By Susan Farewell
1.The Greek Islands
Photo by Adam Balch
From early June to early September, there's a perpetual air of carnival on many of the Greek Islands. Your teens can divide their time between beaches and cafes with a bit of ruin-exploring thrown in. While you may be looking for small-island charm, go with one of famous Cycladic Islands such as Santorini or Mykonos or set your sights on Zakynthos in the Ionian Sea. Any one of these will keep your teens happy from beginning to end and you'll surely find the peace you need. The photo above is the beach of Navagio on Zakynthos (also known as Shipwreck beach).
Nothing can match the thrill of shooting through the spectacular--and twisty--Shotover River Canyons in the Shotover Jet Boat. And that's just one of the options in Queenstown, which many consider the adventure capital of the world.
Other adventures your teens will love include bungee jumping, sky diving and three seasons of skiing. By the way, here you can actually ski and surf in the same day.
On top of that, Queenstown is a vibrant town with endless restaurants and people watching.
Photo by Alex E. Proimos
3. The Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Beaches, water sports (including nonpareil snorkeling and diving), Mayan ruins, eco-adventures and the colonial town of Merida all add up to making this region a major winner for teens.
Photo by Irene Butler,
4. Maui, Hawaii, USA
Can you imagine the Facebook postings after spending vacation surfing in Maui? A teenager's dream trip.
There are several surfing schools on the island where you can take lessons. Our favorite is Island Style Adventures right in front of the Westin Resort & Spa on Ka'anapali Beach.
Photo by Anouk Charles
5. Copenhagen, Denmark
Denmark is forever being referred to as a happy country.
No where is it more apparent than in Tivoli Gardens (pictured here at night), which are right in the heart of Copenhagen. This year-round amusement park is filled with great restaurants serving cuisines from around the world, shops selling authentic Danish-made items, fragrant gardens, festive lights...oh, and rides!
But the rest of the city is just as happy, with thousands of Danes riding bikes to school, work and play every day and an all-around, "Let's live life to the fullest" attitude. You're not going to hear any complaining here.
Photo by Niels M. Knudsen,
6. Costa Rica
One trip to this small Central American country and you and your kids will be talking about it for years to come.
You'll never forget the wildlife (from neon-colored birds to sloths), the beaches (on the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea), and the variety of adventures. Within a week's time, you might do a bit of rafting, some hiking, surfing, or--as pictured--rappelling through a waterfall.
There are several tour companies providing excursions and lodging packages including Horizontes Nature Tours, who are committed to eco-tourism and have a strong emphasis on experiential travel.
7. Machu Picchu, Peru
Chances are, seeing one of the New Seven Wonders of the World will only whet your teen's appetite to go to them all.
Arrestingly beautiful Machu Picchu is a great one to start with. All visits here begin in Cusco, which was the capital of the Inca Empire and is a fascinating city to explore.
A trip to this part of the world will open your teen's eyes to pre-Columbia history as well as Andes Mountain scenery that really ups the ante on what a "geat view" is.
Photo by Chris Banks/Sinnerman Photography
8.New York City, New York, USA
Maybe you'll see him, maybe you won't. The Naked Cowboy is just one of Manhattan's famous characters.
Chances are you'll see all sorts of surprising things in this live-and-let-live city. And that's what teens love about it.
Take in a Broadway show, wander around the hip downtown neighborhoods of Tribeca and the East Village. Guaranteed... never a dull moment.
Photo by Richard Wiese
9. Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
French food, French fashion, French accents, and an all-around joie de vivre. That's Quebec City year-round.
So whether you're looking for some place to go during summer vacation or over winter break, it's a good choice.
In winter, you can cross-country ski right in the city on the Plains of Abraham or hit the slopes and vast network of cross-country trails at nearby Mont-Sainte-Anne. In summer, you're within easy reach of countless parks and nature areas where there's hiking, biking, and swimming.
And chances are, your teen's going to love strolling the old quarter's shop-lined streets.
Photo ©MTOQ/Linda Turgeon
10. South Africa
From the wave-washed beaches of Cape Town to the throbbing heart of Johannesburg, South Africa is a mesmerizing country. In addition to the well known Kruger National Park, there are many game reserves within easy reach of both cities. Pictured here is an elephant-back safari at Camp Jabulani, a private game reserve in Hoedspruit, Limpopo Province (near Greater Kruger National Park).