Best family vacations 2019

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America’s 20 Most Kid-Friendly Places For A Family Vacation (Plus Top Attractions They’ll Love)

From secret handshakes to favorite desserts, every family is different, and every family vacation should be, too. Because there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all trip, we found some of the best kid-friendly attractions and places to vacation in the U.S. There are many great places to go with kids in America’s cities, mountains, islands and small towns. Since the best family vacations are as unique as your kids are, some of these spots might even take you by surprise. Whether you’re looking for educational fun, wild roller coaster rides or just some laid-back beach time, all you need to do is pack your bags, hit the road and get ready to share the memories of a lifetime.

San Diego, California

Among the best family vacation spots in California, San Diego is packed with kid-friendly experiences and fun places to go with kids. Budding wildlife biologists can spot everything from pandas to polar bears at the San Diego Zoo or look beneath the waves at SeaWorld San Diego, an aquarium, theme park and oceanarium rolled into one. Legoland California is a quick drive up the coast, and your kids can catch their very first waves in the warm water and gentle breaks off pretty La Jolla.

Indianapolis, Indiana

With dozens of ways for children to learn, build and explore, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis makes this city one of America’s top kid-friendly vacations. But don’t stop there—Indianapolis is packed with other kid-friendly attractions. Older kids can test their wits against an escape room game, everyone can lay down beats at Rhythm! Discovery Center and the whole family will get in on the action while exploring Indianapolis on a self-guided scavenger hunt.

Washington, D.C.

Introduce your kids to the Founding Fathers on a family vacation to Washington, mixing a dash of history with plenty of kid-friendly attractions and tours. Hop-on, hop-off bus tours are a flexible way to take in D.C. highlights at your family’s pace. All the Smithsonian Museums are free to visit, so you can get a taste of them all without breaking the bank. Raising a future James Bond or Mata Hari? The kid-friendly International Spy Museum is a favorite with would-be double agents.

Atlanta, Georgia

Kids can go eyeball-to-eyeball with enormous whale sharks at the Georgia Aquarium, an underwater wonderland that helps place Atlanta among the best family vacation spots in the South. Older kids will love a superhero- or zombie-themed tour of Atlanta’s film sites, and the World of Coca-Cola is packed with interactive and multimedia exhibits to keep kids engaged from beginning to end.

Los Angeles, California

Kid-friendly vacations in Los Angeles mean beach time, theme parks and even a few celebrity selfies (in Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, that is). Kids can practice their wand work in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Anaheim’s just a quick trip away—from meeting Mickey to riding Magic Mountain, Disneyland is still one of the premier places to go with your kids in California.

Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii

With surfing, scenery and a laid-back pace, Maui is among the top kid-friendly vacations in Hawaii. Touch tanks at the Maui Ocean Center let kids get hands-on experience with the wonders of marine biology, and snorkeling trips from Wailuku are the chance to see sea turtles swimming in their natural habitats. Don’t miss the chance to sway your way through a traditional luau, an amazing cultural immersion for kids of all ages.

Branson, Missouri

Boasting the World’s Largest Toy Museum, it’s no surprise that Branson is a favorite for kid-friendly vacations, but the children’s attractions go way beyond Lincoln Logs and toy trains. Some favorite family vacation ideas include visiting Branson’s water parks and amusement parks, taking in a family-friendly show or reeling in fish in one of the lakes and streams that cover the countryside.

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Sun, sea and sandcastles make Virginia Beach a favorite for kid-friendly beach vacations, and a trip to the shore can be as active or relaxed as you want. Slip and slide through the Ocean Breeze Waterpark, or double up in a kayak for a dolphin-watching tour along the coast. For indoor activities, children will enjoy the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center or Military Aviation Museum, about which one TripAdvisor reviewer raved: “My grandson loved all the planes!”

Empire, Michigan

At the doorstep of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Empire is among the best family vacation spots on Lake Michigan—especially for outdoor adventurers. While hiking through sand dunes and forests, you could spot Lake Michigan shipwrecks, swim in a vast lake, then introduce your kids to nights spent under the stars. And since Lake Michigan’s freshwater, kid-friendly waves are just the right size for beginning surfers, the entire family can paddle into their very first waves just off one of Empire’s sandy beaches.

Huntsville, Alabama

Launch a lifelong fascination with space at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, a kid-friendly vacation spot that’s perfect for aspiring astronauts. A series of interactive exhibits keeps kids engaged with the science and pure adventure of space: strap into the g-force simulator, try out space walking in a zero gravity chamber and watch space footage on a towering IMAX screen.

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Planning a family vacation to the Wisconsin Dells is all about getting wet: this kid-friendly getaway is packed with award-winning destination-worthy water parks. Enjoy the outdoor water parks to cool off in the heat of the Midwestern summer or opt for an indoor water park when you need some mid-winter bathing suit time. If you would prefer to stay dry, there are other great things to do, too, like Mr. Marvel’s Wondertorium, the Rick Wilcox Magic Theater, and kid-friendly zip lining tours.

Bloomington, Minnesota

The Mall of America combines kid-friendly attractions, fabulous shopping and theme parks under one enormous roof, making it one of the easiest-to-plan family vacations in the U.S. Meet the fish at SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium, get an eagle’s-eye view of the world in the multi-sensory Fly Over America or see if your family can work together to beat an escape room challenge, all without leaving the mall.

Orange Beach, Alabama

White-sand beaches shelter a maze of bays and bayous in Orange Beach, a relaxed family vacation spot on the scenic, sunny Gulf Coast. It’s one of the best places to go with kids who love to play in the sand and salt water, whether you’re spotting dolphins, teaching your children to bait a hook on a private fishing charter or just building sand castles on the picture-perfect beaches.

New Braunfels, Texas

Kid-friendly vacations in New Braunfels are all about keeping cool: the Comal River and the Guadelupe River slide right past the town at a pace that’s perfect for a day-long inner tube float. Once you dry off, though, the San Antonio area overflows with kid-friendly attractions, from feeding the animals at the San Antonio Zoo to picnics in the rolling landscape of Texas Hill Country. Right in New Braunfels is also the McKenna Children’s Museum and the always-a-kid-favorite Schlitterbahn Waterpark.

Williamsburg, Virginia

Rich with American history and heritage, Williamsburg is also packed with kid-friendly attractions that help the past come alive. Costumed actors and reenactments at Colonial Williamsburg invite kids to imagine life in early America. The “working” milliners, printers and blacksmiths are fascinating for visitors of all ages. Family vacation ideas don’t stop with the past, though, since Williamsburg has two exciting theme parks, from Busch Gardens’ rides to slides, pools, and lazy rivers at Water Country USA.

