Family-friendly things to do in Sri Lanka

BY Nico

Sri Lanka is a stunning and diverse country, with a rich cultural heritage, spectacular landscapes, and a wealth of activities perfect for families.

From wildlife safaris to ancient temples, from pristine beaches to lush forests, there is something for everyone in Sri Lanka. With its friendly people and warm climate Sri Lanka is a great year-round destination for families looking for an enriching travel experience. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or education, Sri Lanka can deliver it all with plenty of family-friendly options that will keep everyone entertained, engaged, and inspired.

These are our top 10 suggestions of the best things to see and do in Sri Lanka with your family.

Surfing on the Southern and Eastern coast

Sri Lanka has developed a reputation in recent years as a mecca for budding young surfers to learn and perfect their board skills. The island offers year round surfing and depending on the season we can point you in the right direction for the best places to visit for safe surfing conditions . On the far flung south-eastern coast of the island, Arugam Bay is the go to for barefoot beach bums looking for fantastic surfing in Sri Lanka. Increasingly seen as among the top surfing destinations in Asia, “A-Bay” boasts swells that wash up to its shore and a number of right-hand breaks that are suitable for beginners as well as more advanced surfers. The southern coast on the beaches to the east of Galle Fort offer year round surfing with a number of surf schools and options for board hire.

Temple of the Tooth, Kandy

The Temple of the Tooth, or Sri Dalada Maligawa, said to house a tooth of the Lord Buddha and that makes it the most revered temple in Sri Lanka. The temple complex is in the heart of the city set in a peaceful and serene environment, surrounded by lush gardens and ponds. Visitors can admire the stunning architecture of the temple buildings, including the golden-roofed main shrine and the adjacent audience hall, decorated with intricate carvings and murals. The temple also offers cultural performances, including traditional dances and drumming, which can be enjoyed by families and children.

Bike rides and cycling

Active families will find Sri Lanka to be a match made in heaven. Mountain biking around the rolling tea plantations of the hill country or more gentle flat bike rides through the villages and paddy fields behind the southern coast are great ways to get children out and about. And we would always suggest stop for a fresh king coconut along the way!
Ella to Kandy Train Ride
No visit to Sri Lanka is complete without a train experience between Kandy and Ella.. The train travels through rolling hills and tea plantations, offering jaw dropping views of the countryside. The journey takes around 5 hours, allowing plenty of time for families to relax, take in the scenery, and interact with local travellers along the way. The train ride is also a great opportunity for children to learn about Sri Lanka’s railway history and to experience a different mode of transport.

Whale Watching in Mirissa

The southern coast of Sri Lanka is one of the best places in the world for whale watching, particularly blue whales, sperm whales, and dolphins in their natural habitat. Most boat trips last around 4 hours, during which families can enjoy the thrill of searching for these magnificent creatures, observing their behaviors, and learning about their biology and ecology from knowledgeable guides. This is an educational and exciting activity for families and younger travelers, who will never forget their encounter with the world’s largest mammals.

Yala National Park

Yala National Park is one of Sri Lanka’s safari and wildlife reserves offering families a chance to get up close and personal with elephants, leopards, bears, and a wide variety of bird species. Safaris are conducted on a private basis in open-air jeeps with a guide and expert naturalist to ensure that the amazing array of flora and fauna is not missed. The park is also known for its stunning landscapes, including rocky outcrops, lagoons, and beaches. Young children will particularly enjoy spotting the playful monkeys and monitor lizards that are often seen along the roads. It is a great way for families to spend time together, connecting with nature and learning about the importance of conservation.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress

The Sigiriya Rock Fortress, also known as the Lion Rock, is an ancient palace and fortress located atop a 200-meter rock in central Sri Lanka. Children will love the adventurous feeling of climbing the rock and discovering the secrets of this ancient site. Visitors can explore the well-preserved ruins, including the impressive frescoes, the Mirror Wall, and the Lion Staircase, as well as admire the stunning views of the surrounding jungle.

Galle Fort

Galle Fort is a long standing Yonder favourite. The 17th-century Dutch fort has been beautifully restored and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, filled with artisan shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions. Families can explore the ramparts and dungeons and also walk along the cobbled streets. And every visit to Galle Fort as to include a stop at the lighthouse for panoramic views of the city and the sea and a glimpse into the past. Children will particularly enjoy visiting the National Maritime Museum, which showcases Sri Lanka’s maritime heritage and has interactive exhibits and displays. It is a great place for families to learn about the country’s history and culture in a relaxed and enjoyable environment.


The ancient city of Anuradhapura is one of Sri Lanka’s most important historical and cultural sites, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city was the capital of Sri Lanka for over 1,300 years and is home to numerous temples, palaces, and ruins, some dating back to the 3rd century BC. Visitors can explore the well-preserved ruins of the ancient Palace, the important monasteries of Abhayagiri and Jetavanarama, and the impressive Dagoba, or dome-shaped Buddhist shrines. Children will be particularly fascinated by the towering Ruwanwelisaya Dagoba, one of the largest in Sri Lanka, and the intricate carvings on the moonstone at the entrance to the Temple of the Tooth relic.


By Nico

Some of our travel blogs have been researched with the aid of AI. Our travel specialists manually check and edit each article and add our own flavour of Yonder expertise.


Yonder is a specialist India tour operator, including tailor-made, luxury holidays to Sri Lanka which can include any of the must see places discussed in this article.

All Yonder itineraries are crafted on a tailor-made, one-off basis, so you can be sure that your holiday will be as individual as you are.