Embark on a journey of a lifetime with the ultimate bucket list family vacations, spanning the continents of North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Each destination promises unique experiences and extraordinary memories, making these family vacations true bucket list adventures. So, pack your bags, and prepare for the journey of a lifetime.
Bucket List Family Vacations in North and South America
#1 Visit A Tropical Island
The enchanting tropical islands of the Caribbean are the ultimate family vacation destination. Among these paradisiacal gems, Barbados stands out, offering a dreamlike experience for families seeking an unforgettable getaway. Picture your kids building sandcastles on pristine beaches, staying at a stunning family villa and enjoying family-friendly activities. How about snorkeling or swimming with sea turtles, creating memories that will last a lifetime?
But why stop at just one island when you can explore many captivating destinations in this region? The Caribbean is a treasure trove of family vacations waiting to be discovered. Experience the magical allure of the Bahamas, with its breathtaking underwater wonders and thrilling water parks. Embrace the Dominican Republic’s warm hospitality and explore its lush landscapes through exhilarating nature tours. Or visit Jamaica, where the vibrant culture, stunning waterfalls, and delectable cuisine will delight every family member.
Choosing a tropical island vacation in the Caribbean ensures a once-in-a-lifetime bucket list adventure. Combining breathtaking scenery, rich cultural experiences, and a wide array of activities catered to kids and adults alike promises an extraordinary and unforgettable family bonding experience.
#2 Explore Disney World
Embark on the ultimate family adventure and explore Disney World in Orlando, Florida – a bucket-list experience that promises magical memories for all ages. As one of the most iconic and enchanting destinations in the world, Disney World captivates visitors with its unrivaled charm, enchanting attractions, and beloved characters.
Step into a realm of fantasy and wonder as you traverse the enchanting Magic Kingdom, where fairytales come to life against the backdrop of Cinderella’s Castle. Journey through diverse lands, from the futuristic Tomorrowland to the swashbuckling escapades of Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland. Discover the wonders of wildlife in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and venture into Hollywood nostalgia at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Whether you’re exploring classic rides like Space Mountain or enjoying adrenaline-pumping attractions like Expedition Everest, the sheer diversity of experiences ensures that every family member finds their own moment of pure joy. Disney World’s meticulous attention to detail, impeccable service, and extraordinary entertainment make it a must-visit destination for families seeking to create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.
#3 Spot Wildlife At The Galapagos Islands
Discover the unparalleled wonders of the Galapagos Islands, a destination that tops every family’s ultimate bucket list. Nestled in the Pacific Ocean, this remote archipelago promises an extraordinary adventure unlike any other. The remarkable biodiversity and unique ecosystem have lured travelers from around the globe for generations. The Galapagos Islands boast a mesmerizing array of flora and fauna, some of which are found nowhere else on Earth. Picture giant tortoises ambling gracefully through volcanic landscapes, playful sea lions frolicking in pristine waters, and blue-footed boobies captivating onlookers with their vibrant displays.
A journey to the Galapagos Islands is more than just a vacation: it is an immersive educational experience that will leave both children and adults with a profound appreciation for the natural world. The islands’ isolated location has allowed wildlife to evolve undisturbed, inspiring Charles Darwin’s groundbreaking theory of evolution. Today, visitors can follow in the footsteps of this visionary scientist, exploring the very same landscapes that sparked his curiosity and forever changed our understanding of life’s diversity.
Apart from the awe-inspiring wildlife encounters, families can indulge in a myriad of outdoor activities, such as snorkeling with marine iguanas, hiking to volcanic peaks, and stargazing under the unpolluted skies. Moreover, responsible tourism practices are upheld here, ensuring that future generations can continue to marvel at the splendor of this enchanting paradise. A journey to the Galapagos Islands guarantees unforgettable memories, educational enrichment, and a renewed sense of wonder – making it a truly essential destination for every family’s travel bucket list.
