10 Best Guided Tour Companies for Family Vacations

Family tours are a hassle-free way to see the world with your kids.
Intrepid Travel family tour in Morocco (Photo: Intrepid Travel)
Photo: Intrepid Travel

The best family vacation ideas can create the kind of formative memories that stay with kids all the way into adulthood. But planning those memorable family travel adventures? That can be exhausting, especially when simply trying to choose a restaurant for dinner can ignite bickering in many families. That’s why parents often choose family tours, which eliminate almost all the hassles from the vacation planning process.

When you travel on guided family tours, you get knowledgeable leaders privy to locals-only spots and hidden gems you’d probably never find on your own. They handle all the tedious details and decisions before you depart and organize everything during your trip, freeing you to simply have fun. Guided family tours almost always include accommodations and at least some meals for the ultimate in vacation ease.

While guided tours are not for lone wolf travelers, families who enjoy mingling can forge new friendships as they explore the world. Here are the best family travel tour companies operating in popular family vacation spots in the U.S., Europe, the Caribbean, and around the world.

1. Adventures by Disney

people walking with adventure guide on a European Adventures by Disney tour
Adventures by Disney offers more than 40 hassle-free guided family tours (Photo: Chloe Rice)

Disney and families go together like milk and cookies, so it’s no wonder Adventures by Disney is a leading tour operator for families. Adventures by Disney offers more than 40 hassle-free guided group vacations to destinations on seven continents. Most trips cater to families, but the company does offer a few adult-exclusive itineraries as well.

EXPERT REVIEW: What to Know about Adventures by Disney Before You Book

Adventures by Disney’s family tours are led by knowledgeable Disney-trained trip leaders called Adventure Guides, who take care to every detail and ensure a memorable vacation from start to finish. You can expect Disney’s trademark magic to shine through with special activities for children, exceptional service, and VIP experiences such as up-close photos with the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egyptsailing past polar bears in the Arctic, and horseback riding in the shadows of the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park.  

After your first trip, you’ll be eligible to join the company’s Adventurer Insiders program for special savings on trips throughout the year. 

Quick Facts about Family Tours with Adventures by Disney

  • Average guided tour group size: 30 
  • Price category: Upscale
  • What’s included: Disney-trained Adventure Guides, family-friendly accommodations, transfers, most meals, and gratuities for housekeeping, drivers, and waitstaff
  • What’s not included: Airfare, alcohol unless specifically noted, gratuities for your Adventure Guides
  • Primary audience: Families
  • Destinations: More than 40 destinations across all seven continents

2. Intrepid Travel

Pyramids outside of Cairo, Egypt (Photo: Intrepid Travel)
Intrepid’s family trips prioritize kid-friendly activities and destinations (Photo: Intrepid Travel)

Responsible, experience-rich travel is a mission at not-for-profit Intrepid, with small group trips geared to young adults, women, solo travelers, active travelers, and families. On its family tours, groups are made up of three to five families from all over the world, plus a guide. Many participants have an interest in the preservation of indigenous cultures, climate education, and conservation, so fast friendships with like-minded participants tend to develop quickly.  

Personal connections with locals are an integral part of the Intrepid experience: Kicking a football with Massai tribesmen in Kenyalearning about indigenous cultures in Costa Rica, and baking bread from a traditional recipe with a Berber family in Morocco are just a few examples. Family trips prioritize kid-friendly hotels with swimming pools and activities like riding in a tuk-tuk through the streets of Bangkok or searching for wildlife with a wolf tracker in Yellowstone National Park. 

Quick Facts about Family Tours with Intrepid

  • Average guided tour group size: 12
  • Price category: Budget 
  • What’s included: Accommodation, local transport, and some meals
  • What’s not included: Airfare, travel insurance, tips
  • Primary audience: Middle-age females and solo travelers, though families are well represented; some tours are geared specifically towards families
  • Destinations: More than 1,000 trips to 100 countries across all seven continents

3. Abercrombie & Kent

Amboseli National Park in Kenya (Photo: Abercrombie & Kent)
Abercrombie & Kent’s wildlife safaris in Kenya are among its most popular family tours (Photo: Abercrombie & Kent)

Group tour operator Abercrombie & Kent pioneered the concept of luxury small-group travel more than 60 years ago, and today the company continues to lead the pack with small group journeys to more than 100 countries and on all seven continents. Highlights include wildlife safaris to Kenya and Tanzaniahistory-focused trips to Israel, and Peruvian explorations to Machu Picchu.

