Raising teenagers may not be a 24/7 barrel of laughs, but there’s something about adventure holidays abroad that can be wholly transformative.

Exploring a different destination can inspire a new-found confidence in your teen, and the shared adventure will create a wonderful family dynamic, too.

Indeed, whilst many teens would prefer a minor acne outbreak to spending time with their parents in public at home, take them to an exotic location, somewhere that’s far outside of their comfort zone and you create a situation ripe for serious family bonding. Here’s our handy guide of holidays your teens will thank you for.

Hats - included on family holiday packing checklist

Get it right for the teenagers and all the family has a great time

Top picks for trips with teens

Based on your feedback, we’ve cherry-picked a few experiences that make for fantastic holidays with teenagers.

1. Holidays with teenagers in Jordan

Teenager at Petra - October Half Term holidays

Jordan’s Petra is guaranteed to impress when holidaying with teens

Jordan may be most famous for its Lost City, the ancient Nabatean ruins carved from the red rock at Petra. But there’s masses here to keep the teenagers occupied. The desert at Wadi Rum is one of the most ‘other worldly’ places on the planet, a backdrop for many a film including Laurence of Arabia, Star Wars, and the Martian. We know a fabulous hike that takes you along a narrow path running along the edge of Jebel Rum, where the huge expanse of desert stretches before you. Overnight, you stay in a Bedouin camp for a night under the star-lit desert sky.

You can also float in the Dead Sea (and sort out that teenage skin with a mineral-infused mud pack, straight from the ground), snorkel in the Red Sea, explore Crusader castles and relax on the beach.

See our Active Jordan for Teens trip for more and check out our Jordan with kids top 10. Perfect for Easter or the October half term.

2. Holidays with teenagers in Nepal

Trekking in Nepal

Nepal is a great choice for a family holiday with active teenagers – the hiking is stunning and you can also paraglide, raft and go on safari

For top teen bragging rights, it’s difficult to beat a trek in the world’s highest mountain range.  There’s a myriad of things to see and do in Nepal, from white-water rafting and hiking to paragliding and tiger spotting in Chitwan National Park. And, because teenagers have (generally speaking) more stamina than younger children, they can easily tackle a few days of trekking (see our Active Nepal itinerary) to enjoy the mountain scenery to the max (there’s also a ‘no-trek’, option, Nepal Highlights, too).

If you’d like to know more as to why Nepal makes a fantastic adventure holiday destination with teens, take a look at our Top 10 Nepal with Kids blog.

3. Holidays with teenagers in Croatia

Family summer holidays in Croatia - young person in a river canoe going over small waterfall

Action-packed holidays with teenagers in Croatia are always a hit

Whilst Croatia is best known for its 2,000 kilometres of, frankly, stunning coastline and sparkling turquoise waters, there’s far more to do here than soaking up the sun and swimming (although that, too!). It’s almost as if Croatia was made for the family who thrives on action. Think white-water rafting in dramatic canyons, kayaking on the Zrmanja River, exploring emerald waterfalls at Plitvice, or paddle-boarding to explore little bays.

There’s history and culture by the bucket load, too. Teens will love to check out locations like the medieval walled city of Dubrovnik, made famous in Games of Thrones. It’s a cliché to say that a destination has something for everyone, but nowhere is this more true than Croatia.

We’ve three itineraries, here, including Highlights of Croatia, a Croatia Short-Break, and a Croatia and Slovenia combination itinerary. For pictorial inspiration, have a look at what our Stubborn Mule families got up to on holidays there in 2021.

4. Holidays with teenagers in Norway

Troll Road Norway

Norway’s Troll Road is spectacular and what better way to get up those slopes than on an e-bike!

It’s not often that a destination is equally attractive in the winter as well as summer months but Norway ticks that box, albeit with vastly differing activities on offer. In summer, adventurous families with teens can enjoy the long summer days e-biking the Troll road, white water rafting down sparkling glacial rivers, or taking a SUP or kayak out on a lake to find that perfect picnic spot. In winter, there’s husky-sledding through pristine snow-fields, snow-mobile or snow-shoeing, going winter fishing, whale watching and, of course, the bucket-list experience of witnessing the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis).

Take a look at our itineraries to see what your family would prefer! Norway in Summer or Norway in Winter

5. Holidays with teenagers in Greece

Girl with blue surf board in Crete - Easter, Summer and Autumn half-term holidays

The seas are warm enough in Crete for the kids to surf in the Autumn half-term, what a treat!

