Getting the family vacation right with teenagers in tow can be a tricky balance. They’re not little anymore and guess what? The prospect of going away with their parents or guardians isn’t quite as exciting as it used to be—sorry guys! To give you a hand with planning your trip, we’re featuring top vacation spots for teens and parents alike. Each destination here has tons of teen-friendly things to do, whether the kids are into baseball stadiums, rock and roll emporiums, surfing beaches, or amusement parks packed with rollercoasters. And once you decide on a destination, you can book all those tours, activities, and attractions right on TripAdvisor.
The next step is accommodations. Choosing your home away from home is particularly important when going away as a family. Consider a fully stocked vacation rental from TripAdvisor with plenty of living space for time with family (as well as that all-important time without).
Enjoy The Traveling With Your Teens
Your experiences as a teenager have molded who you are today. But if you want to help your teens, you need to understand the trip they are on. The trip is one of self-discovery and of change, as well as physical changes. Role reversal, however, is an important part of the teenage experience. During their teenage years, kids ask questions that expose the flaws and gaps in our thinking. Listening and loving teens is the best way to encourage them to travel on the road they must travel as part of the journey to adulthood. Be interactive as you travel, but avoid lecturing. Be open to your teens’ feelings, on the road and at home, and you’ll find that your relationship improves and their attitude toward travel will also improve.
Traveling With Teens
Be on familiar ground. Even though your teen may be a different person than he or she was a year ago, you’re still the same person. So any problems you used to have (and still have) must be dealt with to be good traveling companions.
Be flexible. Flexibility is at the heart of good traveling with teens.
Understand the developmental drinking age. Teens may drink more frequently and more in public places than you realize. Be prepared to change your attitude about that fact.
Be involved. Seek out activities that involve you with your teen. It’ll engage you and give you a better understanding of what’s going on in your child’s life and in her head.
Define your role. Give some thought to your theories of traveling with teens. By holding these concepts in your mind, and articulating them, you’ll be able to concretize your philosophy of parenting while planning your trip.
Do travel with an eye to travel. Make your family’s travels more than a connecting series of planes, hotels, and rental cars. Travel is its own rich, full experience that can help your family grow.
Let your teen lead. Let your teen direct the itinerary and activities, even if it seems like you’re being taken advantage of. It’s important for your teen to assert her independence in a safe environment.
Open your mind. Traveling opens your mind to great possibilities, even if you have to call on your stubborn streak to force yourself to let go.
Talk it out. Don’t wait for problems to erupt or incidents to happen; make it a point to talk to your child before they do. Establish a good rapport with your teen before you go.
Plan special activities for teens. With your teen’s help, make sure that you pack in more than a lot of tourist activities and the obligatory ride on the open-air bus. Add a basketball game at an outdoor court, swimming in the ocean, a shopping trip, or a visit to a gallery.
Tips For Traveling With Teens
Assign chores. This will let the teen feel that he is a member of the team and that he is responsible for both his actions and the consequences of his actions.
Empower them. Give your teens a chance to make their own choices and decisions. You’ll be surprised at how quickly they mature.
Let them know you trust them. If they know you trust them it will make them feel much more comfortable about trying things on their own.
Let them make a mistake. Mistakes and errors provide vital learning opportunities for your teens. You’ll end up with a more educated person, not a broken one.
Make a list of what they like and dislike. This is a great way to get to know the teen better and also to make sure to avoid significant issues during the trip. It’s always good to hear from them what they find interesting and what doesn’t interest them.
Make sure you set a budget. In most cases, children want to spend money on non-essentials and you want to spend your money on something you feel is necessary. Set a budget with your teen and make sure that you stick to it.
Remember that they may not be the experts. You are not an expert on hotels or restaurants or plane travel, so asking questions of the counter staff or checking in with those of us who are experts can be a valuable tool to make sure you make the most of your trip to get to the major attractions and other things you want to do on your trip.
Talk about your expectations. Before heading out on your trip, make sure you discuss your travel expectations directly with your teens. Do they know you have expectations? Does your teen know that your expectations are about being safe and following the rules? Do they know you have the intention of letting them develop their independence on the trip? Do they know that they are expected to be respectful of other people, animals, and property while on the trip?
Stay together. It’s time to let your teens branch out. But don’t leave them to their own devices. Make sure you keep an eye on them and keep them in sight at all times. Teenagers may need some time to explore and be by themselves. But also remember that they are not grown adults.
Take time off. Think long and hard about taking a vacation with your teen. Most teenagers need time by themselves. They need to discover the world around them at their own pace. If it does seem impossible to find time by themselves on a family vacation, it may be best to delay the family vacation for just a few months to let them get their personal time.
Teen Traveling Factors
Many teens will have the need to feel the sense of freedom while at the same time feeling that they are in a safe environment as they go out and explore the different countries they visit. Many teens may find that their greatest sense of freedom is when they are able to explore different cities and get to the best sights and monuments that are very popular among a lot of the people who visit these countries. And when it comes to the fact that going on a family vacation is not the same as it used to be, this is not necessarily the case when it comes to traveling with your teens. Teens are now looking for the sense of freedom and the relaxation that comes with traveling with the family, and this is a good sign that they are looking to have even more fun when they are on vacation.
This product was recommended by Ali Rizvi from Dream Superhero
A destination coveted by millions, Italy is a gracious host of teen trips full of soul-stirring and Insta-worthy scenery.