Phoenix, Arizona

With more than 15,000 musical instruments, the Musical Instrument Museum is one of Phoenix’s best places to go with kids. Listen to instruments from around the world, then try playing a tune of your own in the museum’s experience gallery. For a different kind of noise altogether, take your kids on an off-roading adventure through the Sonoran Desert, learning about desert plants and animals as you roar through the sand.

San Francisco, California

Plenty of kid-friendly attractions make San Francisco a favorite spot for any type of family vacation. Don’t miss a trip to the infamous prison on Alcatraz Island, cruising across the Golden Gate Bridge or firing up your kids’ sense of wonder at the California Academy of Sciences, where you’ll find a planetarium, aquarium and a four-story indoor rainforest.

Grapevine, Texas

Boasting two fantastic kid-friendly attractions—the LEGOLAND Discovery Center and Sealife Aquarium—Grapevine is a family vacation spot with easy access to Dallas and Fort Worth. After your family explores the worlds of LEGO characters and undersea creatures, make a day trip into Dallas to see the sights, which include the enormous Dallas Zoo, an open-air collection of sculptures at the Nasher Culture Center and the Dallas Cowboys Stadium, a bucket-list experience for kids who love football. Grapevine is the perfect home base for a kid-friendly Texas getaway.

Boston, Massachusetts

One of America’s most historic places, Boston boasts classic experiences you’re sure to enjoy. Catch the Red Sox at Fenway Park, cruise Boston Harbor aboard the USS Constitution, then head to Boston Public Garden for a ride on the iconic Swan Boats. The city overflows with history, and there are plenty of kid-friendly attractions that can introduce youngsters to America’s revolutionary past. They can even get in on the action by tossing bales of tea into Boston Harbor at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum.

Orlando, Florida

Packed with kid-friendly attractions and theme parks, Orlando is arguably the kid vacation mecca. Get soaked with a front-row seat for SeaWorld Orlando’s whale and dolphin show, buy some space-themed memorabilia at the Kennedy Space Center Shop, then get creative in the Crayola Experience Orlando, a colorful playground of art, fashion and fun.

7 Fun Cities to Visit With Kids

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The fastest way to create priceless vacation memories: Go somewhere with lots to do.

Big cities boast the coolest museums for families, the bulk of the historical treasures, and massive parks. But navigating them can be a hassle. To find places that make it easy to bring the kids, we looked at the number, quality, and cost of family-friendly attractions; hotel prices; walkability; airport play areas; public-transportation options; crime rate; and more in each of the 100 largest American cities. Use our list of winners and special discounts to map out a last-minute family trip.

  • RELATED: 10 Best Vacations for Kids Under 10

1. San Diego

Wonderful weather and loads of family attractions helped San Diego snag the top spot.

“Balboa Park is one of the best places to kick off your trip,” says Katie Dillon, founder of LaJollaMom.com. The zoo is legendary, but families should also explore some of the park’s gardens and 14 museums.” You can buy a Balboa Park Explorer Multi-Day Pass that includes one-day admission to The San Diego Zoo (pandas, polar bears, and koalas are the headliners) and one-time entrance to the other museums all week long. Must-sees include animatronic dinosaurs at TheNAT San Diego Natural History Museum, the quirky, hands-on science exhibits at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, the kids’ aviation hangar (where they can dress up in a space suit) at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, and the tall palm trees dotting Palm Canyon Trail.

“When we go there, my kids, who are 5 and 9, pretend to be explorers,” says local mom Jennifer Sabo Spencer. On your downtown to-do list, add The New Children’s Museum and a spin on the antique carousel at Seaport Village. Families with school-age kids will have a blast at SeaWorld San Diego (don’t miss the Manta roller coaster!).

End your trip by unwinding on San Diego’s pristine beaches. “Don’t miss the tide pools below Cabrillo National Monument,” says resident Jen Byard, mom of three.

Where to stay: The Omni San Diego Hotel, which has a heated rooftop pool, DVD players in all rooms, and a walkway to Petco Park, one of the most family-friendly baseball stadiums in the U.S.

Also downtown, the Hilton San Diego Bayfront has a toddler pool and kids-only water slide. In Mission Bay near SeaWorld, the beachfront Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa offers kids’ activities, a free arcade, and a boat cruise.

Moneysaver tip: Plan your trip for October, when all the major attractions in town will be free for a child with the purchase of an adult ticket. Get the full list (as well as details on resort and restaurant deals that month) at sandiego.org/kidsfree.

2. Portland

Portland is about as easygoing as it gets, so it’s perfect if you want a city vacation minus the hustle and bustle.

“The city’s public transportation is low-cost and extensive; you can easily get to the major attractions without having to rent a car,” says Linda Cabasin, editorial director of Fodor’s Travel. Spend a morning at the Oregon Zoo, home for a flock of pink flamingos. The five massive halls of the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry entice the under-8 crowd with submarine tours, a planetarium and light show, a new mummy exhibit, and live lab demos. And the Portland Japanese Garden is also surprisingly kid-friendly.

“My 4-year-old is engrossed with the treasure hunt—we scour every inch of the garden looking for hidden statues,” says resident Minda Seibert. Act like you live there by biking the streets (there are many rental options in town), exploring the Portland Farmers’ Market, which offers kids’ cooking classes, and grabbing a meal from a local fave like The Grilled Cheese Grill (more than 18 twists on the classic) or Laurelwood Public House & Brewery (craft beer for you, play area for the kids).

Where to stay: The indoor heated pool at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower make it a top downtown pick for families. For more space, book the all-suite Inn at Northrup Station, which has a free breakfast, wine tasting on Wednesdays, and locally-made taffy in the lobby. The hotel provides free tickets to the Portland Streetcar, which offers transportation to downtown.

  • RELATED: 10 Things to Do with Kids in Portland

3. San Francisco

“Everyone is a kid in San Francisco,” says Robert Reid, former U.S. travel editor for Lonely Planet guidebooks. One of the coolest places for families: The Exploratorium. Its new digs on Pier 15 transformed it from a great science center into one that’s truly in a league of its own. Everything is meant to be tinkered with—from teddy bears for dissection to a fog machine to a high-end microscope. On nearby Fisherman’s Wharf, check out the river otters on Pier 39, grab a sourdough roll at Boudin Bakery, or hop the ferry over to Angel Island for terrific views of the Golden Gate Bridge—or take a cable-car ride. When you’re ready to relax, jump on a subway or a bus to Glen Canyon Park, in the Diamond Heights section of the city.

