Video: Best Family Adventures 2015

This year, embark on an adventure that the whole family will love.
Matelly / Cultura / Getty Images

Pile Everybody Into the Car

Family-friendly destinations accommodate all your travel companions — whether they include babies, pets, teenagers, grandparents, or all of the above. From the wide selection of parks in Orlando to the golfing, shopping and swimming in Myrtle Beach, family trips are a time for enjoying what you love with the people you love.

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476671221 - Raft the Grand Canyon
Raft the Grand Canyon

Raft the Grand Canyon

It is the epic American adventure – rafting 277 miles over eight days through the towering red walls of the Grand Canyon, navigating rapids by day and sleeping under the stars at night. The Grand Canyon Expeditions Company makes this bucket-list experience possible for the whole family thanks to their well-planned, safe and ruggedly fun river trips. The family will eat well, sleep comfortably and yet still get the thrill of buckling down for some bumpy white waters (life jackets required at all times, of course!) By spending eight days on the river you get to know this magical land like the 19th century explorers did – see eagles soar above as you float through canyons that tell the story of the Earth’s geological past. While this respected river company is flexible, they recommend the trip for children eight and older. 960 1280

John & Lisa Merrill  

Family Safari in South Africa

Family Safari in South Africa

You will never forget the first time you hear a lion roar on the African plains. Or see giraffes run freely. Or watch a leopard stalk its prey. These are experiences that stay with you, and thanks to the super kid-friendly Madikwe-Lelapa Lodge in South Africa, the entire family can have them together. The lodge is located in a malaria-free zone on the edge of the Kalahari, so parents can rest easy bringing the kids along. While many safari lodges are reluctant to take young children, all ages are happily welcome at Madikwe (although, for safety purposes, children under the age of two have to sit out the game drives). With special play spaces and animal activities for the kids and fine dining for the grown-ups, everyone will be wildly entertained here. 960 1280

Roger de la Harpe  

Ride Wild in Texas

Ride Wild in Texas

No place for the idle, Texas Horseback Adventures gives your family a taste of the real cowboy life. Sleep in a comfy bed roll in a canvas tent on an expansive, privately-owned ranch in the West Texas desert and wake up to wide open spaces where horses ramble freely. Gourmet chef, expert guide, and head cowgirl Missy Cantrell will serve up a cowboy breakfast prepared over an open fire, after which you will help her saddle up and ride. And this is no slow-moving trail ride, but rather a real horse lover’s journey on which you may trot for miles, sometimes up rocky mountains to jaw-dropping views over the ridges of Mexico. Cantrell, however, is skilled at catering the ride to all levels and schedules, from a one-day ride to a week. If your kids can’t get enough of horses and like to help out and get dirty, this is the adventure for them. 960 1280

Stevens Fremont  

Go Eco in Belize

Go Eco in Belize

Ride horses to ancient Mayan temples, discover archeological pottery shards amid the stalagmites on a caving trip, or canoe down the serene Macal River at the Black Rock Lodge in Belize. The Black Rock is a totally off-the-grid riverside eco lodge nestled in the rainforest, so the kids learn not only about the rainforest and how to take care of it but also about resource conservation in general. No TVs or internet connection means that everyone gets to unplug together. Who needs their gadgets anyway when you can see three types of toucans before breakfast? It’s best to travel to Belize in the cooler months – late April through September can get pretty steamy. 960 1280

Danita Delimont  

Sail the British Virgin Islands

Sail the British Virgin Islands

Tired of the regular beach vacation? Take it to the high seas. Whether you are an able sailor or prefer to hire a skipper, a boating trip around the British Virgin Islands is a great adventure – even if you have yet to learn how to hoist a sail. The gentle winds around the British Virgin Islands make it a particularly safe place to launch your first family sailing trip; and because the islands are clustered together, you are never too far from land. Rent your ocean vessel from an international boating company like the Moorings; they will teach you what you need to know, provide you with a crew if desired and suggest itineraries for sailing from island to island. “It’s like a floating RV,” says one mom who took her four-year-old and six-year-old sailing. “The kids help out with things like dropping anchor, and we would all swim into the beaches together, exploring different islands every day.” 960 1280

