Best Family Vacation for Teens

Updated on September 07, 2016
E.B. asks from Sour Lake, TX
11 answers

We are saving for a trip rafting down the Grand Canyon in a couple of years so we're trying not to break the bank on our next summer vacation. We try to do something different every year but now they're 16 and 15 and our time for "just the 4 of us vacations" are waning. They are both boys with very different interests but they both love the outdoors so it's probably the best for all to include some "manly" pursuits. No cruises. For some reason, they're not interested in them. Thanks Mamas!!! (and Papas)

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answers from New York on

It's too bad they don't want to cruise. They'd be out there making friends and hitting activities while you chilled.

Try looking into Phoenix, Park City or Denver. They are great all year 'round. And pricing is really up to you. You can get very low rates in Park City in the off season - and there is TONS of stuff to do. More than in winter. There are alpine slides, hiking, mountain biking and all sorts of great stuff. Plus Salt Lake is about 20 mins away.

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answers from Washington DC on

We have taken our kids to beaches, on a cruise, Disney, cities, etc. Last month, my parents rented two lakeside cabins in TN for the whole family to enjoy. It was our second favorite vacation ever. That was for EVERYONE. My parents have traveled extensively as well and it may be their top pick!

Fall Creek Falls State Park...look it up! It's about 2 hours east of Nashville (which I also highly recommend). There is mountain climbing, BEAUTIFUL falls, horseback riding, zip lining, fishing, golfing, and so much more. It's in the top 5 parks for the US! And this recommendation is coming from someone who was NOT an outdoor person before that week - now I'm itching to go back!

And my husband didn't want to go on a cruise either - 21 years in the Navy does that to most people. But we took our kids January 2013 and it's still our top vacation. I haven't met one person who doesn't love them...but I know they are out there. So it might be worth doing a short one just for them to get the experience.

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answers from Washington DC on

There's a lot of choices that are NOT cheap when rafting down the Grand Canyon.

I would find a resort that has zip lines and other excursions that appeal to everyone and your budget!

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answers from Boston on

Do you camp? There are often great groups of teens in campgrounds, and the kids can run around with new-found friends and still be reasonable protected/contained. Campfires, ghost stories, exploring natural wonders can all be fun. National parks are an underutilized resource although they are getting some publicity this year now that the Park Service is 100 years old.

Maybe you can borrow or rent from a friend fairly cheaply - a lot of people have camping gear but don't use them every week of the summer. Do you have a Freecycle group near you? You can find amazing giveaways if you are quick on the response button.

Camping or hiking are also good ways to teach forgotten skills like map-reading and orienteering. And kids even learn to cook and prep meals simply, which can be a good skill down the road. You might look into geocaching too - I've never done it, but people who love the outdoors often do that.

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answers from Houston on

My kids loved Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head. We have taken them to the Dominican a couple of times as well.

We took a big trip in May and went to London, Paris and Edinburgh Scotland. It was a once in a life time trip and we will remember it forever.

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answers from Dallas on

We went to Taos, NM with our two boys this summer. It was one of our favorite trips so far! We're an outdoorsy family, too, and Taos is perfect for being outside. We rented a house in the mountains and hiked, went rafting, and saw all of the sights. It wasn't an expensive trip, but it wasn't a Galveston or San Antonio weekend, either (I see you're also from Texas).

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answers from Los Angeles on

Look for family camps in your area. I know that many of the summer camps here run a week of family camp. They usually offer things like kayaking, sailing, canoeing, swimming, mountain biking, high ropes, zip lines, fishing, rock climbing, archery and hiking.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

niagra falls, mammoth cave, lake of the ozarks (camping), wisconsin dells, simple beach vacation, chicago sights, gatlinburg tn, and covered bridge festival in october in indiana are a few of my favorite not so expensive vacations.

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answers from Santa Fe on

What about driving to Yellowstone or Yosemite National Park? Go take them to one of the big parks. We always love doing that. Or go to one of the parks in Utah and plan a hike in a slot canyon...stunning! Our kids say that was one of the best vacations they ever had.

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answers from Washington DC on

i so loved vacationing during the teenage years. like you, we tried to mix up the Big Vacations with ones we could actually afford, and we created a lot of awesome memories.
our 'off' years were always camping. we were just looking through the photo albums the other day going 'damn! we sure went to skyline drive a lot!'
but also to TN, assateague a slew of other parks.
we managed a few big ones when the boys were still at home. we took them to bermuda for a family reunion, that was super-sweet for me as it was my childhood home and i got to share it with them. we've also done the grand canyon, bryce and zion, mesa verde and rocky mountain national park.
we'd love to have done yellowstone and the grand tetons and bunch of others. but those years slip by quickly, don't they?
your rafting trip sounds amazing.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

We do a vacation every few years to Branson and do Silver Dollar City. It's about a hundred each for food, entry, and stuff. We usually go in September because it's school season and we never have to stand in line, can ride the same ride over and over and over if we want to. We can eat food cooked when we order it and we can all go to different stands then meet up by the lake to eat while watching the water fowl and fish doing nature stuff.

We have stayed in a few places and all are fine. Just a place to lay down and sleep so you really don't have to do a water park hotel or a "name brand" place. Cheap is okay because they work to get your business.

All in all we bought 2 day passes for about $50 each then saw a couple of shows. We spent, gas and all, less than a thousand on a 4 day weekend the last time we went. Not bad.

1 mom found this helpful
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