Iceland Self Drive Tour for Family with Young Children

  Family of 2 adults and 2 children visited Iceland in April 2017

“We are a family of 4 - me, my husband, our 5 year old son, and our toddler daughter. We would like to go on a self-drive tour of the ring road. This tour should include all of the major highlights of the ring road and several opportunities to search for the Northern Lights. Because we have young children, we'd like the pace to be more relaxed to allow for us to stay as the kids are enjoying and move on when they are not. If possible, we would like several of the days/nights to be in a camper. (For non-camper days, we are looking to get a 4x4.)

A few other things we'd like to do:
- season permitting, we would like to go on a whale watching and/or puffins watching cruise.
- see the sights in Reykjavik
- swim in the Blue Lagoon
- see something related to the Trolls / Elves folklore”

Chris McCarty, a local specialist from Iceland, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary based on 8-Day Ring Road Itinerary: Explore Iceland’s Top Places Along Its Most Famous Road.

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Trip planning highlights

119 messages exchanged
3 trip plan versions shared
Travelers completed their trip! Read traveler review

Family Ring Road Adventure

Day 1: Arrival and Downtown Reykjavik
Day 2: North to Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Day 3: More of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Day 4: North to Akureyri
Day 5: The North: Godafoss, Whale Watching, and Big Waterfalls
Day 6: Geological Wonders of Lake Myvatn
Day 7: Scenic Eastern Fjords
Day 8: Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach
Day 9: South Coast and Vik
Day 10: Waterfalls, Black Sand Beaches, and start of Golden Circle
Day 11: Golden Circle, Power Plant, and back to KEF

Summary of the trip planning conversation

Below are some useful excerpts from the trip planning conversation
Chris McCarty
Hi, welcome to kimkim! I'm Chris and I will be your kimkim travel specialist for your trip to Iceland.

If you like, I can arrange for a 4x4 camper / converted SUV. Some of the 4 person campers/SUVs are standard transmission, would that be alright or would you prefer an automatic?

For the ring road, it won't really be an option to have a camper for just a few days of it. Another option would be to have a non-4WD camper for most of it, and rent a 4WD SUV for a couple days to explore the highlands a bit (the best spot would be either Thorsmork or Landmannalaugar, both within a couple hours of Reykjavik.

Were there other areas that you wanted to explore by 4x4?

Chris McCarty
You will be nearing the end of the "Northern Lights Season". With 12 full days you still have a fairly good shot, but it all depends on the weather and activity at that time.

I can arrange for a Whale Watching tour out of Husavik while you are in the north. We work with a great company there that continues to improve all their ship so that they are carbon neutral and silent, which is both good for the environment and the whales. Their entire office, cafe, and restaurant is made from recycled ships and driftwood.

I'm not sure the kids will make it for that long in a camper, especially one without a WC. If it makes more sense to do the trip without the camper, that is fine. I realize that I included our travel days. 

Chris McCarty
Here is an idea for an 8-day tour of the Ring Road that's faster paced, I can add a few days in some of the places to break up the driving and give you more time in certain areas depending on what areas you prefer.

That sounds like a great Whale Watching tour. We're don't have any specific 4x4 adventures in mind, so we'll take your recommendation.

If we are looking at hotels/cabins, we would like our room to have a private shower/bath and WC. I'm looking at the link now.

Chris McCarty
Ok, I will make sure to look for places with private bathrooms and showers. Most of the 4 person options will be either with 2 full/queen or 4 twins.

Let me know if you would like to spend another day/night exploring some of the areas listed in the 8-day tour (or we can add more time in Reykjavik or on a 4x4 adventure to the highlands)

Then, I will put together a general custom itinerary for your trip, and we can work through any details.
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Traveler Review

It was helpful to have someone with knowledge of the area to help us book rooms. However, the itinerary seemed somewhat generic rather than customized. For example, there were several recommendations on the itinerary that were not open during the winter season. Also, because it was winter and the roads were not always in the best condition, it would have been nice if the itinerary was a little more specific with directions (i.e. what roads were before/after) rather than just saying look for the signs. We relied a lot more on a Rough Guide and a detailed map than I had expected to.