10 great family adventures

From America’s Wild West to Sri Lanka’s beaches, there is a holiday to book for all ages.

1 Monks in Laos
Laos is a firm fixture on backpacker/gap-year itineraries but, unlike Vietnam, it hasn’t shown up much on the escorted or family market. Grasshopper Adventures offers a combination of both — an escorted tour of the north of the country by boat and bike for the whole family, from Unesco-listed Luang Prabang, through unspoilt countryside to Nong Khiaw. There will be monks and the Mekong, silk production and sunrises, temples and tamarind (in the cookery classes). Child seats, tag-along bikes and junior-sized cycles are available, and the riding (133km in all) is rated as mild to moderate.
Details A five-day trip costs from £1,130pp (under-12s £900), including all tours, guides and most meals (020 8123 8144, grasshopperadventures.com); maximum group size 14. Flights are from £576pp (skyscanner.com)

2 America’s Wild West
Enjoy the amazing scenery of Monument Valley. Grand American Adventure’s Western Family Discovery includes a Navajo-guided tour of the valley, plus trips to the equally beguiling Bryce Canyon, Yosemite and Zion national parks, as well as a walk over the Golden Gate Bridge. There are optional extras, such as helicopter flights and go-karting in Las Vegas. The minimum age is eight.
Details Eleven nights cost from £1,469pp (under-16s from £1,322), mostly camping, with most meals included (0333 220 7850, grandamericaadventures.com). Departures are in July and August, with a maximum group of 13. Flights from £809 (virginatlantic.com)

3 Moroccan desert
Family Adventures has a trip that includes the medina and markets of Marrakesh, but goes much farther, to the old Foreign Legion outpost of Ouarzazate and the fortified kasbah of Ait Benhaddou, as seen in Gladiator and dozens of other films. There are also camel treks, desert camping, sand-dune climbing and the oases of the Draa Valley. The trip ends with two days in Marrakesh. The minimum age is five.
Details Eight days in April cost from £829pp (under-15s £746), with flights and some meals included (0808 1155524, familyadventurecompany.co.uk); maximum group size of 16


A gulet in the Aegean

4 Aegean adventure
Peter Sommer Travels’ gulet-based family adventure in the Aegean appeals to children by invoking Pirates of the Caribbean (it’s a boat trip, anchoring off often-deserted beaches and bays), Indiana Jones (plenty of archaeology) and Percy Jackson (Greek mythology galore). There are two guides to decode the many sites that the tour visits and there’s ample time for snorkelling, kayaking and lounging on deck. The trip starts and finishes at Kos and includes Patmos, Leros and Kalymnos for a mix of Greek temples, Roman houses, medieval churches and taverna meals.
Details Eight days’ full board costs from £2,695pp (under-12s £2,550pp), leaving on July 22 (01600 888220, petersommer.com). Flights cost from £295 (olympicair.com); maximum group size 14

5 Pizza and Pompeii
Plentiful pizza with copious ice cream, a boat trip to Capri, a paddle at Positano beach and a trip to the top of Vesuvius and to the cities it destroyed means you have a sure-fire hit. Utracks’ Italian Family Adventure begins in Rome and ends in Naples, with guides along the way to ensure everyone gets the most out of the experience.
Details An eight-day trip costs from £1,190pp (under-12s £1,040), with most meals and activities included(0845 2417599, utracks.com). There are multiple departures, with maximum groups of 16. Fly to Rome and out of Naples from £86 (easyjet.com)

6 Temples and trains in Japan
It’s a baffling enough country for adults, but Exodus’s new Japan Family Adventure aims to explain to every generation how cutting-edge technology can coexist with ancient customs and rituals. It moves from the temples of Kyoto, via the bullet train to Hiroshima, and to the bamboo forests and monkey park of Arashiyama, finishing with the neon lights and robot shops of Tokyo. Along the way there is a samurai lesson, a taiko drum masterclass, a hands-on calligraphy session and a Japanese cookery class. The minimum age is eight.
Details Twelve days cost from £3,999pp (under-12s £3,734), with some meals, including flights in July and August (020 3553 1385, exodus.co.uk) maximum group size 16

7 Adventure in Oman
Explore’s new Family Oman Adventure spends seven days in the company of guides touring the desert country’s highlights, including a visit to a turtle reserve on the beach of Ras Al Hadd, a camel ride across Wahiba Sands, a night in a desert camp under bright stars and a dolphin-spotting boat trip. One sight bound to impress is the dramatic Jebel Shams, Oman’s “Grand Canyon”. The minimum age is five.
Details A six-night trip costs from £2,035pp (under-12s £1,885), mostly half-board, including flights in October and December. Groups are a maximum of 18 (01252 884723, explore.co.uk)

8 Cool Cuba
They might not be able to smoke the cigars or sip the mojitos but Cuba is a fantastic destination for children, from the cool vintage cars to the constant soundtrack of salsa, not to mention some fine beaches. Tropical Sky has a new escorted family tour to the island, taking in Havana, Trinidad, Vinales, Cienfuegos and the Bay of Pigs. It includes walks to waterfalls, snorkelling in Caleta Buena, a boat trip through a limestone cave, a walking tour of Old Havana and a trip to the Coppelia ice-cream parlour in Cienfuegos. The minimum age is five.
Details Ten nights’ B&B costs from £2,099pp (under-14s £1,890), including flights (01342 886701, tropicalsky.co.uk). Departures are in April, July and August, with a maximum group of 16


Zip-wiring in Costa Rica

9 Wildlife in Costa Rica
This country is stuffed full of wildlife (including brilliantly coloured bird life, cheeky monkeys and stately turtles) and enough activities to wear out the most active child — whitewater rafting, horse riding through the forest, jungle hiking to waterfalls and zip-wiring through the canopy. Plus there are smoking volcanoes and delightful beaches on offer. The minimum age is five.
Details Fifteen days’ B&B costs from £1,695pp (under-14s £1,526), excluding flights (0808 2745111, intrepidtravel.com). Flights to San Jose cost from £495pp (ba.com). Departures are from April to August; group size up to 18

10 Culture and beaches in Sri Lanka
Not only is Sri Lanka very good value, it is an amazing all-in-one package, with culture, history, beaches, activities such as white-water rafting, wildlife, great cuisine, temples and tea plantations, sand and surf. KE Adventure has a two-week hotel-based trip suitable for those aged six and up.
Details Fourteen days cost from £2,020pp (under-12s £1,635), including all meals, most activities, flights and transfers (01768 773966, keadventure.com). There are multiple departures in groups of no more than 16

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