5 Unique Summer Family Vacations to Add to Your Travel List

Now is the perfect time to plan a unique summer family vacation. Whether your family enjoys the great outdoors, cultural experiences, or city life, there is a trip out there that is a perfect fit for your family. Here are five unique summer family vacations we would love to try and think you would enjoy too.

5 Unique Summer Family Vacations-Kids Are A Trip5 Unique Summer Family Vacations to Add to Your Travel List

1. Exploring castles in Europe

We’ve explored a fair number of castles in Europe and would love to make a trip devoted to castle exploration. Some of our favorites were in Ireland, Wales, France, and Germany. Choose a destination you think your family would enjoy, research the area, and see what life was like in medieval times. Think you want to stay in a castle? There are plenty of opportunities to do so in these countries and after staying at Burg Colmberg in Germany, we would highly recommend the experience.

5 Unique Summer Family Vacations Exploring Castles-Kids Are A Trip
Our kids love exploring castles! This one is in Carcassonne, France.

2. Learn about ranch life at a dude ranch

My husband has told me for years that his family’s dude ranch vacation was the best memory of his childhood. I wouldn’t know where to begin when planning a trip, because there are options all over the United States and Canada, but the Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) has it down to a science. Whether your family likes horseback riding, hiking, fishing, or fine dining, DRA can find the right dude ranch vacation for your family, you just have to ask.

5 Unique Summer Family Vacations Dude Ranch-Kids Are A Trip
Photo credit: Creative Commons

3. Giving back through travel

Summer offers many opportunities for giving back and there are several programs that offer destination specific volunteer trips for families. These journeys can teach your children the importance of helping others and having compassion for those in need.

Best Books for Summer Vacation 2019

This summer we will be joining Fathom Travel on a cruise to the Dominican Republic where we will learn about the needs of their community and how we can help them through impact travel activities. Other volunteer organizations worth exploring include Habitat for Humanity and Project Abroad. Be sure to do your research be you go and make sure the trip is a good fit for your family.

5 Unique Summer Family Vacations Fathom Travel-Kids Are A Trip
Making water filters with Fathom Travel.
Photo credit: Fathom Travel

4. Live like a local in San Francisco (or any big city)

I love exploring large cities (we live in the suburbs) and home sharing or rental agencies like HomeExchange.com or airbnb provide families with an opportunity to live like a local for a few days or months if they choose. It’s a fun way to explore a new place and have all the luxuries of home. Go with an open mind and be open to making new friends to help you get a lay of the land.

Best Books for Summer Vacation 2019

5. Enjoy a bicycle vacation

Whether your family desires a self-guided or group tour, there are many options for exploring on two wheels. Self-guided tours can be mapped out all over the world, just choose a favorite destination and see if there are family friendly trails or bike paths nearby. Tuscany, Hawaii, France, California, Colorado, and Canada all make for family friendly rides with plenty of gentle paths and rest stops along the way. If your family is prepared to go the distance, this could be the perfect choice.

Hopefully we’ve provided you with some family vacation ideas you might not have considered before. If you’re looking for other ideas to explore, Family Travel Forum has put together this amazing list of vacation ideas for your family to consider this summer. It has something for everyone and I am sure it will spark an idea for your next family trip.

*This post was sponsored by Family Travel Consulting. Ideas and opinions are 100% my own.


  1. Love these ideas. I do not think children are permitted on the Fathom cruise. Maybe under 12 or 18?

  2. They have to be 8 and older to go on the cruise. I’m excited to experience the trip with my 11 and 13 year old this summer. Have you been?

  3. Great ideas here! I want to take my children to a small town in Romania where we got married some 20+ years ago!

  4. That would be amazing! And what an incredible story!

  5. I think we will be visiting family in British Columbia again this summer. For us it seems like it’s all about soccer tournaments and family. I’ll likely travel on my own in the fall.

  6. Some great ideas here. Bucket list for sure!

  7. Yes, sports travel can take up a lot of time, but can be fun too. Have a great summer Margarita!

  8. Excellent suggestions! The Fathom Travel cruise sounds like an amazing opportunity! The Dominican Republic is a beautiful place with so many things to offer every visitor. I’m so glad to see that you all will be making a positive mark on this place. It’s so important to positively touch every place you visit! Very nice! Thanks so much for sharing your summer adventure plans with us!

  9. This was really enjoyable to read. Having read this there seem to be some wonderful places to visit.

  10. Thank you!

  11. These are all wonderful destinations! I recently visited San Francisco with my fiance, and it was beautiful and so much fun! Nice overview! Thanks so much for posting this!

  12. Hi Kirsten,

    I hear Germany has some of the finest castles in Europe, I have been to Hungary and there is some pretty amazing architecture there too! I love the ‘live like a local’ segment. I have been to 17 countries so far and I always try to get as local as I can not only to get the proper vibe of where I am but also so I don’t pay the tourist rates as well.
    Thanks for the article, especially the funky wattle and daub castle on the water main pic! really cool!

  13. Thanks Lee! I agree that Hungary has some great architecture too. We love the castles in France and England as well. I’m all about the live like a local. It really is my favorite part of travel. Have a great week and thanks for stopping by!

  14. Deciding where to go next is really crucial. There are tons of things to consider. Thanks to author for giving us more options!

  15. Shawn Michaels says:

    Wow! such a great ideas and tips. But we have small kids of 3 to 4 years. would these places be suitable for them or not? Anyhow, I love your post quite much and want to go on vacations there.

  16. Of course! I think the kids could probably do everything except a volunteer vacation (there’s usually an age limit) and the bicycle ones. The rest are perfect for changing things up. Dude ranches aren’t all about riding horses. Usually they have other activities that kids love and they don’t have to be able to ride. Check the age requirements before you go of course!

  17. What great ideas! We are currently exploring castles.

  18. Where have you been? We’ve seen quite a few in Europe.

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