The Best Year-End Family Vacation Spots
Ready to close out 2022 with a bang? Consider a family holiday to one of the world’s most enticing and unforgettable destinations. We’ve put together a range of handcrafted itineraries to places like the fabled Galapagos Islands, Italy’s Amalfi Coast, and Peru’s legendary Machu Picchu citadel that everyone from kids to grandparents can enjoy together. Mixing culture, adventure, history, and the outdoors, we’ve curated trips to satisfy the entire family—all you have to do is show up. Here are some of our favorite end-of-year vacation spots for creating memories that will last a lifetime.
From tropical white-sand beaches to waterfall-filled rainforests where hundreds of hummingbirds and butterflies reside, our six-day Costa Rica Walking Wildlife Adventure offers the ideal family getaway—especially at year’s end, with its warm weather and clear skies. The country’s wildlife alone is enough to stir imaginations, though this hub of biodiversity is also the place for unforgettable multigenerational escapades. From ziplining through the cloud forest, kayaking among mangroves, and spotting colorful toucans, iguanas, and sloths alongside our expert naturalist guide at Manuel Antonio Park, the country’s crown jewel of national park, our well-rounded Costa Rica adventure offers a little something for everyone.
Whether it’s your first time seeing Machu Picchu or your dozenth, laying eyes on this storied 15th-century Inca citadel tucked within the jungle never gets old, especially when you’re doing it as a family. Our seven-day Peru Cultural Walking Adventure offers a detailed look at both Inca and Andean culture for all ages, with plenty of archaeological sites, ancient ruins, and walking—often in the company of llama herders and Quechua villagers—along the way. Catch the sunrise over the Sacred Valley of the Incas, shop for ponchos and chullos (alpaca wool hats) at Pisac, and learn traditional weaving techniques from Andean women. Once at Machu Picchu, which you can reach either on foot via the iconic Inca Trail, or via a panoramic-view railcar along the Urubamba River to Aguas Calientes (so named for its hot springs), you’ll have two days to soak in the scenery, both on your own and with our expert guide.
Vietnam, Laos, & Cambodia
Journey across Indochina on our 10-day cultural walking adventure through Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. This engaging and insightful look into three Southeast Asia’s countries is a perfect blend of history, culture, and activities: involving everything from overnighting aboard a luxury sailing ship in the limestone and emerald-colored Halong Bay, to touring the Cu Chi Tunnels, an enormous subterranean labyrinth used by guerilla freedom fighters during the war. You’ll work your way up from the lush southern Vietnam countryside near Saigon to Hanoi’s colonial French Quarter, shopping local markets, interacting with local villagers, and bicycling past Khmer villages and rice paddies en route. Then catch a flight to Laos, where you can watch the barefoot monks of Luang Prabang collect their morning alms, and feed rescued elephants at a 2,000-acre sanctuary in the Nam Khan River valley. Afterward, it’s on to the temples of Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument on the planet, and a truly remarkable family experience.
When Charles Darwin first visited the Galapagos islands in 1835, he happened upon an extraordinary archipelago of plants, birds, and reptiles that had developed in isolation. You and your family can experience that same world for yourselves on our seven-day Galapagos Wildlife Walking Adventure. From swimming alongside curious sea lions to walking among lumbering giant tortoises, get ready for some of the most amazing wildlife encounters imaginable. Blue-footed boobies, colorful marine iguanas, and massive sea turtles are all par for the course here, as is snorkeling with penguins, kayaking turquoise waters, and even hiking through lava fields to peer down into the caldera of an active volcano. Unlike most Galapagos excursions, you’ll bed down on land in a selection of seafront boutique inns, forgoing the endless to-and-fro zodiac rides for more time to soak in the flora and fauna, and make lifelong memories in the process.
Venice, Florence, and Rome
When it comes to art, architecture, and culinary delights, Italy is a true tour de force. This is especially true when it comes to the country’s trio of cultural hubs: Venice, Florence, and Rome. Join Classic Journeys on our seven-day Venice, Florence & Rome Cultural Walking Adventure for a deep delve into these remarkable cities. Take your family on a gondola ride through the famous canals of Italy’s “Queen of the Adriatic,” then stroll its iconic piazza in the company of a well-versed guide. In Florence, a city hailed for its Renaissance art and wealth of incredible palaces and museums, get skip-the-line access to Michelangelo’s masterpiece, David. And in Rome, Italy’s capital, tour the Colosseum, toss wish-granting coins in Trevi Fountain, and visit Vatican City for a special-access look at the Sistine Chapel’s frescoed ceiling. Along the way, you’ll have opportunities to stroll or bicycle the scenic Tuscan countryside, engage with local cheese-making shepherds, toss your own pizza, and sample plenty of gelato—a perk for both kids and adults alike!
London and Paris
Looking for a classic European trip that combines two of the continent’s most iconic cities, and that the whole family can enjoy? We’ve got you covered. Our seven-day cultural walking adventure through London and Paris brings together the best of this dynamic duo, beginning with an after-hours countryside visit to catch Stonehenge during sunset. You’ll ride the London Eye, a 443-foot-tall observation wheel, for spectacular views of Buckingham Palace and the Tower Bridge, tour the Tower of London and make stops at legendary sites like Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, and even sit down to a Harry Potter-style afternoon tea with scones. Then it’s off to the City of Lights via high-speed train beneath the English Channel, for a skip-the-line look at the Louvre and Leonardo de Vinci’s magnum opus, Mona Lisa. Afterward, hop on a bicycle to explore the 2,000-acre gardens of the Palace of Versailles, with its cascading fountains and raised flower beds—an unforgettable experience at any age. Expect the company of expert local guides, and ideally located luxury hotels, throughout.
The Amalfi Coast
Enjoy an end-of-the-year family holiday among fragrant citrus trees, idyllic beaches, and breathtaking waterfront views. Such is life along Italy’s Amalfi Coast, which you can experience for yourself on our six-day Amalfi Coast Cultural Walking Adventure. Undoubtedly the jewel of southern Italy, this stretch of dazzling coastline is brimming with 500-foot-tall cliffs, hidden grottos, and pastel-colored seaside towns that look as though they’re growing straight out of the mountainside. Together you’ll wander through the preserved ruins of ancient Pompeii in the company of a local archaeologist, bask in the rugged beauty of Capri island, from its dramatic Faraglioni rock formations to the fluorescent glow of its Blue Grotto, and walk above the Mediterranean Sea on the aptly named “Path of the Gods” to Positano. There’s plenty of learning to do as well, from perfecting the art of limoncello to making authentic Neapolitan pizza.