8 places to take the whole family

These family travel destinations are the perfect escape for multi-generational family reunions…

If only we could turn back the hands of time and reclaim the last 365+ days of restrictions, separation and isolation. When the time comes, how do you plan to celebrate your long-awaited and well-deserved post-pandemic freedom?

Delayed weddings (and proposals) are afoot, over-the-top honeymoons are in the making and multi-generational family reunions are being carefully and enthusiastically planned. Families that haven’t necessarily travelled with the entire clan before have similar questions. How do you take a multi-generational trip? What are some good family trips? Where can I take my grandkids on vacation?

Family travel checklist

There are countless family-friendly destinations, perfectly suited for all three generations. The first (exciting) step is agreeing on a destination together; after that, planning is key. Use this handy checklist as a guide to help plan the perfect family holiday.

  • Decide who’s going
  • Loosely agree on the dates and duration of your adventure
  • Discuss your combined interests, expectations, wishlists and varying levels of physical fitness
  • Define your budget and desired level of overall privacy and safety
  • Start researching online for the best places to travel with family
  • Create a travel dream board for capturing your ideas
  • Agree on a family-friendly destination that is attractive and convenient for everyone
  • Understand that country’s specific Covid requirements and border updates
  • Work with an experienced travel specialist for seamless logistics and in-depth knowledge
  • Select properties that cater to the young and young at heart
  • Tailormake each day of your journey, from active and energetic to laidback and leisurely
  • Make sure there’s the right balance for each person, from grandchildren to grandparents
  • Include one (or more) over-the-top, truly memorable experience to share together
  • Be flexible, pack well, stay safe and go make some new family memories that will last a lifetime

Family disclaimer: sure, there’ll be plenty of family dramas along the way (there always are). Accept the intermittent family chaos, be flexible with your plans and go with flow.

You’ll look back on the laughs and adventures, not the bickering or disagreements. Cherish the time together, especially given the stress, anxiety, separation and hardships everyone has endured this past year. Make it one for the memory bank.

1. For beach adventure

Regardless of the age or activity levels of your family members, tropical islands never disappoint. If you’ve unanimously agreed on sun, sand and vitamin sea for your upcoming reunion, &Beyond Benguerra Island, just off the coast of Mozambique, is one of the best island vacations for families.

A luxurious beach holiday destination, Benguerra Island is situated within a protected marine reserve in the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park. Blessed with a tropical climate, warm, turquoise water, swaying palm trees and a kaleidoscopic coral reef, this intimate beachfront lodge is perfect for multi-generational reconnection.

With three spacious ensuite bedrooms, the charming Casa Familia was designed with families in mind. The large veranda, complete with comfy sun loungers and a hanging daybed, wraps around a private pool overlooking the ocean.

Relax by the pool, go for a beach stroll, sip on cocktails and cool drinks at the dhow bar or indulge in a massage treatment. The secluded castaway picnic is an unforgettable highlight, as is the sunset dhow cruise.

For more energetic days, head out scuba diving, snorkelling, fishing or horseback riding that ends with a refreshing bareback swim with the horses. If you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of the rare dugongs on a scenic helicopter flight or venture out on an island expedition to explore the island’s beach dunes and freshwater lakes. This island vacation has just the right mix of family adventure and downtime.

2. For breakfast with giraffes

Whether they’re 5 years old or 75, guests fall in love with the ever-popular Giraffe Manor in Kenya. This elegant manor house tops the list when it comes to unique family travel ideas. Its famous breakfast with the giraffes is by far one of the world’s most unforgettable bucket list breakfasts and the whole family will talk about it for years to come.

Situated on nearly 5 hectares (12 acres) of private land within 57 hectares (140 acres) of indigenous forest, Giraffe Manor is home to a resident journey of Rothschild’s giraffes. Each morning and evening, these long-lashed, long-legged beauties emerge from their forest sanctuary, hopeful for a few sneaky treats in the form of grass pellets.

