10 years old is a great age to reconnect with your son – he’s no longer a little kid but not yet a teenager – and there are few better ways to strengthen your parent-son bond at this special age than by taking a memorable vacation together. However, it can be tricky to gauge the best kind of place to take your tween on vacay since he will be too old for kiddie rides and similar aspects of a child-friendly trip. It’s good to find a balance so that he can have a taste of independence from you in a fun yet safe way.
So where would be the best place to send your 10 year old boy on vacation? Good vacation spots can be places that involve lots of outdoor activities so that he can explore his adventurous side and have a chance to socialize with kids his own age. Certain museums are also a great option if your son is curious about science and nature, since many will feature interactive exhibits and games to spark his imagination.
At the end of the day, you know your son’s interests best, so whether he’s fascinated by wildlife or has a taste for thrills and adrenaline sports, you’ll have no problem tailoring the vacation to your son’s needs. To help you get inspired, we’ve listed some examples of engaging vacation ideas that are suitable for even the fussiest of 10 year old boys!
Take Him to Adventure Resorts
Adventure resorts boast a handful of activities to keep kids amused for days and all in one great location – it’s little wonder these are often a favorite choice for parents of tweens! So if long road trips aren’t your 10 year old’s style, let him mix relaxing by the pool with cool new experiences like paddle-boarding, biking or horse-riding in a beautiful setting. We’d recommend places like…
Playa del Carmen
In the picturesque Mexican state of Quintana Roo is the fun, family friendly resort of Playa del Carmen, where adults and 10 year old’s alike can enjoy a mix of historical and modern attractions. If your son loves climbing, he’ll love spending an afternoon exploring the nearby ancient Mayan ruins (and think about how many sites of historical interest actually allow kids to climb all over them – not many! ).
Just a bus or taxi ride away, your son can enjoy a day at Dolphin Discovery in Puertos Aventuras watching and interacting with dolphins, sea lions and manatees. And if your 10 year old boy prefers to get involved in the water acrobatics as opposed to watching dolphins have all the fun, you should take your son for a fun session of paddle-boarding – the Aloha Paddle Club in Playa del Carmen hosts group and private lessons and even runs a sunrise or sunset paddle board class.
Turtle Bay Resort
If your son is a wannabe surfer dude at heart, he’ll adore the Turtle Bay resort in North Shore, Hawaii. With the help of professional water sports instructors, your son can join other kids between the ages of 7 and 14 in learning the basics of tandem surfing, outrigger-canoeing and stand-up paddle-boarding. This intensive taste of water sport adventures takes place in Kawela Bay, a super peaceful part of the resort where ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ were filmed.
When your son is all tuckered out, you can both enjoy lounging by the pools or swimming the beautiful lagoons scattered around the resort. Plus, if your son is a music lover, there’s a chance to let him learn how to play the ukulele at the nearby Polynesian Cultural Center. Learning a new musical instrument and how to surf is bound to give your 10 year old a truly memorable vacation.
The Mile High City
The ‘mile high’ city of Denver in Colorado is home to the much loved Denver Zoo which lets kids feed the giraffes, stand eye to eye with polar bears and get up close and personal with adorable penguins. But even if a day at Denver Zoo seems a little too kiddie for your 10 year old, the mile high city also has other cool activities and attractions to offer, such as the fun interactive exhibits at the Children’s Museum of Denver.
If you have time to head over to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, you can also wow him with the impressive IMAX 3D theater which brings everything from the era of the Dinosaurs to Ancient Egypt alive in a way he won’t forget. To get a bit of fresh air after all the museum and zoo scouting, you could round off the day with a free ride on the open-air Denver trolley, which picks up outside the Children’s Museum and takes a relaxing ride along the South Platte River.
Tanque Verde Ranch
The Tanque Verde Ranch in Tuscon, Arizona offers mountain biking, hiking and fishing, but best of all (especially for the animal lovers), this dude ranch gives kids the chance to connect with their own specially chosen horse. From riding to grooming them, the kids who come to the ranch have an opportunity to make a special bond, make friends and learn a new life skill.
If you’re not sure whether a ranch would make the right vacation for your 10 year old, the mom behind the travel blog Global Munchkins Amber Marmian, can vouch for a successful trip with her tweens: “My four kids, ages 7 to 12, couldn’t believe how much time they got with the horses – riding, feeding and even helping them to bathe. The wranglers are also excellent at matching the horse with the child.”
Lastly, if your son still has more of a kiddie side (and Buzz Lightyear is still his hero) you can scarcely go wrong with a trip to the Magic Kingdom of Disney World in Florida. As well as the scary, high-intensity rides, there are clubs and areas of the park that are designed for older kids too, so you can let him explore some parts independently from you.
Also, if your son is interested in the escapades of a real-life Buzz Lightyear, why not head over to the NASA Kennedy space center (only an hour away from Disney World). While there, he can explore the interior of an actual spacecraft and take a tour of the Astronaut Hall of Fame. What your son is bound to find coolest of all though is the Astronaut Training Experience, a program designed specifically for kids aged 10 and up which allows them to experience a full space shuttle mission simulation.
Educate Him with Iconic US Sites
10 years old is an age when your son still has wonder about the world (and has not yet reached that awkward phase when he doesn’t want to share anything with his parents!). Make the most of your son’s lingering childhood curiosity by introducing him to the many impressive landmarks the US has to offer.
Trips to places of stunning natural beauty like the Grand Canyon will stick in his mind for years to come, whilst a vacation to places of historical significance like the National Mall in Washington will offer a fun history lesson like no other.
Here are some of the best sites to influence and inspire his young mind…
Any National Park
US national parks such as Grand Canyon and Yellowstone have so much to offer a 10 year old both culturally and to satisfy their childhood curiosity. They can genuinely be seen as places that offer fun and educational value in equal measure and make incredible family vacations for kids of all ages.
Eileen Gunn from the travel blog Families Go thinks that national parks make ideal vacations for tweens, explaining that “they are old enough to handle longer hikes, kayaking and other more adventurous things. Also, the parks are pretty laid back about letting kids go where they want to and climb what they want to and my 10 year old really loves that.”
Take your son on a trip to the Black Hills in South Dakota and in between taking in the beautiful mountain scenery, don’t forget to introduce him to one of the best US landmarks (and perhaps the most iconic cliff face there is) – the faces on Mount Rushmore. He will have heard about it in history books, but the chance to see the Presidents faces carved into the mountainside in person will be hard to forget.
Whilst he admires the inspiring sight of Mount Rushmore, make sure he has a chance to catch the brief tour along the Presidential trail and learn more about the first century of American history.
If things get too history heavy for your 10 year old though, take a detour to Rapid City while visiting south Dakota and spend an afternoon in Reptile Gardens – this adventure park is home to the largest collection of reptiles in the world.
Washington D.C,’s National Mall
The reason the National Mall in Washington is such a top vacation spot for parents and young children is the chance to soak up so much history and American culture for free. For parents on a budget, 10 year olds have the chance to take in so many incredible landmarks free of charge, such as the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.
Taking your son on a tour of the U.S. Capitol will ensure a truly memorable family trip and broaden his horizons at such a young age (even if he doesn’t thank you for it straight away!).