#4 Walk On A Glacier in Argentina
Experience the awe-inspiring Perito Moreno Glacier hike in Argentina, a bucket-list adventure for any family vacation. As the largest ice cap outside the polar regions, the Perito Moreno Glacier mesmerizes with its daily movement of a few meters, captivating visitors as immense ice blocks crash into the water every few minutes. The crackling and thunderous sounds of this natural wonder create a truly unique and unforgettable experience.
Start your visit from the picturesque town of El Calafate, nestled by the lake and exuding the charm of a ski resort. This delightful village serves as the perfect base for your visit to the glacier. There are two types of hikes available on the ice. Opt for the shorter tour, lasting a total of 8 hours with around 1.5 to 2 hours spent on the ice, or choose the longer option, including a 3 to 4-hour hike on the ice.
It’s essential to note that this ice trekking excursion is suitable for children over 10 years old who are accustomed to hiking. Families with younger kids can still enjoy the experience by visiting the boardwalks and viewpoints, offering equally stunning perspectives of the Perito Moreno Glacier.
The Perito Moreno Glacier hike is undoubtedly an extraordinary adventure that combines breathtaking landscapes, the thrill of exploring an ever-changing ice formation, and the chance to immerse your family in the wonders of nature. It’s an experience that will leave you with cherished memories and a profound appreciation for our planet’s magnificent beauty.
#5 Watch The Geyser Erupt At Yellowstone
In the breathtaking expanse of Yellowstone National Park lies a mesmerizing natural wonder that tops every adventurer’s bucket list: the Yellowstone Geysir. As the world’s first national park established in 1872,the Old Faithful geyser is the most visited attraction. The geysir stands tall in the southwest section, specifically in the Upper Geyser Basin. It has been captivating visitors since its discovery in 1870.
What makes this experience truly unforgettable is its faithful eruptions, consistently lasting between 1.5 to 5 minutes and reaching heights of 32 to 56 meter. It erupts approximately 20 times a day. Though it may not claim the titles for tallest or largest geyser in the park, those crowns belong to the unpredictable Steamboat Geyser, Old Faithful’s unwavering performances remain unparalleled in reliability. Yellowstone’s geysers remain a timeless testament to nature’s awe-inspiring power, and witnessing Old Faithful’s impressive eruptions is an absolute must for families seeking an ultimate bucket list vacation. The sheer beauty and captivating allure of this geological marvel will leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime.
Bucket List Family Vacations in Europe
#6 Visit Santa In Lapland
Discover the enchanting wonderland of Lapland and immerse yourself in the ultimate bucket list experience: visiting Santa in Lapland. Rovaniemi in northern Finland is the official hometown of Santa Claus, making it the ultimate European winter destination. Here lies the magical Santa Claus Village. This family vacation promises to be an unforgettable journey filled with joy and excitement.
Lapland’s charm extends beyond the Santa Claus Village, encompassing breathtaking destinations like Levi, renowned for its exhilarating snowmobile adventures. Feel the adrenaline rush as you zoom through picturesque hills adorned with postcard-like frozen trees. And when hunger strikes, savor the delectable delights of the best restaurants, specializing in mouthwatering reindeer cuisine.
For an authentic Arctic experience, head to Hetta, where charming husky farms await. Head on thrilling husky sledding rides, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
No Lapland adventure is complete without a visit to Ranua, home to the extraordinary Arctic Zoo. Marvel at magnificent polar bears, adorable Arctic foxes, and a myriad of other arctic animals in their natural habitat.
Embark on the ultimate bucket list family vacation to Lapland and indulge in a winter wonderland like no other. From meeting Santa Claus himself to exhilarating snowmobile rides and heartwarming encounters with huskies, this magical journey promises a truly unforgettable experience for all ages.
#7 Climb the Eiffel Tower
In the heart of Paris stands the iconic Eiffel Tower, an awe-inspiring structure that has come to symbolize the City of Love. Known as one of the most famous and visited landmarks in France, this awe-inspiring architectural wonder was designed by engineers Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, under the direction of Gustave Eiffel. It was constructed to mark the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris. Soaring to a height of 317 meters, the Eiffel Tower held the title of the world’s tallest tower upon completion. It remained the tallest in Europe for an astounding 126 years.
