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Family adventure vacations you never knew existed

Sandy Smith is a food writer, editor, recipe developer, and pastry chef. She lives in New York's Mid-Hudson Valley with her awesome family of painfully honest, unfailingly supportive taste-testers.

Unforgettable family adventure vacations

If your definition of "family adventure vacation" is limited to crisis mode when you forget the portable DVD player, maybe it's time to expand your horizons a little. The following are a sampling of wild, wonderful, utterly unforgettable family vacations. Just don't be surprised if you get a call from a skeptical teacher after your kids hand in their "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" compositions.

Family adventure in peru


1Turkish Delight

From the spice market of Istanbul to the underground cave dwellings of Cappadocia, travel with your family through this ancient and fascinating land. You'll also visit ruins in Ephesus, pedal a boat around the Grotto of the Golden Cradle and tour the famous Hagia Sophia. This family adventure vacation is appropriate for kids ages eight or older.

Visit: www.familyadventures.com

2Trek the Inca Trail

Journey over a road the Incas built more five centuries ago to the city of Macchu Pichu, where you will explore ancient temples, streets and buildings at your leisure. Along the way, you'll visit the villages of the highland Quechua Indians, view ancient Inca settlements and structures, and trek through miles of breathtaking cloud forest.

Visit: www.wildland.com

3Repeating History: Lewis and Clark

Hop into a spacious canoe and trace the path Lewis and Clark took on their return journey along the Missouri River in Montana. Dazzling scenery, comfortable campsites and knowledgeable guides make this a relaxing family vacation with a theme of Western Plains history that's a perfect fit for outdoorsy types.

Visit: www.rowadventures.com

4Down(time) on the Farm

Get your gang up early to milk cows, feed chickens, pick berries, plant soybeans, make hay or help herd cattle. Or not: Maybe you'd rather hike the back 40, go horseback riding, fish for fun or lunch, picnic, pet sheep, swim, mountain-bike, go exploring in nearby town and country -- or just relax in beautiful surroundings. Just be sure to be on time for the groaning-board farm-style dinner. If this sounds like your ideal family vacation, you've got plenty of pastoral getaways to choose from.

Visit: www.travelandleisure.com

5Alaska by Rail

Take a train through the majestic wilderness of Alaska, making stops to ride a dog sled, go "flightseeing" around Mt. McKinley, tour a glacier, jetboat the Devil's Gorge, and view the incredible scenery of Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park. Nighttime will find you tucked up snug and warm in a cozy hotel room.

Visit: www.alaskarailroad.com

6Westward Ho!

Pining for places where buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play? Try a wagon train vacation! Ride in a covered wagon (padded bench seats and rubberized wheels make the journey a sight more comfortable than in the old-timey days) or on horseback alongside the wagon train as you and your kin head out to your campsite situated in the lovely Bridger-Teton National Forest and Mount Leidy Highlands. You'll sit around a campfire to eat meals prepared chuckwagon-style, and sleep in your wagon, a tent, or under the stars.

Visit: www.wagonswestwyo.com

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