10 family holiday destinations you won’t have visited

From staycations to Asia's great metropolises, explore somewhere new in 2017

Grown weary of forcing scheduled resort activities on your loved ones? Have the kids finally realised that there’s a sweating teenager inside the giant plush mouse at Disneyland?

Assuming you’re not an amateur Bear Grylls or a little-less-lost Dr Livingstone, we’ve charted 10 holiday destinations that you probably won’t have visited…but really should!

Ranching Holiday, Idaho, USA

What can better corral a rowdy bunch of children and teens into a family activity than herding a head of cattle or learning how to lasso a cactus? Nothing, we think. But hold your hats: it doesn’t have to involve eating nothing but rehydrated beans all day nor do you have to cuddle up to an old cowpoke in the tack house for warmth every night; there’s plenty of ranches offering comfortable accommodation and delicious meals for you and your family. Although riding experience is welcomed, lots of ranches offer beginners lessons for your very own little Wild Bunch.


A prime destination for any nature obsessed family, Borneo offers tourists a chance to get up close and cuddly with orphaned baby orangutans at Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre. For those younger children (and adults) with a budding interest in famously lost bears at Paddington train station, Borneo gives people a chance to see the world’s smallest bear at Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, although, we’re told, they’re yet to develop a love of marmalade. If you’re feeling like living the high-life, we suggest staying in one of the stilt lodges at Borneo Nature Lodge.

Borneo Nature Lodge, Kinabatangan, Sabah, Malaysia

Tokyo, Japan

A staggering 14 million people call Tokyo [lead picture] home and the iridescent city boasts an array of cultural buildings and neon districts. The Four Seasons Hotel at Marunouchi is a great base of operations for your forays into the city. If you’re feeling spiritual, head over to the Meiji Jingu Shrine and experience inner city tranquillity that you could only find in the heart of Tokyo. If you want to see metropolitan Tokyo and be immersed in manga and anime art, the Akihabara District definitely won’t disappoint. Be sure to stick around for the sweet sake too.

Maui, Hawaii, USA

The seamless white beaches of the Pacific Ocean coupled with the relaxed Hawaiian culture make Maui one of the most popular Hawaiian Islands to visit. Staying at Montage Kapalua Bay will give you almost instant access to turtle stocked beaches, and the snorkelling, scuba diving and surfing around the island can’t be beaten. Whilst the active volcanoes are on Kona, a much larger island, the dormant volcanos in Haleakalā National Park offer an unbeatable platform to watch the sunrise or sunset from. However, if, like us, you’d rather sip cold booze under a beach umbrella, there’s plenty of local drinks and delicacies to sample.

Herm, Guernsey

Struggling to get your bearings abroad? Are your family holidays punctuated with map themed arguments with your other half? Look no further: Herm is a small island measuring 1.5 miles long and 0.5 miles wide and is located just off the coast of Guernsey. The four star White House Hotel boasts spectacular views of the harbour and a heated pool for those not entirely convinced by the temperature of the English Channel. The island is prime for adventurous types with kayak tours offering the best views of the coastline. With 1,400 years of history, St Tugual’s Chapple is also worth the hike.

Petra, Jordan

Follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia and Indiana Jones and visit The Rose City! Voted as one of the New7Wonders of the World alongside the likes of Rio’s Christ the Redeemer, Petra is an archaeological city cut into the rock of the Jebel al-Madhbah mountain that was established as early as 312 BC. The Petra Moon Hotel offers comfortable accommodation 300ft away from the city entrance, making your commute to the past very reasonable indeed.

Hanoi, Hoi An & Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

With a meal costing roughly £1.50 and local beer at 60p a pint, Vietnam is steadily becoming more popular with tourists who are seeking out the traditional Asia. Vietnam’s French colonial past is still visible today and much of the architecture is a myriad of European and Vietnamese features. We suggest being pampered La Beauté De Hanoi Hotel before traveling south through the narrow country before stopping off in Hoi An Old Town, which is UNESCO World Heritage Site. Finishing off in Ho Chi Minh, commonly known as Saigon, history comes alive in the Cu Chi Tunnels, crucial to the communist survival in the Vietnam War.

Cornwall, UK

UK holidays are no longer about damp caravans and undercooked BBQ sausages, there are opportunities to get properly nostalgic at hundreds of quaint self-catering locations. With the romance of the age of steam lingering in our minds we’ve decided on a holiday in Cornwall that would even get Fred Dibnah’s coals hot: 1950’s railway carriage rentals in Cornwall with Rail Holiday. And there’s plenty to do when you’re not reminiscing about the golden age of travel: the gusty Cornish peninsular is perfect for kitesurfing and windsurfing. There’s also a fantastic owl sanctuary that will make the whole family put their phones down and stop tweeting.

Iguazo Falls & the Guarani People, Argentina

Argentina is famed for its fantastic football and as the birthplace for legendary revolutionary Che Guevara, but the country also offers incredible waterfalls and culture. Responsible Travel offers tailor made holidays starting in Buenos Aires that take you to the waterfall of the Iguazu River and beyond. The package also includes a visit to the Guarani People and an opportunity to learn about their rich mythology and beliefs.

Iguazo Falls, Argentina

Mumbai, India

On the western coast of India, Mumbai is the most populous Indian city and hosts of wealth of interesting and cultural spectacles. Children will love the array of activities that make Mumbai a great choice for a family holiday: KidZania Mumbai is an indoor interactive theme park the size of 6 Olympic swimming pools. Younger children can act out adult professions with a selection of fancy dress and scenarios designed to be both educational and fun. Asia’s biggest waterpark is also in Mumbai – a perfect escape from the heat. We suggest staying in the practical Sofitel Mumbai hotel for its great location.

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Karl Payn

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