Create Your Dream Family Travel Bucket List with our Editable PDF
“Are we there yet? Are we there YET?”
Ahh…the famous call from the back of the car from my childhood.
The beautiful ‘bucket list’ journey along the coast was not really appreciated by us kids, as we wrestled with our seatbelts and fought over snacks.
How exactly do you plan an ultimate holiday experience that caters to the whole family?
Might the trick be combining an adventure or exploration with a city tour or a bit of luxury?
Well, we have compiled some exciting and creative dream bucket list experiences and destinations for you to ponder for your ultimate family vacation.
Top Picks for Family Getaways
- Movie Locations
- Lord of the Rings – New Zealand
- Harry Potter – England/Scotland
- Finding Nemo – Australia
- Madagascar – Madagascar!
- Sporting Events
- The Tour de France – France
- Tennis Grand Slams – (the US, UK, Australia and France)
- Football World Cup or Olympic Games (Various)
- F1 Grand Prix (Various)
- Sleep in the Jungle – Amazon RainForest
- Tiger Safari – India
- Whale-watching – Canada
- More incredible Bucket List Wildlife Ideas
- Natural Wonders
- National Parks
- Volcanoes – Hawaii
- Caves – Austria
- Amusement Parks & Resorts
- Dreamworld, Sea World, Warner Bros Movie World and more – Gold Coast, Australia
- Sentosa Island – Singapore
- Disneyland – US
- More Theme Park bucket list options
- City Adventures
- Bridge Climb, Sydney Harbour Bridge – Sydney, Australia
- Pyramids of Giza – Cairo, Egypt
- Base Jumping – Auckland, New Zealand
- History & Culture
- Christmas in Lapland – Finland
- Diwali – India
- Yi Peng Lantern Festival – Thailand
Lord of the Rings – New Zealand
There are heaps of good reasons to visit New Zealand.
It is difficult to imagine another country with as much natural beauty as New Zealand. And combine that with a great adventure sports scene. You have all the makings of an unforgettable holiday choice from your family travel bucket list.
Spanning locations across both the North and South Islands of New Zealand are an incredible number of Lord of the Rings film locations to enjoy.
Whether it’s food, nature, sports or imagining your Lord of the Rings favourite characters and scenes, it’s a perfect place to cater to all family members.
Harry Potter – England/Scotland
Another beautiful location is the UK. And a favourite of young and old alike is the magical Harry Potter.
Capturing the imagination of such a wide variety of people makes this bucket list entry one of the best options for an overall family experience. Apart from the movie locations, there is incredible history, food and nature to experience.
One of the unique highlights for visitors to the UK is the architecture and historic buildings, a feature of the Harry Potter world.
When I travelled to the UK, I wanted to practically eat the ‘chocolate box’ houses! I adored the charming villages and well-preserved public historic buildings.
There are many places and sights to visit – Castles, mountain ranges, gorges, bridges, Cathedrals, Universities, stations, etc. A Harry Potter-themed vacation is bound to be close to the top of your travel bucket list if you are a movie or book fan.
Finding Nemo – Australia
If you want to combine a once-in-a-lifetime experience and seeing real-life Nemos (a variety of Clownfish), head ‘down under’ for an exciting bucket list-worthy family vacation.
For solo adventurers, we offer another Travel Bucket List Template PDF filled with ideas.
The Great Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the largest coral reef systems in the world.
When I visited the Great Barrier Reef as a child, it was before Nemo, so unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet him.
But now, your family can enjoy beautiful Queensland in Australia’s north and combine the trip with an exciting city vacation in cosmopolitan Sydney (and search for Nemo in Sydney Harbour).
Madagascar – Madagascar!
Who would have thought that cheeky lemurs could become a worldwide tourist attraction! But thanks to the hugely popular film, the African country is now an international holiday spot.
Combine a wildlife tour with culture, history, crafts and beaches. Sounds like a bucket list must-have to me!
The Tour de France – France
The famous bicycle race occurs over weeks and covers an extensive and memorable tour of the world’s most visited country.
Whilst the race is mainly in France, it occasionally moves across to various neighbouring countries, offering the chance to see even more of beautiful Europe.
Weeks of following the athletes through the countryside of France will surely leave a lasting impression on the whole family.
Tennis Grand Slams – (the US, UK, Australia and France)
Now that would be a massive family vacation if you went to all four grand slams in one year!
