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 to holidays your teens will thank you for.

Uxmal - teens in Mexico

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

Our top 22 picks for trips with teens

Based on your feedback, we’ve cherry-picked a few experiences that make for fantastic holidays with teenagers. You can also find customer reviews about each destination in our country sections.

1. Holidays with teenagers in Nepal

Teenagers hiking in Nepal on family holiday

Hiking in Nepal is stunning and you can white-water raft too 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.

2. Holidays with teenagers in Jordan

Teenagers exploring Wadi Rum - October half-term holiday

Jordan’s Wadi Rum 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 are masses here to keep the teenagers occupied. The desert at Wadi Rum is one of the most otherworldly places on the planet, a backdrop for many a film including Lawrence 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.

3. Holidays with teenagers in Croatia

Family with teenagers sea kayaking in Croatia

Sea kayak between Croatia’s islands on action-packed holidays with teenagers

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 paddleboarding 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, and check out our Top 10 Activities to Do in Croatia with Kids.

4. Holidays with teenagers in Norway

Glacier hiking in Norway

For great bragging rights back home, take the kids glacier hiking in the summer months

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, 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 Egypt

Family posing in front of Pyramids, Egypt

Visit Egypt’s world-famous sites and then recharge on a relaxing trip along the Nile

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! And check out our Egypt with Kids top 10 round-up and customer Egypt holiday photos.

6. Holidays with teenagers in Vietnam

Holidays with teenagers - on boat in Halong Bay, Vietnam

Take a junk to the quieter spots of Halong Bay where you can swim in spectacular karst scenery

Vietnam has been a top Stubborn Mule destination for years now, thanks in part to direct flights and the fact that because of the sheer length and diversity of the country, somewhere will be perfect, climate-wise, depending on when you travel. What makes Vietnam such a draw for families with teens, though, is that they’re old enough to do the most active adventures (cycling around Hanoi, swimming in Halong Bay, or ziplining through vast caves) but also understand some of the more challenging aspects of Vietnamese history, such as the Cu Chi tunnels.

Take a look at what else you could be doing with our Top 10 Vietnam with Kids and our three sample Vietnam itineraries. Did we mention beautiful beaches and fantastic food too?

7. Holidays with teenagers in Guatemala

Teenager exploring the lively town of Antigua on family holiday to Guatemala

Our teenagers loved wandering through the colourful streets and browsing the markets

If your kids are studying for GCSE or A-level Spanish, this is a brilliant place to bring them to practise their language skills. Guatemala is also an eye-opening world apart, both on the cultural level – very traditionally Mayan in parts, with many people still wearing traditional costumes – and when it comes to the incredible landscapes. Amidst an epic scenery of volcanoes, lakes and jungles peppered with Mayan ruins, you can enjoy dawn walks to the sound of howler monkeys calling to each other.

Around Lake Atitlán and north of it in Chichicastenango, the indigenous markets are a riot of colour with tempting woven hats and other handicrafts, while picture-perfect Antigua will delight teens with its backpackers’-hangout vibe amidst brightly painted Spanish colonial buildings. Check out Places to visit in Guatemala.

Our Best of Guatemala itinerary takes in all of these highlights, or you can branch out and discover more of the region with our Guatemala and Belize Highlights, adding on jungle adventures, beaches and snorkelling in Guatemala’s neighbour. 

8. Holidays with teenagers in Slovenia

Slovenia Boca River

A playground for outdoor teen-friendly activities, they’ll love Slovenia!

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 & Croatia.

9. Holidays with teenagers in Sri Lanka

Drinking from a king coconut in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a fun destination 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 leopard tracking 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 about what to see and do there in our Top 10 – Sri Lanka with Kids blog and our Top Five Wildlife Experiences in Sri Lanka.

10. Holidays with teenagers in Greece

Family boating trip Crete, Greece, with blue sky and azure sea

Greece is sure-fire winner with teens

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. And for more inspiration, see out Top 10 Things to Do in Greece with Kids.

11. Holidays with teenagers in Costa Rica

Family tubing on Costa Rica with kids holiday

Tubing, rafting, and zip-lining will all thrill teenagers and younger siblings alike (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 & Easter, Costa Rica is a sure-fire winner. Check out our Top 10 Things to do with the Kids in Costa Rica blog post for inspiration.

12. Holidays with teenagers in Argentina

Young teens jumping with lake and snow-capped mountain in the distance

High-octane activities make Argentina’s Lake District ideal for active teens

Few countries 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 & Lake District, or Best of Argentina and Chile sample itineraries to see where you can take your teens.

13. Holidays with teenagers in Mexico

Young Stubborn Mule travellers visit local family

Wherever you go in Mexico or Belize you will always be warmly welcomed

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. For more inspiration, you can also check out our Mexico & Belize Customer Photos blog.

14. Holidays with teenagers in Thailand 

Teenagers exploring Thailand by boat

Everyone will be wowed by Southern Thailand’s scenic coastline

The combination of tropical beaches, colourful culture and great food make Thailand a popular choice with teens. A backpackers’ heaven, this is the perfect place to inspire kids to take a gap year and to prepare them for what that might actually look like. Older teens really love the beach vibe here, with the open-air, palm-thatched bars.

