Animal lovers know there are plenty of destinations worthy of traveling to for resident wildlife alone. While best-case scenarios, seeing animals in their natural habitats is an incredible experience as you’re not always guaranteed they will show themselves. One way to increase your odds of seeing some beloved beasts, check out at a wildlife sanctuary on your next trip. You can feel good about your visit since the cost is typically a donation, giving back to the animals you love and the people who take care of them, and you know they are in good hands.
Stick to the responsible establishments providing the best lives for rescued wildlife, including this list of favorites, both far and wide.
Already known to be one of best in Thailand, but definitely one of the top sanctuaries in the world, Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary is a must visit. BLES not only introduces you to the resident elephants, but allows guests to even stay in the village and explore the sanctuary grounds. Learn about the elephants and the sanctuary’s efforts to provide the rescues with the best lives possible, including the many BLES cats and dogs on premises. Read more about BLES and other elephant sanctuaries here and how best to go about visiting them.
Over in Woodstock, New York, guests can visit the local rescues of the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. Expect loving locals, including pigs, goats, cows, sheep, chickens and pretty much anything else you’d expect to see on a working farm. Have brunch with the animals, get to know them and spend the day enjoying the sweet rescues while hearing their stories.
Possibly one of the most famous regions for wildlife, South Africa has plenty to go around. Visit the SanWild Wildlife Sanctuary while on safari in the Limpopo Province. Stay in the Sticky Tongue Luxury Private Bush tent and see the Big Five in style. The protected refuge houses all sorts of rescued and endangered wildlife, from giraffe and wildebeest to zebras and waterbucks.
Devoted to the health and wellbeing of mules and donkeys, the Donkey Sanctuary in England’s West Bank is home to hundreds of rescues. Read all about the resident donkeys and plan your visit, or even host your wedding, here.
In North Borneo, in the Malaysian Sabah District, Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary and Rehabilitation Centre hosts 60–80 rescued orangutans. Roaming freely on the reserve since it opened in 1963, rescued orangutans range from infant age all the way to adults and are protected, nursed and provided for with the intention to be rehabilitated and returned to the wild.
If you’re looking for a charming new island escape on the East Coast, get away to a locale many have yet to discover. Daufuskie Island considers itself the Nantucket of the South, a hidden gem off the Southeast Coast, near Savannah, Georgia, and Hilton Head. The luxurious environment is unpretentious, but filled with all the amenities discerning family travelers need.
A beach vacation is a family favorite in the summertime; the weather is nice, towns are thriving and there are fun activities all season. For families looking for the ultimate summer beach vacation, consider Ocean City, New Jersey.
Prior to any family trip, every responsible adult will have a checklist to ensure the journey and destination can be made as safe as possible for everybody. A packing list can incorporate healthy snacks, bug repellant, a first-aid kit and minor illness remedies (cold and flu meds; anti-diarrhea pills) while pre-trip cautions — depending on the location — immunizations and family discussions on how to avoid injury.
This summer, family travel at The Peninsula receives an upgrade with the debut of Camp Peninsula, a children’s experience that recreates the spirit of camping right in the heart of Beverly Hills. The journey begins with a special welcome from Peter Bear, the hotel’s lovable mascot, at check-in. After taking a picture with the life-sized teddy bear, kids will be whisked away by a Peninsula Camp Counselor to a luxurious guestroom where a charming teepee awaits. An afternoon of camp-themed games and activities, including a hotel-wide scavenger hunt, rounds off the family-friendly experience, fun for children of all ages. Whether it’s a luxe staycation or an extended holiday, Camp Peninsula is an ideal way to ensure the little ones are happy campers.
You don’t need a passport for a family-friendly island vacation — just a car to take you over the Causeway Bridge in Ft. Myers to Sanibel and Captiva islands in Florida. South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island offers sugar white-sand beaches, 20 swimming pools, watersports, golf and more than a dozen dining options.