The Ultimate Family Road Trip: Exploring Kid-Friendly Activities Along the North Coast 500

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The Ultimate Family Road Trip: Exploring Kid-Friendly Activities Along the North Coast 500

The North Coast 500, provides a memorable road trip experience for small and big kids alike.

While the unbelievable landscapes and quaint villages are sure to enthral adults (especially if they have cake!), there’s no shortage of child-friendly activities and attractions to keep the little ones engaged along the way.

In this post, we’ll delve into at 10 (probably more!) entertaining activities that children of all ages can enjoy while travelling the NC500 route. Let’s dive in!

Oh, and before we do dive in, all of these places are in our NC500 Activities directory. So if you want to know when they are open, how much and the location for the sat nav, we have got you covered.

Family-Friendly Destinations on North Coast 500
Highland Wildlife Park: Observe a diverse range of animals on a drive-through safari.
Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve: Enjoy family-friendly walking paths and picturesque mountain trails.
Ullapool Museum: Learn about the history and culture of Ullapool through interactive exhibits.
Dunrobin Castle: Explore elegantly furnished rooms and impressive gardens and witness captivating falconry displays.
Timespan Museum and Arts Centre: Handle real fossils and learn about the area’s Viking past.
Smoo Cave: Visit a captivating natural wonder with an impressive waterfall and intriguing legends.
John O’Groats and the Duncansby Stacks: See the northeasternmost point of mainland Britain and explore remarkable sea stacks.
Black Isle Wildlife and Country Park: Get up close and personal with a variety of animals and enjoy nature trails and outdoor play areas.
Inverness Botanic Gardens: Explore lush tropical plants, colorful flowers, and a koi-filled pond.
Whaligoe Steps: Tackle historic steps leading to a picturesque harbor nestled between dramatic cliffs.

Highland Wildlife Park, Kincraig

The Highland Wildlife Park is a must-visit destination for families exploring the North Coast 500.

Home to a diverse range of animals, including Scottish wildcats, red deer, and even polar bears, the park promises an unforgettable experience.

Children will be thrilled by the drive-through safari, where they can observe bison and elk up close. The park also hosts daily talks and feeds, allowing kids to learn more about their favourite animals.

Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve, Wester Ross

Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve offers a sanctuary for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

With its ancient woodland and picturesque mountain trails, it’s an excellent spot to introduce your children to the beauty of nature. Several family-friendly walking paths are available, featuring gentle gradients and clear signposting, making them suitable for children of all ages.

Ullapool Museum, Ullapool

For a taste of history and culture, visit the Ullapool Museum. Situated in a charming old church, the museum presents a variety of interactive exhibits that recount Ullapool’s history.

Children can join for dressing up in period costumes, exploring the recreated croft house, and listening to local folklore through storytelling sessions.

Dunrobin Castle, Golspie

Dunrobin Castle, with its enchanting appearance, is sure to spark the imagination of both children and grown children alike.

As you explore the elegantly furnished rooms and impressive gardens, your kids can learn about the castle’s history and its previous residents.

Don’t miss the captivating falconry displays, where skilled handlers demonstrate the incredible hunting abilities of birds of prey.

Timespan Museum and Arts Centre, Helmsdale

The Timespan Museum and Arts Centre in Helmsdale is an engaging attraction showcasing the cultural and natural history of the region.

Interactive exhibits allow kids to handle real fossils and learn about the area’s Viking past. The museum also features a fascinating exhibition on the Highland Clearances, which played a significant role in the local community.

Smoo Cave, Durness

A captivating natural wonder located along the North Coast 500, Smoo Cave is an exciting geological site perfect for families.

Boasting an impressive waterfall and intriguing legends, this one-of-a-kind cave system offers an enjoyable, educational outing for youngsters. Guided tours are available, shedding light on the cave’s history and geology.

John O’Groats and the Duncansby Stacks

A trip to John O’Groats, the northeasternmost point of mainland Britain, is a must for any North Coast 500 adventure.

After snapping a family photo next to the famous signpost, take a short drive to the nearby Duncansby Stacks.

These remarkable sea stacks provide a fantastic coastal walk, and kids will love clambering over the rock formations and observing the seabirds nesting in the cliffs.

Don’t make the same mistake as thousands of others do! See the blog post here on Duncansby Stacks

Black Isle Wildlife and Country Park, near Fortrose

Black Isle Wildlife and Country Park is a delightful destination for families, offering a chance to get up close and personal with a variety of animals such as llamas, wallabies, and birds.

With its meandering nature trails, pond-dipping area, and outdoor play area, children will be entertained for hours. Don’t forget to pack a picnic and enjoy a leisurely lunch surrounded by the park’s tranquil setting.

Inverness Botanic Gardens, Inverness

Inverness Botanic Gardens is a hidden gem nestled within the bustling city, offering a peaceful retreat for families to explore.

With its lush tropical plants, colourful flowers, and koi-filled pond, the gardens provide a serene environment for children to discover the wonders of nature.

The gardens also feature a play area and a cafe, making it an ideal spot to unwind and spend a leisurely afternoon.

The Whaligoe Steps, Wick

For an adventurous family activity, tackle the Whaligoe Steps together.

These 365 historic steps lead to a picturesque harbour nestled between dramatic cliffs. While the walk may be challenging for younger children, older kids will relish the sense of achievement after conquering the steep descent. Be sure to capture plenty of photos of the stunning views along the way.

Want to know more about these steps? See here Whaligoe Steps for everything.

Adventures Ahead

The North Coast 500 route is teeming with child-friendly activities and attractions that cater to a wide range of interests, from wildlife encounters and outdoor escapades to historical sites and cultural experiences.

By incorporating just some of these family-oriented stops into your travel plans, you can ensure that your North Coast 500 journey is a memorable adventure for the entire family.

Hit the road, and create lasting memories as you explore the splendour of Scotland’s NC500.

PS. Still looking for ideas? See our NC500 Activities directory for all the locations to see around the North Coast 500.

We're here to help you maximise your North Coast 500 experience with guides, tips, itineraries. Everything you need to know about your first or next NC500 adventure.
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