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12 Family Adventure Ideas from Adventure Travel Show

Adventure Travel Show
Written by Kirstie Pelling

12 Family Adventure Ideas from Adventure Travel Show

‘Let’s all go on a bear hunt….’

Are you up for breaking a zorb ball record or snorkelling a shipwreck? Fancy spending time tracking a bear, or your dad? Want to draw an elephant, or paddle a stinky? If you have a family of budding explorers who don’t want to settle for package holidays and boring weekends in front of the TV, then here’s a few ideas for an adventure you can do together. From no cost outings that take just a few hours, to blow-your-life-savings voyages of discovery, we hope you’ll find something here for you, or just something that might get you thinking…

There are so many adventure options for families these days

There are so many adventure options for families these days

Day trips and low cost adventures

1. Wreck, pier and shark snorkelling…

Snorkelling is a great low cost way to explore another world. Image: Jo Barton

You don’t need tons of diving equipment and oodles of lessons to see under the sea. Instead, spend a few coins investing in some snorkels and take the family on a tour of the coast they’ll never have done before. Adventure sportsman Andy Torbet climbs and dives all over the world, but enjoys an easy adventure in his own backyard. He recommends Dorset’s Kimmeridge Bay for those new to the underwater world; a specific snorkel trail where families can potter around exploring the sea habitat within five buoys. He also suggests heading off to Devon to find a shipwreck to explore; you can see round some of them without even leaving the surface of the water. British Piers are another great fun, accessible adventure, “They’re natural artificial reefs, with masses of wildlife.” He’d also point families towards river snorkeling and says the Dart is a good place to start. He’s spent time snorkelling around basking sharks, but says that’s not for the faint hearted, “Anyone who says getting into the water with a 25 foot shark isn’t adventurous is mad,” laughs the man who makes a living in flippers.

2. Making a splash breaking a record…

On the subject of water, Andy suggests exploring it in some unconventional ways. Why not rent a sit on top kayak and go explore some coastline. If you take a snorkel and find a wreck exposed at low tide you could have a right proper multi activity adventure.

Why not combine sit on top kayaking and snorkelling. Image: Dan Bolt

If you choose a strange enough craft, you may even set a new record. To the best of his knowledge no one has yet set a record for doing the famous Wye 100 in a Zorb ball or on a stand up paddle board. “If you do the Wye 100 in one of those I’ll buy you a beer,” he jokes. He believes that wherever you are in the world the only limit to adventure is your imagination; “Adventure projects don’t need to be in wild places, they just need a bit of lateral thinking.”

If you don’t want to be absorbed by a Zorb, then why don’t you think up your own record breaking attempt. You don’t need to get Guinness involved; unless it’s in a pint at the end of the day.

3. Playing private detective..

One of our current fave activities on a walk is to split up into two groups, with one half of the family trying to follow the other without being seen. It’s a mixture of grandmother’s footsteps and Mission Impossible, with everyone making a really bad job of pretending to be a tree. We did it in London’s Kew Garden recently. Stuart tried to disguise himself as a badger sett. Everyone spotted him.

4. Geo-caching a city

Geocache city sightseeing. Fun, free and who knows where you’ll end up.

We self guided our way around Krakow by geocache. This activity is ideal for those travelling light in a city as it does away with the need for a guide book. We saw most of the regular sights and found a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in a local bookshop. But we’ve also geocached our way around small villages. All you need is a phone and some small helpers, and while you do look a little wierd staring at a wall for hours on end in a rural backwater, it’s a small price to pay for finding treasure.

Medium sized escapes

5. Getting arty on an African safari.

Lion, by Mary-Anne Bartlett, Artist/Director, Art Safari. Image: Mary-Anne Bartlett

“How do you get a lion to stand still while you draw it,” is my question to artist Mary-Anne Bartlett, who runs Art Safari. The simple answer is you don’t. But that shouldn’t stop you putting pencil to paper and capturing the essence of lion. If you’re short of lions round your parts then talk to Mary-Anne as she runs trips to all sorts of wild places. This is a safari with a difference for any family with a creative streak. But if you’re in the UK this spring and summer and not sure whether to take the leap, you can join her at London Zoo for a sketching workshop, a fun day of artwork and animals. All you need is a few hours, a pencil and a picnic.