Visiting the Eiffel Tower is truly a bucket-list experience, providing a breathtaking panoramic view of Paris from its various platforms located on its four legs. The sheer grandeur and history of the structure captivate the imagination of visitors of all ages, making it an ideal destination for families. Kids will be enchanted by the tower’s towering presence and the chance to ascend its heights. The thrill of reaching the top and looking out over the City of Lights is an unforgettable moment for young adventurers, sparking their curiosity and sense of wonder.
Whether it’s watching the sunrise behind the Eiffel Tower from the nearby Pont de Bir-Hakeim bridge or witnessing the sparkling lights at night, a visit to the Eiffel Tower promises an unforgettable family experience, etching cherished memories in the hearts of both parents and children alike.
#8 Go Waterfall Hunting in Iceland
Embark on an unforgettable family adventure with a trip to the mesmerizing waterfalls of Iceland, a true bucket list experience that will leave you in awe. Iceland’s natural wonders are renowned worldwide, and its waterfalls are no exception. Among the easily accessible and breathtaking falls, Gullfoss, Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss stand out as prime examples of Iceland’s scenic beauty.
Gullfoss, a captivating double cascade in the Golden Circle, holds the distinction of being one of the largest waterfalls in the country. Its raw power and stunning surroundings make it a must-visit attraction for tourists from all over the globe. To fully savor the magnificence of Gullfoss without the hustle and bustle of crowds, plan your visit for the early morning or late afternoon.
Another must-see is Seljalandsfoss, located in the south of the country near the famous Ring Road. What sets this waterfall apart is the opportunity to walk behind the cascading curtain of water, providing an exhilarating and unique perspective. Kids will be captivated by this magical experience, feeling like they’ve stepped into a fairytale world.
Venturing further, you’ll encounter Skogafoss, an impressive 60-meter high and 25-meter wide waterfall. Conveniently situated near the Ring Road, it offers an unforgettable view from the road itself. Take a short walk from the parking area to witness the mesmerizing rainbows that often grace the drifting water. For the more adventurous, stairs lead up to a stunning panoramic view from the top, making it an unforgettable memory for everyone.
Iceland’s waterfalls, with their sheer beauty and accessibility, provide an unforgettable family adventure. The chance to witness these natural wonders up close and explore the stunning landscapes of Iceland will leave you and your kids with memories that last a lifetime.
#9 Hop On The Hogwarts Express In Scotland
Embark on the ultimate bucket list family vacation with a journey aboard the Jacobite Steam Train in Scotland, a magical experience that kids and adults alike will cherish forever. The train weaves through approximately 135 kilometers of breathtaking Scottish Highland landscapes, departing from the charming town of Fort William. Originally constructed in the late 19th century to connect Fort William and Mallaig, this railway is now hailed as one of the most scenic train rides globally, offering a picturesque route like no other.
The allure of the Jacobite Steam Train lies in its association with the enchanting world of Harry Potter. Jacobite Steam Train featured in the Harry Potter movies as the Hogwarts Express, the train that transports young wizards to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Many of the scenes featuring the Jacobite Steam Train as the iconic Hogwarts Express show the stunning backdrop of the Scottish Highlands and especially the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
The Glenfinnan Viaduct is the first stop on this unforgettable journey. Towering over the landscape, the viaduct with its 21 arches stands as a testament to architectural brilliance. For avid Harry Potter fans, this spot holds particular significance, as it is a very recognizable location from several films in the franchise.
For families seeking an extraordinary adventure, the Jacobite Steam Train in Scotland should undoubtedly be at the top of their list. The blend of awe-inspiring scenery, the nostalgia of Harry Potter, and the joy of riding an iconic steam train make this experience truly unforgettable for kids of all ages. It’s a chance to immerse yourselves in a world of magic and wonder, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
#10 Explore the European Christmas markets
Experience the enchantment of European Christmas markets, an essential addition to any family’s ultimate bucket list vacations. These markets are widespread across Germany and the rest of Europe, with virtually every city boasting multiple ones. They are not only a captivating German tradition but can be found in other countries as well.
