I asked my kids what they thought were the most epic things they’ve ever done, and they came up with some great stuff. After a lot of debating, we’ve narrowed them down and come up with the most incredible experiences for teens from all around the world. I also threw in a few things I’ve done without them that I cannot wait to go back and let them experience first hand.
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Epic Experiences for Teens
These ideas are in no particular order. Each are worthy of doing, so pick out a few that are available somewhere that you are traveling to or even near where you live. You will note that some of these are specific on where to do them, but zip lining can be done almost anywhere. We’ve done lots and the best of all was Honduras, so that is the one I recommend.
1. Zip lining in Honduras
Ziplining is fun no matter where you are, but some of the longest zip lines you can experience are found in Copan, Honduras. Because it’s in Central America, it’s quite affordable as well. We paid around $20 a person, which is quite a bit less than we’ve paid at most places in the United States. If you are worried about it meeting certain safety requirements, then you probably do not want to do this activity in a third-world country.
Our second favorite ziplines are at Selvatica, an Extreme Adventure in the Mexican Jungle.
2. Paris Catacombs
This will be one of the most memorable historical activities for a teen in Paris. There’s just something about being way far underground and surrounded by bones that leaves an impression. I am a big believer in kids learning history and it’s a whole lot easier to make it have an impact when they physically see it. You can also get a pair of headphones hooked up to the audio tour, which you can go through at your own pace. The audio tours gives so much interesting and crazy information about the history of the catacombs, without relying on a real guide.
The island of Santorini is interesting and there are so many unique places to see. The red beach and black beach are super chill and interesting to look at. Then the way certain areas of the island are built into the cliffside is really neat. I recommend staying in a cave hotel for at least one night for a full experience.
4. Boating around the Drenia Islands (Greece)
You can rent a little boat in Ouranopolis and take it over to the nearby Drenia Islands. Once you are over there you will likely have an entire area to yourself. Teens can climb rocks and swim. There’s hardly anyone around making it feel like a private experience.
I get that this isn’t for everyone. People have various feelings on interacting with elephants. We got to “swim” with the elephants when we were in Thailand and it was epic. There are lots of ways to interact with elephants in Thailand so pick a sanctuary and spend a day with them.
6. Skiing Whistler
There are lots of great places to ski, but Whistler is at the top of our list. Between Whistler mountain and Blackcomb Mountain you could ski for days and not get to all of the trails. The terrain park was excellent and the village is set up perfectly for those that would rather chill out or shop.
Other places we felt were notable include Pomerelle, Sun Valley, and Park City. (Note: We have not skied outside of North America, therefore I cannot recommend anywhere else.)
7. Seeing the monkeys in Costa Rica
Seeing monkeys anywhere while out in the jungle somewhere is always cool. But in Costa Rica, there were so many. We saw tons in Sri Lanka and Thailand as well. We never feed them because they tell you not to but there is always someone around who is and it is fun to watch.
8. Rappeling in Costa Rica
Up in the volcano area of the country are deep crevices going down the mountain. You can rappel down into them. There are a lot of waterfalls and rivers you have to go through during it so you will get totally soaked. The water isn’t that cold though and the air is warm.
9. Thai Boxing Lessons in Thailand
It doesn’t get much better than learning how to Thai box in Thailand. Our hotel Shangri-La Chiang Mai offered private lessons. It was one of those things we almost didn’t do but I am so glad we did. It was a great time and we learned a lot.
I’ve rarely seen this activity offered, but during one of our stays at Beaches Negril this was an available activity. It’s weird to watch your teens underwater but they loved every minute of it. If you are visiting somewhere that offers this I definitely recommend it. I will say as their mom I found it difficult to watch as I swam along behind. I kept worrying something might go wrong.
Once your child is old enough to drive there will be certain countries that will let them drive off-road vehicles like Mexico! Do some research to find out which place has the best trails. La Paz, Mexico has tons of off-roading. To find a good off-roading experience in the United States I recommend Polaris Adventures.
Parasailing is always a good time but do it on an island and the views will immediately add to the overall experience. It’s one of those things anyone can do, it takes no skill.
Going whitewater rafting anywhere is always a great activity with teens. But doing it somewhere exotic like Sri Lanka adds a whole other level to the activity. As you come down out of the mountains from the tea plantations there are lots of white water rafting outfitters.
14. Bicycle through the Bangkok Jungle
Bangkok is a fantastic place and experiencing it by bike is completely wild. We did the Bangkok Bicycle Tour with a Jungle Adventure and it was insane. Biking through Bangkok is not for the faint of heart. Their traffic is insane but once you are outside the city it’s jungle and farmland.
15. Visit a Wet Market in Asia
There’s nothing quite like a wet market. Depending on where you grew up, aka the United States, the chances are high that you have never seen anything like this before. Have them cook something up for you right there and be sure and find some sort of dessert too. Now, I know because of the excuse that was given for Covid many might be timid by a wet market but one visit and you will realize they are probably lying about where it came from. We’ve eaten in lots of wet markets and we’ve never even gotten food poisoning.
Universal Orlando has adrenaline-raising rollercoasters like the Hulk and Rip Rocket. If your kid is an adrenaline junkie make sure they ride both of these coasters. Plus, this is where you will find the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
If you are on the other side of the country I recommend Knotts Berry Farms. They’ve got some extreme roller coasters.
Learn how to make the local cuisine in the country you are visiting. Even better, take a cooking class in Asia where you visit a wet market to pick up the food you need first. There is almost always cooking lessons of some sort offered in touristy areas, so find one and get an inside look at what you are eating.
18. Whitehaven Beach
Your teens have probably never seen anything like this before. It’s really something to see and the water is calm so swimming is enjoyable. Most outfitters that will take you out there will also stop at some of the fringe reefs for snorkeling, which in my opinion are better than the Great Barrier Reef.
19. See Singapore
Just seeing Singapore is dazzling. There’s really nothing else like it. Seeing the architecture alone is enough of a reason to visit, as is the food. This may sound odd but eating in Singapore is an experience all on its own. Food is a really big deal there and they’ve got a lot available that you’ve likely never heard of.
20. Go On a Cruise
Teens love cruising. Pick a ship that has a lot to do and makes cool stops, preferably to a private island like Castaway Cay. The Norwegian Bliss has go karts and the Royal Carribbean Odyssey of the Seas has indoor sky diving! Not to mention teens eat a ton, so an around the clock buffet is a bonus.
For now these are our top 20 experiences, but I am sure it won’t be long until I update it again when we find more amazing things teens will love.