Cookery lessons are very popular in Thailand and are another great way to prepare your teen for flying the nest and fending for themselves – what better way to impress new friends at uni than with delicious Asian dishes they’ve learnt to prepare here, such as those regional favourites laksa and pad thai. And let’s not even get started on the addictive pleasures of mango sticky rice… Let us also inspire you with some photos from families we’ve taken there, and with our Top 10 Thailand with Kids round-up.

Our Thailand itineraries can be tailored to any family’s wishes, but to give you a flavour, our Highlights of Thailand takes you from the thrilling bustle and street-food nirvana of Bangkok to blissful beaches via an overnighter with a hill tribe. Alternatively, our Southern Thailand Adventure adds on an elephant sanctuary visit and a national park trip.

15. Holidays with teenagers in Namibia

Teenagers on holiday in Namibia - exploring Deadvlei, Namibia with kids trip

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 breathtaking 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 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 and check out our activities round-up in Namibia with Kids.

16. Holidays with teenagers in Tanzania

Reviews of holidays in Tanzania - Stubborn Mule Travel

An African safari is an unforgettable trip of a lifetime for families

Is this the ultimate bucket list holiday? According to many of our families with teenagers, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’; the ideal choice before they’re too cool to want to hang out with ‘the olds’ and prefer to travel with their own friends instead (Weeps). For holiday inspiration, check out our Top Ten Tanzania with Kids Activities and our Tanzania customer reviews.

Whilst you can go on safari in KenyaNamibia, or South Africa, the majority of our families plump for Tanzania as their favourite destination to see the Big 5. Why? Take a look at our two-week Tanzania Safari and Beach holiday for a clue! Who can resist the pull of Zanzibar at the beginning or end of the trip for the ultimate R&R?

17. Holidays with teenagers in Peru

Family with teenagers on holiday in Peru

Hiking in Peru’s Sacred Valley (photo courtesy of 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 Machu Picchu.

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

18. Holidays with teenagers in Belize

Belize - hammock on beach - family adventure holidays

With pristine coral reefs and beaches, ancient ruins, and lush rainforests, Belize will appeal to teenagers

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.

19. Holidays with teenagers in Iceland

Family in front of volcanic lava flows

An action-packed destination for teens 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  

20. Holidays with teenagers in Oman

Family with teenagers exploring the mountains in Oman

There’s so much to explore in Oman, from dramatic mountains and wadis to sandy deserts and souks

With guaranteed winter sunshine, Oman is a great destination for 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. Particularly 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, jumping off cliffs into deep pools, and meeting the local people.

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.

21. Holidays with teenagers in Borneo

Teens hiking in Borneo on family holiday

Jungle hikes, orangutans, and some of the best beaches in Malaysia make Borneo a top choice for teens

If the thrill of coming face to face with orangutans in their home environment sounds appealing, then Borneo has amazing wildlife experiences and jungle adventures in bucketloads. Every day here offers something that will wow every member of the family, yes, even the most recalcitrant teen. As well as seeing a profusion of species from macaques, pygmy elephants, turtles, and gibbons, you’ll be walking through jungle canopies, learning about forest medicine, trekking through the rainforest, or diving amongst colourful shoals of exotic fish.

Explore the largest cave systems in the world, go snorkelling and turtle-watching, meet local families on a homestay, and much more. For the most active families with teens, you could climb Mt Kinabalu for above-the-cloud views (see our Top 10 Borneo with Kids blog for more). And now that the children are teens, that ‘longer than most flights’ should be a comparative breeze – provided you’ve brought enough charging cables. We’ve several sample itineraries here, but for teens, we’d recommend Active Borneo (2 weeks) or Borneo in Depth (3 weeks).

22. Holidays with teenagers in Brazil

Holidays with teenagers in Brazil - Rio beach

Brazil has an embarrassment of riches for teens, from Rio and Iguazu to the Pantanal and Amazon

Several Stubborn Mulers have travelled to Brazil with their teens so we can say with all confidence that wherever you go in this, frankly vast country, your teens will thank you for it! From being blown away by Rio, one of the world’s most vibrant cities (hello, Copacabana beach, Christ the Redeemer statue, and fascinating favelas), there are exciting adventures in whatever direction you travel.

Go north for the ultimate Amazon experience or west to Paraty and the Emerald Coast, with its colonial towns, fjords, islands, and beaches! Go inland and you’ll enjoy boat trips or horse rides through the Pantanal wetlands in search of jaguar. Or head south to one of the natural wonders of the world, the might of the Iguazu Falls. Take a look at our Top 10 Brazil with Kids blog and check out our three sample Brazil itineraries.

Next steps – we’re here to help

For the whole shebang, check out our Best Family Holiday Destinations ultimate guide. Or check out our handy School Holiday Calendar, for the best places to go in each school holiday.

Do get in touch with us as we’d love to help. You can ring during office hours at 01728 752751 or use our website contact form.

Other useful guides include:

February Half-Term Holidays
Exciting Easter Escapes
Best Family Summer Holiday Destinations
Best October Half-Term Holiday Destinations
Family Christmas Holidays Abroad

Teenagers on family holiday in Sri Lanka

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

Liddy Pleasants, MD Stubborn Mule Travel

I’m always interested to hear about your travels so do email me with your feedback and experiences of holidaying with teenagers.