21 Unforgettable Mother Son Trip Ideas
The relationship between a mother and son can be a very special one. I should know, as I’m lucky to have three of them. Unfortunately, the day-to-day stresses of life can get in the way of spending quality time together. A one-on-one trip is the perfect way to bond and make memories! These are some of our favorite mother son trip ideas.
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21 Awesome Mother-Son Vacation Ideas
Below you will find some exciting mother son trip ideas. You may be planning the perfect weekend getaway or that once-in-a-lifetime trip on the other side of the world. Before you plan your trip, I would try to plan something that fits your child’s interests. This is one of the best ways to ensure they’re engaged. If you need inspiration for your special vacation, here are some tried and true destinations you will love!
Mother Son Trip Ideas in the US
1. UnCruise Alaska
This summer I took a one-on-one trip with my oldest son to Alaska. We traveled on an Alaska adventure cruise with UnCruise. These cruise ships are different from others because their small ships can visit places that bigger ships can’t. This means you can get up close to glaciers and even touch them!
This trip is laid back and casual on board, but it’s all about adventure off the ship when you’re exploring the Alaska wilderness. The ship’s amazing staff plans itineraries for the week, so you just have to show up. You’ll stay busy with all kinds of adventures like hikes, kayaking, skiff rides, and more. When you need a break, you can just relax on the ship or in your room.
2. Vail, Colorado
Vail, Colorado is a charming village two hours from the Denver airport. It’s a popular destination in winter, known for its beauty, quaint village, and high-end amenities. Their snow sports programs are perfect for first-time skiers and backcountry adventurers. There’s snow tubing, snowboarding, and dog sledding. You can even book private mother son ski lessons!
During the summer months in Vail, there’s a full menu of outdoor activities. Enjoy miles of hiking trails, fishing, rafting, mountain climbing, and more.
If your son has always wanted to learn how to fly fish, why not take a guided tour? For a thrill, take the gondola to the top of Vail Mountain. In the summer you can try their zip lines or ride the alpine coaster!
3. New York City
NYC makes for the perfect mother-son trip idea. You have a little bit of everything available to you here, depending on what you both want to do.
Take a walk on the High Line, an elevated freight train line that has been converted into a public park. Visit Summit One Vanderbilt or the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. (I just suggest booking tickets in advance!). You could hang out in Times Square before a Broadway Show or comedy show.
During the summer you can go kayaking at Brooklyn Bridge Park or see the Nets play at the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn. Or spend the day at Central Park and walk over to the Museum of Natural History on the Upper East Side.
Don’t know where to stay? Check out the best NYC hotels for families!
4. San Diego, California
If you’re looking for an exciting West Coast destination for your vacation, head to San Diego in southern California. Some of the highlights include Balboa Park with its museums, hiking trails, the San Diego Zoo, and of course the beach!
Go to Mission Bay for great water sports, from boat charters and kayak rentals to beach surfing and paddle boarding. Belmont Park is a lot of fun with tons of carnival rides and games, and there’s the boardwalk.
You could head out to the Cabrillo National Monument and explore the tide pools for sea life. If you want to see seals, head to the northern end of La Jolla Cove. San Diego is also a perfect start to a mother son Pacific Coast Highway road trip of a lifetime!
5. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Pigeon Forge has an enviable location on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This makes it the perfect mother-son getaway for adventure-loving families. There are plenty of hiking trails, alpine slides, miniature golf, fun shows, and unique attractions.
Head to Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud where you can both try out your lumberjack skills. There’s a log roll, zip line roller coaster, and a lumberjack-themed ropes course. When you’re done be sure to take in the show where true lumberjacks show off their skills.
There are some unique museums to visit in Pigeon Forge, including the Alcatraz East Crime Museum, Titanic Museum, and Beyond the Lens.
Consider taking a Jeep tour into the park for an unforgettable adventure or head to neighboring Gatlinburg and visit Anakeesta. This theme park has a Treetop Skywalk, dueling zip lines, and a mountain coaster. We promise you’ll have an amazing time in Pigeon Forge!
6. Door County, Wisconsin
If you’re looking for a Midwest mother-son vacation, head to Door County, a peninsula with Lake Michigan on one side and Green Bay on the other. Door County in the summer is one of our favorite spots to be. There’s everything from cherry picking to hiking to time at the beach.
Be sure to explore Cave Point State Park, take a day trip to Washington Island, or ride a tractor out to the Cana Island lighthouse. In the evening have dinner at Al Johnson’s Swedish restaurant and watch the goats on the roof as they eat the grass. Or head to the Skyway Drive-In Movie theatre to watch one of the latest films.
For outdoor adventures that won’t disappoint, head to Door County for an unforgettable trip!
7. Orlando, Florida
Orlando is perfect for thrill seekers that want to visit the Disney parks or Universal Studios. Depending on their age, you could certainly take a few days to explore each one of the area’s amusement parks.
