Six of the best... family-friendly yachting destinations

Fijian children Cookson Adventures

Six of the best... family-friendly yachting destinations

Fijian children Cookson Adventures

Journeys

Six of the best... family-friendly yachting destinations

From kayaking in Norway to turtle tagging in The Bahamas, there’s a perfect superyacht destination for every family.

By Dominique Afacan | 7 January 2020

For the ultimate family holiday, a superyacht charter pretty much ticks every box. Crew to lend an extra pair of hands? Tick. Privacy and safety, far from the madding crowds? Tick. The freedom to go wherever you like, for however long you like? Tick. The list goes on. The only difficulty is that, when the world is your oyster, it can be tough deciding where to go. We asked the experts and came up with six of the biggest family holiday hits.

Norway

Remote and pleasingly wild, but not frighteningly so – Norway strikes the perfect balance for families in search of safe but intrepid adventure. “You can be out hiking at the end of a 50-mile long fjord with nothing in sight in the morning, and still be in a town in the evening,” explains Ben Lyons, the CEO at EYOS Expeditions, a company which accompanies yachts travelling to remote regions. “Norway is very much geared for an outdoor, active lifestyle without fear of large predators or animals like we often have to contend with elsewhere! There is no problem letting the kids run on shore, for instance.” Days are spent kayaking along the fjords, hiking alongside waterfalls and fast-running streams, fishing for cod and whale watching. “In the evening, come alongside a quant Norwegian town for a meal ashore or perhaps a visit to one of the many small museums that can be found in Norway for a bit of education as well as fun,” suggest Lyons.

Six of the best... family-friendly yachting destinations

FISHING IN NORWAY

Six of the best... family-friendly yachting destinations

FISHING IN NORWAY

Fiji

“We’re about to deliver an educational around-the-world adventure which includes a voyage in Fiji,” says Neal Bateman, head of yacht projects at Cookson Adventures. “The itinerary has been meticulously crafted so that many of the activities have educational value, such as diving in a submersible alongside a conservationist to count marine life populations and studying the region’s volcanic activity with a volcanologist.” These sorts of activities are typical of the sorts of adventures that families can expect if they make the journey to Fiji. With manta rays, golden damselfish and masked butterflyfish, the diving or snorkelling is exceptional and there are also opportunities to trek into the rainforest to meet local tribes. “Children can also visit one of the local schools that Cookson Adventures supports to help install solar panels, spending time with children of their own age and making a positive impact with their adventure,” adds Bateman.

Six of the best... family-friendly yachting destinations

FIJI Cookson Adventures

Six of the best... family-friendly yachting destinations

FIJI Cookson Adventures

Galapagos

“There is nowhere else like Galapagos – you literally have to watch where you step as animals do not get out of your way.” So says Ben Lyons of EYOS Expeditions, who has accompanied charter yachts to the destination multiple times. Of course, Galapagos is tightly controlled, so itineraries are set in advance and coordinated with the National Park system. Excursions are always taken with a naturalist guide; families can walk ashore to look at marina iguanas sunbathing on the rocks or head up into the highlands to see the famous Galapagos tortoises. “Nothing captures the possibilities of Galapagos to me like swimming with sea lions,” says Lyons. “Families can be lying on a beautiful, sandy beach, but with sea lions contentedly idling next to them, blissfully unconcerned.”

Six of the best... family-friendly yachting destinations

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Six of the best... family-friendly yachting destinations

BRITISH COLUMBIA

British Columbia

“We’ve designed yachting itineraries for families where the children have had something new to do every single day as they sailed through one of the last stretches of wilderness in America – The Great Bear Rainforest,” says Neal Bateman of Cookson Adventures. The Great Bear Rainforest, which stretches for more than 250 miles along the coast of British Columbia, is home to the legendary ‘spirit’ bear – a unique subspecies where one in ten cubs are born with a vanilla-white coat. Those not lucky enough to see one will be able to console themselves with sightings of coastal wolves, deer and grizzly bears. “There’s also the opportunity to track pods of killer whales, kayak through misty tributaries, follow the salmon run to search for bears, or search for sea otters floating in the water – the list is endless!” says Bateman.

Six of the best... family-friendly yachting destinations

SPIRIT BEAR BRITISH COLUMBIA

Six of the best... family-friendly yachting destinations

SPIRIT BEAR BRITISH COLUMBIA

Indonesia

“Our 8-year-old son became an avid snorkeler in Indonesia. He gets so excited to see all the fish and to this day still talks about the time he saw his first manta ray.” So says Mark Robba, owner of Dunia Baru, a sailing superyacht which spends a lot of time in south-east Asia. “We snorkel together a couple of times a day when we are on the boat and spending time together is what is really important to us.” The family often spend time off the boat, too, visiting remote villages and getting to know the locals. “Indonesian people have a very sincere warmth and kindness. Anyone that has the chance to travel by yacht lives a privileged life – but this is so easy to forget. Therefore whenever we get the chance, we visit the remote villages in eastern Indonesia – we are always struck by how happy the people are living a simple life.”

Six of the best... family-friendly yachting destinations

SWIMMING PIG THE BAHAMAS

Six of the best... family-friendly yachting destinations

SWIMMING PIG THE BAHAMAS

The Bahamas

The Bahamas is a popular family yachting spot with good reason. “There’s so much a multi-generational family can do in the Bahamas; each night could be spent anchored at a different island in this archipelago with over 700 islands,” says Neal Bateman of Cookson Adventures. “Activities could include turtle tagging with conservationists, submersible diving, snorkelling, or exploring the Bahamas’ intricate cave system.” Of course, on the Exumas, families will inevitably end up at Big Major Cay, famed for its swimming pigs (seriously), who come paddling out to greet snorkellers. How’s that for memorable?

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