Christian Wheatley  

Get Unplugged in Jamaica

Get Unplugged in Jamaica

Rather than opt for the mega-resort vacation in Jamaica, try a bolder off-the-grid adventure by renting a house in the jungles of the northern coast near Ocho Rios. In spacious rentals like the Cabarita Lookout, for example, there is sparse internet service, so everyone can trade in their screen time for hiking under waterfalls at Dunn’s River Falls, jumping off of cliffs (small ones!) into clear pools at Blue Hole or hunting seashells on a remote black sand beach. And because a driver and cook often come with the rental property, parents can really relax – without the crowds or expense often found at the all-inclusive hotels. If you and your kiddos want to venture back into the land of tourist attractions, swimming with the dolphins at Dolphin Cove is a nautical adventure that the kids will love. 960 1280

wdstock  

Surf Camp in San Diego

Surf Camp in San Diego

When you learn to surf with your kids, that means you will also laugh, wipe out, and feel the buzz of riding your first wave together – and nothing beats that. But to make the first family surf experience a good one, go with a pro who is both encouraging and safe. “The big V variable is the ocean,” says Pat Weber, the San Diego-based surf coach who has run the San Diego Surfing Academy for twenty years. “Understanding the waves is the hardest part of the sport.” That knowledge is a big part of the education you’ll get with Coach Pat, who knows how to introduce surfing safety, etiquette and technique to all ages in a positive way that you’ll never forget. The friendly school customizes the surf camp experience to each child’s swimming level, athletic ability and focus. Stay at one of their partner properties – some located steps from the beach – for a personalized surf adventure in the right hands. 960 1280

Stephen Simpson  

Rent a Riad in Marrakech

Rent a Riad in Marrakech

Step into the otherworldly delights of Marrakech, Morocco, where the locals are renown for doting upon the little ones. Walk with your children through the cultural phenomenon that is the Plaza Jemaa el Fna to see the snake charmers, hear the Arabic and Berber storytellers entertaining the crowds (even if you miss the plotline, it is still fun to witness) and sample the tagines and couscous at the food stalls that come out at dusk. Stay in a family-friendly riad, like Les Trois Mages, decked out with mosaic tiles, cushioned alcoves and ample gardens – many riads, or traditional Moroccan homes, are an affordable option for large families. Take a donkey ride, visit a traditional souk and mosque and enjoy the beautifully haunting cry of the muezzin call to prayer. North Africa will not fail to capture the imagination, no matter what age. 960 1280

shomos uddin  

Lake Louise, canada, water, mountain
Banff National Park

Banff National Park

Explore the pristine shores of Lake Louise, a luxurious base camp for a tour of the Canadian Rockies. 960 1280

By Benefactor123 (Own work) [CC BY 3.0],   

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

Kids can explore Maine's rugged coast at Acadia National Park and set off on nature walks on the park's many trails. 960 1280

By Kim Carpenter (Near Thunder Hole, Acadia National Park 8911) [CC BY 2.0],   

Stowe Mountain

Stowe Mountain

Families can try trout-fishing at Sterling Pond, zoom down the Stowe Alpine Slide and sample Vermont's most famous dessert, Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
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Pike's Peak

Pike's Peak

The 14,000-foot Pike's Peak isn't Colorado's tallest mountain, but it inspired "America the Beautiful."
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Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Park rangers provide plenty of educational adventures in the great outdoors at Yosemite National Park.
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By chensiyuan (chensiyuan) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Great Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains

Asheville is surrounded by towering mountains and national parks, including Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
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Pisgah National Forest

Pisgah National Forest

Take a ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway outside of Asheville, and pack a picnic for lunch at Pisgah National Forest.
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By Ken Thomas (KenThomas.us(personal website of photographer)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons  

Adirondack Park

Adirondack Park

Head to northern New York for an Adirondack vacation with mountain views, zip-line tours and swanky resorts.
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By en:User:Mwanner [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Diamonback rollercoaster at King's Island
Diamondback

Diamondback

Diamondback, a 5,282-foot long rollercoaster, sends its riders 235 feet into the air, with an adrenaline rushing 220-foot drop. Ride Diamondback at King’s Island in Mason, OH.

