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15 Best Places to Vacation with Teens: Teen Approved!

We have been traveling with teenagers for eight years and know a thing or two about destinations that appeal to their interests. This article highlights the best places to vacation with teens, whether you want nonstop thrills or relaxed quality time (or something in between!). 

Best Places to Travel with Teens - Kids Are A Trip

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What are the best places to vacation with teens?

It can feel bitter-sweet when you’re planning a vacation with your teen. After all, soon they’ll be heading out on their own getaways, or busy with school and work. But for now, you can make core memories with them in some of the world’s best destinations. 

Need help choosing a place that is right for you and your crew? Here are some of our selections for the best places to vacation with teens, with destinations both near and far. 

Best Places to Vacation with Teens in the US

1. Adventures on the Gorge, West Virginia

If you’re looking for an active, all-in-one vacation with your teen, then Adventures on the Gorge could be the perfect place to visit. It promises fun vacations in the great outdoors, great for making memories while your kids are in their teenage years. 

This expansive West Virginia resort offers outdoor adventures for adults and kids of all ages. Plus, it’s located next to one of America’s newest national parks: New River Gorge. 

New River Gorge West Virginia sunset

Active teens will love the adventures that are offered. They can go ziplining, white water rafting, mountain biking, and hiking. And they are all fun activities you can do together. 

Adventures on the Gorge spans 350 acres and has multiple accommodation options, including glamping, RV sites, luxury cabins, and vacation homes. 

2. Orange Beach & Gulf Shores, Alabama

Sometimes, you need an old-fashioned beach vacation, a chance to slow down, soak up the sun, and enjoy quality time. We love Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama, for their scenic shorelines, family-friendly attractions, and great accommodations.

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are neighboring towns along Alabama’s Gulf Coast. It’s easy to spend all day at the beach here, but we recommend getting out and about for some adventure, too. 

Orange Beach Alabama sunset best places to visit with teens

The Wharf has arcades, a Laser Light show, a Ferris Wheel, a selfie museum, and ax throwing. Be sure to check out the many restaurants that offer fresh Gulf shrimp and seafood. 

Back by the ocean, your teen will have a great time riding jet skis, trying out an eFoil board, or going parasailing. 

Turquoise Place is a fantastic condo complex that’s perfect for families with teens. The units are spacious, and we love their onsite lazy river and oversized yard games. There is also complimentary breakfast and unique amenities like a steam room and a putting green. You can read more about our stay on property HERE.

Other great beach vacation ideas include Myrtle Beach, San Diego, and the Florida Keys.

3. Zion National Park & Las Vegas

A road trip may not be your top vacation for teenagers, but the 2.5-hour drive between Las Vegas and Zion National Park makes for an excellent family adventure. 

Fly into Las Vegas and then hit the road, ready to see some of the best wilderness in the West. Once at Zion, join your teen on a mule ride, a bike tour, or a stargazing expedition.

So many sites in Zion – like Angels Landing and the Narrows – are super Instagram-worthy, though your teen may forget about their phone once they’re immersed in these natural wonders. 

Zion National Park with kids

Book a spot at Zion Wildflower Resort, about 15 minutes outside the park, and stay in one of their glamping tents or covered wagons. 

After your time outdoors, it’s time to drive back to Las Vegas, where urban adventure awaits. Catch your thrills at the top of the Stratosphere, or sit back and enjoy a Vegas show, like Blue Man Group or Cirque du Soleil. Another option is to add another National Park to your list and take a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. 

Mandalay Bay is one of the best family hotels in Vegas and one of the best for teens. While they might not have a giant waterslide, they offer great pools, nonstop entertainment, and delicious food. It’s enough to keep the entire family entertained (without having to gamble a penny if you don’t want to!).

4. Washington, DC

If you haven’t visited Washington, D.C. with teens before, now is the time to go. But even if this is a repeat visit, you can still have an exciting vacation in our nation’s capital. 

You’ll do all the essentials: national museums, a White House tour, and famous monuments. Many activities in D.C. seem tailor-made for teens. They’ll love the International Spy Museum, or consider joining a ghost tour to see the city in a different way. 

Washington Tidal Basin

Another teen favorite is the 9:30 Club, an all-ages, multi-level club with food and live entertainment. 

Families tend to love their stays at Hilton Garden Inn Downtown. The rooms are spacious and located steps away from the White House. You’ll also be about a mile from the National Mall. 

5. Alaska Cruise

We think Alaska is one of the most magical places to visit with teenagers. The scenery here is so unique, and it’s a bucket list destination for many active families. 