“Tall eucalyptus trees provide wonderful shade for a picnic,” says resident Naomi Laguana. “Pick up food at the market a few blocks away; my boys, who are 5 and 8, usually choose the pecan-crusted chicken fingers.”

Where to stay: About five minutes to the cable car station and a short walk to the art museum, Handlery Union Square Hotel is in the hub of the action—and not as pricey as some of its neighbors. (Rooms with two queen beds start at $179 per night.)

  • RELATED: 10 Things to Do with Kids in Washington, D.C.

4. New York City

“A priority is to see the Statue of Liberty because it’s such a memorable experience even for young kids,” says Ogintz. Book a ferry ticket and make a reservation if you want to climb the 393 steps to the crown (permitted for kids ages 4 and up; there’s an extra $3 charge per person).

Back in Manhattan, put the American Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Modern Art, MOMA (read the children’s book Seen Art? before you go) on your schedule. Spend at least a half day in Central Park, where there’s a zoo, a carousel, and climbing structures to explore.

Also consider tickets to a Broadway show. The Lion King, Disney’s Aladdin, School of Rock, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Wicked are all great picks for kids 6 and up; you may be able to snag last-minute discounted seats at the TKTS booth in Times Square or order through the TodayTix app up to a week in advance.

Any time left? Squeeze in a trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden; it’s a short subway ride.

Where to stay: Many tourists stay in the Times Square area, but it’s crowded. The Hotel Beacon, on the Upper West Side near Central Park, offers more spacious rooms with a mini kitchen, including a fridge and a microwave. Another option if you’re planning to visit the Statue of Liberty or World Trade Center memorial: The Conrad New York, located in lower Manhattan, is an all-suite hotel with a closed-off living room so you can hang out after the kids go to bed.

  • RELATED: Best Family Vacations for Baby’s First Big Trip

5. San Antonio

Although San Antonio has a lovely zoo, children’s museum, and theme parks, remember the Alamo! Your kids will genuinely enjoy the exhibits and can burn off some steam roaming around the grassy areas. Besides, it’s free. Relish the local flavor by taking a boat ride or strolling the River Walk, which was recently expanded from 3 to 15 miles.

If your child has special needs, head to Morgan’s Wonderland, the country’s only fully accessible park where kids can hang out in the butterfly playground, music garden, sand circle, or carousel.

Where to stay: The Embassy Suites—San Antonio Riverwalk Downtown is within walking distance of all downtown attractions. Family perks include an outdoor pool, a free made-to-order breakfast, nightly Evening Reception that also includes something for the kids, a two-room suite with a mini fridge and microwave.

6. Indianapolis

Who would have thought that the Indianapolis Children’s Museum is the largest in the world? Plan to spend the whole day there checking out its five levels with 15-plus exhibit areas (including ones on dinos and trains). For car lovers of any age, race to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, which has 75 cars on display.

Often overlooked by tourists who focus on White River State Park downtown, Indianapolis also has an art and nature park called 100 Acres.

“It’s free and you can take in some fantastic art while your children have fun climbing on the 20 fiberglass benches that make up the ‘Funky Bones’ sculpture or swinging from a giant-chopstick sculpture,” says local mom Lindsay Parker Williams.

Where to Stay: Families flock to the Omni Severin Hotel, which greets tiny travelers with a backpack filled with games and crafts and delivers milk and cookies to their room.

  • RELATED: 3 Disney Vacations That Don’t Involve a Theme Park (And You Probably Didn’t Know About)

7. Philadelphia

Start with the historic attractions because you can’t see those anywhere besides Philly. Make your home base the National Constitution Center, which has hands-on exhibits and ever-changing kid programming. From there, walk two blocks to see the Liberty Bell; displays include an X-ray of the famous crack. Betsy Ross’s House is also nearby, where kids will learn about the famous flagmaker’s life and meet a woman pretending to be Betsy herself.

If you have children age 7 and under, plan to visit the Please Touch Museum, a lovingly restored children’s museum that’s home to a railway exhibit. Have older kids? Then opt for The Franklin Institute, where a giant walk-through heart, a sports challenge, and a new brain exhibit will blow their minds. You’ll also enjoy the Philadelphia Zoo’s KidZooU, a combo wildlife academy and petting zoo that’s filled with interactive features.

End your visit with a trip to a local fave: Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens dishes out funky folk-art fun for the whole family.

Where to stay: In the heart of downtown, the Loews Philadelphia Hotel caters to families with loaner baby gear, childproofing kits, and healthy kid menus. Just a few blocks from most of the city’s Revolutionary War attractions, the recently renovated Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District boasts a rooftop pool.

  • By Karen Cicero

Planning your next family vacation and don’t know where to start? Or just looking for some family travel inspiration? Then this massive list of the world’s best family holiday destinations is for you!

To say the world is full of top family holiday destinations is not a lie – many many countries can be great family holiday destinations. But which are the best and worthy of your precious holiday time?

Below, we have a list of the top 20 family holiday destinations in the world as chosen by myself and other family travel bloggers. Coincidently, I have been to every country on this list except Costa Rica and I have to concur – they are great family holiday destinations.

Are any of these best family vacation destinations on your bucket list?

Best family holiday destinations in the world!

Singapore

The fabulous Far East Organization Children’s Garden in Singapore

If there is one place that stands out to me as the best holiday destinations for families, it has to be Singapore. This small country is absolutely jam packed full of amazing family attractions, great food and is just such an easy place to visit while still having the benefit of experiencing different cultures. We love the mixture of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures.

From Universal Studios on the very family friendly Sentosa Island to the futuristic Gardens by the Bay to eating the local fare at a hawker centre, there are many things to do to keep the kids entertained at this best family vacation destination.

The subway is efficient making it very easy to get around. English is the common language and it’s on signs everywhere to make things even easier.

Singapore is often treated as a quick stopover destination on the way to somewhere else – don’t make this mistake! It is one of the top family vacation destinations in its own right.

Hot Tip: Eat, eat, eat! Try out each of the local cuisines and enjoy some of the great hawker centres.

Voted by me (Sharon Gourlay). Read more about Singapore in our massive guide to visiting Singapore with kids.

Japan

Ameyoko

No matter the age or size of your family, few travel destinations compare to Japan. It’s safe, clean, and rich with unique activities. In addition to Kyoto’s 17 UNESCO sites, the area has hiking, rafting and lessons in traditional crafts.