But just one of these major tournaments is a bucket list contender.
I was privileged to see such tennis legends as Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, Venus Williams, Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, Jim Courier, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Goran Ivanišević and so many more stars in Melbourne one year.
Combine the tournament with a week (or two-week) city or country tour, and you will certainly have one of your best family holiday memories.
Football World Cup or Olympic Games
It doesn’t get bigger than these two! The planning might involve waiting a few years. Still, it’s probably worth it for a once-in-a-lifetime unforgettable family vacation based around watching the best athletes in the world.
F1 Grand Prix (Multiple Countries)
Take your pick of some of the best cities to visit and witness the fastest guys on wheels!
Many Grand Prix races have public events leading up to the main event. So it’s not just the race you’ll enjoy but the atmosphere surrounding the glamourous Formula One circuit.
Wildlife-based tourism has changed over the years. There is much more interest in preservation and ethical practices rather than ‘interference’ in nature.
Sleep in the Jungle – Amazon RainForest
If your family feels like something intrepid – a real adventure, why not experience sleeping in a jungle!
Many countries offer this overnight wildlife experience (including zoos, for a slightly less ‘authentic’ option).
Hearing the sounds of so many creatures at night (when most are active) is a rare experience.
Stay in a Treehouse – It’s all very Tarzan!
It’s a unique experience for those families who want something more from their vacation than sun and surf (although there’s nothing wrong with that!).
Tiger Safari – India
After a successful conservation project, India has the largest number of tigers in the world. After significant efforts by various wildlife departments, the numbers have risen after a severe decline. Numerous excellent National Parks and Safari Tour operators offer the chance to see a tiger in the wild!
(Fun Fact – The nickname of the co-founder of menPsyche is Tiger! Harsh (Tiger) grew up around National Parks and has been lucky enough to witness many tigers in the wild).
India has seriously luxurious accommodation options for those who want to combine a lavish stay with an incredible wildlife adventure.
Whale Watching – Canada
The giants of the sea, whales hold a particular fascination for many wildlife enthusiasts. And Canada offers some of the best opportunities to witness these majestic creatures at play.
Imagine seeing an Orca or Humpback up close!
The bonus of whale watching in Canada is the multitude of other wildlife on display, such as sea lions and even bald eagles.
MORE incredible Family Travel Bucket List Wildlife Ideas:
- The Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)
- Dive with Great Whites Sharks (South Africa)
- King Penguins (Antarctica)
- Gorillas in the Wild (Rwanda/Uganda)
- Polar Bears (Norway)
- Crocodile Cage Diving (Zimbabwe)
- Swim with Rays and WhaLe Sarks (Maldives)
- Oranatangs (Borneo)
- Swim with Dolphins (Various)
(There are too many experiences to name!)
Basically, nearly every country has a bucket list-worthy National Park! These natural treasures offer a fantastic family vacation, including the beauty and scenery, hiking trails, camping, wildlife, flora or waterways. A famous National Park is a must-do vacation for everyone.
Whether it’s the world-renowned Galapagos Islands (97% National Park), one of the many superb parks in the US or Canada, or a wildlife supershow in the Serengeti or Kruger, or perhaps South America, India, or Australia, ….the choice is endless!
Many counties are home to dramatic volcanoes, but Hawaii is a unique location to add to your bucket list travels. Hawaii is among the few places to see a live volcano and lava flow.
Hawaii has two of the most active volcanoes in the world.
It’s terrifying and exhilarating at the same time!
Apart from an unforgettable volcano experience, Hawaii is famous the world over as a fun family holiday destination.
I love the idea of a long walk via cave exploration after indulging in numerous Austrian cakes and pastries!
Caves may not be the first item on everyone’s family travel bucket list. Still, there are many caves around the world suitable for a family of all ages to experience if you want something different.
One such cave system that is accessible to young children happens to be the largest Ice cave system in the world – Werfen Ice Caves in Austria.
And yes, the views from the hills look fantastic, and there’s a cable car too!
Amusement Parks & Resorts
Dreamworld, Sea World, Warner Bros Movie World and more – Gold Coast, Australia
The city of Gold Coast in Queensland is a family favourite holiday destinations for Australians.
Apart from superb beaches and unbeatable weather, the Gold Coast is home to a host of theme parks.