Mamma Mia! How can we resist you? The short answer is, we can’t! Packed with ancient treasures like the Acropolis in Athens, resplendent with stunning scenery, from mountains to dramatic gorges, and boasting an embarrassment of glorious islands, Greece and its islands are a sure-fire winner when it comes to a great family holiday with teenagers.

Now that they are older, they’ll be fascinated rather than bored by sightseeing (in small doses) ancient Roman and Greek sites, and able to do more adventurous things such as white-water rafting in Lousios Gorge, climbing Mt Zas (the birthplace of Zeus) and sea-kayaking in Nafplio.  And, of course, there are plenty of options for simply lazing by the beach or enjoying long, relaxed lunches at traditional seaside or mountain tavernas. Take a look at our sample Greece itineraries to see which you prefer.

6. Holidays with teenagers in Slovenia

Family cycling in Slovenia

Scenic Slovenia is a playground for teen-friendly activities from caving and cycling to rafting and hiking

Lake Bled and its church may be Slovenia’s most iconic image, but if you’re an adventurous family who loves the great outdoors, this tiny country could well be the perfect fit for your next holiday destination! Nestled between the Alps and the Adriatic, Slovenia boasts extraordinary natural beauty, with snow-capped peaks soaring above glacial valleys and emerald-green lakes ideal for a mid-hike refreshing swim.

The Julian Alps are Slovenia’s defining feature, providing a spectacular backdrop to many teen-friendly activities on offer. Here you can go hiking, cycling, kayaking, SUP-ing, and white-water rafting.  It’s not all about the mountains though. Deep beneath the ground are the magnificent Škocjan and Postojna caves, huge subterranean marvels that offer a glimpse of a vast underground world.

Although not a traditional beach destination, the country’s tiny sliver of coastline boasts pretty, boat-speckled harbours and the sparkling waters of the Adriatic. We’ve put together a couple of sample itineraries for families wanting to explore the country as a standalone – Highlights of Slovenia – or in combination with neighbouring Croatia, Slovenia and Croatia.

7. Holidays with teenagers in Sri Lanka

Bodyboarding in Sri Lanka on holidays with teenagers

There’s tons to do in Sri Lanka for teenagers as well as all the family

Whether you prefer to visit in Summer or during Easter or Christmas, there are good reasons why Sri Lanka is a perennial favourite for adventurous families with teens. English is widely spoken and the country’s compact nature means it’s easy to get around and explore. And then, of course, there’s what’s on offer. Go tracking leopard in national parks; help to wash elephants in a local river; explore 2,000-year-old ruins; swim in a waterfall on a tea plantation; or one of our favourites for teens (we speak from experience), learn to surf on the gorgeous, palm-fringed beaches along the southern coast (Mum and Dad joining in optional!).

We’ve loads of ideas as to what to see and do there in our Top 10 – Sri Lanka with kids blog, Liddy’s Top five wildlife experiences in Sri Lanka, and Helene’s top tips for family travel in Sri Lanka.

8. Holidays with teenagers in Costa Rica

Teenager on holiday zip-lining in Costa Rica above the rainforest

Zip-lining over the rainforest in Costa Rica is one of those ‘wow’ activities that thrill teenagers as well as younger siblings (and parents!)

Of all Stubborn Mule’s destinations, Costa Rica is one of the stand-out favourites for families with teens. With your days spent zip-lining, surfing, mountain biking, horse riding, sloth-searching, white-water rafting, and cocktail/mocktail sipping, the smartphone may almost be rendered obsolete. There are mountains, volcanoes, beaches, jungle, and rainforests. There are crocodiles, whales, dolphins, turtles, sloths, hummingbirds, and the biggest butterflies you’ve ever seen. And there are beautiful insta-friendly hotels with hammocks where a lazy teen can while away a relaxing morning, whilst younger (or more active) siblings go and explore.

Suitable for summer, Christmas and Easter, Costa Rica is a sure-fire winner. Check out our Top 10 things to do with the kids in Costa Rica blog for inspiration.

9. Holidays with teenagers in Argentina

Teens rafting in Argentina

Rafting in Argentina’s Lake District is just one of many exciting activities popular with teens

There are few countries that can rival Argentina for sheer variety and there is enough here to keep a teen entertained for weeks. Riding with gauchos across the pampas, tick! Feeling the spray of mighty Iguazu falls on your face, tick! Trekking across the mountains and glaciers of Patagonia, absolutely! From dancing the tango (with Mum or Dad?) in Buenos Aires to feasting on the world’s biggest and tastiest steaks, from visiting the penguin rookeries in Patagonia to a llama walk in the desert near Salta, the range of activities is extraordinary. Football lovers, nature lovers, adventurers, and foodies will all be delighted.