At breakfast time, and again at sundowner o’clock, they’ll appear at the manor. Quiet champagne breakfasts are hilariously interrupted by giraffes poking their enormous heads into the windows. Bowls of pellets, which are clearly moreish to a giraffe’s palate, are supplied and the rest is just a bucket list memory in the making.

Giraffe Manor has three sister properties in Kenya that are equally charming and family-friendly: Sasaab, Solio Lodge and Sala’s Camp.

This renowned foursome of luxury Kenyan properties enables multi-generational families to tailormake a memorable and adventurous East African family safari circuit.

3. For coastal exploring

After a year of isolation, this is one of the best places to take the family for a safe, private escape to the great outdoors. In the northern reaches of Chile’s rugged Patagonian landscape, the Mari Mari Natural Reserve boasts over 3,600 hectares (9,000 acres) of lush Pacific rainforest and nearly 10 km (6 miles) of secluded coastline.

Conveniently situated a mere hour and 15 minutes from the airport, this luxury eco resort is a coastal playground perfect for the whole family. Opt for a private, spacious oceanfront villa, which can accommodate up to ten guests, or the Master Residence, which is geared for larger multi-generational families.

Mari Mari is adventure by day, luxury by night. Pop into the stable to meet the horses and head out for some beach horse-riding. There’s also sea kayaking, interpretive hikes, boating adventures, snorkelling, cycling over sand dunes, scenic helicopter flights and a wide variety of fishing experiences.

Or take it slow with some birdwatching, photography, beach walks, spa treatments, yoga and meditation classes, chess, checkers or poolside lounging. Explore the organic garden or head out to the lookout tower to spot dolphins and whales.

A Mari Mari family adventure can be complemented with an equally luxurious and scenic stay at &Beyond Vira Vira (scroll down for the full details).

4. For farm-style luxury

Also situated in Chile’s serene Lake District and easily accessible from Hotel Mari Mari (mentioned above) is &Beyond Vira Vira. It is the perfect place, not only to explore, but also to truly unwind, Chilean style. Think relaxed cottage country and wholesome organic farm life, combined with a peaceful, almost après-ski feel with its alpine views, crackling fireplaces and cosy, wooden suites.

Families can enjoy the best of both worlds on the Private Pacific Coast to Andes Adventure, a seven-day journey that highlights the outdoor adventure and laidback luxury of both Mari Mari and Vira Vira.

Previously the owner’s personal residence, the five-bedroomed Hacienda at Vira Vira is a private and luxurious home-away-from-home for multi-generational families. In addition to the spacious living and dining areas, the Hacienda also features a family room, garden terrace, private outdoor hot tub, covered balcony with a view, the convenience of a personal chef and a host of fun-filled WILDchild adventures for children.

Situated on a sprawling 22 hectare (almost 55 acre) estate, Vira Vira is an invitation to explore, with its wide open meadows, forest paths, organic farm, quesería (in-house cheese dairy), tranquil lagoon and 6 km (3.7 miles) of Liucura River frontage.

Of course, surrounding the estate is the outdoor playground that Chile is famous for. Adrenaline seekers can opt for heli-skiing, snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, dog sledding, heli-fishing, mountain biking, SUPing, horseback riding, scenic helicopter flights and more.

Those preferring a gentler day outdoors can enjoy leisurely hikes, forest walks, fishing, gentle drift boat floats, birdwatching and insightful visits to the local Mapuche community. There is something for every age and activity level in the family.

5. For marine encounters

The Galápagos Islands in Ecuador have always been a sought-after family travel destination, with just the right balance of adventure and leisure for every age. Tucked away, within 22 hectares (55 acres) of forested seclusion, the intimate and world renowned Galápagos Safari Camp is a family-friendly home away from home and a firm favourite among multi-generational families.

The founding couple actually raised their own children at this luxurious island hideaway, so the entire experience, from the accommodation right down to the adventures, has been family tried, tested and unanimously approved.

Centrally located within the archipelago on Santa Cruz Island, this exclusive camp offers land and water-based adventures and is the ideal base for island hopping that is both quick and convenient. The list of child and grandparent-friendly adventures is endless.