Dreamland is Australia’s largest theme park, with rides, a zoo and many attractions for families.
Another favourite is Sea World, a theme park, oceanarium and marine mammal park with rides, animal exhibits and rescue and conservation services.
Other amusement parks on the Gold Coast that may also make the families’ bucket list are –
- Warner Bros Movie World
- Wet ‘n’ Wild Gold Coast
- GC Aqua Park
- White Water World
Sentosa Island – Singapore
If you get tired of the stunning beaches, resorts, theme parks, attractions, spas, luxury hotels etc., Sentosa Island in Singapore has more to offer than just world-famous attractions such as Universal Studios and Madam Tussauds and endless fun events and activities.
The rainforest provides many unique experiences. Wildlife, bird watching and even a hidden historic Fort!
Disneyland doesn’t really need an introduction. The original Disneyland is in California and is one of the most beloved bucket list family vacation destinations in the world.
The perennially popular Walt Disney theme park is now in multiple locations, including Japan, France and China.
More Theme Park bucket list options –
- Europa Park (Germany)
- Six Flags Mountain Magic (US)
- Ferrari World (UAE)
- Universal Studios (Various locations)
- Tivoli Gardens (Denmark)
- Everland (South Korea)
- Asterix Park (France)
- Port Aventura Park (Spain)
- Efteling (Netherlands)
Bridge Climb – Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia
Imagine scaling the heights of one of the world’s most recognisable bridges for a city and harbour mega view!
The Sydney Harbour Bridge climb will take you 134m above Sydney Harbour
Combine a Nemo tour with a truly one-of-a-kind city experience.
(Check age and height restrictions before booking).
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Pyramids of Giza – Cairo, Egypt
How many cities can boast historic and fascinating structures so close to town as the Pyramids of Giza in Cairo (Okay, quite a few, but not many have pyramids!).
It’s an adventure of a lifetime for any lucky family.
Base Jumping – Auckland, New Zealand
Leaping off a tall tower in the middle of a city might not immediately scream ‘family vacation.” Still, such an adventurous challenge may be a bonding moment as you face the challenge together as a family!
Combine this adventure with a whole country tour.
History & Culture
Of course, every country has a fascinating history, even if it’s a short one! But there’s nothing like an ancient civilisation to explore and open your mind.
Here is a small selection (yes, I’ve left out so many more) to get your imagination going. The suggestions below have serious bucket-list-worthy attractions, historical sites and natural wonders (and some pretty good food, too!).
- Taj Mahal
- Ganges River
- Forts & Palaces
- Wildlife Safaris
- The largest collection of UNESCO World Heritage cultural sites
- Amalfi Coast
- Lake Como
- Some of the world’s most visited cities – Milan, Florence, Venice, Naples, Rome, Bologna
- Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius
- Greek Islands
- Mount Olympus
- The Great Wall of China
- The Yangtze River and the Three Gorges
- The Forbidden City & the Imperial Palace, Beijing
- Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Hunan
- World’s biggest mega-cities
Christmas in Lapland – Finland
As someone who grew up in the southern hemisphere, Christmas and snow do not go together.
However, for much of the world, Christmas does conjure up delightful scenes of snow and Santa.
Finland offers an annual celebration in a winter landscape with markets, lights and all the festivities you expect from the home of Santa.
Diwali – India
Diwali is the ‘Festival of Lights’ celebrated annually in India around October/November.
Many people decorate homes with lights, give gifts, perform rituals, light fireworks and enjoy the festive time of year. India is dynamic on a regular day, so imagine how it feels during a festival!
Yi Peng Lantern Festival – Thailand
The annual Yi Peng Festival is a Buddhist celebration focused near the Chang Mai region in Thailand.
Like many festivals around the world, this ancient tradition celebrates the end of a season and the start of a new one. Beautiful lanterns are released at the end of the monsoon (usually in November) in a spectacular display that will delight any festival-loving bucket list traveller.
Of course, it’s challenging to decide where to go on vacation from the vast list of bucket list options available. Even if you never see your top choices, it still feels great to plan and dream.
Tell us about your favorite family travel bucket list adventure in the Comments.
Jennifer is the co-founder of menPsyche. She holds an Applied Science degree in Public Health & Health Promotion and authored the ‘Personal Disaster’ book series.
Jennifer has a vast range of experience across many domains, including extensive international exposure.