Take a look at our Buenos Aires, Patagonia and Lake District or Best of Argentina and Chile sample itineraries to see where you can take your teens.

10. Holidays with teenagers in Egypt

Family on Nile boat trip, holidays wit teenagers

With so much to see in Egypt, a day on the Nile is a perfect break for everyone to chill and recharge

It’s a fact that any trip to Egypt involves a lot of sightseeing, whether you’re walking around (or inside) the Pyramids at Giza, exploring Abu Simbel or heading underground in the Valley of the Kings. But every teen needs time to chill, and cruising along the Nile on a felucca (traditional sailing boat) is a fabulous way to do it. After a day spent meandering down the river, tacking from side to side, your boat is secured to the bank alongside the support boat, which has toilets and showers. You’ll enjoy a fabulous home-cooked meal on board, before sleeping under the stars on the felucca, listening to the sounds of the lapping waters. Add some R and R at a luxury hotel with a pool, and plenty of time to browse in the markets, and you could have the perfect teen-friendly adventure.

Take a look at our example itineraries to see what you and your family could be doing whilst on holiday in Egypt!

11. Holidays with teenagers in Mexico

Family with teenagers swimming in cave - Mexico

The water in the cave systems is crystal clear and snorkelling is popular with teens as well as younger sibs

The Yucatan Peninsula is our favourite part of Mexico, a treasure trove of Mayan ruins, picturesque colonial towns, blissful beaches, and limestone cenotes (sinkholes). Teens will love the snorkelling adventure in Sac Actun cave. Here you can swim through crystal-clear water shallow enough to stand up in, discovering giant, light-filled caverns adorned with stalactites and stalagmites. Elsewhere they will love climbing by rope ladder down into a cenote then swimming in the cool waters as bats flit overhead. They will enjoy riding bikes around the pretty town of Valladolid, stopping in the market to buy a fresh tortilla. And they will definitely enjoy finding a hammock slung between a couple of palm trees on the coast, for a slice of tropical heaven.

Take a look at our Mexico itineraries for further inspiration, Best of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and Best of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and Belize.

12. Holidays with teenagers in Cuba 

Open top red vintage car parked in Havana, Cuba - holiday with teenagers itinerary

Hire a vintage car for the afternoon in Havana and even the teenagers will be impressed

The streets of Cuba’s capital, Havana, must be one of the coolest hang-outs on the planet, a place that has inspired poets, revolutionaries, artists, and musicians for decades. When holidaying with teenagers, don’t miss cruising along in a vintage American car (no boy racers here), sip mocktails in a café, listen to the sounds of samba, sit back and relax as you make the most of the Latin vibe. The ideas in this Havana for Families blog will keep you busy for days, then check out our two-week family trip to Cuba. To get in the mood, listen to Camila Cabello’s Havana on YouTube.

13. Holidays with teenagers in Namibia

Teenagers on holiday in Namibia's Sussusvlei

Kids of all ages (and parents) find the giant dunes and salt pans of Sossusvlei fascinating

Everything in Namibia is on a vast scale. This is a country of wide horizons and breath-taking scenery that lends itself to a family road trip. Younger children can find the distances tricky (although Stubborn Mule’s Claire took her kids when they were young and they loved it), but teens are of an age where this is less of a problem. Particularly when the trip is punctuated with such teen-winning activities as quad biking and sandboarding. There is world-class wildlife amidst the eerie salt pans of Etosha and ‘get-the-lungs-pumping’ climbing to be done on the world’s largest sand dunes in Sossusvlei. Add in a few less well-known gems and you have a great recipe for a teen-friendly holiday.

See our Namibia Highlights (2-weeks) trip for more information.

14. African safari holidays with teenagers

Reviews of holidays in Tanzania - Stubborn Mule Travel

An Africa safari really is a trip of a lifetime for teenagers and parents alike

Whether you choose to safari in Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia or South Africa, parents often cite African safaris as THE bucket list holiday choice before teens get too cool to want to hang out with ‘the olds’ and travel with their own friends instead. (Weeps…) For a really iconic trip-of-a-lifetime (and only open to teens of 15 above) take them trekking to see the gorillas in Uganda – it’s coming soon to our website. Contact us directly for a sneak preview. (Also check out our Tanzania with kids – Top 10 activities round-up).

