Family Vacations: Where to take your kids ages 6-12.

This week, I'm focusing on the best locations to take your kids ages 6-12.  This age is the sweet spot.  They are old enough to take bigger and better trips while, at the same time, they still want to hang out with you.  This is a great age to start exposing kids to different cultures and ways of life.

Once children are at least 6 years old, they are ready for grander adventures.  When traveling with children of this age range, it is important to travel with a company focused on the needs of children.  If your kids aren’t having fun, you won’t have any fun.  

Abercrombie & Kent is one of the best for family travel.  Their Family Luxury Small Group Journeys are designed to let you make the most of every minute.  Created by A & K’s experts specifically for families, each journey is filled with enriching activities, child-friendly hotels and a range of exciting destinations.  For example, your family can have the adventure of a lifetime in China.  You can cruise on the Yangtze River and through the amazing Three Gorges on a three-night cruise; visit the ancient Great Wall of China, then ride a toboggan back down; see the Terra Cotta Warrior army and make your very own clay soldier; meet panda bears in person at a special sanctuary for the bears; see Shanghai from the tallest building in China.  Alternatively, your family can discover Russia: Cruise by boat to St. Petersburg, a city built on 42 islands; privately visit the collection at the State Armory in Moscow; take part in the re-creation of a traditional Russian wedding ceremony; pay a backstage visit to the Moscow Circus and watch the show from a private VIP box and attend a Faberge egg-painting class, taught by a famous St. Petersburg artist.  The more athletic family may wish to visit Australia and New Zealand.  You can journey into the Outback; snorkel and swim with clownfish, manta rays and sea turtles along the Great Barrier Reef; learn to surf at Bondi Beach, then boat through Sydney Harbor; zip line, ride a cable car and trundle by train through an Australian rainforest; take a “funyak” river safari on the Dart River; and journey to the real Middle Earth with a tour of Hobbiton.

Any child over the age of 6 loves a trip to the Galapagos Islands.  I highly recommend joining Lindblad’s National Geographic Endeavour.  These are truly expedition cruises made for children.  The expedition leaders get training from National Geographic Kids and are fantastic at teaching children about the wildlife, such as blue-footed boobies, sea turtles, giant tortoises, red frigate birds, iguanas and sea lions.Children get to learn how to drive a Zodiac craft, snorkel and hike the islands, take wildlife photography lessons and enjoy bridge visits with the captain.  If several kids are onboard, there may be an impromptu pizza and movie night.    If you have the time, you should add Machu Picchu in Peru to your trip.  You can explore the 15th Century Inca ruins and stunning views of the magnificent structures surrounded by green peaks.

Closer to home, this is a great age for your kids to experience our National Parks for the first time.  Backroads and Tauck have excellent tours for families.  Hike the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, visit a ranch with horseback riding, bike ride in the Tetons, take a whitewater rafting adventure down the Snake River, encounter grizzlies, wolves and elk as you explore the wilderness.  If you are looking for a most unique experience, nothing beats Amangiri, an ultra-luxurious resort located in a secluded canyon in the middle of the Grand Circle of National Parks and Monuments.  It offers customized outdoor adventure activities such as hiking, rock climbing, slot canyon tours, rafting, mountain biking, boating and hot air balloon flights.  It also has a 25,000 square foot Aman Spa for Mom and Dad.

Email or call me at 314-780-8845 to plan your next adventure with your kids.