Think boat cruises to uninhabited islands, encounters with giant tortoises and curious marine life, cycling through mangroves, sea kayaking, sunrise walks, fishing, swimming, surf lessons, ceviche making, art classes, milking cows, trampolining, and tea parties in lava tunnels, to name just a few.

6. For safari fun

Going on safari is one of those once-in-a-lifetime, bucket list experiences that every family should experience at least once. However, families that have never travelled to Africa have similar concerns. Is going on safari dangerous? What age can a child go on safari? Where can you go on safari with children?

There are many myths associated with travelling to ‘deep, dark Africa’ that can quickly be alleviated by asking the right questions of an experienced travel specialist. An African safari is indeed safe, fun and educational, and it is, without a doubt, an unforgettable way for multi-generational families to reconnect.

Boasting one of the best family safaris in Africa, &Beyond Phinda Mountain Lodge in South Africa gets rave reviews from families. Encompassing more than 28,000 hectares (over 70,000 acres) of protected wildlife land, Phinda Private Game Reserve is home to the Big Five and so much more.

Of the reserve’s six different lodges, Phinda Mountain Lodge is the ideal family hideaway, with three spacious family cottages, a Family Suite, and a dedicated WILDChild programme with fun, interactive activities to keep young minds entertained (and educated).

7. For tropical seclusion

The gracious Horathapola Estate in Sri Lanka is an idyllic escape where families can truly unwind. Just an hour’s drive from the airport, this lush 20-hectare (50-acre) estate combines old-world charm with tropical island vibes.

The private bungalow boasts five ensuite bedrooms furnished with antiques, private balconies and verandas, a large swimming pool and hot tub. It is situated on an organic farm, where coconuts, mangoes, guavas, jackfruit, rice, herbs and spices are grown and the estate’s farm-to-table dining helps support the livelihoods of 30 local farming families.

Laze by the pool, amble along the estate’s walking trails, do some birdwatching or hop onto the bullock cart for a tour of estate. Venture out to the local farmers’ market, cycle past temples and plantations, or enjoy a guided walking tour of the local Sri Lankan community and see how organic coconut oil is made.

Be sure to make it back to the estate for afternoon high tea so that no one misses out on the homemade cheesecake, locally-produced Sri Lankan tea and the signature ‘don’t-knock-it-til-you’ve-tried-it’ cheese toast. This idyllic garden estate is the perfect mix of elegance and home comforts.

8. For spiritual enlightenment

The world’s only carbon-negative country and the first and only country to officially measure the happiness of its citizens, Bhutan has lots to offer the nature-loving, multi-generational family. It is a year-round destination that places a strong emphasis on fresh air, forest protection, wellness, sustainability and a rich, enduring culture.

Perched at an altitude of 7,382 ft (2,250 m) with sweeping views of the picturesque Paro Valley, Six Senses Paro is a relaxing, spiritual escape from the modern world. Situated on an ancient 15th century fortress, this luxury lodge boasts the only three-bedroom villa in the valley, which is perfectly suited to families.

This elegant and blissfully private villa is surrounded by thick pine forests, mountain peaks and terraced crop fields. It can accommodate up to 12 family members and its generous living areas boast large windows that perfectly frame the magnificent mountain and valley scenery.

With a strong emphasis on wellness, spirituality and the art of slowing down, this is a place where families can relax, reconnect and enjoy an unhurried pace. A dedicated guest experience maker is on hand 24/7 to tailormake each day’s adventure (or relaxation). Think scenic walks to ancient monasteries, in-villa massages, archery lessons, yoga, meditation, spa treatments, mushroom foraging, scenic helicopter flights or a sunrise hike to the iconic Tiger’s Nest monastery.

Families can also dine amidst 12th century stone ruins, venture out for valley picnics, light traditional butter lamps and enjoy the healing vibrations of singing bowls. This is the perfect place to reconnect with each other, with nature and with time-honoured traditions.

SEE WHAT LIES BEYOND

Start planning a multi-generational holiday that your family will talk about for years to come.

 

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