Then there’s Tokyo, where past and future melt together like nowhere else. Kid-friendly museums and public events are all over town, many of them cheap (or free) for children. Japan’s transportation system is unmatched, and trains link cities to the country’s wealth of natural beauty: pristine beaches, snow-capped peaks, and lush, verdant valleys.

We’ve been in and out of Japan since 2002 and still find new places to explore. The country’s distance and prices once made it prohibitive for some, but the yen’s slow descent makes now a great time to to visit.

Hot Tips:

  • Public maps on the street and subway may not face north, but rather the direction you are facing when looking at the map. A “north” indicator is usually in one corner of the map.
  • Shoes off in Japanese homes, right? Well, expect the same in some public buildings and in all taxis and trains. If kiddo wants to stand on a seat, slip off the footwear.

Voted by Jason Jenkins, An Epic Education

Malaysia

Monkey Beach

Southeast Asia is a vast and diverse place. If you’re new to the East, or simply want to visit somewhere that’s easy to navigate and reflects some of the region’s best qualities, then head to Malaysia. English is widely spoken, and the country’s mix of cultures — Malay, Chinese and Indian, to name a few — makes it a great place to learn…and to eat!

Looking for parks, museums and city life? Kuala Lumpur has you covered. Keen for beautiful beaches? Langkawi and other islands await. Interested in history? The colonial origins of Penang and Malacca are fascinating. Craving adventure? Malaysia’s rainforests have orangutans, tropical birds and countless other rare animals.

Moreover, if you believe in the importance of tolerance and multiculturalism, then consider Malaysia’s mix of ethnicities, religions and cultures an astounding opportunity to observe coexistence.

Hot Tips:

  • Bring a jacket: Yes, Malaysia is tropical, but buildings and shopping centers are often frigid.
  • Malaysia is a majority Muslim country, but quite tolerant of other beliefs. So yes, you can wear that bikini on the beach, but maybe not into the restaurant. Booze and bacon are available, too, but they’re often tucked into far corners of large supermarkets.

Voted by Jason Jenkins, An Epic Education

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s Unawatuna Beach

Given its small size, Sri Lanka certainly packs a big punch. This little island seemingly has it all and is one of our best holiday destinations for families. Here you’ll find palm-fringed beaches, turquoise waters and laid back coastal villages. There’s also the charming historic fort town of Galle, that’s a joy to wander around.

Away from the coast, Sri Lanka boasts stunning landscapes and dramatic scenery. This is also where you’ll discover the incredible ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya and the sacred mountain Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak).

Sri Lanka is one of the best places in Asia for seeing wildlife, with over 100 protected areas home to leopards, wild elephants, sloth bears and much more. You can even spot blue whales off the island’s southern coast! For a more hands-on animal experience, kids’ can release baby turtles into the ocean or help bathe an orphaned elephant at the Pinnewala elephant orphanage.

For active families, Sri Lanka also delivers with water sports galore as well as trekking, canoeing, mountain biking and white-water rafting opportunities. In short, there is something here for everyone and we can’t wait to go back!

Hot Tip: Sri Lanka experiences two monsoons; the Yala and the Maha. The Yala monsoon season (May to August) affects the hill country and the south and west coasts. The Maha monsoon season (October to January) brings rain to the East and North of the country. Don’t let the monsoons put you off, however, showers are usually short and sharp and good hotel deals can often be found during these months.

Voted by Katja Gaskell, globetotting.com

Thailand

Railay Beach in Thailand

Thailand is my pick for one of the best countries to visit with children. What stands out most is the friendly nature of the Thai people, especially in the North and especially in regards to children.

Aside from that, we discovered from being there for over 6 months that the diversity is top notch. You can enjoy snorkeling in the ocean, fire shows on the beach in the evening, trekking in the rolling hills of the north, visiting temples, chatting with Buddhist monks, volunteering to work with elephants, reveling in the celebratory nature of the people through festivities like Yi peng and Songkran and enjoy one amazingly delicious meal after another. It truly is a country of a thousand smiles!

Hot Tip: Use overland travel whenever you can. Through trains and bus rides we were able to see more of the stunning country side as well as connect with locals. Some of our favourite travel stories ever, the hysterical ones that are not necessarily funny at the time, came from all those long overnight trains and 5 hour bus rides!

Voted by Mary Hickcox, Bohemian Travelers

Australia

Discovering Australia’s red centre

Although we are Australian visiting places here in our home country is a lifetime odyssey! So many people think that Australia is a small country that can be seen within a couple of weeks, but our country is HUGE!

From our beaches, red center, art, culture, flora and unique fauna there is something for everyone!

Here’s some reasons why Australia is one of the best family destinations:

  • You can spend the day at the beach
  • You can spend the day at a wildlife park/zoo with our unique animals
  • You can spend the day walking some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world
  • You can visit world class museums, art galleries and theatre
  • You can visit some of the most beautiful, modern cities with our own Aussie touch

And if you are seriously lucky and you are in the right state at the right time, you can experience 4 seasons in one day!

Australia is very family friendly. Like most places, we can learn from others and can always improve but most of the time Australians are more than happy to help.

Bring your children to Australia and you will want to come back because the possibilities are ENDLESS!

Hot Tip: The biggest problem you will face is time. Don’t make the mistake that you can see it all… we live here and we will never see it all! Plan and look into everywhere you are going to make the best choices.

Voted by Bec Wyld, Wyld Family Travel

New Zealand

Rotorua by mountainleon

I’m not reinventing the wheel when I recommend New Zealand as one of the best family travel destinations. This is a country that has already been discovered, and beloved, for ages now. You will not find a more beautiful – and in fact, magical – country. There is something for everybody.

For the cultured, check out all six stories of the national museum, Te Papa, in Wellington. It’s free.

For the adrenaline junkies, visit the Agroventures Adventure Park in Rotorua, where all in one place you can compete for a world record in the Schweeb (the world’s first human powered monorail racetrack), try bungee jumping or experience freefall.

For the movie lovers, visit The Lord of the Rings filming locations, from Mordor to Hobbiton.

For the animal lovers, there’s whale and dolphin watching, snorkeling and seals at the phenomenal beach in Kaikoura.

For the foodies, try Christchurch’s Burmese restaurant The Bodhi Tree.

For the outdoorsy, nothing can match renting a campervan while staying in comfortable, safe, and kid-friendly camping sites all over the country. Be sure to purchase the New Zealand camping guide ebook to get reviews about every camp site you’ll see along the way.

Voted by Kalli Hiller, www.portableprofessionals.com

Austria

Skiing in Australia

Austria has a royal past, a progressive present, and some of the most stunning outdoor landscapes in the world. You can witness the opulence of the Hapsburg Royal Family who ruled the world for centuries and made Austria one of the best countries in the world for palace visits.

