These are the recommended places and experiences provided by Family Travel Association members as an annex to an article about off-the-beaten-path family travel. For the introductory post associated with this page, go HERE.
Erin Kirkland, Publisher, AKontheGo
2. Yukon Territories of Canada
Carrie Buss, Co-Founder, Along for the Trip
1. Japan: As a family who enjoys a good ski trip, we tried to find a place that would up the adventure factor, and Japan fit the bill. We knew that this would be a challenge for our family to visit such a different culture, but we were rewarded with one of our best trips ever.
2. Peru: South America was on our adventure radar as a continent that we had never visited, and Peru stood out as a destination that would offer a lot of unique experiences for our family, from seeing Machu Picchu to touring the Sacred Valley and tasting guinea pig!
Felipe Castro, Director, North America, Australis
An African safari in either Southern Africa (South Africa, Zambia, Botswana etc.) or East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania); Patagonia on an Australis cruise; Peru on an Amazon cruise.
Nicolas Caram, Marketing Coordinator, Australis
Patagonia treks; Costa Rica’s big variety of activities, enjoyable for all the family; Peru’s jungle.
Florian Craanen, Head of International Development, Family Twist
1. Visiting the Louvre – Surely no one would consider the Louvre as being off the beaten path, especially if you stick to the highlights (Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo etc.). But we designed a treasure hunt where families see the highlights and also some of the more secret parts of the Louvre, such as the Medieval Louvre. It’s a great way to discover the beauty and history of this iconic museum, and still have a lot of fun. And the fact that it’s a private tour with skip-the-line tickets and an engaging game booklet makes it even more special.
2. Picasso Museum in Barcelona – If you visit the Picasso Museum in Barcelona with your kids, you might not get more than whining and complaining from the young ones. Try explaining Cubism to a seven-year-old! Our “off-the-beaten-path” twist consists of three things: a professional private guide who knows how to keep the children engaged, a fun-filled game booklet and, after one hour at the museum, the whole family is brought to a painting atelier where they learn how to paint like Picasso. It’s a great way for the children (and adults) to dive into Picasso’s world.
3. Rowing in Venice – People want to take a gondola in Venice and cruise through the canals. When you see the thousands of tourists doing that, you might want to change your mind! So what about learning how to steer a gondola? Now that’s quite an experience, and it’s done in a place where you won’t be “bumper to bumper” with other gondolas. Plus, families get a chance to visit a private gondola museum and repair area. Again, a little twist that makes it all “off the beaten path.”
Kelly Burns, Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch
Guest ranches in “atypical” states (i.e. New Mexico) are a favorite family travel destination. Often people automatically think of states like Colorado and Wyoming when they picture guest ranches. However, when thinking of a family travel destination, you should think about guests ranches in the context of granting you access to remote areas of the country that few have ever seen. It’s easy to get off the beaten track when you are surrounded by 3 million acres of national forest? such a?s at Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch!
Jennifer Spatz, Founder Global Family Travels
Once an independent Buddhist kingdom at the crossroads of vital trade routes between China and the Middle East, Ladakh, often called “Little Tibet” or “Land of the Broken Moon,” is my favorite off-the-beaten-path location.
Andrea Ross, Founder, Journeys Within
Shellie Bailey-Shah, Editor, KidTripster
1. Hiking the terraced rice paddies in the Guangxi Province of southern China
2. Hunting with the Hadzabe tribe in Tanzania
3. Work day in village outside Siem Reap, Cambodia
Mauricio Castro, Business Development Director, Nature Air
1. Costa Rica – There is a new product called Caminos de Osa, where families do more than just experience amazing adventures; they also get to interact with the locals.
Diego Andrade, Marketing Manager, Pure! Travel Group
1. Cotococha Lodge (Ecuador)
2. Caño Cristales (Colombia) – blog post coming soon on the Pure! Blog About South America
3. Coroico (Bolivia) – blog post coming soon on the Pure! Blog About South America
Rafa Mayer, Founder and CEO, Say Hueque
So many diverse destinations come to mind; it’s almost impossible to choose just three!
1. One of our favorite off-the-beaten-path family travel destinations is Tolar (a tiny community not far from Argentina’s more popular Salta destination) because it’s surrounded by displays of contrasting colors, unique rock formations and blue pools of salt water.
2. The Iberá Marshlands is a must for families of animal lovers! This nature reserve covers over 5,000 square miles of wetlands and is home to 60 lakes and Argentina’s diverse wildlife like caimans, capybaras, swamp deer, pampas deer, howler monkeys, giant otters, anacondas, greater rheas and more than 350 species of birds!
3. Last but not least is laid-back Bahia Bustamante, often referred to as the “Argentine answer to the Galapagos.” With a population of around 50 people, this off-the-beaten-path town is an ideal location for families to explore the Atlantic coast of breathtaking Patagonia.
Katlyn Richter, Global Media and Public Relations Director, South Dakota Department of Tourism
Circle View Guest Ranch, which lies between Badlands National Park and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, is certainly “off the beaten path.” It’s a few miles away from one of our top tourist attractions, Badlands National Park, yet so many travelers don’t get off the main scenic byway through the park. The guest ranch is on a paved highway, but set back on a small gravel road entrance. The food is amazing, comfort food at its finest, the family is kindhearted in their roots, and the view is outstanding. This off-the-beaten-path bed and breakfast is worth checking out.
Dan Wulfman, President, Tracks & Trails
All of our trips visit national parks. One could argue that some parks are not truly off the beaten path. Yosemite in summertime is certainly not a solitary experience. But for most of us, it still IS off the beaten path of our normal lives and offers peacefulness and incredible beauty to anyone will to walk a mile or two beyond the pavement. Some of my favorite parks are:
1. Canyonlands National Park
2. Anywhere in the Mojave Desert
3. North Rim Grand Canyon
Bryan Jáuregui, Founder & Owner, Todos Santos Eco Adventures
Here in Baja our favorite off-the-beaten-path activity is going into the ranches with local families. Most people don’t even know that people live in the mountains here, but it is this ranchero culture that defines the Baja spirit.
Katina Goussetis, Director, World Fusion Tours
1. Southern Cultural Belt in Rwanda — filled with big-horned cows; visiting the Kings Palace and the kids seeing mum and dad dress as the king and queen; the beautiful traditional dancers and drummers of Rwanda; and village experiences.
2. Kisoro, Uganda – on the border of Rwanda. Beautiful dugout canoeing on Lake Mutanda; coffee plantation and roasting experiences; visiting local schools; climbing the volcano with the Batwa people who were former hunters of these mountains.
3. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania – the Masai village visit with the kids wearing those beaded necklaces and jumping with the Masaai; so many animals in this collapsed volcanic crater.