For adults, holidays can be a much-needed time to recharge and refresh, but scientists have found that they can be profoundly beneficial for a child’s mental and emotional well-being.
With half-term around the corner, discover some of the most engaging family holidays around the world – from horseback riding in California backcountry to travelling back in time in ancient Japan.
For thrill-seeking families
Dive with sharks – Denver, Colorado
The Denver Downtown Aquarium is home to over 15,000 fish, mammals and plants from all over the world. Get up close and personal with five different species of shark in the new Shark Cage Experience, available for children aged eight and above. The 20-minute experience sees guests dive into a clear glass cage in the Shipwreck exhibit, where they are just centimetres away from the sharks.
Where to stay: The Curtis Hotel is a five-minute drive from the Aquarium and features themed pop culture rooms that kids will love, including a Superhero Suite and Video Game Room. For more information, visit denver.org.
Ride horseback through the Eastern Sierra – Mammoth Lakes, California
The scenic and breath-taking trails of the Eastern Sierra mountains make the perfect backdrop for a horseback riding adventure for the whole family. Rides vary from one hour to all day, dependent on level and experience. Traverse shores of alpine lakes and majestic forests on a trusty steed, and experience the majesty of California backcountry. For more information, go to visitmammoth.com.
Where to stay: Tucked away in the mountains, The Westin Monache Resort offers striking views in addition to a Westin Kids Club where children can play, do arts and crafts and watch the latest hit movies.
Conquer the Royal Gorge Via Ferrata – Canon City, Colorado
In 2019, the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park unveiled an exciting new Via Ferrata. Not for the faint-hearted, travellers are led by an expert mountain guide as they ascend the 1,200 feet granite rock walls of the Royal Gorge. Once at the top, visitors are treated to spectacular views of the Gorge.
Where to stay: Stay at the Bighorn Mountaintop Lodge, high above the Arkansas River – guests at the Lodge receive discounted entrance to the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. get more information from colorado.com.
Ride the Skunk Train – Mendocino County, California
Explore California’s breath-taking redwoods on board the Skunk Train in Mendocino County. Choose from a number of journeys, including the two-hour Wolf Tree Turn from Willits through the redwood-thick Noyo River Canyon, or the one-hour Pudding Creek Express from Fort Bragg which journeys along the beautiful Pudding Creek Estuary. For the more adventurous families, try the new motorised rail bikes through the woods to Glen Blair Junction.