Sometimes, it’s not just children who crave the chance to answer to call of the wild and run free on an adventurous escape. If your whole family feels the need to embrace their active side, there is an array of destinations our expert Travel Consultants can recommend to keep everyone happy. Whether hiking, biking, galloping on horseback or coming face to face with Grizzly Bears and Great White Sharks, a luxury holiday that doesn’t stop offers a plethora of new discoveries for travellers, whatever their age.
Your inner explorer is bound to be awakened by the untrammelled natural beauty of Canada. The country’s first national park at Banff is home to the breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lake Louise, where you will find the reserve’s highest concentration of Grizzly Bears foraging in the distance, and a fantastic gondola-ride, offering a sweeping journey above the snow-capped mountain peaks. Here, you can also hike, canoe, kayak or horse ride your way through the breathtaking scenery, or take on the challenge of Lake Agnes, a mountain lake at a four-hundred metre elevation, where the renowned Lake Agnes Tea House welcomes triumphant trekkers with wholesome home-baked treats, soup and warming beverages.
Perfect for those looking to pair a trip to the fantastic cosmopolitan city of Vancouver with a jaunt into the wilderness, Vancouver Island boasts stunning nature trails for exploring, including Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, along with North America’s highest density of Black Bears, who are out of hibernation from May to October. Here is also a great spot for fishing, where rivers teem with glimmering streams of migrating salmon and trout – prize for whoever can catch the biggest!
Crossing the border into the USA, Montana is a living and thriving example of the dust-kicking American West. One of the most beautiful patches in the tapestry of United States, families of all ages will be fascinated by the rich Native American heritage, thrilling rodeos and rolling acres of wide-open national parks. A luxury ranch in Montana is a great way for the whole family to throw themselves into cowboy life, with The Ranch at Rock Creek offering its Little Grizzlies Kids Club to introduce young explorers to the frontier, while Triple Creek Ranch offers an array of activities included in your room rate, whether horse-riding over wildflower-blanketed meadows or spotting herds of elk, deer and majestic bison on a 4x4 tour.
From the crisp pine forests of Montana, the vast desert landscapes of Arizona boasts some of the most striking natural displays of twisting and towering sun-baked rock formations, from the immense Grand Canyon, to the sandstone panorama of Monument Valley, immortalised in countless classic John Ford cowboy films. Active families will love walking the footsteps of John Wayne on their own adventure across the Old West, where some of the most infamous showdowns between outlaws and lawmen took place, while the twenty-two American Indian communities that call Arizona home share their proud culture – visit their ancient ruins or a history museum to hear their stories first-hand.
If nothing bonds your family more than the lure of an underwater escapade, the luxury private island of Petit St Vincent will be a dream come true. Here, Jean-Michel Cousteau – son of the legendary Jacques-Yves Cousteau – has kept his father’s legacy alive with his own Caribbean Diving Centre, opened in 2014. With world-class expertise and state-of-the-art equipment, the otherworldly wonders of coral reef and flurries of colourful marine life can be discovered by all levels of ability, with guided dives, instruction and PADI certifications. Alternatively, venture out on the island’s private yacht to the Tobago Cays, an official wildlife reserve and favourite spot for many who love to snorkel among the sea turtles and other friendly marine creatures.
If you would rather ride the waves than delve below them, Hawaii is definitely for you. With six fun-loving islands to choose from, each with a distinct personality and dramatic backdrop, there is no better place to learn to surf or catch some big waves. Alternatively, watch out for Humpback Whales, try traditional outrigger canoeing, spend the day kayaking along the tranquil Wailua River or dry off on the beautiful beaches before, heading off on a thrilling journey to discover one of the three active volcanoes in Hawaii for a final adrenaline-kick to your stay!