6. Going in search of a bear! Where? Right there! Errr...

The Slovakian High Tatras… this is bear country

Prefer to stalk a bear than sketch a cheetah? Families Worldwide can take you to Slovakia to see brown bears in the wild, following footprints and tree markings and staying in a ranger’s cottage in the Tatra Mountains. Are you up for a walk on the wild side, walking with bears? We bet your kids are. And all you need is two feet and a good pair of boots. But remember, this is no teddy bear’s picnic.

7. Getting stinky on the rapids..

At the right age and in the right environment, white water journeys are family possibilities
Image: Water by Nature

This is one for families that like an adrenaline rush. Water by Nature are specialists in white water rafting the world over. And families are welcome too on their family rafting adventures in Morocco, exploring the many hidden canyons and kasbahs and paddling rapids like ‘wee stinky’ and ‘cheeky monkey.’ Adorable. Unless it really is stinky.

8. Volunteering for a Madventure..

You might think volunteering abroad is for gap year students or empty nesters. But no, the people at Madventurer are just as keen to help volunteer minded families connect with people and projects to help make a difference. If you’ve got a family, a medium sized budget and a big conscience they can help you  head out to one of nine destinations including Uganda. But it’s not all work work work; while you’re there you can have an an overland adventure with one of their experienced guides.

9. Climbing to the sun 

Climbing in the High Tatras. But you don’t need to go there. There’s great stuff in the Costa Brava!

The tour operator Rock and Sun does exactly what it says on the tin; showing you how to climb in sunnier climes. Instruction is available for any level and there’s a wide range of destinations to choose from.  If you haven’t done much in the way of scaling rocks before, they recommend a family toddle up a rock or two in Costa Brava. Somewhere beneath you the people of Benidorm and other resorts lie baking in the midday sun, while you get a foothold into heaven.

Once in a lifetime blow outs

10. Polar bear spotting in the Arctic

Anyone for family polar bear spotting… at a safe distance. Image: Aqua Firma Tours

Imagine the bright white of the glaciers and icebergs; in a land where the four legs are better than two. Imagine a family voyage on a small ice strengthened ship. Imagine going off in an inflatable boat, binoculars at hand, to see the wild wonders of the Arctic. How could you not feel like an explorer? Aqua Firma tours are all about wilderness, water and wildlife. But although they take you on an icy tour they give family groups a warm welcome to the Arctic; and can sort out extra activities from dog sledding to snow shoeing. Our advice is if you see a polar bear, don’t stop to give it a hug.

11. Travelling the world on a tuk tuk

If you’ve done Asia, you’ve probably done a tuk tuk. But I bet you’ve never considered going round the world on one? We haven’t either. But these guys have; they’re setting out in September on a 70,000 mile navigation of the world. Here’s a pic of us sitting in their new best friend. You can follow their Tuk Tuk Travels online, donate to their cause, or go hire one for yourself and see the world the tuk tuk way.

12. Motoring to Mongolia

Don’t fancy trying your luck luck in a tuk tuk? Then how about piling everyone into an old car and setting out for Mongolia. The Mongol Rally is an enticing drive for adventurous motorists; 10,000 miles beginning in England or Czech Republic and finishing in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. And with no upper age limit on drivers, there’s no excuse for Grandad to opt out. The idea is to set off (and hopefully finish) in a totally unsuitable vehicle but our Ford Mondeo probably wouldn’t go the distance. So we’re thinking of doing it on tandems. No, really we are. Now which way is Mongolia?

More from the Adventure Travel Show

Got any great family adventure ideas? We’d love to hear them in the comments below. 

About the author

Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer and poet, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of The Family Adventure Project and also works as the #poetinmotion producing and performing poetry for print, video and live performance.

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We're Kirstie & Stuart. We share an adventurous spirit, a passion for indie travel and 3 kids. The Family Adventure Project is our long term experiment in doing active, adventurous things together. Find out more...


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