Activities for Teens in East Lothian

We all know the challenges of getting teenagers off their phones, let alone persuading them to get outdoors, sometimes even in the summer months!  For parents, this can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you’re in East Lothian on holiday or, like us, are lucky enough to live here.  That’s why we’ve put together a list of things to do for teens that even the most screen-addicted couch potato will be inspired to try.  We can’t guarantee your teenager will jump out of bed first thing, but we reckon at least one of these activities might float their boat (the first one quite literally).

  1. Wildlife boat trips

We wholeheartedly recommend Sula Boat Trips to get some sea air into your reluctant young people, plus they get the chance to see some coastal wildlife up close and personal.  Sula III was commissioned just a couple of years ago so they’ll be sailing in a new boat with lots of safety and comfort features.

Leaving at set times from North Berwick harbour and lasting about 1.5 hours, the big destination is the extraordinary Bass Rock which featured on the recent David Attenborough BBC TV series Wild Isles.  The rock is home to 150,000 nesting gannets, an amazing sight in itself, but if even that doesn’t stem the teenage eye-rolling how about hearing the howls of seals from the rocky beaches that lie hidden inside the natural tunnel that runs right through the rock.  You’ll also pass by Craigleith island, where around 20,000 puffins live.  Take it from us, even the most cynical of teens will not fail to be charmed by a puffin.  You might also spot a dolphin or if you’re really, really lucky, a Minke whale.  Now that’s got to be more enticing than TikTok, surely? https://www.sulaboattrips.co.uk/

  1. Wakeboarding

If your not-so-little darlings are partial to a spot of snowboarding or just want to try a watersport that’s a bit different, head along to the wakeboarding park at Foxlake Adventures.  Situated in a beautiful woodland location between East Linton and Dunbar (and entirely cyclable on one of our e-bikes) Foxlake is a must-visit for families with teens, and wakeboarding is a fantastically flexible sport – essentially you’re pulled along the water using an overhead cable, going at whatever speed fits your ability.  The confident and experienced can do all kinds of jumps and high speeds (or ‘shredding’ to use the lingo) but it’s also great for beginners.   Also look out for the brand new Aqua Park, opening in June – we’re talking a giant floating inflatable playground – what’s not to love, whatever your age? https://www.foxlake.co.uk/wakeboarding

  1. Axe-throwing & Archery

 If being on the water isn’t your teen’s thing, may we introduce them to the gentle art of axe-throwing? Don’t be alarmed, this is essentially a form of archery, or think darts but with axes – fun, right? Especially if you’re 15 and feeling grumpy.  Or 45 for that matter. Our friends at Ocean Vertical offer both Axe Throwing and Archery in true Robin Hood style, surrounded by the magnificent trees within an expanse of forest that borders the John Muir Country Park.

Full coaching and equipment is provided with special axes used for throwing at large timber targets – it can get pretty competitive! Archery is taught by professional instructors in the woodland archery range and is a brilliant way for kids and teens to go a bit ‘Hunger Games’ in a safe and well-supervised environment. https://www.oceanvertical.com/adventures/woodland-axe-throwing-and-archery

  1. Surfing

We reckon pretty much all teenagers love the surf vibe – let’s face it, it doesn’t get much more cool than surfing, and at the newly built Coast-to-Coast surf school at Belhaven, you can book yours in for lessons to catch all the waves they want.  With loads of different training levels on offer, from beginners to improvers and up, along with short holiday courses if you’re just in East Lothian for a week or two, you’ll enjoy the magnificent Belhaven beach which is edged by the John Muir Country Park.  You can also simply hire boards and wetsuits if your kids are seasoned surfers and don’t want to be restricted to a coached session.  Plus there’s also paddle-boarding for those who prefer a more sedate experience on the water. https://c2csurfschool.com/surf/

5. Electric bike tour

A bike tour with e-bike specialists EZ-Riders in the stunning East Lothian countryside is a cycle ride with a difference.  While some teenagers might find the ‘go and ride your bike’ parental suggestion a little lame, we bet that adding a little spice in the form of a small motor and a hint of speed will make them sit up and notice.  You can organise a private family tour with a guide who can tailor the route entirely around where you’d like to go, or sign up for one of our arranged tours, including a foodie trail and coast tour.  Alternatively, you can simply hire bikes for the day as a family and do your own thing: all the activities listed in this blog can be reached from our HQ at Tantallon, North Berwick.  We can even offer mountain e-bikes for a bit of off-piste biking up in the Lammermuir Hills for the intrepid. https://ez-riders.co.uk/

  1. Coasteering

Now this is an exciting one!  If you’ve not come across it before, coasteering involves swimming, climbing, jumping and a bit of parkour over rocks – basically exploring the bits of the coastline that you probably wouldn’t normally encounter.  We highly recommend Ocean Vertical, who have won awards for their coasteering sessions, and defy any adventurous teens not to love the experience.  They’ll be scrambling around rocky headlands, inlets and tidal islands with jumping from height safely coached by professional guides. Marine wildlife is often discovered along the way, and, “it’s all experienced in the natural ebb and flow of the ocean swell.”  With robust equipment (including super-warm wetsuits) all supplied, this is a no-brainer activity for the outdoorsy teenager wanting to challenge themselves on East Lothian’s amazing coastline and waters. https://www.oceanvertical.com/adventures/coasteering-scotland

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