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Best Outdoor Activities for a Family Holiday

Emma KellyJune 03, 2019

Outdoor adventures are a great way to keep everyone entertained on a family holiday. Getting outside in a new place is also an excellent way to learn more about the area, take in some spectacular scenery, learn a new skill or improve an existing one. Plus, the whole family will be able to burn off some excess energy!

The world is your oyster when planning an active family vacation, as family-friendly activities can be found almost everywhere you go. It’s just a question of knowing where to look. So, whether you want to stay closer to home or look further afield, you have many options.

Some of the best things to do outdoors include rock climbing, canyoning, camping and much more. Through these activities, children learn about the natural world around them as well as improving their self-confidence and developing new skills.

We’ve rounded up a list of top activities for your next family vacation. Keep reading to learn more!

1. Rock climb in some of California’s best spots


Rock climbing is an awesome outdoor sport for children. Not only is it great fun but it also teaches them important skills like concentration, teamwork, self-esteem and self-confidence.

Outdoor activities for the whole family
See your kids develop new skills while rock climbing. Photo courtesy of Mountain Sense Development.

There are countless places in the world to rock climb but a great place for kids to start is in California. Here you’ll find an excellent variety of walls to choose from, awesome scenery and certified guides who have experience working with children. Don’t miss this great rockclimbing trip located in California. 

2. Experience canyoning in beautiful Corsican gorges


If you’re looking for an awesome water-based adventure sport, then look no further than canyoning. Zipping down gorges, jumping into rock pools and abseiling down waterfalls is just a little bit of what you can expect.

Corsica is a great place to give it a go, and you’ll find they’re perfectly set up for family-friendly tours. It’s also great to go with a certified guide who is used to working with children. This trip in Porto-Vecchio in Corsica is particularly good.


Outdoor activities for the whole family
Enjoy fun-filled hours in the water. Photo courtesy of Canyoning Corsica Guides.

3. Experience a via ferrata in Italy, the birthplace of the sport


Via ferrata is the perfect adventurous activity for the thrill seekers in the family. With its system of steel ropes, irons steps and footholds, it’s also a safe and secure way to take on more challenging climbs without needing rock climbing experience.

Italy is the home of via ferrata and as such it’s one of the best places on earth to do it. In Arco, near Lake Garda, you’ll find this awesome via ferrata experience suitable for the whole family. 

Outdoor activities for the whole family
Experience a via ferrata fit for the whole family. Photo courtesy of Mauro Girardi.

4. Ski tour your way through perfect alpine scenery


Learning to ski at a young age is a great idea and ski touring is an outdoor sport that encourages a sense of adventure and curiosity. It’s a great way to learn to build a respectful relationship with nature while learning about safety.  Plus, it’s lots of fun and there is beautiful scenery to be enjoyed. 

Austria is a magical place to go ski touring and the peaks are unforgettable. Check out this great three day trip in Austria, that is built especially for families and integrates a lot of ski knowledge with safety and fun.


Outdoor activities for the whole family
Start them young on a ski tour in the mountains. Photo courtesy of Juráš Sefl.

5. Backpack your way through beautiful nature


There’s no better way to get closer to nature than backpacking through it. It’s a great outdoor activity that the whole family can connect over. It also helps teach young people how to enjoy nature while taking care of it.  

The Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State is the perfect place to backpack and camp. On this great weekend trip, your whole family can explore the area, prepare a meal and camp out under the stars. Plus, you’ll all learn about outdoor safety and the “Leave no Trace principles”

Outdoor activities for the whole family
Camp and hike through beautiful nature. Photo courtesy of Miyar Adventures.

6. Embark on a snowshoeing experience to remember


Looking to try something new? Snowshoeing might just be that thing. This is a super fun activity that’s suitable for the whole family. It’s also a great way to get active; it’s no easy feat trekking up that snow.

The Sierra de Guadarrama natural park in Spain is a pretty awesome place to try snowshoeing. Check out this great trip that is tailor-made to work for the whole family and even includes an igloo building session.


Outdoor activities for the whole family
Discover amazing snow-scapes on a snowshoeing experience. Photo courtesy of Pedro Gonzalez del Tanago.

7. Enjoy an adrenaline rush on a zip line


Ziplining lets you enjoy awesome scenery and get a thrill at the same time. Perfect for adults and children (normally over 7 years old) alike, it’s a pretty adventurous thing to do and involves launching off platforms and zipping along with steel cables, often over beautiful forest canopies.

This excellent trip in Costa Rica combines the excitement of a zip line with tropical nature and the backdrop of the impressive Arenal Volcano. Plus, there is a Tarzan-like swing!

8. Experience alpine culture and a wide range of activities


The mountains are like an adventure playground for both young and old people. From hiking to skiing and everything in between, there is so much to do. It’s also a great place to learn about alpine culture and life in the mountains.

This trip to the Aosta Valley in Italy includes hiking, climbing and an overnight stay in a traditional mountain hut. Along the way, you’ll get to take in some amazing scenery that includes lakes, striking mountains and beautiful flora and fauna.

Outdoor activities for the whole family
Take in the natural wonders of different countries. Photo courtesy of Costa Rica Exótica Natural.

9. Hike through nature and discover awesome wildlife


Hiking through nature and exploring is a great way to develop respect and gain joy for the outdoors. Observing wildlife is a fun activity for the whole family and also really educational.

Outdoor activities for the whole family
Run wild with the wildlife. Photo courtesy of Runar Karlsson.

Iceland is an awesome place to experience nature because it’s just so varied. This experience takes you hiking through the strikingly beautiful north-west Iceland and gives you the opportunity to go fox spotting! It also includes a boat trip around stunning fjords. There isn’t a second to get bored on this trip and you’ll create lifelong memories. 


So, now that you know some of the best places to visit and the best things to do with your family, it’s time to get booking!

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