For a truly magical experience, venture to the picturesque region of Alsace in France, where charming, Beauty and the Beast-style villages play host to a multitude of festive markets. The markets transport visitors to a winter wonderland adorned with twinkling lights, savory aromas of seasonal delicacies, and an array of handcrafted gifts. Highlights are the Christmas markets of Colmar, Sélestat, Eguisheim and Riquewihr.
What makes this experience particularly delightful for children is the sense of stepping into a fairytale setting. From the colorful decorations to the cheerful carolers and Santa’s jolly presence, kids are sure to be captivated at every turn. So, bundle up in warm scarves and explore the heartwarming ambiance of European Christmas markets, where cherished memories and holiday joy await the entire family.
Bucket List Family Vacations in Africa and Asia
#11 Spot Wildlife On A Safari
Experience the thrill of wildlife spotting on a game drive in Africa, an unparalleled adventure that undoubtedly deserves a spot on any family’s ultimate bucket list. Among the myriad of family vacations available, this one stands out for its enchanting blend of excitement and education.
Etosha National Park in Namibia, a prime safari destination, offers two fantastic options for families seeking an up-close encounter with Africa’s mesmerizing wildlife. For those seeking independence and flexibility, a self-drive safari in Etosha with a rental vehicle is the perfect choice. Roaming through the vast landscapes, you’ll have the chance to spot majestic elephants, graceful giraffes, and the elusive big cats. We can especially recommend camping in Etosha, providing you the ultimate opportunity to spot wildlife from your very own camping lodge or rooftop tent.
Alternatively, families can opt for the convenience and expertise of a safari lodge in one of South Africa’s wildlife parks, offering guided game drives. However, it’s essential to consider that some lodges have age restrictions for young children, though they may provide babysitting services to accommodate families with kids.
This wildlife spotting experience is a genuine bucket list moment because it offers a profound connection to nature and wildlife, leaving indelible memories for everyone. Witnessing animals in their natural habitat fosters a deep appreciation for conservation and instills a sense of wonder that is both humbling and inspiring. Moreover, children are particularly drawn to the excitement of spotting exotic creatures amidst the savannah, making it a captivating and educational journey for the entire family. Embark on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, and immerse yourselves in the beauty of the African wilderness for an unforgettable vacation that will be cherished for generations to come.
#12 See the pyramids in Egypt
In the heart of the ancient Egyptian necropolis Giza, just a stone’s throw away from Cairo, lies a mesmerizing wonder that has stood the test of time: the Pyramids of Egypt. This sight absolutely deserves a spot on your ultimate bucket list of family vacations. These architectural marvels consist of three grand pyramids and several smaller ones, all dating back approximately 4,500 years. They’re accompanied by the iconic Sphinx, which might be one of the most photographed structures around the world.
For an unforgettable experience, consider purchasing a ticket to venture inside the pyramids. This is an absolute must-do to complete your ultimate bucket list. As you make your way through narrow and low corridors, you will eventually find yourself in the ancient burial chamber, an exploration that will undoubtedly leave you in awe.
Kids in particular will love this fascinating adventure. The allure of crawling through hidden passages and uncovering the mysteries of ancient Egyptian history is sure to captivate their imaginations. But it’s not just the interior that captivates. Make sure to walk into the desert for the best views of the majestic pyramids. Here, you can savor the breathtaking sight in all its glory.
Embarking on a family trip to Egypt and its pyramids will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on everyone. The awe-inspiring architecture, the rich historical significance, and the chance to delve into ancient wonders make it an unparalleled bucket list experience. So, venture forth and witness the timeless majesty of the Egyptian pyramids, a trip that will create cherished memories for years to come.