Adding some culture to the action can truly enrich any family holiday, and is a fantastic way for young minds to learn a new perspective on the world. Chiang Rai is one of the most beautiful areas of Thailand, filled to the brim with natural wonders and cultural treasures, where all ages can be immersed in the fascinating wealth of things to see and do around the renowned Golden Triangle. At the crossing of the borders between Thailand, Myanmar and Laos, this is one of the best spots for getting up-close-and-personal with elephants in their natural environment. Receive training from experienced mahouts, and explore the exotic bamboo jungle with these gentle giants, watch the sunrise over the Mekong River with them or join in their morning bathing ritual.
The heady island of Sri Lanka also packs a weighty punch of culture, and the velvety rainforest, rising mountains and cascading waterfalls offer a diverse array of things to do. The fascinating temple of Dambulla is just one of the Cultural Triangle’s unique treasures, where five, dimly lit, cave temples are laden with Buddha statues and elaborate murals, while a day spent walking between remote tea bungalows in the highlands is not to be missed. Yala National Park will bring scenes from the ‘Jungle Book’ to life, with bears, elephants and leopards to spot on safaris, though a game of cricket in the street with the locals can be just as fun!
There is, perhaps, no finer place for a wildlife encounter than South Africa. Hermanus is a prime location for spotting the ‘Marine Five’ – whales, sharks, dolphins, seals and penguins – and is a great stop for families venturing along the Garden Route. Located at Walker Bay, Grootbos is a five-star eco-paradise and makes a fabulous base for throwing yourself into an array of activities, from 4x4 flower safaris, scenic light aircraft flights and horse-riding, to bird-watching, beach walks and tree planting. On its doorstep lies the marine wonderland of Dyer Island, where hundreds of celebrated Humpback Whales pass as they make their annual migration. There’s also an impressive concentration of Great White Sharks and the occasional Bottlenose Dolphin are often spotted in the distance – with a number of boat tours offering thrilling up-close encounters!
The island is also a critical conservation site for the African Penguin, and visitors who feel particularly fond of their new feathery friends can even adopt one, helping to assist with the dedicated conservation efforts by providing it with a new sheltered nest to protect it from predators and environmental threats. Just across the water is the islet of Geyser Rock, where around sixty-thousand Cape Fur Seals reside - one of the largest colonies in the Western Cape! To make your Atlantic adventure even more memorable, combine it with a classic ‘Big Five’ South African safari, which is wonderfully simple to add on to a journey along the Western Cape coastline. Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge is fabulous for a sumptuous game-viewing experience, set in a malaria-free area, accommodating children over ten years of age. After enjoying the delights of the ocean, witness majestic land mammals in the savannah to complete the ultimate South Africa experience!
An Olympic Odyssey
The Olympic Games may have drawn to a close in Rio, but if your sporting senses are still reeling, there is plenty to satisfy you back in our home ground of Europe! Go for cycling gold in Mallorca, where a number of climbs offer some challenging routes for aspiring road racers, boasting inspiring views of the Tramuntana mountain range, orange groves and charming old towns. For some extra guidance, Columbia Beach Resort Pissouri in Cyprus offers a professional cycling centre under the guidance of two-time Swiss cycling champion, Thomas Wegmüller, offering road and mountain-bike tours through the beautiful scenery.
In Sicily, Vedura Resort is renowned for the extensive offering of sporting opportunities for the whole family to delve into. The Tennis Academy features six clay courts, offering group and individual lessons, complete with photo-analytic equipment to evaluate your game, while Juventus Camp offers guests aged five to sixteen years a summer football training experience with professional coaches, for a fun and beneficial way for young players to learn impressive new skills. At Forte Village, Sardinia, there is even more to get involved in, with an outstanding array of academies, including cycling, tennis, football, basketball, cricket, rugby, netball, swimming, boxing, dance and even table tennis! And, if just the thought of it all tires you out, don’t worry - there is also an outstanding spa and fabulous choice of restaurants for taking it easy at!
For more information and inspiration for your next action-packed luxury family holiday, to obtain a quote or to make a booking, please call our expert Travel Consultants on 01244 897 505.