A Family trip to Iceland
Home is where we are. Whether we are in our small home in Phoenix, Arizona, camping in the forest, paddle boarding the lakes of the south west United States, or in a Camper van in Iceland…Home is where we are, together. We are a family of four, and as we embark on each new adventure, we remind ourselves and our sweet little girls that no matter where we go, we are home.
For a week, our home was in that Camper van, in Iceland. Our daughters are 6 and 4 years old and many people have asked, “How did you do it? How did you do Iceland with little kids?” Well, we did it by hopping in without hesitation. We heard clicks of little buckles in the back seat and lots of joyful giggles as this was the kind of unknown exploring that we love. Without much of a plan at all, we just began driving.
The first night felt majestic as we hit the open road on the Golden Circle. We stepped out of our van, enjoying the late night sunlight, and got sprayed by the incredible Geysir! Not knowing what to expect, our timing was essentially perfect to get hit by the smelly, yet amazing spray. After watching the geysir a few more times, smelling the sulfur, and watching the ground bubble, we stepped back into our home.
On the road again, we were very shortly in complete awe over the enormity, power, and beauty of the waterfall, Gullfossvegur. We admired our children as they sat and watched the water meet the earth in total amazement. They ran around the green hillsides, always taking full advantage of the views. We were all pleasantly overwhelmed.
Back in our van we went to head towards a campground to get some rest. Before we got there, we stopped on the side of the road to watch a beautiful herd of Icelandic Horses as they ran around in an open meadow. To our surprise, they all ran at full speed straight towards us to check us out. We must have passed their test, because we spent the better part of the next hour spending time with these horses. We watched our children bond with these animals as they pet them, talked to them, and even hugged their faces. We were surrounded by the scenic roadways of Iceland and these beautiful animals and we couldn’t help but wonder if this place could actually be real!?
The feeling of wonder and amazement we felt that first night, never seemed to stop for the next 6 days.
We hit the ground running on our second day, which we call, our “wet” day. A helpful hint from our family to yours would be to bring a lot of waterproof gear to Iceland! It rained almost all day and in combination with the intense mist from waterfalls, it goes without saying that we were a bit chilly! Lucky for us, our home sweet home was nice and toasty warm! We headed east on the Ring Road and stopped at all of the major waterfalls of the Southwest (and some minor ones too). Our youngest daughter would stand with her arms out and eyes closed, as if she were literally hugging the mist and the wind that came off of the enormous waterfalls. It was breathtaking, and so was the waterfall.
There was pure joy and laughter on this day as they noticed their entire bodies and faces were dripping wet. It is something that we will never forget. Between waterfall visits, we would run back inside our home, dry our shoes and socks by the heater, and be ready by the time we got to the next stop on our adventure. It felt like all of us were up for anything that came our way.
The mist and awe didn’t stop at the waterfalls that day. We continued our journey near Vic and the Black Sand beaches with basalt columns. The beauty was outstanding. Pitch black grains of sand and pebbles, basalt columns towering over us, natural caves and rock formations…yet again, Iceland was amazing us.
The next day, we continued our journey east. We enjoyed a beautiful hike to a “black waterfall” and picnicked riverside. It was the perfect start to our day.
As we traveled onward, the breathtaking views of glaciers from the road were incredible. We drove to get a closer view of one in particular, and were in awe of its purity and beauty.
Our drive continued until we reached the glacial lagoons. Our little girls could barely contain their eagerness as they ran towards the icy beaches to get a closer look at the beautiful blue icebergs and arctic seals swimming by. They felt brave as they placed their hands on small blocks of ice that floated ashore and dared themselves to put their hands in the icy sea water.
Before finding our camp for the night, we finished this incredible day with a small excursion to yet another beautiful waterfall. We drove as far as the road could take us and hiked in the rest of the way.
We were all by ourselves here, amazed at the vast open fields around us and the jagged and rugged rocks above us. It was a perfect way to end the day.
The next morning, with a twisted donut in hand, we started touring the Northeast region and all it has to offer. We walked along the hillsides of a crater lake as we listened to geothermal plants and watched mud boil. It was a hazy ambiance like you couldn’t believe, but almost expected.
We soaked in all of the sulfur smells we could handle and ended up driving to an electric whale watching boat in the North part of the island to visit some Atlantic sea life. Several humpback whales were breaching and showing off their grace and beauty. Minke whales were also swimming by and waving their tails in the air as they would dive down deep below. Our girls were so thankful to see the active sea life and how truly happy they really were in their own home. What a beautiful thing that is.
Our journey continued the next day with delicious local fish and chips in a small town followed by an incredible horseback ride along the hillsides of a farm. The horses were wildly beautiful with personalities to match. Being able to connect with these animals in such a gorgeous environment was truly a gift.
We continued our journey to the Northwest part of the island before we settled in for the night in another beautiful campground.
We woke up to our last full day in Iceland and took advantage of every minute.
Making our way through small towns and the gorgeous roadways of the west coast, we stopped along the way to take in the views when we could. By afternoon we had made our way to the Southwest, right where we had started. It was bittersweet knowing we had made it around the entire island. We played in Lupine fields and then cooked dinner next to a gorgeous lava field before sliding into the incredibly relaxing and beautiful, Blue Lagoon.
There must be something in the water, and the air, as the euphoria hit us all immediately. It was warm, and soothing, and undeniably like no other body of water we had ever been in. It was an amazing way to spend our last night in Iceland, enjoying the moment, and reminiscing about the preceding 6 days.
We are so lucky to say that our little girls have visited Iceland! And we traveled and camped as a family around the entire island. It felt as if we were in a dream as each mile passed. From the powerful waterfalls, to peeking over a hillside at a secret Puffin nest, to watching Humpback whales breach into the air, to horseback riding on gorgeous hillsides, to watching icebergs float to sea with tremendous glaciers in the background, to walking along the sides of volcanic mountains and geothermal lava fields, to soaking in the relaxing waters of the Blue Lagoon…we never stopped feeling our hearts beat faster than usual. And as each adventure concluded, we were met with the undeniable feeling of home as we would jump back in our Camper van with giant smiles on our face, kick our shoes off, and soak it all in.
Read more: Iceland beckons
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Iceland Travel Guide
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