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Family travel 5: Epic bucket-list adventures

By Lynn O’Rourke Hayes, FamilyTravel.com
Published: November 25, 2023, 5:31am

Create radiant memories with an epic adventure trip. Here are five to consider.

  • Explore the Great White Continent

Some go to score their seventh continent. Others, to see penguins waddle or whales breach amid blue-tinged icebergs. More recently, an increasing number of travelers choose an Antarctic expedition to better understand climate change and to learn from scientists, naturalists and history experts who have spent decades observing the changing landscape. No matter your reason for booking, a journey to this wild southernmost destination is an awe-inspiring adventure. On an Abercrombie & Kent voyage, you’ll cross the storied Drake Passage before reaching a land where there are no permanent residents, no hotels or shopping opportunities. However, you’ll trade traffic noise for the sound of glaciers calving, and zip to remote islands via Zodiac boats where Crabeater and Weddell seals loll on the ice. You’ll be mesmerized by the towering snow-covered mountains, the ever-changing ice formations, smile-inducing penguin colonies and the opportunity to step where few have ventured before. And, you’ll return home having joined the ranks of great explorers like Shackleton and Scott, who forged the way.

For more: www.AbercrombieKent.com

  • Bike the Baltics

This compact region, comprised of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, is rich in scenic beauty, history and heritage. Given the largely flat terrain and cycle-centric culture, it’s possible to explore the area’s ancient ruins and fairy-tale-like castles, as well as to sample the important cultural and folk traditions in one 10- or 12-day biking trip. You’ll also want to explore the medieval old towns of all three capital cities — Riga, Vilnius and Tallinn — during your two-wheeled adventure. Consider a visit to the Hill of Crosses, a fabled pilgrimage site covered with more than 100,000 metal and wooden crucifixes and other religious icons.

Contact: https://visiteurope.com/en/destination/baltic-states/; www.VBT.com

  • Discover the Wonders of Palau

This Pacific archipelago, made up of 500 islands, is one of the richest ecosystems on the planet and home to more than 1,300 species of fish and 700 species of coral. During your visit to this aquatic wonderland, you can paddle and snorkel amid the multi-colored brain coral of the Rock Islands, which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Hike to waterfalls; swim among non-stinging jellyfish; dive amid sharks, giant manta rays, turtles and bright blue starfish; and kayak in caves, through mangroves and to hidden lagoons. History lovers will find the WWII heritage compelling.

For more: www.PristineParadisePalau.com

  • Venture to Namibia

One of the least-populated countries in the world, Namibia begs to be explored. From the capital city of Windhoek to the stark Skeleton Coast, you’ll find a timeless landscape where desert-adapted wildlife – elephants, lions and the rare black rhino – share the vast landscape with birds, antelopes, cape foxes and brown hyenas. Drive through barren moonscapes and search for small herds of Hartmann’s zebras or find pink flamingos and other migratory birds in a coastal wetland. Hike up Namibia’s highest ochre-colored sand dune and watch the sun set before slip-sliding down. Few people and sparse development translate into a magnificent display of stars.

For more: www.AndBeyond.com; https://visitnamibia.com.na

  • Catch the island vibe

If you’ve ever dreamed of casting away to a tranquil hideaway where white sand beaches stretch for miles and your worries dissolve in soft ocean breezes, then this coral island is for you. The only resort on a small spit of land in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the Four Seasons Desroches Island in the Seychelles pairs warm and welcoming service, top-notch cuisine and rustic luxury with a pristine natural environment. Stay in villas, suites or expansive residences, each with private pools and beach access. Ride bikes to the Island Conservation Society’s Giant Tortoise Sanctuary before stopping on a private stretch of beach for a family picnic. Explore your choice of 14 world-class dive sites around the island or soak up the sun in a kayak or on a stand-up paddleboard. Youngsters can explore with the Kids for All Seasons crew while adults spend the day deep-sea fishing or relaxing in the open-air spa. Later, connect for a spectacular sunset atop the Lighthouse, the beachfront restaurant where fresh-caught seafood is served nightly.

For more: www.FourSeasons.com/Seychelles