Don't miss the new season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Intimidator

Intimidator

The Intimidator is the tallest, longest and fastest roller coaster in the Southeastern United States. Intimidator sends its riders through the air at 75 miles per hour. Ride Intimidator at Carowinds in York, SC.

Don't miss the new season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Kingda Ka

Kingda Ka

Kingda Ka reaches a speed of up to 128 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds at its peak! At the end of the launch track, the train climbs the main top hat tower, reaching a height of 456 feet! Ride Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, NJ.

Don't miss the new season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Millennium Force

Millennium Force

It is the 2nd-longest roller coaster in North America after The Beast at Kings Island. The ride has a 300-foot drop! Ride Millennium Force at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH.

Don't miss the new season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Bizarro

Bizarro

Situated in the back of the park, Bizarro cruises to a cool 77 miles per hour, riding in upwards of 208 feet in the air. Ride Bizarro at Six Flags New England.

Don't miss the new season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Top Thrill Dragster

Top Thrill Dragster

Top Thrill Dragster is a steel, accelerator roller coaster, over 400 feet tall. The Dragster is the second tallest roller coaster in the world, only behind Kingda Ka. Ride Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH.

Don't miss the new season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Xcelerator

Xcelerator

After launch, Xcelerator crests to 205 feet in the air, and then soars to 82 miles per hour. Ride Xcelerator at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA.

Don't miss the new episode of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Desperado

Desperado

Desperado features a 60-degree, 225-foot drop, a 209-foot lift hill, and top speeds around 80 miles per hour. Ride Desperado at Buffalo Bill’s in Primm, NV.

Don't miss the new season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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The Voyage

The Voyage

Get ready for some serious air-time. At 67 miles per the hour, The Voyage is the 2nd second fastest wooden coaster in the world. Ride The Voyage at Holiday World in Santa Claus, IN.

Don't miss the new episode of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Holiday World, Santa Claus, Indiana  

El Toro

El Toro

El Toro is a giant at 188 feet tall, with a record- breaking 76- degree drop! 
Ride El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, NJ.

Don't miss the new episode of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Ron Wyatt  

Thunderhead

Thunderhead

Named after a peak within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Thunderhead speeds up to 55 miles per hour at 100 feet in the air. Ride Thunderhead at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN.

Don't miss the new season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Dollywood, Steven Bridges  

Kraken

Kraken

This steel, floorless rollercoaster loops its riders up and around to 119 feet into the air! Ride Kraken at Sea World in Orlando, FL.

Don't miss the new season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Flickr Creative Commons, by Hyku  

Hydra the Revenge

Hydra the Revenge

Hydra the Revenge takes its passengers on a constant twisting and turning adrenaline rush, reaching speeds of 53 miles per hour. Ride Hydra the Revenge at Dorney Park in Allentown, PA.

Don't miss the new season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom  

Vortex

Vortex

Vortex is the first rollercoaster with 6 inversions. It’s currently tied for fourth place for having the most inversions in the world! Ride Vortex at King’s Island in Mason, OH.

Don't miss the new season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Wikimedia Creative Commons  

Wild Eagle

Wild Eagle

The Wild Eagle is the first of its kind in the US, flying in to heights of 210 feet, with a 135- foot drop and reaching a max speed at of 61 miles per hour. Ride the Wild Eagle at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN.

Don't miss the new season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Dollywood, Steven Bridges  

SheiKra

SheiKra

This floorless rollercoaster takes its riders 200 feet in the air for a 90-degree heart- pounding dive at 70 miles per hour. Enjoy loops, dives into dark tunnels and a finale with a splash!

Don't miss the new season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Thinkstock  

Medusa Serpent Roll

Medusa Serpent Roll

Medusa is 150 feet tall and boasts a 128-foot loop that's the largest in the world! Medusa was also one of the first floorless coasters in the world.

