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Adventure Trips Just Right for Teens

by Carley Wade

Dec 5, 2017

© Tiplyashina | Dreamstime

Age Specific / Teens

Is your teen a science nerd? Then Darwin will be right up their alley when they spot playful seals and blue-footed boobies on a Lindblad Expedition to the Galapagos, part of a new partnership launched this autumn called National Geographic Global Explorers. The first destination in a series of educational adventures geared toward teens, Ecuador beckoned Lindblad president and CEO Sven Lindblad, who says his dad’s love of adventure-based tourism to destinations like Antarctica inspired him. The family trip commemorated the 50th anniversary of the first citizen explorer expedition to the Galapagos by Lars-Eric Lindblad in 1967, and programming includes volcano hikes, snorkeling with sea turtles and walking among giant tortoises, all the while learning to read maps, use a camera and build storytelling skills.

outdoor adventure

© Khunaspix | Dreamstime

G Adventures has another message for parents: Just because you’ve settled down and had kids doesn’t mean your adventuring days are through. Its family tours include such classic destinations as the national parks, but if you missed out on that post-grad trip to Vietnam before “settling down,” you can still take it and enjoy time as a family with teen-specific activities. Meant for ages 12 and up, destinations like Costa Rica, for instance, will include all of the wildlife of a standard tour but also appeal to youth with ziplining, caving and rappelling.

Beachfront Suite Balcony at Cap Cana

© Eden Roc at Cap Cana

Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic may offer up some of the Caribbean’s most best golf courses and beaches, but the island is also an ecological wonderland in its own right. Scape Park includes some of the best caving expeditions in the Northern Hemisphere, accessible by hiking up the slopes of El Farallon Cliff, and trekking through a pristine jungle. When you reach the mouth of the cave, teens can delight in a vast underground network of chambers and tunnels. A waterfall expedition includes village visits, coffee and cocoa tastings, and a plunge in rushing waters; and a zip line adventure meets the need for speed over El Farallón cliff.

Teens can also heed the call of adventure in the Caribbean in Aruba, where the sky’s the limit — quite literally. Opportunities to sky dive abound, along with JetLev, a water-propelled jetpack thrill ride with lift created by the thrust of 800–1,000 gallons of water per minute. There’s also hoverboards, jet-blading, Jeep safaris, wind and kite surfing, parasailing and jet-skiing. A number of activities are part of the all-inclusive package at De Palm Island, which also includes food.

Want to keep it domestic? Tweens and teens can satisfy their flight of fancy at trapeze school at Club Med Sandpiper Bay in Florida. There’s also circus classes, stand-up paddleboarding, sailing, a tennis academy and golf school. Club Med Passworld includes spaces set aside for ages 11–17 with artistic activities, too, like makeup lessons, singing and graffiti.

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