A few fun ideas outside of Orlando include:
- Busch Gardens – just over an hour away in Tampa, this adventure park is part zoo, part amusement park. There are rides for thrill seekers and animal encounters too. The best part is that parents and kids can leave their phones in a locker all day and have meaningful conversations while waiting in line.
- Gatorland – for a truly Florida experience, head to Gatorland, a theme park and wildlife preserve. There are gator shows, opportunities to feed the gators, and even a zipline ride above the gator pond. Talk about thrilling!
- Cape Canaveral – less than an hour from Orlando is Kennedy Space Center. STEM loving kids will find NASA’s space center fascinating with its historic spacecraft, IMAX theatres, and hands-on exhibits. There’s even an opportunity to try one of the astronaut training experiences!
8. Southwest US Road Trip
For an iconic road trip, work together to plan a route across the Southwest US. Collaborate on a road trip playlist so you both have your favorite music, and head out on a tour of the most famous national parks. Imagine how bonding it would be to spend a few months preparing for a big hike to the base of the Grand Canyon!
I suggest flying into Las Vegas, doing some sightseeing, and then renting a car from there. The first stop is the Grand Canyon where you can do a big hike or just take in the views. After that, head to Page, Arizona where you can see Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, and Antelope Canyon.
If you still want to explore more parks, we recommend a visit to Zion (maybe you want to hike the Narrows) and Snow Canyon State Park in St. George. Afterward, return to Las Vegas and spend a couple of nights in the city before heading home.
This is the perfect trip for long and meaningful conversations, making memories, and seeing some of the most beautiful geological formations in the country.
9. Baseball Stadium Road Trip
If your son is a baseball fan, this might be the perfect trip for him. Depending on the time of year, there are opportunities to visit several stadiums and see multiple games in a relatively short period of time.
Spring training usually starts the last week of February and runs through March. This is a pre-cursor to the MLB season. The games happen in one of two places: Arizona (the Cactus League) and Florida (the Grapefruit League). These games happen in smaller stadiums and fans have a better chance of getting close up with the players. Some stadiums even have players come out for warm up and sign autographs for waiting fans.
If you can’t schedule your baseball trip in March, consider traveling in the summer to one of the destinations that’s close to several teams. Note – you will pay more money for regular season games than spring training games. Also, be sure to check each team’s schedule before deciding on dates.
A few locations for a baseball road trip:
- Chicago – fly into Chicago and you can watch the Chicago Cubs and White Sox. There’s also easy access to the Milwaukee Brewers (about 1.5 hours north).
- Los Angeles – fly into Los Angeles and you can see the Los Angeles Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s just under two hours to see the San Diego Padres.
- New York – this one really allows you to see a bunch of teams if you time it right. In New York you can see the Yankees and the Mets. Drive two hours to see the Philadelphia Phillies. From there it’s two hours to the Baltimore Orioles. Finish in Washington DC (1 hour) with a Nationals game.
10. Seattle, Washington
Seattle offers a variety of activities that kids are sure to enjoy. Start at Pike Place Market, the original farmers market, where they can watch fish flying, sample local products, and do some shopping while mom grabs a cup of coffee at the first Starbucks store.
Other fun activities in Seattle include going to the top of the Space Needle, touring Chihuly gardens, or taking an underground tour through the city’s subterranean tunnels.
If your child is interested in taking a college tour, the University of Washington has a gorgeous campus and there are always events to attend.
Fun day trips include Snoqualmie Falls, Victoria in Canada (bring a passport), seeing the salmon runs at Ballard Locks, or hiking at Mount Rainier National Park.
International Mother Son Trip Ideas
11. Prince Edward Island, Canada
Prince Edward Island on the east coast of Canada is absolutely stunning. It’s a great place for kids who love adventure and the outdoors. I suggest going in the summer or fall to take full advantage of everything there is to do in PEI.
You could head to Prince Edward National Park where you can rent bikes or just hike the trails and climb the sand dunes. Greenwich Dune Trails is the place to go for hikes with unbelievable coastal views over the bluffs!
A fun day out would be going out on a professional fishing boat and learning how to catch lobsters. If you would rather relax, head to one of PEI’s soft, sandy beaches for the day.
12. Costa Rica
Thrill seekers will have the best time in Costa Rica! This Central American country is more than just a beautiful beach vacation, with all kinds of rainforest and river excursions. Zipline through the Monteverde jungle on a canopy tour or go on a whitewater rafting adventure!
Costa Rica is also home to the Arenal Volcano, which offers hiking trails through the rainforest, hot springs, lava fields, and more. You could also have tons of fun taking in all the natural beauty of the island while swimming in hot springs, visiting a butterfly farm, and engaging with locals.
13. La Paz, Mexico
If you’re looking for a sunny beach destination, consider Mexico for your mother son adventure. One of our favorite destinations is the city of La Paz in Baja California Sur. While you won’t find any large all-inclusive resorts yet, there are plenty of unique options for places to stay like Baja Club, Chilo Chill Glamping Resort, and Rancho Cacachilas.