The country abounds with other kid-friendly options. Playgrounds are often creative, artistic spaces and you can discover exciting children’s museums, for example at Schönbrunn Palace or inside the modern Museumsquartier in downtown Vienna.

There are options for family hiking and skiing in the mountains, and amazing access to the outdoors by public transportation from the major cities.

Austria is home to some of the best music in the world and a great place to expose your kids to classical music and music history. It is also famous for chocolate cake (Sacher Torte) and glorious white horses (Lipizzan Stallions). For mom and dad, the beer is pretty great too and many beer gardens have on-site playgrounds to entertain the kids.

Hot Tip: Visit in early winter when crowds are gone, the Christmas markets are twinkling, and there is snow in the mountains.

Voted by Ashley Steel, Family on the Loose

Croatia

Photo Jeep Safari in Starigrad Paklenica

Croatia, the land of 1000 islands, with its laid back capital of Zagreb and UNESCO-listed Dubrovnik – it’s cliche but it’s true – there is something for everyone. Especially kids.

Having lived in Croatia for more than three years now, I can tell you it has to be one of the safest parts of Europe and the most relaxed about travelling with kids. Here you enjoy kid-friendly activities like swimming under waterfalls, wild horse jeep safaris, making sand castles and spending the day in fun museums like THE Optical Illusions Museum in Zadar and Zagreb. And, of course, there are 100’s of safe beaches to choose from.

Hot Tip: When in Dubrovnik head out with the kids after 4 pm, it’s cooler and the cruise ship crowds have already departed the city.

Voted by SJ Begonja, Chasing the Donkey

France

Gordes

When one thinks of France, they might immediately think of Paris, but this country has more to offer than the City of Lights.

Paris is delightful for families with the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and Notre Dame, but why not leave the city and explore the chateaus and caves of the Dordogne or the beautiful beaches of the Côte d’Azur? Don’t forget the lavender fields and Roman ruins of Provence, or the history lessons to be found along the coast of Normandy.

Wherever families find themselves in France, they are sure to encounter warm hospitality, amazing history and fabulous cuisine. The most difficult decision families must make is knowing which region of the country to explore first as they are all special in their own way. We’ve visited 15 countries in Europe with our children, and France is their favorite country that they ask to return to each and every trip.

Hot Tip: For first timers visiting France, head to Paris and then choose a separate region of the country to explore. Paris is expensive and not representative of the rest of the country. Staying in the city alone is to miss out on the magic that exists outside its walls.

Voted by Kirsten Maxwell, Kids are a Trip

Germany

Bavaria

After spending the first five years of my kids’ lives in Germany, and then moving back to the U.S. I have confirmed my thoughts that Germany is the ideal family travel destination.

The German way of life, and focus on leisure activity, mean that the infrastructure is in place to make everything easy for visitors. Especially those with kids.

Take food, for example. My kids loved that there were sweets available everywhere. I appreciated that it was easy to find organic and healthy options at restaurants. My favorite places, though, were the Elterncafes (parent cafe). I would stop at one for a coffee and a snack, and my kids would play in an attached play area. Speaking of play areas, many large playgrounds are attached to biergartens and biergartens are attached to small playgrounds.

Throughout the country there are options for everyone in the family. Germany has one of the largest zoo per capita ratios in the world. There are kid-friendly museums filled with anything from interactive science activities to luxury cars. Imagination comes to life at the castles that dot the whole country. And for people who love fairy tales, there’s even a route to follow some of the world’s most popular stories – the Brothers Grimm Fairy tales.

Hot tip: Look for family-friendly deals on public transportation. Kids under 6 usually travel free with an adult and families can take advantage of group rates when traveling together. If you have a little kids and are booking a long-distance ICE or IC train, look for a kinderabteil. These rooms offer extra space for families for kids to play or to park a stroller.

Voted by Ann Belle, Kids Travel Books

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland, land of fire and ice, is one of our favorite vacation destinations for families. The unique landscape of erupting volcanoes, waterfalls, geysers, glaciers and black sand beaches make this an unforgettable place to visit.

There is no shortage of activities that include glacier walks, horseback riding, hikes along waterfalls, rafting along canyons, ATV rides along lava fields and wildlife watching. One of our most memorable experiences was seeing thousands of puffins in the wild.

After all those activities, soak in one of the natural hot springs or the popular Blue Lagoon. It’s also a very interesting culture of Vikings, trolls and dwarves.

Hot Tip: Be sure to eat a Skyr (Icelandic cultured dairy product) and their popular hot dog made from Icelandic lamb.

Voted by Mary Solio, The World Is A Book

Ireland

Dunguaire Castle, Galway

Ireland is an easy choice for a first European experience for families!

Ireland is a land of magic and mystery, history and hauntings, faeries and friendly people, with no (ok, very little) language barrier. The country feels like it was custom made for family travel!

No matter what your family enjoys, you’ll find it! Active family? Try flying a hawk or kayaking in the ocean. Have a wanna-be princess or knight? Explore castles from dungeon to battlements before sitting down to a Medieval feast. Sporty? Try the Irish sport of hurling or attempt to keep up with Irish dancers.

The magic of Ireland is woven into everything – the culture, history, wonderfully fresh food, and the incredible welcoming of the people.

Ireland is everything you’ve heard it is – and more and is one of the great family destinations in the world.

Hot Tip: The best way to see Ireland is to rent a car. It really isn’t as intimidating as you may think and it provides the ability to stop as needed or follow the road less travelled. Though Ireland is a small country there is much to do. You won’t be able to ‘see it all’ during a brief vacation, so pick your ‘must see’ sights and plan around those.

Voted by Jody Halsted, IrelandFamilyVacations.com

Italy

Florence

Stunning Italy is the perfect family vacation destination for your little bambinos. No matter where you travel in Italy, this scenic country provides the ideal mix of gourmet kid-friendly food, world-class art treasures, iconic landmarks and old world charm.

Exploring the ancient city of Rome is a child’s delight. Tour the wondrous Colosseum, meander through the bustling piazzas and enroll your kids in gladiator school.

When in Florence, watch your children gawk at Michelangelo’s masterpiece David, take a pizza-making class and climb Piazza Michelangelo for spectacular views!

While you and your honey stroll hand-in-hand in Venice, your children will delight in this floating city where getting lost among the canals is half the fun! Try a mask-making class and watch the expert glassblowers at work!

