TOP 10 family trips

Family vacations often mean going somewhere exotic, then splitting up for individual activities and meeting for dinner. These family holidays provide something for everyone to do — together.

By Sunshine Flint


Sunrise over the Serengeti

PRICE: $9,000 per person, not including airfare, plus optional trip to Stone Town, Zanzibar

CONTACT: Ana Maria Pickens

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On this weeklong trek in Tanzania, your family will start at Giraffe Manor, a sanctuary where giraffes wander the grounds and you can help care for an orphan elephant or take private game drives to see some of the 26 black rhinoceroses, 7,000 wildebeests and 4,000 zebras that migrate across the plains and the Ngorongoro Crater. At the end of a day’s excursion, you’ll stay in a luxurious lodge or tented camp. A dawn hot-air balloon ride captures sunrise over the Serengeti and a bird’s-eye view of the herds and wildlife below. But the real eye-opener is a day tracking birds, monkeys and other elusive animals through the acacia forest with the nomadic Hadzabe people, one of the last click-speaking, hunter-gatherer tribes in Africa. Finally, fly to Zanzibar for a couple of days of relaxation and culture in the old city of Stone Town.


Elephants, Buddhas, bikes and boats

PRICE: starts at $12,000 per person, not including airfare

CONTACT: Catherine Heald


With diplomatic relations with the U.S. recently restored, Burma is the hot Asian destination of 2012. This two-week trip designed by Remote Lands takes you deep-sea fishing off the coast of Burma; you can see (but obviously not catch) rare loggerhead turtles, manta rays and whale sharks. You’ll also go on a bike tour of Bagan to visit Buddhist temples, including the noted ones in Ananda, Shwezigon and Manuha, and on a private cruise up the Irrawaddy River and around Inle Lake to see the traditional floating villages. In Siem Reap, Cambodia, your family will sponsor the building of a well, and visit a village and school where your kids can meet local children. At the Elephant Village Sanctuary in Luang Prabang, Laos, families spend three days learning to care for the elephants, feeding, bathing and trekking with them.


Golf and Scotch

PRICE: Suites start at $1,080 a night and include breakfast. Falconry, dog training and equestrian lessons all priced separately

CONTACT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 866.881.9525

The family that putts together, stays together? See for yourself at The Gleneagles Hotel, a five-star, kid-friendly resort with three championship courses just an hour from Edinburgh. Host of the 2014 Ryder Cup, it has a Michelin-starred restaurant, an ESPA spa and a multitude of sporting activities. Up to two children (15 and under) play a free round of golf when accompanied by a full green-fee paying adult ($130 to $260). After the 18th hole, your family can take lessons at the British School of Falconry on handling birds of prey, learn how to train gundogs, go horseback riding or take carriage-driving lessons. Day-trip tours of Scottish castles and other activities can be arranged upon request.


Cattle driving and river rafting

PRICE: Magee Homestead starts at $10,000 a night and includes meals and most activities

CONTACT: Zachary Sennett

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 307.327.5284

Private aircraft can land just 13 miles away from the Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch, set on 15,000 pristine acres in central Wyoming, near Medicine Bow National Forest. Stay in your own private lodge or historic cabin at the Magee Homestead, five miles from the main ranch, and go on adventure activities such as cattle drives, float trips down the river (like rafting but with fewer rapids), and a low and high ropes-course challenge. You can also mountain bike and fly-fish.


Holy sites, then holy waters

PRICE: from $9,810 per person

CONTACT: Sonja Stoerr

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After traveling most of the way there on the luxury Hiram Bingham train, your family will never forget the moment you hike the last portion of the Inca Trail and enter the lost city of Machu Picchu. A guide will take you on tours of the Sacred Valley to meet local craftspeople and visit farms, as well as hiking and mountain biking. The 10-day trip also includes Peruvian cooking classes where you’ll learn to make ceviche and market tours to taste native fruits and produce such as camu camu and aguaymanto, cherry-like fruits. During a three-day luxury cruise up the Amazon, watch for pink dolphins, then take a wildlife-spotting walk at twilight to see capybaras and caimans.


Charm and chateaux

PRICE: from $10,700 per week

CONTACT: Jessica Barker

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There are more than 1,500 castles in the Dordogne, but the Château de Queynac is your own private oasis, a classic limestone, ivy-covered, five-bedroom villa — there’s even a turret for your little princesses — set on a 19-acre estate. Your local host will help you explore this fertile region, whether it’s on a kayaking trip down the Dordogne river to prehistoric painted caves or visiting markets where the kids might be cajoled into tasting foie gras or local truffles. (In nearby Le Bugue, the market has been held every Tuesday for the last 700 years.) On days at home, enjoy the pool and rose garden or the tennis courts and dinner by a regional chef who will pair the meal with vintages from local terroirs.


A classic American road trip

PRICE: from $7,500 per person for a private family trip

CONTACT: Sara Wander

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From picnicking in a redwood grove at Redwood National Park to private hikes through Yosemite and the stalactite-filled Crystal Cave, this Northern California tour will engage everyone in your family. The Class II and III rapids on the American River through California’s gold country are exciting enough for old hands, but won’t scare the newbies. Cap off the 10-day trip with one of the great all-time drives, Highway 1 from San Francisco to Los Angeles, where you can pull off the road to walk on sea lion-filled beaches.


Cloud forests and canopies in the DR

PRICE: Family Fun package starts at $1,425 per person, not including airfare

CONTACT: Diana Arellano


After arriving from Santo Domingo by private plane, car or helicopter, you may be loathe to budge from the Casa Bonita Tropical Lodge’s modernist pool deck overlooking the Caribbean. But you’ll soon feel a pull to explore the rainforest and neighboring UNESCO biosphere. (A 10-platform zipline gets everyone’s adrenaline flowing.) The lodge will arrange a hike to Cachote, a remote village in the cloud forest of the Bahoruco Mountains with just 50 residents and 45 endemic birds including the native parrot, cotorra de la Hispaniola. Families are also encouraged to pick vegetables for their dinner from the lodge’s organic garden and take a cooking lesson together.


Restful surroundings in the remote Calamian Islands

PRICE: from $19,000 per week for the island in low season for up to six guests, $40,000 in high season for up to 17 guests

CONTACT: Jim Williams

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Ariara Island in the Philippines is a lush green mountain fringed by golden sand beaches and palm trees set in a menthol-blue sea. You can roam all 125 acres of it when you’re not enjoying the main lodge, the villas and a 30-person staff that includes PADI dive instructors, a spa therapist and a chef. Sail on the Ariara’s 100-foot trimaran for astonishing diving and snorkeling among still-healthy reefs and Japanese shipwrecks from World War II. The island’s owners have good relations with local communities, and guests are welcome to visit, perhaps even play a game of basketball. Or just explore the island at your leisure, seeking out the sea eagles, blue starfish, hawksbill turtles and giant butterflies.


Cycling through the Danish Isles

PRICE: $3,998 per adult, from $3,198 per child or price upon request for customized tour. All breakfasts and some lunches and dinners included

CONTACT: Mindy Vanderhoof

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There may be no other country as bike-friendly as Denmark, and this eight-day tour takes advantage of the access bicyclists have there. You’ll traverse the Danish Riviera on the Baltic coast, pedaling through fishing villages and past royal castles, then explore Viking history on Funen Island, where Hans Christian Andersen was born, and the hills and cliffs of Aeroe Island. Families can bring infants and toddlers, who travel in a Burley bicycle trailer; you’ll stay in family-friendly hotels and dine on gourmet breakfasts, picnics and fresh-caught seafood for dinner.


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