One of the best ways to experience Alaska’s natural beauty with teens is on a cruise. Onboard amenities give your teens plenty of independence, but you can still join together for fun outdoor recreation.

Big-name cruise lines will likely have indoor pools and kids clubs to entertain younger guests, but these large ships can’t journey through narrow passages to reach remote regions and small towns. 

Alaska glaciers

That’s why we love UnCruise. Their small ships carry 20 – 100 guests and will get you close to Alaska’s greatest wonders, like icebergs and glaciers.

Onboard amenities are simple (two small hot tubs, a library, and fantastic food), meaning you and your teens can focus on the adventures that await. We’re talking about kayak tours, hikes, whale watching, and beach combing. 

The small size and immersive adventures create a cozy and unique atmosphere for teenagers who might feel disconnected. It’s great bonding, an unforgettable experience for everyone, and a wonderful way to see Alaska’s wild beauty. 

6. Scottsdale and Phoenix

Scottsdale is a great United States destination for families with teens. There are incredible art museums, fantastic dining (calling all Foodie Teens!), and endless shopping. 

Consider reserving a spot with Desert Dog Offroad Adventures to see more of Arizona’s wilderness. The Musical Instrument Museum is a unique, interactive museum that teens will love. 

For retail therapy, head to Scottsdale Fashion Square, Kierland Commons, and the Scottsdale Quarter, or explore the boutiques in Old Town. 

Old Town Scottsdale

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is one of our favorite places to stay in Scottsdale for families. There are six pools, a waterslide, multiple restaurants, a tennis court, and two golf courses. Many teens won’t see a reason to leave the property, but make sure to get out and explore the town. 

In nearby Phoenix, you can take a hot air balloon ride, see major sporting events, and race high-speed go-karts at K1 Speed.

7. New York City

If you want to offer your teen the ultimate do-it-all, see-it-all experience, you’ll have the best time in New York City. There’s something for everyone here, from endless shopping to big-name sports games.

See a Broadway show and dine in some of the nation’s top restaurants. And, you can walk through history at some of its incredible museums and memorials. 

Highland NYC person walking

Consider giving your teen some control over your NYC itinerary. After all, they’ll know the kind of experience they want in the Big Apple, whether it’s walking in Central Park or exploring Times Square.

The Marriott Marquis is a fabulous family-friendly hotel in New York, thanks to its excellent location and comfy rooms. Or, treat your teen to a luxurious stay at The Plaza – one of the city’s most famous hotels. 

Best Places to Vacation with Teens in Canada

8. Prince Edward Island, Canada

Many teens love a coastal getaway, and one of the best places for it is Prince Edward Island. This Canadian province is right on its east coast, and it has everything you and your teen want out of a relaxed, seaside vacation. 

There’s delicious food (tons of fresh seafood!), quaint lighthouses, sandy beaches, and a scenic national park. 

Teens walking on beach PEI

Your vacation here will be filled with family time. Explore Charlottetown, where you can eat delicious ice cream and enjoy live entertainment. For a unique experience, go clam digging with your teen – these guided tours are a fun way to see secluded spots near the island and have some fun. 

The Great George is a four-star hotel that’s perfect for families. Enjoy free continental breakfast, a convenient downtown location, and comfortable rooms. Another option is to rent a house and a car so you can explore the island on your own.

Best Places to Vacation with Teens in Europe

9. London

London is one of our favorite international destinations for teens. After all, they see it in TV shows and movies, making it a kind of fantasy locale that they’d love to visit. 

Once they’re here, they’ll fall in love with this fun city. Various tours will allow your family to see the magnificence of London, whether you venture on bike, trolley, foot, or subway. 

In London, they can catch a real European football game, visit historic churches, walk through royal history, and explore the many street markets.

Tower Bridge Walk London

Thrill-seeking teens flock to ArcelorMittal Orbit, a statue and event venue that’s also home to the world’s longest tunnel slide. 

For your hotel stay, consider The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences. This luxurious hotel overlooks Green Park and has incredibly comfortable rooms. Your family will love the onsite restaurant, and their spa will pamper you and your teen with five-star service. For other ideas, don’t miss our favorite family hotels in London.

10. Paris

For refined teens, a vacation to Paris will be simply divine. You’ll see the Eiffel Tower, of course, and perhaps visit Disneyland Paris as well. But the real highlight for your teen will be the everyday culture found in The City of Lights. 

Eat your way through delectable cuisine, or take a cooking class to dive into the art of French food. Shop through the city streets and wander through some of the world’s most beautiful parks (our favorite might be The Luxembourg Gardens and Tuileries). 