#13 Spend The Night At Desert Camp In Morocco
Embark on a mesmerizing journey through endless sand dunes atop a camel, where the wonders of a Moroccan desert camp await. The allure of a desert camp in the Erg Chebbi desert in Morocco lies in its otherworldly charm and the enchanting way it connects families with local traditions. Watching the sun sink beyond the horizon, casting a warm glow over the vast desert landscape, and then waking up to witness the desert come alive with the first rays of dawn is an experience that remains etched in the hearts of travelers forever.
This extraordinary adventure holds a place on every family’s ultimate bucket list vacation. The thrill of riding a camel through the golden dunes, the sense of wonder as children gaze at the twinkling stars in the clear desert sky, and the fun of sharing stories around a crackling campfire create memories that they will cherish for a lifetime. Moreover, the cozy tents and welcoming atmosphere in the camp offer a sense of security and adventure rolled into one, making it a perfect getaway for kids.
A night spent in a nomad camp is an essential part of any trip to Morocco. During the winter season, families can experience the transition from scorching days to icy nights in the desert. However, fret not about the cold, as the camps at Erg Chebbi offer luxurious and well-insulated private tents, featuring spacious beds adorned with cozy blankets for a comfortable night’s sleep. Families can choose a desert adventure near Merzouga, at Erg Chebbi, or opt for the nomad camps at Erg Chigaga further south.
#14 Visit An Ethical Elephant Sanctuary
In the lush landscapes near Chiang Mai lies an array of ethical elephant sanctuaries that promise an unforgettable bucket list experience for families seeking a deeper connection with nature. Amidst the plethora of options, it is vital to discern genuine sanctuaries that prioritize the well-being of these majestic creatures over mere tourist attractions. True ethical sanctuaries limit visitor numbers and discourage direct contact with the elephants, ensuring a focus on their welfare and natural behaviors.
For those seeking an authentic and enriching encounter, these sanctuaries offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to observe elephants in their natural habitat, free from exploitation. Bathing with these gentle giants and riding them are strictly off-limits, as the emphasis lies in promoting their freedom and natural instincts. Instead, visitors can engage in activities like observing their playful interactions, learning about their habitats, and even participating in conservation efforts. You can check the list of World Animal Protection for elephant friendly places in Thailand.
The allure of an ethical elephant sanctuary extends to families, making it a perfect fit for an ultimate bucket list family vacation. Children especially will be enthralled by the chance to witness these magnificent creatures up close while understanding the significance of ethical tourism and wildlife conservation. This enriching experience fosters empathy, respect, and a love for wildlife, leaving an indelible impression on young minds.
#15 Explore The Tomb Raider Temple At Angkor Wat
Experience the awe-inspiring wonders of Angkor Wat and the famed Tomb Raider temple on your ultimate bucket list family vacation. Situated in Cambodia, the sprawling temple complex, known as the Temples of Angkor, covers a vast area of approximately 400 km² and holds a rich history as the former capital of the Khmer Empire.
Angkor Wat, the largest and most significant temple within the complex, stands as an architectural marvel, boasting intricate details and religious symbolism. Its grandeur alone makes it a must-visit destination, captivating travelers of all ages.
But it is Ta Prohm, the enigmatic Tomb Raider temple, that truly captivates the imagination. Overgrown by the encroaching jungle, this temple offers a magical experience as massive trees intertwine with ancient stone walls, creating an ethereal ambiance that kids will find enchanting. Walking under the natural canopy of the forest, amidst the remains of a once-great civilization, will transport your family to a different era.
The allure of the Angkor temples lies not only in their historical significance but also in their sense of adventure and discovery. Archaeological efforts spanning over a century have preserved these sites, allowing you and your family to explore and marvel at the ancient wonders. Embarking on a journey to Angkor Wat and the Tomb Raider temple promises an unforgettable family adventure, where history, nature, and exploration converge. It’s a bucket list experience that will leave you in awe of the world’s wonders and provide a unique and enriching experience for children of all ages.