7 Memory-Making Mother-Daughter Trips To Bond with Your Teen

A mother-daughter relationship is precious and sometimes precarious. Nothing helps strengthen the bonds between a mom and daughters more 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 as 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 memorable 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

7 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. Of course, you can hike just about anywhere but for epic views try one of the Utah National Parks.

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 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 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

Blue Gate of the Fes Medina
Blue Gate of the Fes Medina

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.

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, middle school to high school, or even a graduation trip. If you sign up, be sure to note that you were referred by WE3TRAVEL (my affiliate code) and you will receive a 10% discount.

Of course, there are countless cultural trips you can take from learning about native culture in your own backyard to exploring a new part of the globe. One of the most immersive cultural trips we have taken as a family was to Morocco.

4. The Big City Trip

girl overlooking river walk in Milwaukee at sunset
Milwaukee River Walk

If wildlife and adventure aren’t your things, 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 are 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 when 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:

  • Sierra Grande in Truth & Consequences, New Mexico
  • The Beach Plum Spa at the John Carver Inn in Plymouth, Massachusetts

7. The College Trip

Now that I have had a senior, we have added a new kind of mother-daughter trip to our repertoire — the college visit trip. While these can be stressful on both sides, and we don’t like to think about sending them off into the world, this is an incredible opportunity to be involved in one of the most important decisions your daughter will make so far in her life.

Sometimes, she may even listen to your point of view or gain some wisdom from your experience! But don’t make it all college and no play. Here are some great tips for turning a college trip into a mini-vacation. And as we have crisscrossed the country college shopping, I’ve also added some guides to visiting campuses on my sister site, Your Time to Fly, including:

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


Mother daughter trips getaway ideas

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Publish Date: November 16, 2022

32 thoughts on “7 Memory-Making Mother-Daughter Trips To Bond with Your Teen”

  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!

  2. 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!

    1. 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!

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

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. Ariana - World of Travels with Kids

    Having only just started in the “tween” world (she is 9) i am learning that i have to do special things with her, so loved this post for giving me inspo.

  8. 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!

  9. pitstopsforkids

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

  10. 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!

  11. 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. 🙂

  12. Wandering Educators

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

  13. Jenna Francisco (@thismyhappiness)

    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.

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

  14. Claudia Laroye

    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!

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

  15. 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:)

  16. Francesca | The Working Mom's Travels

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this! Hannah is just darling, first of all. I know Lucia would love the wild ponies of Chincoteague (so would I) and Gettysburg. You’ve given me some great ideas!

  17. 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!

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

  19. Michelle Brennan

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

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