While some destinations are all about unwinding with a cocktail and simply enjoying the scenery, others are ideal for a more active vacation.
Relaxing is something we all need occasionally, but there is a wide range of scientifically proven benefits that come with a more adventurous escape, from the obvious, like keeping fit and reducing stress to some you probably haven’t considered, such as reducing the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
If you’d like to enjoy the benefits and fun of a vacation filled with outdoor adventure, the next time you plan an escape be sure to consider one of these top spots.
This post is part of our Best Destinations series
New Zealand may be the world’s best place to visit for outdoor enthusiasts. While it’s famous for its extreme sports like skydiving and bungee jumping (Queenstown gave birth to the sport), it offers just about everything else you can think of too. It’s a hiker’s paradise with trails that lead through dramatic waterfall-filled mountains and pristine glaciers as well as routes that wind alongside breathtaking coastlines. Just a shortlist of the other options include mountain biking, whitewater rafting, kayaking, golfing, sailing and diving.
Check out more in NZ with a Family Weekend in Christchurch
British Columbia, Canada
British Columbia offers so many great opportunities for enjoying the outdoors you might want to consider a private RV rental from Vancouver to experience as much as you possibly can. Vancouver Island, easily reached by ferry from the province’s largest city, offers the chance to kayak among the resident orcas that live off its shores and then camp right on the beach where you can hear the sounds of their blows.
Hiking through the rainforest to soak in natural hot springs and surfing the crashing waves on the west coast are just a couple of the other possibilities.
Just a short drive east of Vancouver, you’ll find Whistler, B.C.’s outdoor adventure capital. Whistler offers hiking, mountain biking, kayaking and every form of snow sport imaginable – just to add to all the fun things there are to do in and around Vancouver in December.
Check out our complete guide to family hiking gear you’ll want to pack
Another one of the ultimate destinations for outdoor enthusiasts, Iceland is home to some of the world’s most impressive scenery with everything from thundering waterfalls and roaring rivers to glaciers, mountains, and dramatic volcanic landscapes. It’s the perfect place to explore with kids in a campervan.
There’s a long list of recreational activities that can be experienced on foot, horseback, two wheels or out on the water. Divers can even swim between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates in Thingvellir National Park. A wealth of guided adventure tours are available through outfitters like Extreme Iceland too, whether you’re looking for a day trip or multi-day experience.
Baja California Sur, Mexico
Baja isn’t just for partiers. There’s a whole lot more than downing tequila shots in Cabo’s beach bars, with opportunities for golfing, sailing and a host of other outdoor adventures under the frequent sunny skies.
Enjoy four-wheeling, horseback riding, biking and hiking through both desert and mountain landscapes, and world-class snorkelling or diving in the Sea of Cortez, including opportunities to swim with whale sharks and even sea lions.
From January through March, tours are even available that will bring you out to remote lagoons to mingle with the grey whales – some of whom come close enough to touch, introducing their calves to humans.
Don’t miss out on more from our Best Destinations series including
- Top 20 Family Vacation Destinations to visit this year
- 18 perfect destinations to learn how to snorkel
- 20 Epic Road Trips you need to take with your kids
- 25 family-friendly winery routes to try
- 8 Best Family Theme Parks
- 17 Hidden gems for family travel
- 20 Best Family Beaches around the World
Does your family have a favourite outdoor destination? Let us know in the comments