Family Vacation With College Students

There are many alternatives to spending another summer sitting with the television watching re-runs and commercials. If you have a student in college, or have one heading off to the university, why not consider taking a family vacation together? Most families don’t see their students as often as they would like because of the distance between home and campus. Having your students come home for the summer break is one way to solve this problem. Are you looking for the best family vacation ideas for college students? Planning a family vacation is easy when everyone is still in high school, but it becomes more difficult the older your children get.

We all know how difficult it is to travel with your college student; in fact, I wrote an article about it a few months ago. This summer I had a chance to test this article out when my son’s family (he has two children and his wife), came to visit from Texas. Things have certainly changed since we were on vacation and in college! Tis the season for family vacations, whether you’re a native of our great country or visiting from abroad. Your college student/parent has texted you about needing to know about prices on airline tickets, hotels, and fun things to do.

Family Vacation With College Students

Vacations often provide some of the best family bonding time of the year. And with kids away at college, long summer vacations can be even more important than ever. But how do you plan a vacation that both your adult children and you and your spouse or partner can enjoy?

Teens and 20-somethings are adventuresome travel companions, who enjoy a mix of outdoor adventure, cultural immersion, fine dining, and cool shopping. Continue reading for tips on structuring the ​perfect family vacation when everyone’s grown up, then check out this sampling of great vacation destinations for families with young adults.


Montreal, Canada

Chinese garden in Autumn, Montreal
Perry Mastrovito / The Image Bank / Getty Images

The combination of European feel, museums, boutiques and club scene made Montreal a top pick among teens and 20-somethings, as well as their parents. Old Montreal bustles with museums, boutiques, fine dining and café culture.

Street performers, jugglers, and musicians fill the former marketplace of Place Jacques-Cartier. And Mount Royal rises above the center of the city, offering beautiful parks, hiking trails, and horseback riding. A 23-year-old intern at sold us on the idea after she called it her favorite all-around city. This gorgeous 2-minute video sealed the deal. We’re booking our tickets now for the summer. Winter is icy.


San Diego, California

USA, California, San Diego. Historic town centre. Gaslamp Quarter
Philippe TURPIN / Getty Images

San Diego‘s beautiful beaches—so alluring for surfers, sunbathers, divers, and kayakers—are an outdoorsy counterpoint to the city’s fabulous museums, world-famous zoo, and the clubs and cafes of its Gaslamp Quarter, where 20-somethings will want to hang after mom and dad go to bed.

Nearby La Jolla boasts swanky boutiques and posh shops, and Coronado Island lends a retro vibe and powdery soft beaches to your must-see list.

Other places to see include coastal towns nearby like Leucadia, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, and Del Mar, home of the famous race track. The Del Mar Racetrack season runs from mid-July through early September. There’s also the very popular Del Mar Fair.


New Orleans

New Orleans
Bruce Soileau / Stock.Xchng Photos

New Orleans’ French Quarter provides jazzy nightlife and outrageously wonderful dining possibilities, but teens and 20-somethings may also be very interested in the ample opportunities for voluntourism.1 Among the groups working here: Hands on New Orleans and Habitat for Humanity.

Other great things to do in New Orleans and the surrounding area include bayou tours, architectural tours, and museums. 


Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland
Gian / Stock.Xchng Photos

Europe offers so many exciting destinations, but Dublin has a particularly cool vibe, says TravelMuse‘s Donna Airoldi, that combines “outdoorsy days and then at night, live music, restaurants, and clubs.”

In addition to the historical attractions and hiking possibilities, Dublin’s Temple Bar area, the narrow, cobblestoned streets near Christ Church Cathedral, is home to bohemian shops, a thriving arts scene, and plenty of late night clubbing. In short, there’s plenty to do here for teens, as well as enough nightlife to satisfy the 20-something crowd.

If your family enjoys hitting the links, there are plenty of gorgeous golf courses in Ireland for you to try out. Going outside of the city to see the countryside is a day trip that’s worth the time, as the Irish countryside is unique and beautiful.


Granada, Nicaragua

Albaicin district old town Granada
Luis Dafos / Getty Images

Costa Rica is an undeniably popular vacation destination, but Airoldi calls neighboring Nicaragua, with its Pacific and Caribbean coasts, an undiscovered jewel.

It’s not “uber-developed,” she says, so prices are still low, but it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world discovers the Central American country’s beach towns, towering volcanoes, lush jungles, and great cities. They include Granada, a colonial-era jewel on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world.

There are ample opportunities to explore, she says, everything from coffee farm tours to petroglyphs, jungle hikes, and other adventures that will keep teens and 20-somethings enthralled.



A small group of women enjoying an outdoor meal in a desert
 Mint Images / Getty Images

If you haven’t yet heard about glamping, check into it for a fun and adventurous vacation with your family.2 Head to Montana, California, upstate New York or lots of other places across the country to try out camping for those who prefer running water and a mattress to sleep on. Horseback riding, hiking, gourmet meals, and more are part of the glamping experience. 


More Suggestions

The Statue of Liberty, NYC, USA
Istvan Kadar Photography / Getty Images

New York City, Seattle, Portland, and Austin are all great cities for families traveling with older teens and 20-somethings. Got skiers? Vail or Aspen, with their lounge and restaurant scenes and celebrity factor, are always popular too. 

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