Whether you choose to climb the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa, pretend to call Romeo while on Juliet’s balcony in Verona, swim in the waters of the Amalfi coast, or imagine life as it was in Pompeii before the “big-one” – Italy will fill your children’s imaginations and satisfy your adult cravings for art, gourmet treats and gorgeous scenery.

Hot Tip: To keep cool during the steamy Italian summer and to keep smiles on your kids’ faces (and yours too), take a gelato break everyday! Be sure to search out properly made artisan gelato bursting with flavor.

Voted by Lisa Grabelle, Hilton Mom Voyage & We Said Go Travel

Norway

S and Sharon at Oslo Opera House

Vikings, trolls, roaming reindeer, polar bears, the Nobel Peace Prize, the midnight sun or the northern lights – what’s not to love for the kids in this long, thin country in the northern world? Norway is a very kid-friendly country. In fact, in Norway, kids come first. It’s perfectly acceptable to leave work at 3pm to pick up the kids from daycare.

Norway is especially wonderful if you love the outdoors. Nature is all around you everywhere. In winter, tobogganing and skiing (cross-country and downhill) is easily accessible. In summer, you can hike, bike, kayak or raft. Even in the big city, nature is a mere 15 minutes away by public transport.

In Oslo, kids love climbing on the sculptures in Frogner Park, running on the sloping Opera House roof and exploring Polar explorers’ ships, balsa rafts and Viking ships.

At Langedrag mountain farm, you’ll encounter lynx, foxes and wolves. If you’re there at the right time, you can even play with wolf pups.

Out west, quirky Bergen and the fjords attract families as well – whether on a cruise with Hurtigruten or on a road trip along spectacular (and slightly scary) roads, such as Trollstigen (The Troll’s Ladder) or the famous Atlantic Road.

Up north you can whale-watch, dog-sled and ride snow scooters. Even further north – we’re talking just south of the North Pole now, you might see polar bears in the Svalbard archipelago.

Hot Tip: Feeling adventurous – and on a budget? Allemannsretten (the freedom-to-roam act) gives everyone the right to pitch a tent almost anywhere.

Voted by Anne-Sophie Redisch, Sophie’s World

Spain

Caceres

Spain might have a king, but the kids are the ones who truly rule this country. Little ones are an intrinsic part of everyday life. And life seems to revolve around family.

Kids are welcome just about anywhere – museums, restaurants, cafes, shops – and playgrounds crop up around nearly every corner. There’s no such thing as “kid-friendly”. Virtually nothing is off limits. Don’t be surprised to see small children dining at three Michelin star restaurants or running around royalty-worthy wedding ceremonies.

Apart from being a super family friendly holiday destination, Spain is rich in culture and buzzes with energy. From the beaches of Costa del Sol to the Pyrenees, there’s plenty to explore. Relax on paradisiac beaches in the Balearic islands, marvel at the Moorish influence in Andalucia, relish on fresh seafood in Galicia, discover Gaudi’s Barcelona or explore the capital Madrid and its nearby treasures, like Toledo, Avila and Segovia. You really can’t go wrong.

Hot Tip: Spain has a thriving late night culture. Restaurants typically open their doors at 9 p.m. If you’re not up for dinner so late, plan ahead to make sure your family won’t go to bed hungry!

Voted by Patty Monahan, Our Whole Village

Canada

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta. Photo Credit: Parks Canada

It’s difficult to know all of Canada. As the second largest country in the world, its sheer size (5.5 time zones) makes it a challenge to travel round and visit all of its differing regions in one trip.

But this should be seen as a family travel challenge and opportunity! No matter where you choose to visit in this vast land, Canada will amaze and delight with its jaw-dropping natural beauty and warm welcome that few countries can match.

From the friendly east coast of the Atlantic provinces, the large, multi-ethnic urban centers of Toronto and Montréal, the golden ranchlands of Saskatchewan and Alberta, vast expanse of the North and Arctic, or the wild west coast of Vancouver and British Columbia, Canada offers travel adventure opportunities for every family.

Hot tip: In celebration of Canada’s 150th Birthday in 2017, access to all its National Parks will be free, including Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper.

Voted by Claudia Laroye, The Travelling Mom

Costa Rica

Montezuma, Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a country that has it all; wildlife, mountains, volcanoes, lush forests, excellent beaches on both the Caribbean and Pacific, and friendly people.

Costa Rica is great for both families who are looking for family oriented vacation destinations where they can relax or families that want to have an adventure. There are numerous resorts where you can enjoy yourself without lifting a finger. There is also a ton of adventures that you can partake in: Climbing active volcanoes, hikes to beautiful waterfalls, dips in wild hot springs, zip lining through the forest canopy, horseback riding, surfing and too many more to count.

Our favorite adventure was a family surf camp at Peaks N Swells where the whole family learned to surf.

Hot Tip: Kids get tired and adventuring all day makes for cranky kids and an unhappy family. Take an adventure in the morning and do something thrilling. In the afternoon, take some time to play at the beach or the pool and chill out as a family.

Voted by Nicole Debickes, Family with Latitude

Panama

From wildlife filled jungle adventures to deserted beaches with turquoise waters, Panama has something to offer travelers of all ages.

Begin your family adventure in the lively Latin American metropolis of Panama City. Visit the Panama Canal, the chic cafés of historical Casco Viejo, and the Frank Gehry designed BioMuseo Diversity Museum. Use Panama City as a jumping off point to visit the indigenous Guna Yala (formerly the San Blas Island).

Follow this up with a stay in a Bocas del Toro treetop jungle lodge, where you can wake up to the birds, and watch a troop of monkeys swing by at sunset. Make your way back to Panama City via the cloud forest of the Chiriquí province. Not only is this highland area known for their delicious shade grown coffee, but it is also a top adventure destination, offering everything from river rafting to zip lining.

Hot Tips:

  • Despite the fact that most of Panama is very safe for families, take a pass on the Darien Gap region (unless you have a particular interest in fire ants, deadly snakes, wild pigs, and drug traffickers).
  • While you could visit Panama with children of any age, many of the top spots would be best enjoyed with comfortable swimmers.

Voted by Tara Cannon, Pint Size Pilot

USA

Enjoying Jackson Square with St Louis Cathedral in the background

After Singapore, the country that stands out to me most as one of the best family vacation destinations is the USA.

We loved exploring this country with our young kids. In part, this is because the USA is a country made for road trips and I have found road trips to be the easiest way to travel with young kids.

It is also a country full of top family destinations and attractions. Most cities seem to have a children’s museum which quickly became our kids’ favourite place to be. There are so many aquariums, zoos, beaches and many other family friendly attractions.

