6 Mother Daughter Trips for Bonding with Teens and Tweens

A mother-daughter relationship is precious and sometimes precarious. Nothing helps strengthen the bonds between a mother and daughter than participating in activities shoulder-to-shoulder and sharing new experiences. Mother daughter trips are a perfect way to accomplish both — and those long hours of travel time can be the perfect way to enjoy quality time and get even a recalcitrant teen to open up.

I started taking mother daughter day trips with my girl when she was very young and we began lengthening those to mother daughter vacations when she was six or seven. Over the years, our annual mother daughter getaways have become a treasured tradition.

This precious time together has become absolutely priceless and she moves through her teenage years. Over the years, we have tried all sorts of trips (see my tips for planning a mother daughter trip) and each of them has hit home at various stages of her growth. I wanted to share a few of our favorites to give you mother daughter trip ideas to use in your own planning.

Two-week road trip through Virginia with kids -- what to do and where to stay

6 Best Mother Daughter Trips

I understand that sometimes it is hard to pull off a family vacation, let only a one-on-one trip. It is definitely easier for me because I only have one child. But I still think it is worth the effort, even if it can’t happen every year. These trips build a foundation for a strong relationship even when your daughter leaves home and goes off on her own.

1. The Adventure Trip

Hanging off the Mt Norquay

Teens love to be active and often seek thrills that we as moms would rather avoid. But I can tell you from experience that jumping in and adventuring together will gain you respect, empower you both, and generate stories for years to come.

Even if your trip isn’t ALL about adventure, it is easy to build a few adventurous activities into your trip. That can be paddle boarding, kayaking, horseback riding, zip lining, or tree top adventure courses.

Some of our favorite adventures include:

2. The Wildlife Trip

Mother daughter trips -- seeing the wild ponies in Chincoteague

Tweens tend to be animal lovers and get excited about up close and personal animal encounters. We are both animal lovers and we have a lot of bucket list dreams that involve polar bears, pandas, and penguins.

While some of those dreams are a little inaccessible on the current budget, it is easy to build in wildlife sightings or animal experiences into a mother daughter trip.

For example, after reading the book Misty of Chincoteague together for a mother-daughter book club, I figured that a mother-daughter trip to see the wild ponies of Chincoteague would be a perfect idea. We huddled together against the cold wind and spray of the water on our boat ride around the island, but soon we were both beaming when we spied our first pony herds.

Some of our favorite wildlife trips include:

3. The Cultural Trip

If you are looking for something more adventurous, that also wraps in culture, education, and yes some wildlife (in the form of a llama hike!), I would encourage you to look at GOOD Travel. This responsible travel company is founded by a mom and they run mother-daughter trips to Peru each summer. I’m actually planning on doing one in 2021 if you want to join me!

Every aspect of the trip – from the hotels to the llama hikes to the chocolate making – has been designed to ensure that the local community, economy and environment benefit from your visit. So it is a great way to have an amazing bonding experience (with other moms and daughters) in a positive way.

I think this would be perfect for a big birthday or moving up from grade school to middle school or middle school to high school. If you sign up, be sure to note that you were referred by WE3TRAVEL (my affiliate code) and you will receive a 10% discount.

4. The Big City Trip

girl overlooking river walk in Milwaukee at sunset
Milwaukee River Walk

If wildlife and adventure aren’t your thing, maybe a mother daughter weekend getaway to a big city — like New York City, Los Angeles, or San Francisco for shopping, eating, and visiting the theater and museums is more your deal. These trips are great for all ages and can even become an annual tradition as most cities have so much to offer and interests change as your daughter gets older.

One of our first mother daughter getaways was to Baltimore, Maryland. Visiting a new city gives you a chance to explore together and share new experiences. We had a very special time wandering the city streets together and it allowed her a more active role in choosing which attractions and restaurants we visited.

I know that not only have these trips given us fun memories together, but it has also taught her skills about navigating a city, using public transportation, and how to keep yourself safe.

Some of our favorite U.S. cities to visit include:

5. The Educational Trip

I am a man mural in Memphis
I Am a Man Mural in Memphis

We spend a lot of time teaching our kids, but when you have an opportunity to learn together you are both on the same level and have another shared experience to reference and discuss.

We have taken a lot of educational trips together visiting historical sites, museums, and living history museums. Not every trip is themed around an educational topic, some just include an activity. But others, like our Civil Rights road trip, have been designed for a purpose and had a profound impact.

I think ages 8-14 is ideal for this type of trip. Some of our favorite educational destinations include:

6. The Spa Trip

Sierra Grande spa couples massage room

I thought spa resorts would require my daughter to be sixteen (and some do), but these days you can find spas that offer services for tweens and teens — from chocolate pedicures, blow outs, or massages for moms and daughters.