On family tours with Abercrombie & Kent, a Resident Tour Director remains with the group throughout, facilitating a richer understanding of local customs. He or she is assisted by specialized local guides who encourage guests to take a meaningful dive into immersive, insider experiences. Your tour price includes everything from meals to activities to hotels, which are high-end properties suitable for discerning guests. Mid-journey laundry service, luggage transfers, and Internet are also included. 

Participants are often Gen X and baby boomer couples. The company’s luxury family itineraries to places like Costa Rica and the Galapagos are timed with school breaks. You will be automatically entered into the company’s Marco Polo Club on your third journey, entitling you to benefits such as priority waitlist status on sold-out trips. 

Quick Facts about Family Tours with Abercrombie & Kent

  • Average guided tour group size: 14 
  • Price category: Upscale
  • What’s included: Inter-itinerary flights, accommodations, luggage transfers, meals, mid-journey laundry, activities, and expert guides
  • What’s not included: Airfare to and from your destination, though a flight concierge is available 24/7 to assist with airline delays
  • Primary audience: Gen X, boomers, and multigenerational families
  • Destinations: More than 100 countries across all seven continents

4. Trafalgar

Family dining (Photo: Trafalgar)
From kid-friendly adventures to foodie tours, Trafalgar operates guided trips on all seven continents (Photo: Trafalgar)

Operating more than 300 guided tour itineraries across seven continents, Trafalgar has welcomed more than five million guests over its roughly 75 years in business. Whether you’re an avid traveler or a newbie, Trafalgar has an itinerary to fit your style, from kid-friendly family tours to foodie adventures to safaris. 

EXPERT REVIEW: What to Know about Trafalgar Before You Book

All of Trafalgar’s tour directors have at least three years of road experience, and many have been with the company for decades. Tours cover all accommodations (typically four-star hotels) and most meals, activities, and transportation during your trip. One-of-a-kind experiences such as dining with locals, sleeping in a castle, and VIP entry to iconic sights sweeten the deal. 

Children as young as five are welcome on Trafalgar’s family-oriented tours. From meeting a real-life cowboy in the American West to experiencing life as a gladiator in Rome to letting your inner Harry Potter loose in England, the company’s family vacations provide adventure for all ages. In the U.S., national parks itineraries remain top-sellers as Americans continue to crave room to roam in their own backyard. Trafalgar also offers single-parent vacations.

All guests are automatically enrolled in the Very Important Traveler (VIT) program, receiving access to savings and exclusive offers.

Quick Facts about Family Tours with Trafalgar

  • Average guided tour group size: 40
  • Price category: Moderate
  • What’s included: Accommodations, daily breakfast, many meals, luxury coach transportation, Wi-Fi in most countries, airport transfers, and luggage handling
  • What’s not included: Airfare
  • Primary audience: Adults over 50
  • Destinations: All seven continents, with kid-friendly trips to Europe, Britain, and the American West among the most popular options for families

5. Butterfield & Robinson

Butterfield and Robinson's Vietnam and Cambodia tours are popular with families (Photo: Envato)
Butterfield and Robinson’s Vietnam and Cambodia tours are popular with families (Photo: Envato)

Butterfield and Robinson’s trips often include biking and hiking, though you don’t need to be an athlete to enjoy strolling a serene country lane or pedaling an e-bike on a flat path. The company’s family trips cater to children as young as eight and are designed and test-driven by actual parents to prioritize a balance of family togetherness and adults-only time. 

Families with young adult offspring may participate in special itineraries for families with older teens and young adult children. A walking trip in Peru or biking in Cambodia and Vietnam allows your family to bond in a whole new way. The presence of other young people creates the opportunity for peer friendships to blossom. All trips leave room for independent activities and cultural experiences, so you’re not tethered to the group. 

