Family holidays: Unusual places to take the kids

Not interested in a fly and flop beach break to Europe or queuing for the rides at Disney World on your next family holiday? Treat the kids (and adults) to the adventure of a lifetime on a trip to an unusual and unique destination filled with history, culture and wildlife activities galore.

If you feel you've seen enough of Portugal and Spain and want to give your children a real culture shock, where they can meet friendly locals and discover one-of-a-kind landscapes, we've found the holiday for you.

Burma (pictured) is a brilliant place for children, where the locals will fuss over your little ones. The exciting South East Asian country boasts beautiful scenery, fabulous cultural attractions and picture-perfect beaches. The kids will love spending a day in the jungle where they can learn how to look after an elephant, before spending the night in a rural village and playing with the local children.

Aspiring cowboys and cowgirls won't want to miss a trip to America's rugged Wild West, where magical Native American culture, roping lessons and beautiful new tipis in Nevada provide a wonderful glamping holiday. If it's a unique beach break you'd like to experience, head for China's answer to the Maldives, Dong'Ao Island, where Club Med has opened a new resort for energetic families to try water sports, beach yoga and sailing, just 30 miles from bustling Hong Kong.

While Costa Rica is becoming increasingly popular with families in search of a rainforest adventure, we've found a new spot in Central America where tiny travellers can visit the jungle and build sandcastles on the beach.

Click through our gallery for more places to go off the beaten track on a family holiday.

Unusual places for a family holiday
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Family holidays: Unusual places to take the kids
It's probably not the first place you think of for a family holiday or a beach break but China has plenty to offer tiny travellers on Dong'Ao Island. So much so that Club Med recently opened a new resort on the island dubbed the 'Chinese Maldives' for families seeking an alternative beachside retreat. Located just 30 miles from Hong Kong, the resort offers the usual array of kids' clubs as well as a whole host of activities for an energetic holiday, including water sports, hiking and sailing. 

Where better for an unusual family holiday than an island that has been created by volcanoes, shaped by waterfalls and shaken by earthquakes? Iceland offers a whole range of fascinating activities, from whale watching and caving in a lava tub, to puffin safari boat trips and exploring bubbling geothermal pools. Discover the World offers a nine-night self-catering holiday with car rental.

After recently opening its doors to tourism, Burma is rapidly becoming one of the most exciting places to visit in South East Asia and children love it. With beautiful scenery, fabulous cultural attractions and picture-perfect beaches, there is a wealth of activities to keep everyone entertained. Spend a day in the jungle learning how to look after an elephant, a night in a rural village giving your kids a wonderful opportunity to play with local children, and join the pilgrims to watch the sunset from the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. Check out the offering from

Fancy meeting orang-utans with your children? Borneo is a great place for a family holiday and offers the chance to see orang-utans up close, witness turtles laying eggs by moonlight and explore the breathtaking rainforest. Stubborn Mule Travel offers a family holiday in Borneo, where you can also follow the canopy walkways through the rainforest to watch for gibbons and birds, and play on the idyllic white sandy beaches while staying in a traditional longhouse on stilts.

Treat the family to an adventure holiday in America's Wild West to experience the magic of Native American culture, the rugged beauty of the mountain ranges and the secluded prairie land of Nevada. Aspiring cowboys can enjoy roping lessons and horse riding, while those looking for something more relaxing can go on horse-drawn wagon rides to take in the views of the stunning wilderness. Go on hikes to old mining shafts, try your hand at archery and indulge in massages while staying in a beautiful tipi at eco-resort Mustang Monument. The lavish tipis are perfect for camping under the stars.

Take the kids to the remote mountain villages of Ladakh to experience a holiday like no other. Situated between the Kunlun mountain range in the north of India and the main Great Himalayas to the south, Ladakh enables a unique insight into village life in the remote mountain regions. Accompanied by local porters and expert guides, you and the kids will step out of the modern world, walking between villages and staying in traditional village houses, which have been spruced up to provide comfort without compromising their authenticity. You can visit local schools, monasteries and markets, or for the more active, go trekking or river rafting. There is even a chance to get up close to India's wildlife and go tiger trekking on the back of an elephant. Asian Explorations offers tailor-made trips to Ladakh for families.

The whole family can enjoy exploring nature from a kayak in British Columbia. The region is best known for its orcas and offers some of the most reliable grizzly bear viewing in the world. Make your family holiday a real adventure by camping close to the wildlife. Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures offers a family holiday which takes visitors on a short boat ride to grizzly bear viewing spots and on kayak tours at a pace suited for families, with children from six years old able to join in the adventure. .

As Costa Rica becomes increasingly popular for families, those who fancy taking their tots to Central America can go off the beaten path in Panama. Watch the boats pass through the famous Panama Canal, explore the rainforest and meet indigenous cultures like the Embera, close to Panama City.The Caribbean islands are where rainforests meet beaches and are great for snorkelling, seeing marine life such as sea turtles and manatees, or going dolphin watching. Audley Travel offers a range of accommodation options for families in Panama, such as Tranquilo Bay on Bastimentos Island.
Ideal for families with older children, there are plenty of unusual and uniquely Japanese experiences to lure you. Stay at traditional Japanese Machiya in Kyoto, an old town house in the heart of the community, which provides the opportunity to glimpse Geisha glide pass your door step. Cat cafes, the Ghibli Museum and Osaka's Spa World will ensure the kids are having plenty of fun too. InsideJapan offers a variety of family adventures, including experiences such as Taiko drumming classes and Tate-do sword fighting.

Head for Argentina and learn how to play the sport of kings, polo, as a family. You can stay in an authentic family-run estancia in the heart of the Argentine Pampas and spend time riding on the ranch with gauchos, hiking along beautiful trails and enjoying hearty traditional Argentine dishes. Argentina's excellent infrastructure makes it easy to get from A to B, which is perfect for travelling with children. South American Explorations offers adults and children the chance to have fun and relax in a beautiful setting, along with the chance to learn polo with some world-class players. 


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