These vacations make it easy to do more than just visit a place.
There’s nothing wrong with a vacation that’s focused more on R&R than on get-up-and-go. Getting an overview of a place through sightseeing can be just as important as getting a taste of a city’s day-to-day life. But some destinations are just begging to be explored further. Immersing your family in experiences that unravel the history and culture of the region you’re visiting will open your minds and help you to connect with your destination on deeper level. Put the experiential travel mantra to the test on one of these engaging trips.
Join a Nature Expedition in Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s jungles and Caribbean coastline are the perfect playgrounds for your family to explore the great outdoors through experiential travel together. In Tortuguero National Park, join guided jungle walks to learn about the diverse wildlife that calls this seaside jungle home. Playful monkeys, colorful birds and sleepy sloths will capture your attention as an expert naturalist guides you through the Tirimbina Biological Preserve. A system of hanging bridges gives you a chance to get a close up look at the rainforest canopy.
Experiential travel through rainforests aren’t the only excitement that awaits your family in Costa Rica. In the Arenal Volcano area, you’ll be able to marvel at this dormant giant as you hike its old lava flow trails. On a nearby cacao plantation, you’ll learn how chocolate is made from cacao beans.
Head Out West to America’s National Parks
A trip to the western U.S. means more than just spotting bison and enjoying nature. The region’s history played an important role in shaping our nation. And in the region’s myriad national parks, you’ll discover vibrant cultural experiences that will enrich your experiential travel trip.
Trace the route the pioneers forged at the Oregon Trail Center, where you’ll be able to understand the challenges people overcame as they crossed the country and established settlements in the West. In Big Sky country near Yellowstone National Park, enjoy local cuisine and a hearty helping of Western hospitality after a day of discovering the park’s natural beauty. Get to know the pop-up city of Moab, Utah—also home to Arches National Park—where the population booms around rafting season along the Colorado River.
The cliffs of Mesa Verde National Park and Monument Valley have witnessed centuries of Navajo Nation history. Continue your experiential travel adventure by exploring the cliff-top dwellings and getting a taste of Navajo culture at a cookout filled with regional dishes. Then travel along historic Route 66, ending your trip with the wind in your hair on a stretch of the highway that forms the heart of the great American road trip.
Dive Deep Into Iconic European Cities
The sky’s the limit when it comes to options for experiential travel opportunities in Europe’s great cities. Whether you travel by land or as part of a cruise, it’s the cultural experience that will distinguish your family’s trip. Sample an array of gourmet tapas on a culinary tour of Barcelona or learn how to make traditional Spanish dishes at a cooking class in Cartagena. Just outside of Marseille, tour an olive grove, learn how olive oils are made and sample different varieties. In Venice, browse the Rialto Market with a local guide, who will teach you about the Venetian artisans selling fabrics, blown glass and other handmade goods. It’s local experiences like these that will shape the way your family sees and understands Europe’s vast array of cultures.
Inset photos by: iStock