Updated: Jun 21
Family vacations can be an amazing and unbeatable way of creating lifelong memories. However, picking what to do for a family vacation can be a whirlwind of chaos. You have to consider different destinations, figure out everyone’s preferences, and then do all the research necessary to make the trip possible.
A bucket list helps ease the process. It gives you a list you can reference before every vacation, so you already have ideas about where to go and what to do. This article will help you create your personalized bucket list for your family vacations.
Planning Your Family Vacation Bucket List
The first step in creating a bucket list is to start the planning process. Talk about vacation ideas with your family. Make a list of what people like to do and note when multiple people like to do the same thing. Also, make sure to note how long the bucket list items will take.
Make sure to keep things reasonable. You can create a separate list of ideas that don’t work at the moment or aren’t financially possible. Then, you can revisit that list someday in the future.
Bucket List Ideas for Beach Getaways
Explore international beaches
International travel lets you see new places and gives your children an early experience with new cultures. Caribbean islands are popular, but cities across Europe, like Barcelona and Dubrovnik, are also great choices.
Try different water activities
Jet skiing or parasailing are popular options. However, water activities like snorkeling or scuba diving put you and your family in touch with the living creatures of the ocean.
Adventure Destinations for Thrilling Vacations
European backpacking adventure
One of the best things to do in Europe is to backpack from city to city. Simply load up your gear, jump on a train, and head to whatever city you want. In just a few weeks, you can see the Eiffel Tower, German castles, and the sights of ancient Rome. The best part is that it isn’t that hard to do.
Costa Rica is known for being a friendly, cheap, and affordable travel destination. It is also a great place for adventures. Popular activities include rainforest hikes and ziplining through the tree canopies.
Costa Rica even gives visitors a chance to see sloths or monkeys.
Go “down under” to Australia
Australia is another place where adventure can be found around every corner. You can opt for oceanfront exploration, as the Great Barrier Reef is nearby, or dip into the continent to see the sights.
Plus, Australia offers the chance to see unique animals like kangaroos.
Cultural Immersion Trips for Enriching Experiences
See the ancient sights of Rome or Athens
Two of the best places in the world to see history and ancient culture are found in Italy and Greece. There, you and your family can learn about the advances in political theory, mathematics, and art made by the ancient Romans and Greeks.
Go on a food tour
They say the best way to know a culture is through the stomach. Going on a food tour of any city is a great way to find out what the people there like to eat and how they like to eat it. If possible, take the tour with a local to get the real inside scoop.
Visit indigenous sights in America
America is home to many indigenous communities that still hold fast to their culture and heritage. Many of these communities are welcoming to everyone and encourage others to learn more about them.
Looking for ways to help kids learn more about the food and the world around them? Check out our activity ideas here.
Educational Expeditions for Learning Opportunities
In any major city you go to, there will likely be at least one museum. If you become a member of the International Council of Museums, you can visit any museum in the system with your membership.
Tour America’s history at its birthplaces
You don’t have to travel far to experience the birth of American culture. Cities like Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. are a treasure trove of American history.
Go on an educational trip
Local organizations, like museums or colleges, often plan trips with an educational focus and open them to the public.
Outdoor Adventures for Nature Enthusiasts
Visit a national park
All of America’s 424 national parks are filled with natural wonders. You can get a National Park Pass to make the trips more affordable.
Adventure in Africa
Africa is a massive continent filled with nature. Going on a safari will give your family a chance to get up close and personal with animals like giraffes and elephants.
Spend a night outdoors
Going camping lets you experience nature at a time you normally don’t. Simply flipping the script like this creates an entirely unique opportunity.
Theme Park Adventures for Family Fun
Try a new theme park
If your family is used to going to Disney or Universal, try changing things up. Go somewhere entirely new instead.
Try every ride
Once you get to a park, make it your goal to do every single ride. Doing so can introduce you to something new that you would have never gone on otherwise.
Road Trips for Unforgettable Journeys
Rent an RV
If your family normally travels in a normal car, a trip in an RV will be an experience on its own. It almost doesn’t matter what your destination is because traveling in the RV makes it worthwhile.
Travel a famous route
There are plenty of famous drives out there. The Pacific Coast Highway in California is one, while a drive across Ireland offers something completely different.
Don’t pass up on roadside attractions
Don’t just drive to drive. Make sure you have some roadside attractions mapped out so you can stop along the way. You can even integrate car ride fun activities to keep things lively along the way.
Winter Wonderlands for Snowy Adventures
Visit the “North Pole” in Lapland
Lapland, Finland is the place to experience winter. Where else can you feed reindeer on a snowy day?
Tour Christmas markets
Christmas markets are a big thing in many cities. Europe is famous for them, but many towns in America also have them.
Host a snowman contest
While on vacation, you can host your own snowman-building contest. Have everyone build a snowman and post the pictures on social media to have your friends and family pick a winner.
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Cruising for Family-Friendly Vacations
Pick a family cruise
Many cruises are geared toward families. They usually have fun things to do on board, and some are almost structured like amusement parks. Plus, cruises offer time to be present for your kids.
Go on a destination-focused cruise
Your cruise experience can take you to new places. Pick one that offers a tour of the Caribbean or the Mediterranean to mix a cruise with international delights.
Eco-Tourism Adventures for Sustainable Travel
Help a local group
While on vacation, you can participate in acts of service. Volunteer with a local group to give back to the community.
Make an effort to learn about local conservation
Before you go anywhere, try to learn how conservation works there. Recycling and interactions with the environment may be very different, especially when traveling internationally.
Relaxation Retreats for Family Bonding
Relax at a resort or luxury hotel
Many resorts offer an unparalleled experience, treating guests to anything they need. Meanwhile, luxury hotels are often cheaper but offer an incredibly relaxing experience. Both offer a chance for night meditation.
Go to a family spa
Most consider a spa to be an adult activity. However, many offer pools and other play areas alongside relaxing spa areas. So, everyone gets what they want.