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Iceland 6-7 day trip August with 3 small kids - help needed if adding Jokulsarlon

I am planning for a trip to Iceland in mid-late August for our family of 5 (kids 5, 9 and 11) to explore Reykjavik, Golden Circle, South Coast, Westman Island. It will be our first time traveling to Iceland. My wife really would like to include Diamond Beach/Jokulsarlon glacier and I'm trying to see if that is feasible (with 3 small kids). We will rent a car for the entire trip. We are flying in from Boston.

Originally I was going to plan on 6 night itinerary (Plan A):
Red eye flight arrive Reykavik in early morning
3 night base first in Reykjavik (explore city, Golden Circle), then
3 night base somewhere in South Coast, e.g. near Hella, Oddi, or Sefloss (explore South Coast, Westman, more Golden Circle if we wanted to)
-Departure day we will drive to Blue Lagoon for 1/2 day relaxation, then fly out that evening.
-This itinerary would be 6 nights

To add Diamond Beach/Jokulsarlon I figure I need to add 1 more night stay to Plan A - this would involve a lot more driving and more home bases - here's where I need some help. For now I'm thinking:
2 night base in Reykjavik (explore city, Golden Circle)
2 night base in South Coast (explore South Coast, Westman)
2 night base near Skaftarhreppur (base to explore Diamond Beach, Jokulsarlon)
I really don't want to drive straight back from Diamond Beach to Blue Lagoon on the day we fly out so:
1 more night stay somewhere in South Coast (relax ride back from Diamond Beach to see anything we missed, e.g. Vik)
-Departure day - drive to Blue Lagoon for 1/2 day relaxation, fly out that night.

I recognize Plan B is more ambitious and requires more packing/unpacking - but I really don't want to spend unnecessary time driving and backtracking with just 2 home bases.
Any advice or changes to the itinerary, would be appreciated.

Posted by
98 posts

We are going in June with two teens.

Day 1 Reykjanes Peninsula, stay Selfoss
Day 2 Golden Circle, stay Selfoss
Day 3, southern coast, stay just east of Vik
Day 4, southern coast, stay just east of Diamond Beach

Then I had considered driving to Reykjavik but don't want to do 5+ hours of driving in one day.

Day 5, head back west stopping at things we missed or want to see again, stay near Hella
Day 6, get up early and head to Reykjavik for the day, stay near the airport for simplicity the next morning
Day 7, fly home at 10am

We decided to skip Blue Lagoon.

Posted by
705 posts

Firstly, you need to be booking accommodations YESTERDAY. Where you choose to stay outside of Reykjavik will likely depend on where you can find lodging. Be prepared to widen your circle to find what you want.

Secondly, your Plan B is fine, but only you will know how your kids will do with long drives. I know that when we went (without kids) we found a lot of places to stop at that were unplanned. Obviously if you want to go to Diamond Beach and the glacier lagoon, then you should go with Plan B. And do the amphibian boat tour; it's fun.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks for the advice, yes we did go ahead and booked all our arrangements already (just not the car rental or any excursions yet).
I decided with Plan B, but shorten our leg to 1 night only at Reykjavik - to maximize our time exploring up and down the South Coast.

Posted by
705 posts

Good to know, CMoney.

Don't hold off on renting that car, either. Iceland is very busy this year and supplies are limited. We went through Blue and highly recommend their service and quality of vehicles. Lotus is also recommended a lot.

Posted by
41 posts

It’s likely too late now, but we went with kids ages 7-11 and I would have voted for Plan A. There are a lot of day trips doable from Reykjavik (Golden Circle, south Coast as far as Vik), and there’s a lot to explore right in Reykjavik, it’s great for kids and our kids LOVED the Perlan. However, it’s correct that if you want to explore further, you’ll need another home base.