The town of La Paz has some amazing street art, shops, seafood restaurants, and Mexican street food and it’s the perfect starting point for many of the area’s tours.
La Paz’s location inside the Gulf of California offers calm waters, perfect for swimming, paddle boarding, diving, snorkeling, and more. It’s also referred to as the “Aquarium of the World” due to its abundance of marine life.
Snorkel with the sea lions off Isla Espirito Santo (you can even camp there overnight), or if you’re there from November through April, go on a whale-watching tour or swim with whale sharks!
14. Puerto Rico
With mountains, beaches, jungles, and mangrove forests, the hard part is deciding which exciting adventure to go on during your trip to Puerto Rico! I suggest sticking to the northeast shore of the island where you can make great memories while you enjoy picture-perfect beaches. You can explore Old San Juan, lounge on the sand, or take a surfing lesson.
Don’t miss out on really cool excursions like a nighttime kayak trip at Laguna Grande, a bay filled with bioluminescent marine life. Or head to El Yunque National Rainforest with all of its waterfalls, hiking trails, cliffs, geological formations, and even a couple of adventure parks with zip lines.
15. Crete, Greece
Crete is a super family-friendly Greek island and a sweet spot for local culture and history with a ton of outdoor fun. When we were in Crete one of our favorite parts was all the delicious food! You’ll want to spend some time exploring Heraklion and Chania and make sure to visit Spinalonga to learn about its history as a former leper colony.
There are fabulous Mediterranean beaches across every side of this island for every taste. If you have older kids and want to get out into nature, head to the Samaria Gorge for amazing scenic views on a long hike in the mountains.
16. London, England
London is a great place to lean into your role as a tourist and take in all the big-name attractions. For a mother son trip, consider heading to the River Thames where you can ride the London Eye, the world’s largest observation wheel. Another idea is to spend time in London parks or attend the free daily Changing of the Keys at the Tower of London.
For the history lover, visit the Churchill War Rooms and the British Museum or take a tour of Buckingham Palace. For something unique, explore London with Small Car Big City, a touring company that drives you around in a Mini Cooper!
17. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon has gained in popularity in recent years as a family destination. Portugal’s beautiful capital city is set on hills overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and offers not only beauty but a variety of different experiences.
One of the top things to do in Lisbon is to try all of the amazing Portuguese food. Be sure to visit Time Out Market or taking a food walking tour. You can also hang out in the city’s Monsanto Park which is 3 times larger than Central Park in NYC! And if you want to get on the water, you can book a boat tour to see Lisbon’s resident dolphins.
If you need to impress a teen bored with the world, take them to the fascinating and unique landscape of Iceland. While you should definitely check out the geothermal Blue Lagoon and take the Golden Circle itinerary, the steamy, muddy lava pool of Brimketill should also be a bucket list item!
On the west coast, Snæfellsjökull National Park is a must with its contrasting black sand beaches and snow-capped volcano. Here you can also take a tour inside the Vatnshellir Lave Cave or do some hiking. If you’re looking for a super unique experience, consider snorkeling between continents in Silfra.
Most people start their adventure in Peru by flying into Lima and connecting from there to Cusco where you’ll go on to the Sacred Valley and historic sites like Machu Picchu. Definitely do this, but I highly recommend taking some time and exploring everything Lima has to offer. Do some touristy shopping, walk through the old stone streets, and enjoy the food scene.
Then, head to the Sacred Valley! The easiest thing to do is to book a tour guide for a multi-day hike that covers cultural experiences, fun excursions like river rafting, and archeological sites like the Moray Ruins and ultimately Machu Picchu.
20. Tokyo, Japan
A trip to Japan makes for an unforgettable vacation. What you want to experience in Tokyo depends on the age of your son and your interests. It’s one of the best trips for pop culture lovers with entire stores dedicated to hundreds of unique flavors of KitKat bars and squishy toys you can’t find anywhere else.
There are also great options for adventure lovers, like climbing to the observation deck of the Tokyo Skytree where you can look across the dizzying Tokyo cityscape.
For a special time, check out the Heiwa no Mori Park, a fun obstacle course park with swinging rope bridges and zip lines that takes a few hours to complete! Or visit the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation which has all kinds of robots and interactive exhibits.
21. New Zealand
New Zealand is a thrill-seekers paradise and it’s perfect for the mother and son who want to make lasting memories. You can start by taking a tour of the underground Waitomo caves, or Glow Worm Caves!
Outside of Wellington, a must-do is the Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve which features badlands with stunning rock formations and great hiking trails.
If your interest is mountain biking, you have to go to the Redwood Whakarewarewa Forest and hit the trails. For even more thrill-seeking, visit 90-Mile Beach where you can boogie board down the giant sand dunes. And don’t forget a visit to Hobbiton for fans of “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings”!
Best Places for a Mother-Son Trip
These are just a few of my favorite mother son trip ideas, and they’re all full of special ways to have a great time together. There’s nothing like spending one-on-one time with your favorite guy.