Ten fantastic family trips from Austin Adventures line-up
We’ve been running family trips longer than most other tour operators have been in business. That gives us a little bit of insight into what makes a great family adventure. It boils down to going someplace that takes you out of your element and having defining moments that make everyday life seem more colorful when you return home. It’s all about having plenty of things to do for each interest and fitness level that immerse you into the destination and culture.
Here are ten trips that hit both of those marks and then some (and leave guests craving more).
Yellowstone National Park is a sensory overload of steaming geysers, towering mountains, teeming wildlife, and deep blue alpine lakes. It’s our oldest and most-beloved trip for a reason. Our headquarters is located just two hours from the park. It’s where we live and play. We know how to get behind the scenes, and we take advantage of our contacts and special access to make this trip special. The average visitor only spends a few hours in the park—most of it in the car. We get guests out of their cars and onto the trails. Yellowstone is the perfect gateway to adventure travel and after people get a taste, they’re hooked.
Few places on Earth beat the Canadian Rockies in terms of adventure destinations. From jagged summits to jewel-like turquoise lakes to glaciers snaking down from the peaks, Banff and Jasper National Parks call to the wild soul. We introduce a lot of firsts on this trip. Often, it’s our guest’s first time walking on a glacier (on the Athabasca Glacier), their first time hiking over an alpine mountain pass, and sometimes their first grizzly bear sighting in the wild. Whether it’s hiking perfectly sculpted trails designed to minimize gasping-for-breath or simply enjoying picturesque lake-side picnics, the Canadian Rockies offer a lot of adventure for family members of all abilities.
Our Montana Paradise Valley trip is a fantastic introduction to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem surrounding the park. We hit most of Yellowstone’s highlights, but also head out of the park for some true multisport adventures. Rafting isn’t allowed inside the park, but just over the border, we hit the rapids on some of Montana’s best whitewater. We also ride horses into the pristine Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness with 4th generation Montana ranchers. Staying just outside the park also gives us the opportunity to have a luxurious soak at Chico Hot Springs, a local favorite.
This is the multisport adventure to beat all multisport adventures—all set in the gorgeous Austrian Alps. Hike and bike wildflower-carpeted meadows, alpine forests, and storybook villages that inspired music by Mozart, Schubert, and Hayden. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Opt for a family toboggan ride down a mountain on a winding luge course, paraglide over lush pastoral valleys or ride a cable car to Schmittenhöhe and a magnificent panoramic view of the Alps. Relax after an adrenaline-fueled day at some of the finest accommodations in western Austria.
No need to hype the Grand Canyon. It’s one of the biggest bucket-list destinations in the world. The canyon’s colorful vistas are so vast they’re almost inconceivable until you’re standing right on the rim looking in. We spend plenty of time doing just that (often with a gourmet picnic lunch), but it’s only part of this adventure. We also float the tranquil Salt River in inflatable kayaks for another stunning view of the desert landscape. History also comes to life as we explore ancient cliff dwellings and Prescott, AZ, where gunslingers like Wyatt Erp and Doc Holiday walked the streets.
By combining both Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, you get the best of both worlds in this two-for-one national parks adventure. We hit some of the iconic Yellowstone sights before heading sixty miles south to Grand Tetons National Park. The youngest mountain range in North America, the Tetons tower 13,777 feet high, creating some of the most picturesque landscapes in the Rocky Mountains. With the impressive Teton Range in the background, sightings of moose, elk, deer, and bear become all the more magical. Jackson Lake Lodge adds a touch of luxury to the trip with soaring, sixty-foot windows and the Tetons so close it looks like you can reach out and touch them.
No adventure travel conversation is complete without talking about Costa Rica. With 25% of Costa Rica’s total land area protected as national park or reserve, Costa Rica has built the most extensive adventure paradise in the world. With everything from white sand beaches perfect for relaxing to zip-lines that let you sail among the tree-tops to rafting through rainforest canyons, there’s nothing short of life-changing adventure around every corner. So much of the Costa Rican experience boils down to the guides. Some of the very best guides in the world get their start in Costa Rica, where guiding isn’t just a job but a life-purpose. If this is your first trip outside the US, Costa Rica should be at the very top of your list.
Imagine taking your kids to a land of giant tortoises, colorful birds, and incredible history. The Galapagos has long been credited with being Darwin’s living laboratory. Most of the sights and sounds have remained the same since his fateful voyage, from the peculiar landscapes to the flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world. To say that visiting the Galapagos is a once-in-a-lifetime experience isn’t just a cliché, with restrictions on visitation, it’s a true statement (and one that makes traveling to the islands with a trusted tour operator all the more important). Once your family arrives amid all of that natural beauty, “once-in-a-lifetime” will take on a whole new meaning.
From 2,000-foot waterfalls to 8,000-foot granite domes, to 3,000-year-old giant sequoia trees, Yosemite National Park has a lot to WOW visitors. Our expert guides take you behind the scenes, giving you and your family an experience that few others get to see. Cool off on an inner-tube float down the Merced River. Ride the historic Sugar Pine Railroad, and take in a new perspective with a 360-degree view of the valley from Sentinel Dome. And because Yosemite is the rock climbing capitol of the world, we pair you with a local expert to try your hand at climbing.
Mosel may be the world’s best introduction to a cycling adventure. Ride from village to village on this predominantly downhill journey along Germany’s meandering Mosel River. Start your days off with strudel and end them with cozy lodgings. In between, explore famous castles and roman ruins as you ride along the quaint vineyards of Germany’s wine region. Central European charm at its finest.