10 excellent educational vacations for families

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

This undated photo shows visitors taking in a lookout area at the Lapa Rios Lodge in Costa Rica. Owner Hans Pfister says business at the lodge was hurt last year by concerns over the Zika virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, but this year Zika has faded from the headlines and Pfister says his guests are back. (Lapa Rios Lodge via AP)
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. (Lapa Rios Lodge via AP)
In this photo taken on April 8, 2018 tourists visit the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. One can hardly see the treasures of Rome's top attractions these days without bumping arms with the hordes of tourists. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
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. (AP/Virginia Mayo) (AP/Virginia Mayo)
ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY, APRIL 19 AND THEREAFTER - In this photo taken March 18, 2015, actor/interpreters walk in front of the Colonial courthouse along Duke of Gloucester street in the Colonial Williamsburg area of Williamsburg, Va. John Hinckley, the last man to shoot an American president now spends most of the year in a house overlooking the 13th hole of a golf course in a gated community in Williamsburg. An almost three-hour drive south of Hinckley's institutional home of St. Elizabeths Hospital in the nation's capital, Williamsburg is both a tourist destination and a retirement mecca.  (AP Photo/ Steve Helber)
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. (AP Photo/ Steve Helber) (AP)
In this Monday, Feb. 11, 2019 photo, with snow-capped Haleakala serving as a backdrop, Paia Maui's Scott Picton, left, plays a guitar and Saskatchewan's Shannon and Dan Runcie walk on Sugar Beach in South Maui, Hawaii. The summit area of Haleakala National Park is closed because of "extreme winter conditions." Park officials said Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, that snow, ice, fallen trees and rocks are making the area dangerous. (Matthew Thayer/The News via AP)
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. (AP/Matthew Thayer)
FILE - In this March 1, 2012, file photo, a model of Hogwarts castle from the Harry Potter film series is unveiled at the Warner Bros Studio Tour, Watford, London. (AP Photo/Jonathan Short, File)
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. (AP Photo/Jonathan Short, File) (AP/Jonathan Short)
Blick auf die Brygge, die Handelshaeuser der Deutschen Hanse in Bergen, aufgenommen am Donnerstag, 17. Januar 2008. Die Haeuser am Hafen sind das Wahrzeichen der Stadt. (AP Photo/Christof Stache)
--- Picture shows the socalled "Brygge", trading houses of the German Hanseatic League, in Bergen, Norway,  pictured on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008. (AP Photo/Christof Stache)
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. (AP Photo/Christof Stache) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/CHRISTOF STACHE)
This Sep. 12, 2011 photo shows Cathedral Rock in Sedona, Ariz. A landmark of Sedona's skyline and one of the most photographed sights in Arizona, Cathedral Rock is located in the Coconino National Forest in Yavapai County.  (AP Photo/Charmaine Noronha)
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. (ASSOCIATED PRESS/Charmaine Noronha)
A tourist holds an umbrella to protect from the sun as she visits the Temple of Zeus in Athens, Tuesday, July 7, 2015. This is Greek tourism - July 2015 style - as the peak summer season in one of the world’s most popular destinations is glitched by a financial crisis of frightening proportions. The World Travel and Tourism Council said tourism’s direct contribution to the Greek economy was more than 29 billion euros in 2014, accounting for just over 17 percent of the country’s GDP. (AP Photo/Spyros Tsakiris)
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. (AP/Spyros Tsakiris) (AP/Spyros Tsakiris)
In this Sunday, March 10, 2019 photo, Peter Kaiser arrives at Unalakleet, Alaska during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Kaiser crossed the finish line early Wednesday, March 13, 2019, to win the iconic race. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP)
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. (AP/Marc Lester) (AP/Marc Lester)
This Friday, April 6, 2018 aerial photo shows Johannesburg's downtown. Millions of migrants jostle for work in the thriving underground economy of Gauteng province, whose name roughly translates to "land of gold." Thousands of them die without identities or simply disappear during the journey. (AP Photo/Bram Janssen)
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. (AP Photo/Bram Janssen) (AP/Bram Janssen)
(1/10)
This undated photo shows visitors taking in a lookout area at the Lapa Rios Lodge in Costa Rica. Owner Hans Pfister says business at the lodge was hurt last year by concerns over the Zika virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, but this year Zika has faded from the headlines and Pfister says his guests are back. (Lapa Rios Lodge via AP)
In this photo taken on April 8, 2018 tourists visit the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. One can hardly see the treasures of Rome's top attractions these days without bumping arms with the hordes of tourists. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY, APRIL 19 AND THEREAFTER - In this photo taken March 18, 2015, actor/interpreters walk in front of the Colonial courthouse along Duke of Gloucester street in the Colonial Williamsburg area of Williamsburg, Va. John Hinckley, the last man to shoot an American president now spends most of the year in a house overlooking the 13th hole of a golf course in a gated community in Williamsburg. An almost three-hour drive south of Hinckley's institutional home of St. Elizabeths Hospital in the nation's capital, Williamsburg is both a tourist destination and a retirement mecca.  (AP Photo/ Steve Helber)
In this Monday, Feb. 11, 2019 photo, with snow-capped Haleakala serving as a backdrop, Paia Maui's Scott Picton, left, plays a guitar and Saskatchewan's Shannon and Dan Runcie walk on Sugar Beach in South Maui, Hawaii. The summit area of Haleakala National Park is closed because of "extreme winter conditions." Park officials said Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, that snow, ice, fallen trees and rocks are making the area dangerous. (Matthew Thayer/The News via AP)
FILE - In this March 1, 2012, file photo, a model of Hogwarts castle from the Harry Potter film series is unveiled at the Warner Bros Studio Tour, Watford, London. (AP Photo/Jonathan Short, File)
Blick auf die Brygge, die Handelshaeuser der Deutschen Hanse in Bergen, aufgenommen am Donnerstag, 17. Januar 2008. Die Haeuser am Hafen sind das Wahrzeichen der Stadt. (AP Photo/Christof Stache)
--- Picture shows the socalled "Brygge", trading houses of the German Hanseatic League, in Bergen, Norway,  pictured on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008. (AP Photo/Christof Stache)
This Sep. 12, 2011 photo shows Cathedral Rock in Sedona, Ariz. A landmark of Sedona's skyline and one of the most photographed sights in Arizona, Cathedral Rock is located in the Coconino National Forest in Yavapai County.  (AP Photo/Charmaine Noronha)
A tourist holds an umbrella to protect from the sun as she visits the Temple of Zeus in Athens, Tuesday, July 7, 2015. This is Greek tourism - July 2015 style - as the peak summer season in one of the world’s most popular destinations is glitched by a financial crisis of frightening proportions. The World Travel and Tourism Council said tourism’s direct contribution to the Greek economy was more than 29 billion euros in 2014, accounting for just over 17 percent of the country’s GDP. (AP Photo/Spyros Tsakiris)
In this Sunday, March 10, 2019 photo, Peter Kaiser arrives at Unalakleet, Alaska during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Kaiser crossed the finish line early Wednesday, March 13, 2019, to win the iconic race. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP)
This Friday, April 6, 2018 aerial photo shows Johannesburg's downtown. Millions of migrants jostle for work in the thriving underground economy of Gauteng province, whose name roughly translates to "land of gold." Thousands of them die without identities or simply disappear during the journey. (AP Photo/Bram Janssen)

More from U.S. News

15 Best Family Vacations

50 Unexpected Family-Friendly Vacation Destinations

50 Bucket List Family Adventure Trips

10 Excellent Educational Vacations for Families originally appeared on usnews.com

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up