On Butterfield and Robinson trips, accommodations are curated to fit the region you’re visiting; you’ll never stay at a cookie-cutter chain hotel. And while meticulous planning goes into each trip, you can expect impromptu pitstops and last-minute simple pleasures that make travel so worthwhile. 

Quick Facts about Family Tours with Butterfield and Robinson

  • Average guided tour group size: 10
  • Price category: Upscale 
  • What’s included: Accommodation, meals, wine/drinks, and guides
  • What’s not included: airfare, pre- and post-trip accommodation, and travel insurance
  • Primary audience: Active travelers of all ages who want to dig deeper into a destination
  • Destinations: 55 countries across six continents

6. G Adventures

Family tours in Morocco (Photo: G Adventures)
Family tours with G Adventures include National Geographic Family Journeys to destinations such as Morocco (Photo: G Adventures)

Tour operator G Adventures adheres to a philosophy that travel can change the world. The company supports local businesses with a goal of helping communities to better sustain themselves. Group travel participants often have a philanthropic lean in line with the company’s core values. 

G Adventures offers a range of small group itineraries to suit most travel styles. Classic trips blend must-see destination highlights with meaningful cultural exchanges; young adults ages 18 to 30 may join a fast-paced youth tour, while Local Living tours allow travelers to participate in the rituals of daily life. The company’s Jane Goodall wildlife-centric trips to places like Belize and Madagascar are high in demand.

With G Adventures, kid-friendly itineraries aim to open your children’s world by introducing them to diverse people and cultures. Adventure-loving families with children age seven and older who are interested in wildlife, photography, and geography can book a National Geographic Family Journey to places like IcelandMorocco and Alaska. Enthusiastic guides are hand-selected for their desire to work with families.

Quick Facts about Family Tours with G Adventures

  • Average guided tour group size: 12 
  • Price categoryModerate
  • What’s included: Accommodations and some meals
  • What’s not included: Airfare
  • Primary audience: Adults ages 30 to 55
  • Destinations: More than 750 trips in 100+ countries across all seven continents

7. REI Adventures

Family tours in San Juan Islands (Photo: REI)
The San Juan Islands are one of REI’s many U.S.-based family tour destinations (Photo: REI)

If you love fresh air adventures, REI‘s guided family tours will fit like a glove. Kayaking, hiking, and biking in the U.S. are their specialty. The company currently focuses exclusively on American itineraries. There are typically two guides on every trip, and they know the secret swimming holes, the primo selfie spots, and exactly what species of bird is singing in the early morning. The guides do it all from prepping meals to sharing information about wildlife. 

REI offers trips for hard-core adventurers, solo and female travelers, and active families. Travelers with children ages eight to 17 may select small group adventures specifically for families, like hiking in Yosemite National Parkkayaking in the San Juan Islands, or trying a treetop aerial challenge course in the Great Smoky Mountains. Guides on family tours are trained to keep kids engaged. 

On some trips you’ll camp under the stars in comfy tents (your guides will set up the tents); on other trips you’ll sleep in comfortable lodges. REI members receive a discount, as do children. 

Quick Facts about Family Tours with REI

  • Average guided tour group size: 10
  • Price categoryModerate
  • What’s included: Camping gear, meals, national park fees
  • What’s not included: Transportation to the trip’s starting point
  • Primary audience: Travelers who love the outdoors 
  • Destinations: Eight states including Wyoming, Alaska, and California

8. Road Scholar

Cambria tour from Road Scholar (Photo: Road Scholar)
Road Scholar offers guided trips for skip-gen vacations and multigenerational groups (Photo: Road Scholar)

Not-for-profit Road Scholar trips attract lifelong learners who are keen to plunge beneath the surface rather than just skim it. The company caters to baby boomers and seniors, with programs for skip-gen vacations (grandparents and grandkids traveling together) and multigenerational vacations (grandparents, parents, and grandkids traveling together).

These trips present multiple opportunities for adults and kids to learn together. But while incorporating learning into a family vacation can be a welcome benefit, the kids will be having so much fun they may not realize how much knowledge they’re absorbing. 