The USA is also great for parents with many places of interest from random places like the Unclaimed Baggage Centre to fabulous cities such as New Orleans. I can’t imagine ever running out of things to do.

The people are also very helpful and friendly and it’s an easy destination for us English speakers. We also find it remarkably good value and nowhere near as expensive as we imagined beforehand. We can’t wait to head back and do another road trip!

Hot Tip: Get out on the open road! I had visited the US many times before I finally made the time for a road trip and I was missing out. It’s amazing!

Voted by me (Sharon Gourlay). Read more about our Deep South Road Trip here.

Where would you pick as the best family holiday destination in the world?

You can also read our articles which focus on the best holiday destinations in Asia, Europe, the Pacific and the Caribbean.

Please share!

Having a baby is one of the greatest joys in life. But most new moms think that for the next eighteen years, they are not going to get a great vacation in as they will be taking care of another person. Okay, maybe you are thinking that it will be five or six (not eighteen) years until you get a vacation.

Well, moms, this guide is here to tell you about 25 great places that you can visit with your newborn and the rest of your family. These baby-and-kid-friendly cities and countries offer a lot to new moms who are looking for a vacation shortly after the new baby is born.

There are a number of places all around the world that offer a lot to make traveling with a new baby more comfortable. This guide presents you with a lot of options and ideas for cities, states, and countries along with some specific hotels or resorts that you should definitely consider if you are wanting a vacation that does not frown upon the fact that you have a newborn baby with you. So, sit back, and take a look at these 25 places from all around the world, then plan your next vacation—the first with your newborn.

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25 Stockholm, Sweden

via:timeout.com

If you just had a baby and are looking to do a little international travel, there are only a few better places to take your newborn than Stockholm, Sweden. Not only are the Swedes some of the nicest people in the world and Sweden is routinely listed as one of the best countries to live and work in, but Stockholm itself is very baby-friendly with a lot of kid-centric activities for you and your baby to participate in. Sure, your life is all about the baby right now, but Sweden and the people of Stockholm want to make your vacation all about you and the baby. Just remember, the vacation has to end at some point.

24 Guatemala

via:lonelyplanet.com

Many new parents would not consider taking their baby to South America, but Guatemala is actually a very safe place to visit. If you are a new mom, you are going to find a lot of people in Guatemala that are just as excited about your new baby as you are, and that makes traveling there, an all in all, a positive and exciting experience. The culture of Guatemala is very kid and baby-friendly. And considering that the people of this great little country are descended from one of the oldest and most advanced ancient civilizations in the world, you can rest safe that they have been doing the baby thing successfully for a very long time.

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23 Thailand

via:bbc.com

Thailand has a cultural history of celebrating children and babies, which makes them pretty unique in the world of travel. You will find that in Thailand, babies are welcome, along with their mothers and families. A sign of any good hotel when you are bringing a newborn is that they welcome and accept that newborn. In Thailand, that is the norm, rather than the exception. While all of the places on this list are very friendly to moms and their new babies, Thailand is unique in that Thai culture is so focused on family, but especially on children, as they are the future of the country and the world.

22 Reykjavik, Iceland

via:reykjavik.com

Another great country to visit with a baby is another country that routinely tops the lists of great places to live and visit: we’re talking about Iceland. As the capital of this country in the north, Reykjavik welcomes visitors from around the world all year long. And Reykjavik is a very safe city, as is the rest of Iceland, and that makes it friendly for visitors, especially new moms with babies. One would be hard-pressed to find a more interesting culture than that of Iceland, which has a very liberal attitude toward a lot of things but still maintains its status as a friendly and welcoming nation.

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21 Scottsdale, Arizona

via:wikipedia.org

Scottsdale, Arizona happens to have a great Four Seasons Resort, which makes traveling with your little one a breeze. Forget bringing the crib, they will let you borrow one with no charge. Run out of diapers or some other baby necessities? Don’t worry, they have you covered. Even if you are unable to stay at the Four Seasons, Scottsdale has a lot to offer to families with babies. Despite being located in the desert, there are a plethora of great outdoor activities that are perfect for moms with newborns, such as walking and running paths and parks. Scottsdale would be a great place to visit if your newborn showed up in the winter and are looking to get away to a warmer climate.

20 Bali

via:thejakartapost.com

Bali, an island in Indonesia, is another great place for a new mom to take her newborn baby. While many people have heard of Bali, few would probably consider it to be a great vacation destination for a newborn. However, Bali has a very family-friendly (read “baby”) atmosphere, and the island has a lot of family oriented hotels and restaurants. While Bali may not be as baby-oriented as some of the other places on this list, it is a place that can appreciate what a mother (and her family) are going through while traveling with an infant. And that makes Bali a good place to look into for a trip with a newborn.

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19 Smugglers’ Notch Resort, Vermont

via:visitingnewengland.com

Smugglers’ Notch Resort in Vermont is often touted as a family-friendly resort that has a lot to offer people of varying ages. That means that it is an ideal location in the United States for new mothers to take their babies. One thing that makes Smugglers’ Notch Resort unique is that it offers daycare/babysitting services based on the baby’s age, and with that comes the opportunity for moms to go off and see the resort and surrounding area, knowing that they will be paged or called should anything come up with their little bundle of joy. Hard to beat that when it comes to baby-oriented vacationing!

18 Runaway Bay, Jamaica

via:booking.com

Picture this: You roll off the plane in Jamaica, and into your hotel room at Runaway Bay, and you are greeted by your very own nanny. That’s right, you and your baby get a full-time nanny to watch over the baby and do your every beck and call. Want to get away for an hour or a day? The nanny will watch your baby, making sure that he or she gets all the attention he/she needs. This setup is perfect for that mom and family that really just wants a vacation away from the rest of the world, without having to worry about whether the baby is being taken care of.

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17 Summit County, Colorado

via:mountainlifestylere.com

The mountains of Colorado are some of the most beautiful in the world, and the opportunity to explore Summit County, Colorado with your family is hard to pass up. And, believe it or not, Summit County, Colorado is very baby-friendly. While it is never recommended that you strap your baby to your back and climb a mountain, there are plenty of less strenuous activities to participate in where you can take pictures with your new baby to share with them years down the road. Also, in Summit County, there are a number of hotels and inns that will rent you the equipment to ensure that your baby gets a good night’s sleep after exploring the alpine territory that makes Colorado so great.