This product was recommended by Noman Asghar from Fan Jackets
If you willing to spend a vacation with teens then CHARLOTTE, is the best place for you. It has an amazing climate and places to visit that can make your visit memorable. The best place for kids is Carowinds Amusement Park, its roller coaster will not allow to leave early. For incredible entertainment don’t forget to visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and for adventure go to water-bound fun.
This product was recommended by Melanie Musson from AutoInsuranceEZ
Chicago has it all from deep-dish pizza to professional sports games. You’ll find the best shops for any style. Millennium Park and Navy Pier are great places to enjoy the Chicago culture and Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower is the perfect place for a thrill and photo-op. Their public transportation system is well-developed so you can easily and affordably get around town.
This product was recommended by Roger Senpai from The Senpai Blog
My hometown Toronto is a perfect city that is underrated. There are tons of fun things to do in Toronto for both the parents and teenagers, including the Eaton Centre, the underground PATH shopping mall, Harbourfront, High Park and so much. The family will enjoy riding the public transit that has subways and streetcars. Since Toronto is a diverse city, the food scene is incredibly diverse. And Toronto makes for a great place to see other sites in the provinces, including Niagara Falls and cottage country. Overall, Toronto is a wonderful city that caters to all ages, especially teenagers and young people.
This product was recommended by Thomas McGovern from Tommcge6181994
The city I would favorably promote taking your teen to is Salem, MA. The justification for this is because of its history. History is of great importance to teach and teenagers are the one target who demands comprehension of it. *To forget the past is to relive it!
This product was recommended by Jason Miller from Getaway Couple LLC
They make history come alive at the Gettysburg National Military Park. Stop by the visitors center and pick up an audio tour cd then head out in your car following the Auto Tour path. We recommend The Gettysburg Story: Battlefield Auto Tour for the production value and realism it brings to the driving tour. Make sure that you check the schedule and try and catch a live reenactment. Who doesn’t want to watch a Civil War-era cannon fire?
This product was recommended by Mar Naibi from Pure Adventures
This is great because there is so much to do here – white water rafting, a ropes/zip park, mountain biking, hiking, Jeep tours, free events/concerts/movies and more. There is no shortage of things to keep teens busy! It is also very safe here, so kids can go explore on their own, while parents sit back and relax. The fresh mountain air and cool summer temperatures are often quite welcome to those coming from cities and urban areas.
This product was recommended by Mar Naibi from Pure Adventures
This trip is available in a 4 or 6 day version and because it’s Rails to Trails, it’s perfect for teens that enjoy some pedaling. Safe, off the road; it is mostly flat, and the scenery is interesting enough to keep the kids from getting bored. There are swimming holes, forests, and really nice views throughout.
This product was recommended by Mar Naibi from Pure Adventures
The starting point of Bend is a great town, and there are lots of things for teens to do, plus a really cool vibe. This tour is mostly hiking but also includes a day of paddling, which teens usually enjoy. Some of the hikes are shorter, allowing for free time the rest of the day and others are bigger, resulting in epic views (Crater Lake, for example.) Teens will enjoy the plunge waterfalls, cool pine forest, and swimming opportunities along the way! This tour moves around a little bit – not too much – just the right amount. It allows the teens to experience some really unique natural surroundings and the opportunity to experience nature.
This product was recommended by Nicole Berrio from The Bristol Hotel
Located about six hours from Washington D.C and two hours from the Smoky Mountains, the small mountain town of Bristol located on the Virginia/Tennessee border is situated within 20 minutes of some of America’s most sought-after adventure and fly-fishing destinations such as the Appalachian Trail, Cherokee National Forest and South Holston Lake. For teens who love music and the outdoors, Bristol is known as the birthplace of country music and the summer months bring an abundance of trout for those fishing enthusiasts itching for a domestic summer getaway. The great outdoors is easily accessible when booking a stay at the only boutique hotel in town, The Bristol Hotel where guests are greeted with live music on the rooftop every evening, fishing gear for rent through a local outfitter, curated hiking maps for nearby trails, mountain views from bed and Southern Appalachian fare paired with hand-crafted mocktails on the hotel’s outdoor rooftop bar overlooking the Blue Ridge peaks. Bonus: it’s pet-friendly!
This product was recommended by Ryan Cook from Epic Marketing
This location is a warm, humid place with beautiful beaches. The water is simultaneously refreshingly cool and comfortably warm. I think it’s a great place for teens because it offers lots of cool places to relax, read, and of course, take selfies. A resort or hotel near the beach offers teens the option of swimming in the pool, snorkeling in the ocean, working out at the gym or engaging in various other activities in the area. It’s the kind of vacation where everyone in the family can do what they want even if they’re not totally together the whole time.
This product was recommended by Eileen Gunn from FamiliesGo
It’s coastal location makes Acadia ideal for active teens. They can hike and bike on an extensive network of very good trails through the park’s wooded regions, clamber on giant rocks by the water, and also go to the beach. Activities like sailing and kayaking are available in town. The ranger programs pop up all over the park and even on the water. They’re geared toward and attended by visitors of all ages more than they are at some other parks. Bar Harbor is a fun, safe, easy to navigate town with more dining options and better value than many other national park towns. It’s easy to let teens, even younger teens, explore the town on their own alone or in a group.