You want wilderness with a capital W? Head for the Pacific coast of Vancouver Island where you’re surrounded by waters full of fat fish and big brown bears padding around in meadows.
Little ones can play real life Jessie and Woody and be scooped up by cowgirls on horseback racing across rushing rivers. Motorboats chase whales in splashy adventures and urban kids will love paddle-boarding, zip-lining, kayaking and tree-climbing.
Accommodation is cool frontier-style but with proper bathrooms, chefs who dish up feasts and masseurs for grown-ups’ achey bones.
The Peligoni Club, Greece
Untouched coastline in north Zakynthos. Crystal-clear waters, tick. Sports tuition, tick. Cool staff, tick. Top spot for adrenalin-seeking, sports-mad teens. Grab a villa or one near the club itself so older children can come and go as they please. This is a boho kind of a place. Reception is a whitewashed wooden hut and there are a series of platforms clinging to the rocks for sunbathing. The beach is rocky but there’s a pool with loungers under the trees. Sailing and windsurfing lessons, ringo-ing and waterskiing are available. The kids’ club offers ping-pong tournaments and mocktail making. Send older ones off for a parent-free boat trip.
Rebali Riads, Essaouira, Morocco
Pale sands and a touch of the exotic. Rebali Riads bring soft sand, pale beaches and quirky culture in parent-friendly ‘boutique’ style. This hotel near Essaouira has spacious rooms in villas with surfing, kiteboarding and windsurfing nearby. Camel rides are available. Home-cooked meals can be delivered directly to your poolside terrace and there’s a white-domed hammam near the day-beds. Bliss.
Chongwe River House
This is the stuff of movies. Chongwe is your very own super-chic safari house where you wouldn’t be surprised to find a James Bond movie crew doing their thing.
Listen to lions as you drift off to sleep or spot a hippo on the lawn. Children over seven are welcome at this striking bush home with loads of lounge room and a pool and a sun deck. There are rods and a speedboat for fishing, kayaks to explore channels in the Zambezi and bush teeming with game, which can be viewed by boat or safari vehicle.
Borgo Egnazia, Italy
Puglia, on the heel of Italy, has a distinct flavour, landscape and character. Majestic masserias are estate properties filled with activities but retaining a cool vibe that suits grown-ups and small people. Surrounded by olive groves, Borgo Egnazia is arranged like a village around a square, with a handful of restaurants and indoor and outdoor pools. It’s cool and chic. All ages will be happy – there’s a kids’ club for eight months to 16 years whilst grandparents can embark on cultural tours to see the region’s unique hobbit-like trulli houses. Stay in two or three- bedroom townhouses with linen curtains and cool fittings.
Hire a gulet and cruise the Bodrum peninsula
Heaps of fun for families and all-age groups, hire a gulet and cruise from the Bodrum peninsula to Kos, Tilos and Symi. One of the best gulets for families with older children is the Cevri Hassan V (sleeping 12), which comes with canoes, windsurf boards, a Zodiac boat for waterskiing and a Laser sailing dinghy. It’s all fully-catered and splashing times are guaranteed.