Ahhhh, the good ol' days. When your kids were content with a pail and shovel at the beach for a week. When an ice cream cone was the hallmark of an amazing vacation. And when meeting their favorite Disney characters at one of the parks was the ULTIMATE dream vacation.
Don't get me wrong, these are all really wonderful vacations! But as my kids have gotten older, they are ready for more excitement, adventure, and independence. Welcome to the teen years.
Whatever your teens are into, these will give everyone in the family something they will look forward to and rave about when they get home!
Listen, you are never ever going to hear me say that Disney isn't a dream vacation. I am well past my teen years and I still visit the parks a few times each year. But if you've visited Disney World or Disneyland before, it might be time to branch out and give Universal a try.
Universal is packed with excitement and thrill rides, which most teens are all about. From Marvel to Transformers and even Fear Factor, they are much more "grown up" parks. Plus you have the added nostalgia and cool factor with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Even the hotels are teen approved - I mean, what teen wouldn't want to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel?? They'll even turn your key card into a guitar pick when you checkout. I might be a mom, but I think that's pretty cool!
Cruises hit the sweet spot for every age and every interest! Whether your idea of a great vacation is exploring new places, visiting gorgeous beaches, making new friends, watching broadway caliber shows, enjoying fine dining, or simply relaxing by the pool with a plate of french fries (that last one might just be me), a cruise literally has it all! While there are a lot of great cruise lines out there, I want to highlight two that I think really hit the mark for families with teens.
1) Disney Cruise Line
I know, I know... you think Disney is just for little kids, but I promise you that Disney totally knows how to wow teens, too! Teens have their own SUPER COOL space and activities on the ships. In fact, the teen club on the Dream has it's own movie room, stage, video game pods, smoothie bar (oh yeah... they're free), and private pool area. Don't worry, they also have the coolest Cast Members overseeing activities and your kids. Over on Disney's private island, Castaway Cay, teens even have their own private beach area... no younger siblings or parents allowed. Plus, we all know that teens still have a bit of kid left in them and they can totally indulge in letting their kid side show when they want to - plenty of us adults do the same thing on a Disney cruise. No judgement here! Ha ha ha.
2) Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean always wants to WOW their guests, and teens are no exception. Did you know you can go rock climbing and surfing on most Royal Caribbean ships? And lots of ships even have an escape room, water coasters, laser tag, and ziplining onboard. Plus, your teen will have their own ultra cool teen-only (supervised) hangout on the ship with Royal Caribbean as well. And have you seen their private island, Cococay?? It is a thrill loving teen's dream private island!!! You've got the biggest wave pool in the Caribbean, the tallest water slide in North America, a 1,600 foot zipline across the island, the highest vantage point in the Bahamas in the hot air balloon, plus the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean. It's one super cool WOW after another.
Plus, on cruises the buffet is always open and there is soft serve ice cream on the pool deck and the private islands. So they won't starve and you won't have to feed them. That's a total win for everyone.
If cruises aren't your thing, consider an all-inclusive resort instead. You'll get to explore a new destination AND you'll get a chance to relax. Most all-inclusive resorts have kids clubs and teen clubs, which means you can totally hang out on the beach with a fruity drink, go enjoy a round a golf, or escape for a few hours of pampering at the spa. Everybody is happy! And at all-inclusive resorts, everything's included! From onsite activities to all your food and snacks, and even alcohol for the adults.
When you are ready for some exploring, you can book a tour or excursion right from your resort to discover more - from hiking to tours of ancient ruins to animal encounters and even caving - you'll find lots to do as a family as well.
Adventures by Disney
Last but not least, from the company who totally understands families, Adventures by Disney is the perfect family vacation, especially when you have teens. It's completely hassle-free for mom and dad and there are activities just for teens and all together as a family as your explore the world together. Whether it's Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, a river cruise through Europe, or an adventure through Costa Rica or Japan - Adventures by Disney has more than 40 itineraries in 30 different countries on 6 continents to choose from! For more on what makes Adventures by Disney SO AMAZING, check out my blog post here.
As a family travel specialist, I always want to make sure that everyone in the family has an amazing time and builds magical memories together. And since I take care of all the details for you, all you have to do is show up, relax, and enjoy some quality family time... and alone time, too if that's your thing. This is YOUR vacation, after all! Contact me and let's find the perfect vacation for your family!
Jo is a travel planner who loves all things Disney! She also has food sensitivities and lots of experience with special diets while traveling.
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