Walking local markets Paris

Paris has so many museums, this is a destination made for art enthusiasts. Plus, sports fans can watch the Paris Saint-Germain Football Club and experience the thrill of these iconic games. 

Most families with teenage kids will want to stay in the 1st Arrondissement (near many parks and attractions) or the 4th Arrondissement (near Notre-Dame Cathedral with charming cafes and boutiques). 

The Westin Paris – Vendôme offers a plushy, regal stay near Tuileries Gardens, right in the 1st Arrondissement. Its onsite terrace is Instagram-worthy, and you’ll be in the heart of the city, within walking distance of some of the best attractions. If you need other ideas, don’t miss these family-friendly Paris hotels.

11. Rome

You really can’t beat a family vacation to Rome, especially if you’re bringing teens along. There’s endless food, local culture, art, and entertainment, all in an incredibly historic place. 

Pantheon in Rome

Teens will love taking a Vespa tour of the city, and they can take a pizza-making class to bring home a taste of Italy. There are also breathtaking art museums along with world-class shopping. Plus, if your teen is one for adventure, Rome has the longest one-flight zipline in the world. 

Gli Scipioni Bed and Breakfast is a great place in Rome for a family to stay. The owners offer personalized service, and you’ll be steps away from the Sistine Chapel. They also have a room that sleeps five people, along with great options for multi-generational travel. 

Best Places to Vacation with Teens: International

12. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the perfect place to visit if you have teens with a long bucket list of travel dreams. Here, they can climb volcanoes, zipline through rainforests, go white water rafting, dip into hot springs, and surf in the ocean. 

But your Costa Rica vacation doesn’t have to be a non-stop adventure. You can also wind down on its glistening white sand beaches, dine at its incredible restaurants, and simply enjoy this beautiful destination’s culture and natural scenery. 

Catamaran excursion Costa Rica

You may decide to stay in different areas of Costa Rica during your trip to see more of the country (for reference, Costa Rica is roughly the size of West Virginia).

If you’re narrowing down Costa Rica hotels, we recommend The Springs Resort & Spa at Arenal, an inland resort with amazing views of Arenal Volcano and fun outdoor activities. 

13. Cancun and Riviera Maya

You’ve probably heard a lot about Cancun, but do you know about Riviera Maya? This scenic stretch of Mexico’s coastline is just south of Cancun, and it’s a great option if you’re traveling with teens. 

This is where you’ll find Cozumel and Playa del Carmen. Your teen will love hanging out on the glistening beaches and snorkeling in the gentle waters. 

Xel Ha Natural Lazy River Cancun

But the number one thing you must do with your teen is Xcaret. This natural water park features fun water sports, underground rivers, speed boat tours, snorkeling lagoons, dinner shows, waterfalls, and wildlife.

Or, check out one of their sister parks, Xel-Há, which is all-inclusive and has great waterslides, snorkeling, and cliff jumping. 

There are also Mayan ruin sites in Riviera Maya, so you can explore Mexico’s rich history. 

Grand Velas Riviera Maya is an all-suite resort that your whole family will love. Their dedicated teen clubs will give your kids independence while they enjoy the all-inclusive experience at this luxe place. This is one of our favorite all-inclusive family resorts in Mexico.

14. Japan

Japanese culture and entertainment are having a moment, making the country a top wish-list vacation spot for today’s teens. But how do you make sure your trip to Japan is worth the long flight, language barrier, and expansive in-country travel? You slow down and try to enjoy each moment. 

Sure, you may not see everything in Japan, but let your teen be the guide as they choose destinations and activities that speak to them. 

Japan with teens

Anime and Manga theme parks? Sure! New foods and tasty treats? Of course. Historical sites and scenic parks? It’s all part of a fun-filled Japan vacation. 

For a family-friendly hotel, we recommend Apartment Hotel MIMARU. Their spacious suites can accommodate up to 6 guests, and they have locations all over Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. 

15. African Safari

Broaden your teen’s horizons with an awe-inspiring African Safari. These unique vacations top many adults’ bucket lists, but they’re also great to experience as a family, especially if you have older kids. 

elephants Africa safari tour

Your kids will love seeing wild animals and learning about them, but they’ll also experience an entirely new culture, interacting with people from all walks of life. Plus, they can try local cuisine and see unique works of art. 

Consider booking a private guide to go at your own pace (teens might struggle with time changes and early starts). A dedicated Africa travel expert can help plan an itinerary with comfortable and safe lodging, like the Singita Malilangwe House in Zimbabwe.