I’ll never forget her dreamy smile after her first massage! What a privilege to share this fun “first” with her. There have been a few times where we have added a spa experience to our trip, and I can’t wait to plan another spa getaway. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to bribe her to go on a mother daughter spa weekend even when she has moved out!

Our favorite spa experiences have been at:

These trips have created a bank full of cherished memories — for both of us! Even though planning a mother daughter getaway with your tween or teen daughter may sound daunting or impossible, I encourage you to give it a try. Start with a day trip or shared experience and go from there.

Need more ideas? What about a cooking class, TV or movie location tour, food themed trip, attending a sporting event, going to a musical performance, or something else that grabs her interest. The best mother daughter vacations are ones where she has a say in what you do.

I would love to hear your ideas, suggestions, and experiences. Join our private travel with teens Facebook group!

Travel with Teens Facebook group

PIN THIS FOR LATER

Find this useful? Share it!

32 Comments on “6 Mother Daughter Trips for Bonding with Teens and Tweens

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Love these ideas. I haven’t done a spa trip with Cassie yet, and I definitely want to plan one. Gonna check into Beach Plum!

    I’m in awe of your Norquay, Banff, via ferrata adventure. I’m a bit afraid of heights and that ferrata route is super challenging. Good on you for conquering it!

      thank you!! I had my moments but when your teen is encouraging you, you don’t chicken out. I sure was exhausted and sore that night though!

    Love this! I especially like the adventure trip idea, and not just because it features Crater Lake and Smith Rock…in my backyard!

    Mother-daughter trips have been SO GOOD for my daughter and me in terms of strengthening our relationship and just plain having a whole lot of fun!

    It sounds like so much fun! Eventually, I want to do a Jane Austen tour with her, but I think, for now, she’d rather we go to an adventure playground.
    Mother-daughter trips have been SO GOOD for my daughter and me in terms of strengthening our relationship and just plain having a whole lot of fun! One of my favorite travel memories was traveling with my mom as an adult child of 25 to Paris for the first time.

    This is lovely, my mother and I did trips like this in my teens and now that I’m in my 30s we are doing them again. I took my mum on a northern lights trip recently which was so nice. It will be great when the tables turn and your daughter plans the trip and takes you!

    I just went to Egypt with my daughter and it was amazing.

    I traveled a lot with my daughter solo when she was smaller. Now that she’s bigger I think I need to plan another trip!

    Love this! I especially like the adventure trip idea, and not just because it features Crater Lake and Smith Rock…in my backyard!

      We loved that area. Crater Lake may be my favorite national park so far.

    Mother-daughter trips have been SO GOOD for my daughter and me in terms of strengthening our relationship and just plain having a whole lot of fun!

    I haven’t done a mother-daughter trip yet with my 5-year old, but I’m hoping to do it this year before her THIRD little brother arrives! 🙂 It sounds like so much fun! Eventually I want to do a Jane Austen tour with her, but I think for now, she’d rather we go to an adventure playground. 🙂

      A literary tour would definitely be a fun idea

    Love these! Ours tend to be anything around food, coffee, or chocolate… 😉

      Oh that reminds me of a chocolate tasting I did with her!

    Cute! I love the photo of you two in your road trip t-shirts. I live in a house full of males, so I take girls-only trips with my mom. We love it.

      Thanks! I imagine mother son trips could be very fun too! It is really just about doing things together.

    Love this idea so much. One of my favorite travel memories was travelling with my mom as an adult child of 25 to Paris for the first time. It was a fantastic trip that I wish we could have done more often!

      That sounds special! I hope my tween wants to keep our tradition going through her teen years.

    I absolutely admire your long distance road trips with Hannah! For now, I try to always go to a nails “spa” with my 6-yr old:) and last year for Mother’s Day we had a yoga teacher come to our house for a mother-daughter private class. This year- we repeated the experience DIY style cause we already know the moves:)

      That sounds so sweet! We would love mother-daughter yoga!

    I have only done city trips alone with my girls (I guess I’m most comfortable navigating cities by myself). I think a wildlife one sounds great though – I would love to see the Chincoteague ponies!

      Wildlife ones are great for animal lovers

    My favorite mother-daughter trip would be to the spa. My daughter is super girly and loves getting her toes, nails and hair done.

    Mother Daughter Horseback camp at the Sugar and Spice Ranch at the Cowboy Capital of the world… Bandera TX!

      Oh that sounds so fun and absolutely perfect for a horse loving girl too!

Get your free Family Vacation Planning Kit

Sign up for our newsletter and receive a Family Vacation Planning Kit!
We3Travel.com will use the information you provide on this form to send you newsletters. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting tamara@we3travel.com. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.