10 Excellent Educational Vacations for Families

Make sure your next getaway is both enjoyable and informative.

U.S. News & World Report

10 Excellent Educational Vacations for Families

Educational vacations
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These educational trips will help kids learn while having fun.

Some families prefer to spend their vacations simply unwinding, while others crave activity and adventure. If you are looking to do more than just relax or sightsee on your next vacation, consider adding an educational component to your trip to enhance your children's experience of a destination. This will not only foster curiosity of different people and places, but your kids may end up learning a thing or two about the world around them that they would have not learned otherwise in school. Read on for some inspiration for your next family getaway.
Educational vacations
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Costa Rica

Costa Rica is famous for its beautiful beaches and plethora of fun adventure activities, such as zip lining, snorkeling and boating. But this Central American destination is also known for hosting an abundance of wildlife, which will no doubt capture the hearts of animal-loving kids. Stay at the Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort where you'll find giant green iguanas, monkeys and wild macaws roaming the grounds. You should also plan a visit to La Paz Waterfall Gardens, where you can get up close and personal with monkeys, snakes, frogs and exotic jungle cats.
Educational vacations
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Rome

Plan a trip to the ancient city of Rome to see the Colosseum – a giant outdoor amphitheater previously used for epic battles between gladiators and animals. You and the kids can also explore other Roman landmarks like the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon, a 2,000-year-old temple in impressive condition for its age. You may also want to book a daytrip to the unearthed town of Pompeii (about 150 miles south of Rome), which was destroyed after a volcanic eruption in 79 A.D. During your downtime, kids will love indulging in pasta and exploring Rome's scenic streets.
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Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

There's no better way to teach your kids about America's history than to let them roam freely in Colonial Williamsburg. The living museum showcases how life was in the 18th century. Here, you'll find live actors who recreate important historical events as well as a variety of demonstrations from craftsmen that range from brick-making to book binding. And if your kids need a break from Colonial Williamsburg's many history lessons, know that Busch Gardens and Water Country USA are nearby.
Educational vacations
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Hawaii

The beautiful islands of Hawaii offer something for everyone, especially parents who want to combine education with fun. Active families can explore live volcanoes, see humpback whales directly off the shores of Maui and Kauai, enjoy an authentic luau and visit Kualoa Private Nature Reserve on Oahu where dozens of popular movies, including "Jurassic Park," were filmed. Hawaii also has gorgeous natural beaches, many upscale resorts and some of the most dramatic tropical scenery in North America.
Educational vacations
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London

London might seem like a bore for kids, but there are plenty of activities for families to do together. Pack up the kids to see Broadway-like shows like "The Lion King" or "Wicked" on London's West End, explore the history of the Tower of London, visit the Churchill War Rooms and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, or take a ride on the London Eye. You can even go on the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour, then stay in a Harry Potter-themed wizard chamber room at London's Georgian House boutique hotel.
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Bergen, Norway

The charming harbor town of Bergen, Norway retains its strong cultural identity by preserving its Norwegian history. Bring the kids to explore its colorful waterfront and the Bergen Maritime Museum, the latter of which is awash with impressive Norwegian model ships and seafaring memorabilia. Bergen is also ideal for daytrips to explore the natural beauty and wonder of fjords, including the nearby Nærøyfjord and Geirangerfjord.
Educational vacations
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Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona, was once regarded by Native Americans as sacred thanks to its unique rock formations and natural beauty. Surrounded by 1.8 million acres of national forest land, Sedona is an ideal spot to bring the kids for days of hiking, biking and nature exploration. While here, book a Pink Jeep Tour to get a closer look at Sedona's most iconic rock formations and local wildlife.
Educational vacations
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Athens, Greece

A destination rich with history, Athens has so much to teach families. Book a tour of the ancient Acropolis to see the famous Parthenon, then head to the Acropolis Museum to browse many of its treasures. You can also book an electric bike tour to see the Temple of Zeus, Hadrian's Arch and other stunning monuments from a world gone by.
Educational vacations
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Alaska

Alaska is the perfect destination for anyone who loves the great outdoors. This state is home to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve, the largest national park in the United States, which provides ample opportunities for hiking, fishing, skiing and wildlife-watching throughout. You can also learn about the history and culture of this sacred land through Native Alaskan dancing, totem carving, traditional music and more.
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South Africa

South Africa has been inspiring travelers for ages thanks to its exotic wildlife, stunning mountain scenery, bustling urban centers and beautiful beaches. Book a wildlife safari to introduce children to animals they've only seen in storybooks, including elephants, giraffes, monkeys, rhinos and more. You can also hike Table Mountain (or take a cable car ride up) in Cape Town or visit the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg during your trip.

Holly Johnson, Contributor

Holly Johnson is an award-winning writer who focuses on credit cards and credit, personal ...  Read more

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