All of Road Scholar’s family tours have two group leaders who know how to appeal to varying ages, interests, and attention spans. They take care of logistics while local instructors add expertise on a range of topics. Mount Rushmore and the Badlands,  whitewater rafting in the Grand Canyon, and discovering iconic landmarks in Paris are some of the most sought-after family itineraries

Quick Facts about Family Tours with Road Scholar

  • Average guided tour group size: 22
  • Price category: Moderate 
  • What’s included: Accommodations, most meals, hands-on experiences, gratuities throughout the program, and the Road Scholar Assurance Plan
  • What’s not included: Travel to and from the program and trip cancellation insurance 
  • Primary audience: Baby boomers and seniors, including grandparents traveling with their grandkids
  • Destinations: 150 countries and all 50 states in the U.S.

9. Tauck 

Zip lining in Costa Rica (Phoo: Tauck)
Zip lining in Costa Rica is one of many kid-friendly activities available on Tauk’s family tours (Photo: Tauck)

Family-owned Tauck has been offering epic guided vacations for nearly 100 years. Working with a network of global partners with whom the company has longstanding relationships, every detail of each trip feels seamless from start to finish. Tauck has a unique partnership with Emmy award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, crafting experiences that explore the themes of his documentary films such as jazz, baseball, the American Civil War, and the U.S. national parks. 

For nearly two decades, Tauck has presented a collection of tours exclusively for families, with 20 itineraries in North America, Europe, Latin America, and Africa. Highlights include exploring the Alpslistening to Irish music, and viewing slot canyons in the American West. Tauck’s trip guides are known for their personal touch and have expertise in local customs, traditions, flora, and fauna. Meals and hotels are top-notch.

Quick Facts about Family Tours with Tauck

  • Average guided tour group size: 35
  • Price categoryUpscale
  • What’s included: Gratuities, sightseeing and admissions, most meals, airport handling, luggage transfer, taxes
  • What’s not included: Airfare and adult beverages
  • Primary audience: Upscale travelers over age 50
  • Destinations: More than 100 destinations in 70+ countries across all seven continents

10. Austin Adventures

Bryce and Zion family tours with Austin Adventures (Photo: Austin Adventures)
Austin Adventures is a great fit for national park-loving families (Photo: Austin Adventures)

Tour operator Austin Adventures forged its reputation specializing in tours to America’s national parks, and the company remains an expert in this area to this day. Its guided group family trips are ideal for anyone who gravitates towards the lesser-known side of national parks. If you book a trip to Yellowstone, of course you’ll watch Old Faithful erupt—but you’ll also hike a semi-secret trail. Activities such as rafting and zip lining up the fun factor for kids.

Guides are first-aid certified, and with a 6:1 guest-to-guide ratio, there’s plenty of time to chat and get acquainted. The guides on family tours, some of whom are teachers during the school year, know how to plan kid-friendly activities that allow parents time to relax. All but one meal is included, presenting the opportunity to have an evening on your own or perhaps with newfound friends. 

Austin Adventures offers popular family itineraries to bucket-list destinations like the Grand CanyonGlacier National Park, and New Zealand.

Quick Facts about Family Tours with Austin Adventure 

  • Average guided tour group size: 12
  • Price categoryModerate
  • What’s included: Meals and snacks except for one dinner, any necessary equipment and gear, and accommodations
  • What’s not included: Airfare to your destination, gratuities for guides, alcoholic beverages, and one dinner
  • Primary audience: Active adults over 50
  • Destinations: 21 countries in North America, Europe, South America, and Africa 

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Allison Tibaldi is a travel and food writer based in New York City. She has lived in Rome, Tuscany, Melbourne, Australia, Toronto and Los Angeles. She writes for numerous publications including CNN, Business Insider, Travel Channel, HGTV, am New York, Emirates Open Skies Magazine, USA TODAY 10 Best, USA Today Go Escape, Shermans Travel, Family Traveller, Travel Squire, FamilyVacationist, and Travel Weekly. She is also a contributing editor at Family Travel Forum. She focuses on family, culinary and eco-friendly travel. A former early childhood educator, she studied child development in graduate school and believes that travel is the best education.