From the day we’re born, we’re driven by our sense of discovery: It’s what makes us human. Sadly, our digital society can often make us feel detached from the natural world around us, so a family holiday is the perfect excuse to get your kids out of the house so they can exercise their adventurous spirit. Here are a few places and activities around the globe that’ll keep the whole family entertained.
1. Hot Springs
Iceland is a good place to introduce youngsters to the beauty of our planet. During the winter months, the rugged landscape really comes into its own. Numerous geothermal springs give kids a practical and fun understanding of science. Add to that the traditional Nordic myths that are still an important part of the country’s DNA, and you’ve got a trip tailor-made for curious young minds.
2. Arches National Park, Utah
Known for its natural arches and alien-like terrain, this red-rock playground provided the setting for parts of "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" and is unlike anywhere else on earth, making it perfect for kids obsessed with sci-fi. Natural features, such as the majestic Tower of Babel, have to be seen to be believed, and once night falls, the skies become an uninterrupted blanket of stars.
3. Volcano Surfing
Every bit as insane as it sounds, Nicaragua’s Cerro Negro, aka The Black Hill, has become known as the original and best spot in the world to go volcano boarding. Visitors hike to the top (which takes about an hour) before sliding down the smooth jet black basalt, with safety equipment and boards provided. The views at the summit are breathtaking. Teenagers and big kids will love it.
4. The Inca Trail
The education that comes from exploring this ancient South American site is one no school can offer. Although its monumental size may be off-putting to those with younger children, there are plenty of alternative activities along the route to keep their minds busy — from a ride on an Andean horse to a train ride to Machu Picchu.
5. Benone Strand
Benone Strand is the home of the blokart, which, as the name suggests, is a mini land yacht powered solely by the wind. With no sailing experience necessary, this is a great way for kids to build a relationship with the outdoors and explore Northern Ireland’s gorgeous coastline in the process.
6. Maasai Mara
From the flamboyance of pink flamingos on Lake Nakuru, to lions, leopards and rhinos in the Maasai Mara, a trip to Africa’s most diverse ecosystem is an absolute must for animal-loving families. On top of the safari experience, the chance to meet the local Maasai people and learn about their rich culture will no doubt be an invaluable eye opener for youngsters.
For families who like their adventures to be steeped in history, the chance to see communist Cuba in all its contrasting glory should be a priority. Twentieth-century American cars line the charming, decaying streets of Havana. Away from the city, gorgeous rolling landscapes full of caves, mountains and natural springs lie waiting to be explored. There’s no better way for kids to understand history than to be surrounded by it.
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