15. Holidays with teenagers in Peru

Teenagers on holiday in Peru - photograph by A.Heaps

The Maras salt ponds, near Cusco, are a must-visit – they’ve been worked since pre-Inca times
Photo thanks to Stubborn Mule Traveller, Andrew Heaps

The urge to update Insta or Snapchat disappears pretty much as soon as you step into the inflatable boats during a white-water rafting trip on the Urubamba River in Peru’s Sacred Valley – what with the white knuckles and generally hanging on tight. Parents get major kudos, too, for coming along for the ride. A brilliant bonding experience for the whole family, just go easy on lunch beforehand. This is just one of the many activities teens will love on a 2-week Highlights of Peru trip and 3-week Highlights of Peru trip. Also popular will be exploring the Amazon by canoe, staying with a local family on a floating island in Lake Titicaca, and trekking the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu.

Check out our Top 10 things to do with the family in Peru for more ideas.

16. Holidays with teenagers in Belize

Belize - hammock on beach - family adventure holidays

With the world’s second-largest coral reef, fabulous beaches, ancient ruins and lush rainforests, Belize is ideal for teenagers and younger siblings too

A whisper of wind through the fronds of a palm tree. A shriek from a distant howler monkey. The lapping of waves on a brilliant white tropical beach. Forget Spotify, this is the soundtrack to your teen family holiday in Belize. Spend your days exploring Mayan ruins, venturing deep into a cave littered with ancient relics, snorkelling amidst nurse sharks and rays, and canoeing through the jungle. If you are looking for somewhere to combine adventure and relaxation, with a healthy dose of Mayan history, look no further!

Take a look at our Belize Adventure Highlights for more. Or combine it with Guatemala for a more in-depth Central American adventure, or with Mexico for a wonderfully varied holiday.

17. Holidays with teenagers in Oman

Family swimming in the emerald waters of Wadi Bani Khalid in Oman on a holiday with teenagers

Jumping into the pristine waters at Wadi Bani Khalid was our teens’ top choice in Oman

With guaranteed winter sunshine, Oman is a great destination for the teens to get a mid-winter tan. There’s far more on offer here than you can find in Oman’s glitzier neighbour Dubai, with mountains, desert, beaches, forts, souks, turtles, dolphins and more. Particular popular with teens are the wadis, natural canyons that cut deep into the mountains and are filled with emerald green water. Pack a picnic and spend the day walking up the wadi, stopping to swim, jump off cliffs into deep pools and meet the locals.

Teens will also love a night spent wild-camping on the beach, sitting around the fire under the stars, enjoying a freshly cooked bbq and a moonlit swim. Or a hike through Oman’s grand canyon to an abandoned village, with jaw-dropping views along the way. Have a look at our Highlights of Oman, or enjoy the pictures from journalist Mike Unwin, who travelled to Oman with his teenage daughter with Stubborn Mule.

18. Holidays with teenagers in Iceland

Iceland customer review - teenager in warm clothes on Iceland holiday

An ideal holiday destination for active teens, there’s so much opportunity for fun on both our winter and summer itineraries

As the land of fire and ice, Iceland is a fascinating place to visit, especially for teenagers who are old enough to enjoy pretty much everything this natural wonder of a country has to offer. They’ll be thrilled by exploding geysers (the Strokkur Geyser erupts every 7 minutes, roughly the same amount of time as an average adolescent mood swing).

Go in summer and Iceland is a veritable adventure playground. They’ll be able to walk across the Sólheimajökull glacier, go kayaking, caving, mountain biking, and much, much more. Our favourite activity, though, for ultimate bragging rights, is being able to snorkel between two tectonic plates, the Eurasian and North American, in Thingvellir National Park. This is the only place in the world you can do this.

Go in winter, and there’s a smorgasbord of other adventures, equally appealing, such as witnessing the Aurora Borealis or soaking in what must be the world’s most famous (and most Insta-grammable) geothermal hot-spring, The Blue Lagoon. We’ve two sample itineraries, here: Iceland in Summer and Iceland in Winter  

Next steps – we’re here to help

You may also find our Family Adventure Holiday guide useful and for even more tips on holidays with teenagers see this article in International Traveller. Do get in touch with us as we’d love to help. You can ring during office hours on 01728 752751 or use our website contact form.

Father and son - Young photographer awards - Sri Lanka

The right holidays with teenagers can create a situation ripe for some serious family bonding