Are you looking for the best things to do in Dumfries & Galloway with teens?
We’ve been visiting the Scottish borders on holiday since I was a toddler and in the 20+ *cough* years since then we’ve visited as kids, adults, parents and with friends.
Over the years I like to think we’ve found out some of the best things to do with teens in the area, and today I’m sharing some of our favourites. So if you’re staying around Portpatrick, Newton Stewart and the Galloway forest, here are some things we’ve tried, tested and would recommend if you’re travelling with teenagers.
What to do with Teens in Dumfries & Galloway
Galloway Activity Centre, Loch Ken
The Galloway Activity Centre is open year round and offers a range of outdoor activities including half day taster sessions in watersports (SUP, kayaking, windsurfing and sailing) along with accredited sailing courses.
If you have your own kayak or paddleboard you can pay £10 per day to launch from the activity centre, which has the advantage of having a great cafe, changing rooms and toilets.
If you don’t want to get wet, there’s also climbing, archery and even laser tag, so you can make a day of it. This makes this one of our top tips for the best things to do in Dumfries & Galloway with teens.
We’ve been here many times and always had great service and a lot of fun. The loch is really beautiful and having great parking and facilities makes for a great day out. If you do a half-day session here, then I totally recommend booking ahead for lunch at The Smithy Inn, which serves amazing salads, sandwiches and cakes.
Book Shopping in Wigtown
Wigtown is a centre for second hand bookshops in South West Scotland and it makes for a lovely day of browsing if you have a keen reader in the family.
There are shops with modern fiction, Scottish classics, children’s books and what claims to be Scotland’s largest second-hand bookstore. You’ll even find a couple of shops selling local craft and a deli that’s dedicated to cheese. It’s a lovely spot to spend a morning.
While here, we’d definitely recommend popping into the cafe Reading Lasses, which serves meals and the most amazing range of home-made cakes. If you’re too full for dessert, why not buy a box of tiffin to take away?
Jet Ski at Inn on the Loch
Since the jet ski school in Loch Ken closed, there are not many places to jet ski in Scotland.
The Inn on the Loch, on the main A75 route close to Dumfries, is an ideal spot for your adventure seeking kids. You can book over email or telephone, and the hotel has wetsuits if you need them.
If you’re happy to get wet then you can book an hour’s jetski for £99 per person. There needs to be a rider over 18 on each jetski, so this one is for older teens or a teenager that’s happy to ride a jetski with Mum or Dad.
If that’s not enough excitement, you can also book to try wake boarding and flyboarding.
Clay Pigeon Shooting at Ayr
We love clay pigeon shooting – it’s something a bit different, challenging but suitable for the whole family to enjoy (compete, in our case) together.
Forrest Estate Experiences, near Castle Douglas, offers half-day shooting schools where families with children of all ages can try a few different shooting experiences, including clay pigeon shooting. Depending on the size of your group it costs from £50pp to include ammunition. Book well ahead as capacity is limited and shooting isn’t available on all dates.
Golf Club Driving Range, Portpatrick
For some reason, my daughter hates golf – but loves whacking balls at a driving range.
The Portpatrick Golf Club Driving range is an easy day out, and lots of fun for teens. There are 12 stalls and the range rarely gets busy, so you can just turn up on a quiet afternoon. You can get balls from the self-serve machine and if you need them, the club will also loan you some clubs.
Afterwards there’s a small on-site cafe serving simple hot meals.
Quad Biking on a Farm
This is one for lovers of great scenery and farm animals. For £48 per person you can take a morning’s quad bike tour around a working farm, herding sheep, touring the fields and getting to see behind the scenes.
Guests are provided with full training, and safety helmets are provided. A guide will accompany you on the tour, to make sure everyone stays safe!
Mountain Biking at 7Stanes
The green hills and lush forests around South West Scotland make for some of the best mountain biking in the world. The 7Stanes is a network of world-class cycling paths across the region, each with its own unique sculpture (or ‘stane’) representing a local myth or legend.
Don’t worry – each site offers a number of different paths, with paths suitable for beginners, families and serious riders alike. We headed to Kirroughtree, which has some amazing views over the coastline, and a fabulous on-site restaurant and visitor centre. There are also bike hire centres that will provide all the kit you need, so you don’t even need a bike!
Oh, and there are walking trails if you just fancy a nice ramble.
There are so many beautiful beaches in this part of Scotland, it’s impossible to choose just one, but Mossyard is a pretty, sheltered little cove and a wonderful place for a picnic.
At low tide there are endless rock pools to explore and clamber over. Meanwhile, at high tide, the ocean gathers on both sides to give an only slightly alarming walk in between two seas. The beach is privately owned but the farmer runs a little car park you can use all day if you’re happy to drop £3 in the honesty box.
After your walk, we heartily recommend heading to Gather for lunch or dinner. Up a steep hill behind Mossyard Beach, this is an Insta-friendly, cool eatery that will please the fussiest of teens. In dry weather, you can sit and wooden benches and be given logs to feed your own woodburner, with huge sheepskin blankets to keep you warm. If it’s raining, head inside and enjoy the huge panoramic windows offering amazing views over the coastline below.
There you have it – our recommendations of the six best things to do in Dumfries & Galloway with teens. Let us know your recommendations in the comments!