as physical or laid back as you want. We chose somewhere in the middle and walked around many of the sites and spend several days driving across the park. Remember, Yellowstone is huge (over 3400 square miles) and can take several days to see. We found spending time with our kid to plan our activities in advance insured we visited the teen fun options.
Remember your kids won’t be home forever and its important to spend some quality time with them especially when they are in there teens. Spend some time planning and listen to what they like to do. Engaging your teen in the planning gives them some responsibility for the trip and makes for a better overall experience for all.