Don't miss the new season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Wikimedia Commons  

Afterburn

Afterburn

Standing 114 feet tall, Afterburn jolts passengers through the air at 62 miles per hour.

Don't miss the new season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Coasterman1234 at en.wikipedia  

Apollo's Chariot

Apollo's Chariot

If you can imagine -- and can handle -- a drop of 210 feet, then Apollo's Chariot is your ticket to pure adrenaline.

Don't miss the new season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Wikimedia Commons, Work owned by Douglas Whitaker  

Montu

Montu

A rollercoaster with 2 and 3 loops is heart-racing enough. But can you imagine 7 hair- raising loops? Imagine and believe in Montu.

Don't miss the new season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Suedepop  

Aftershock

Aftershock

Zipping and looping around at 65 miles per hour, Aftershock is a crowd-pleaser.

Don't miss the new season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Silverwood Theme Park  

Alpengeist

Alpengeist

Ascend 195 feet in the air, and descend 170 feet down but not before hearing, "Thank you and enjoy your avalanche of adventure on Alpengeist!"

Don't miss the new season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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Coasterman1234  

Manta

Manta

Manta is much more than your traditional coaster. Riders drop, nose first, and get up-close and personal with the local sea life. A sharp side turn skims the water’s surface, leaving riders wet and cool.

Don't miss the new season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.
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WillMcC  

The Great Vermont Corn Maze
The Great Vermont Corn Maze

The Great Vermont Corn Maze

What makes a corn maze great? A 32-foot underground tunnel and a 30-foot cabin cruiser that "sails" on top of the corn. This third-generation dairy farm unveils an entirely new maze design in North Danville, Vermont, each year. 960 1280

Robert Lyons Photography  

Sever's Corn Maze

Sever's Corn Maze

Self-proclaimed the "Midwest's original corn maze," Sever's is now in its 16th year, and offers Pumpkin Blasters and pumpkin patches in addition to its twisted 14-acre maze. 960 1280

Social Media Breakfast, flickr  

Kraay Family Farms

Kraay Family Farms

The only "tech" that usually comes with a corn maze is a flashlight -- but not at this Alberta, Canada, farm. The Kraay family has been crafting corn mazes since 1999 and this year they earned the Guinness World Record for the Largest QR code. Of course, you need a smartphone and a plane to test it out. 960 1280

Reuben Kraay  

Treinen Farm

Treinen Farm

Wisconsin's largest corn maze is 15 acres (14 and a half football fields) of twists, turns and dead ends. 960 1280

Treinen Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch  

Happy Day Farm

Happy Day Farm

This "New Jersey Grown" maze offers 10 acres and lots of games to entertain the whole family in Manalapan, N.J. 960 1280

Happy Day Farm  

Connors Farm

Connors Farm

The Connors Farm's haunted corn maze in Danvers, Massachusetts, embraced a spooky "Witches of Salem" theme this year. 960 1280

  

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm

Families can spend about an hour in this mind-bending corn maze, exploring over 2.5 miles of paths and scenic bridges with the help of two Maze Masters and clues. 960 1280

Cathy Kornfield  

Queens Country Farm Museum

Queens Country Farm Museum

Don't let its size fool you. With just three acres in Floral Park, N.Y., Queens Country Farm Museum designed a tightly-wound 45-minute maze. Afraid you're not up to the challenge? There are clues in nine hidden mailboxes and corn-styled phones to "tele-stalk" staff for help. 960 1280

Skyviews Survey Aerial Photography  

Long and Scott Farms

Long and Scott Farms

You don't have to be up north to get lost in a spooky maze. People in Mt. Dora, Florida, reap the benefits of warm weather and can enjoy this 10-year-old maze until December. 960 1280

Long & Scott Farms  

Richardson Farm

Richardson Farm

Not too many farms can handle four separate mazes winding through 33 acres of corn. With 24 hidden checkpoints and three wooden bridges, the possibilities are endless at Richardson Adventure Farm in Spring Grove, Illinois. 960 1280

Richardson Farm  

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