5 Best Bonding Mother-Daughter Trips with Tweens and Teens

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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.

In honor of the Mother’s Day here in the United States, I thought I’d put together a list of some of my favorite mother daughter trips that I’ve taken with my daughter over the years. We started with mother daughter day trips, moved up to mother teenage daughter weekend getaways, and now we have had our share of long mother daughter road trips. 

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

5 Best Mother Daughter Trips

Hopefully these suggestions will give you some ideas for planning your own trip. Before you book, I also put together some suggestions for planning a successful mother daughter trip. Incorporating something they love and involving them in the planning is certainly key!

I understand that sometimes it is hard just 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 mother daughter bonding trips are priceless to me.

I’m lucky that in all the years we have been taking mother daughter trips, she is turning fifteen soon and still wants to take our annual trip together. I even offered to bring a friend but she wanted it to be just the two of us. Let’s hope she still feels that way when we head to the Canadian Rockies this summer!

The Spa Trip

Mother daughter trip -- spa getaway

I thought I’d have to wait until my daughter was sixteen to share our first spa experience, but these days you can find spas that offer services for tweens as well. We visited the Beach Plum Spa at the John Carver Inn in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where we had side-by-side massages. I’ll never forget her dreamy smile after her first massage! What a privilege to share this fun “first” with her. We spent the rest of the weekend enjoying the indoor pool, cozying up in front of the fireplace in our suite, and exploring historic Plymouth.

Last year she asked when we could do another spa trip. Since we didn’t have the time or budget to plan a separate trip, I instead incorporated a mother daughter massage into our trip to New Mexico.

Plan your spa trip!

The Adventure Trip

We have had a few adventures together on our mother-daughter trips. From kayaking in Maryland and Virginia to white water rafting in Oregon.

Rock climbing at Smith Rock

Of all of these, our favorite bonding experience was rock climbing in Smith Rock in Oregon. She led, I struggled, we both came out with a new sense of accomplishment.

Now that she is a teen, I’ve made sure to include some sort of outdoor adventure into all of our trips. It helps to stay active, keep them off the phone, and work together. Plus, by this age she is faster and better than me in almost anything physical, so she gets to make a few jokes about mom along the way.

Last year on our midwest road trip we did a good amount of hiking in the National Parks and also went horseback riding in Custer State Park in South Dakota.

Plan your adventure trip!

The Wildlife Trip

We are both animal lovers and we have a lot of bucket list dreams that involve polar bears, pandas, and penguins. 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.

Mother daughter trips -- seeing the wild ponies in Chincoteague

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. What a special experience!

Since animals continue to be a love, we usually incorporate some animal interactions on our trips too. We have visited alpaca farms, scouted out bison herds, and of course gone horseback riding. So even if your trip isn’t themed around wildlife, you can still bring in that element.

Plan your wildlife trip!

The Educational Trip

Mother Daughter getaways -- visiting Gettysburg PA

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. Hannah and I have also taken a lot of educational trips together visiting historical sites like Williamsburg, Monticello, and Salem. But one of our favorites was Gettysburg. It was one of the first times that I could see her really taking in and processing everything that we learned and observed the impact that it had.

As a teen, our most impactful trip was our Civil Rights road trip through Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. It was the perfect time to take on that subject matter and have it hit home in a powerful and long-lasting way.

Plan your educational trip!

The Big City Trip

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.

Mother daughter getaway to Baltimore

But the best memory of this trip was the first time Hannah had Maryland blue crabs. She loved breaking them up with the hammer, but it was my job to eat the body so she could get the easier legs.

Since then we have visited countless cities as a mother daughter duo including Nashville, Memphis, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Chicago. I know that not only has this 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.

Plan your city trip!

Given the amount that she has traveled and experienced, I hope she is slightly better prepared to fend for herself when she goes off to college some day in the not distant enough future.

At least we have the memories!

Looking for more ideas? Join our private travel with teens Facebook group!

Travel with Teens Facebook group


5 Mother Daughter Trips ideas including spas, cities, adventure destinations and more. My favorite is #2!

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22 Comments on “5 Best Bonding Mother-Daughter Trips with Tweens and Teens

  1. 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!

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

    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

    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!

    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!

    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.

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

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

    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

    I like the SPA trip!

    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!

    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.

    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!

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