Remember when you were a teen, and everything was either the most incredible thing in the world or the “legit” absolute worst thing in the world? When hanging with your parents and siblings was decently fun one day and then fully an eye roll inducing the next? We definitely remember the rollercoaster of teen-dom, a time that is so simultaneously humiliating and hilarious in hindsight.
And as far as family trips go, we’re retrospectively beyond grateful and amazed by our parents, who safely hauled all their littles and teenagers together for trips full of magic and memories before GPS, iPads, or even portable dvd players. How they came up with family vacation ideas with teenagers before Tripadvisor is beyond us, and because we’re feeling a little nostalgic (and also a little stir crazy for vacation) we compiled a list of all the best family vacations with teenagers we could come up with. Because life is short, resort clothing needs wearing, and kids don’t keep, it’s important to carve out some time for good, old fashioned, family fun vacation time away from home. The unnecessary groans, unexpected adventures, and simple joys of a trip with the family are always worth it. Despite any “ugh”s you might get from your teens, they’ll be grateful one day too, and carry on the traditions you work so hard to lay down. Here are the places on our list for the best family vacations with teenagers, who fingers crossed will have, like, so much fun:
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach South Carolina has all the makings of a wholesome getaway, making it one of the best summer vacation ideas for families with teenagers. Let the kids ride the gargantuan SkyWheel for great views and a light show, or spend a rainy day at Ripley’s Odditorium for some silly, shocking, inspiring exhibits to gawk at. Maybe take a trip go-karting at the Broadway Grand Prix, an event guaranteed to generate uproarious laughter and priceless memories.The beaches are picture perfect too, and offer a perfect place for Mom and Dad to chill and kiddos and teens to wander. Suit up in your stylish swimwear, slather your teens in sunblock, and enjoy Myrtle Beach as so many others have. (It lands on most yearly top 10 vacation spots for teenagers for a reason!)
Punta Mita, Mexico
This private, Mexican haven may be a bit fancy for teen vacations, but family vacations are for you too, right? With unrivaled natural beauty, this slice of paradise is located on the north end of Banderas Bay in the Mexican state of Nayarit, about 10 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. Surrounded on three sides by aquamarine water, pristine coastlines and balmy air, your teen will learn a lot about beauty, and the vital, simple pleasures of sand, sun, resort wear, clear water and nothing else. Known for world class hospitality and lush tropical flora, this very grown up, very luxe “teen vacation” might be more for mom and dad, though we’re sure they’ll be fully stoked to tag along for the ride.
We’d be remiss to not mention Disney World on a list of vacation spots for teens. It’s called the Happiest Place on Earth for a good reason, and is definitely one of the best family vacations with teenagers available. No matter your age or interests, there is something delightful and magical for you to find at Disney World, guaranteed. What better vacations for teenagers exist than those with rides, resorts, and storybook whimsy? Stay at one of their wildly festive themed resorts, like the Animal Kingdom Lodge, a place where zebras, giraffes, and tribal decor surround you in an otherworldly experience. Take a surreal micro tour through the world’s major cities in Epcot, or hop on the dozens of incredible rides for an adrenaline fueled, joyful day. With maps, cellphones and ample security, this is a one of the most fun and reasonably safe places for teenagers to go foster a sense of independence. And who doesn’t love the sight of the Magic Kingdom, or taking a photo with Mickey Mouse? Nobodies too cool for a few days at Disney, not even your teen.
Ranch at Rock Creek - Phillipsburg, Montana
A trip at the Ranch at Rock Creek seems to be the definition of bucolic bliss. An all inclusive week at this mountain dude-ranch looks like crisp, clean air, fishing, horseback riding, ropes courses, and wilderness excursion trips for teens, and all the above (plus spa and wine) for Mom and Dad. This might be a pricey, aspirationally luxe trip for the family at first glance, but with riverside log cabins, 6,000 acres of untouched nature, and incredible days of horseback riding, cross-country skiing, skeet shooting, fly fishing, and outdoor cookouts, your family will be tuckered out and feeling alive from the fresh air and freedom of the Montana sky - with all the perks of a world class hospitality.
At the end of the day, all that matters is together time, traditions created, joy shared. Whether you’re luxuriating in Mexico, strolling through Disney or skeet shooting in Montana, you and your teens will be so grateful for the memories (even if they won’t admit it just yet.)