Vacation Ideas for Teens

It may seem as though family vacations have become harder to plan as your children have grown older. Teens are notorious for their attitudes and are not always easy to please as they fight to gain their independence. Unlike the early years when your children were simply happy to be leaving the house with you, planning a vacation that includes your teenagers takes a bit more thought. Organizing a memorable family vacation enjoyed by all, however, is absolutely still possible.

Hit the Parks

For your adventure-seeking teenager, roller coasters and high tower drops always promise to be a hit. California is a mecca for these types of destinations, boasting the ever-popular Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park, as well as Universal Studios and Six Flags Magic Mountain. For locations outside of California, check out Luna Park in New York for a Coney Island experience and Universal's Islands of Adventure in Florida for a Harry Potter adventure. Travel agent Lynda Maxwell, in conjunction with The Travel Channel, suggests including your teens in the decision making process 1. Find out what parks they might be most interested in visiting, and see if you can come up with fun and exciting ideas together.


For your teenager desperate to do his own thing, cruises offer a safe environment for him to spread his wings without getting too far. Pre-planned activities are abundant on ships, allowing you to work on your tan or play in the on-board casino while your teenage son is able to practice rock climbing or participate in a teen-only dance. Select Carnival Cruises offer a Seaside Theater movie viewing experience that teenagers love, along with late night teen dance parties and afternoon sporting events geared towards teens. He will get to make new friends and experience a variety of new activities while the ship is traveling, and as a family you can explore the ports together. Maxwell also notes the benefit of unlimited food available at all hours on cruise ships, sure to delight the insatiable appetites of teenage boys without putting an extra dent in your wallet.

Travel Abroad

Edward Piegza, president of the tour company Classic Journeys, explains that teenagers are prime candidates for traveling abroad. This is because they are capable of handling the air travel required, while also exhibiting the inquisitiveness necessary to enjoy the full experience of being in another country. This is an opportunity to see parts of the world your teenager might not otherwise ever get to experience, while introducing him to cultures entirely different from his own. Head to Costa Rica for a rainforest immersion, or Ireland where you and your teen can take in a Gaelic football game together.

A Glimpse of the Future

It won’t be long before your teenager is entering adulthood, and family vacations may be the perfect opportunity to show her what the future holds. Travel to New York and introduce her to culture in the form of Broadway and museums. Or head to San Francisco where you can integrate fine dining into your itinerary. Allow your teen to experience the history of a new location. Teach her about the intricacies of finding her way through a new city, and take the opportunity to check out area colleges while you're at it.