16 Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island Michigan

via:grandhotel.com

Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island Michigan is another place that offers free cribs and baby gear. But something that makes Mackinac Island so great is the 100% lack of cars. Any mom that has pushed a stroller up and down the streets knows that a place without cars is great! The Grand Hotel has a lot to offer moms and their babies, and the entire island is one big sightseeing adventure for the whole family. Whether the baby remembers it or not, the pictures are sure to clue them in on how much fun mom had when they were just an infant.

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15 Tyler Family Place Resort, Highgate Springs, Vermont

via:vacationidea.com

The Tyler Family Place Resort in Highgate Springs, Vermont offers a lot for new moms and babies alike. With a bunch of infant/mom actives, such as art programs, you are sure to have a good time while spending time with your infant. And in the summer, which is prime time for Tyler Family Place Resort, there are dedicated babysitters and family helpers for families with young infants. Inside your room, you are welcome to free high chairs, cribs, and strollers. All of these (and more) are available at one of Vermont’s best family-friendly resorts. So, if you are planning to visit Vermont, take a look at the Tyler Family Place Resort in Highgate Springs.

14 Mumbai, India

via:azamaraclubcruises.com

India may not be at the top of your list when you are planning a family vacation, but Mumbai really does have a lot to offer new moms and their babies. As India’s most wealthy city, Mumbai has a number of 4+ star hotels that are more than willing to accommodate you and your new baby. We all know that when you travel, you have unique needs, but only a mom knows of the unique needs that she and her baby will need. India has a lot to offer to young women and their children, and Mumbai definitely knows how to show the world that India is a great place to travel with an infant.

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13 Greece

via:worldtravelguide.net

Greece is a very family-friendly (read “child”) country, and moms will be able to tell right away that this is the case. For those new moms and their families that travel to Greece, be sure to visit the Plaka District of Athens and the Castles Of Rhodes, both of which will give you an opportunity to see some of the best that Greece has to offer. And, you will be able to take your baby with you. Greece is very accommodating to moms with a new baby in tow, so be sure to take full advantage of that fact when you visit this beautiful Mediterranean paradise.

12 Cape Town, South Africa

via:handluggageonly.co.uk

Cape Town, South Africa is a beautiful city in its own right and well worth a look for a vacation. But it also has a lot to offer to moms and their babies. The people of South Africa are very family-oriented, and that idea is extended to visitors as well. For those moms and families with a new baby in tow, a travel to Cape Town means that they will be treated with a kind of understanding that may be difficult to find in other places, which will make the overall trip a lot more enjoyable. You and your baby will be treated like a resident of Cape Town, which is a welcome change from a lot of other places you could go on vacation.

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11 Tasmania, Australia

via:australia.com

Something that you may or may not have considered is that if you go on vacation, you are going to need to take a lot of baby stuff with you. Not so if you go to Tasmania, Australia. Yeah, from the United States, it is nearly a day’s flight away, but you will not need to worry about carting your baby’s gear halfway around the world. In Tasmania, Australia, you can borrow a lot of the stuff that you will need, such as a stroller. This will make your visit a lot more enjoyable because you will have more room to pack your own stuff. Oh, and Tasmania is a great vacation destination for anyone.

10 Aulai, Ko Olina, Oahu, Hawaii

via:visualitineraries.com

Aulai, Ko Olina, Oahu, Hawaii is the Disney Resort you have probably never heard of. And guess what? They have a pack ‘n’ play in every room. And that is just the beginning. With infant massages available for you and your baby, you will both sleep soundly through the night. There are also a number of baby essentials, like swings and other toys, available as needed. Like every Disney Resort, Disney characters seem to roam free, something both you and your new baby will thoroughly enjoy. And because it is in Hawaii, there are not going to be a million other babies vying for Mickey’s attention.

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9 Montreal, Canada

via:handluggageonly.co.uk

Oh, Canada, how much can you offer the new family? Montreal is great for babies and their moms. The city is stroller-friendly, which is a big plus. There are a lot of cities that you can travel to around the world, but Montreal, Canada is likely one of the nicest cities that you will visit. So why not take your new baby with you? Sure, traveling with a new baby might seem a little difficult, but the good people of Montreal want to make your visit to their city as unremarkable as possible, at least as far as travel with a baby goes.

8 Tulum, Mexico

via:todotulum.com

You may not think that travel to Mexico is something you would do with a baby. After all, Mexico is a big place for spring break and bachelorette parties. But the city of Tulum has a lot to offer new moms and their babies. There are a number of baby-friendly beaches, and a lot of the hotels offer amenities for new moms and their little bundles of joy. From rentals of strollers and cribs to itineraries suited for infants, these hotels (and the city of Tulum) really want to make your visit to Mexico something that you will remember in a positive light.

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7 Azul Beach Resort, Riviera-Maya

via:azulrivieramaya.com

The Azul Beach Resort in Riviera-Maya really is a dream come true for moms and their babies. The resort includes high chairs and booster seats readily available for babies so that mom does not need to bring one with her. A Gerber snack bar will help with feeding your infant—an invaluable and genius idea. You may request the Fisher Price-themed rooms, which will provide an abundance of stimulation for your little one. And playrooms provide an opportunity for babies to blow off some steam after a long day of touring the beaches. All in all, expect a fantastic vacation for everyone involved.

6 London, England

via:youtube.com

London, the capital of the UK, is a place that a lot of people want to visit. But if you have just had a baby, you may think that travel is off limits. The good people of London want to change your mind, though. With parent rooms separate from baby rooms and readily-available changing rooms throughout the city, you and your newborn will feel right at home in London. Oh, and breastfeeding in public is also acceptable. Welcome to England, where the city of London is a wonderful place to visit, whether you have an infant on your arm or not.

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5 Charleston, South Carolina

via:southernliving.com

Charleston, South Carolina offers parents the chance to stroll leisurely through the streets of downtown, pushing baby in a stroller or carrying them on their back. Charleston is a very historic town with a lot of great tourist attractions for the whole family to enjoy, and that means that mom will be sure to get a history lesson while touring the city. And, get this, Southern Hospitality is a real thing—sure to be something that a new mom will thoroughly want to take advantage of after just having a baby. Yes, Charleston, South Carolina offers a lot to the new mom and baby tourists.

4 Taipei, Taiwan

via:youtube.com

Taiwan is a part of Asia that a lot of people have heard of but may not have thought about traveling to. Taipei is a large city, and that means that there are a lot of opportunities for new moms to enjoy their vacation. Moms and babies in Taipei, Taiwan are going to be treated to streets that are very stroller-friendly, and mom is welcome to take advantage of any of the feeding rooms located throughout the city to not only take a break but feed the baby as well. If you have thought about traveling to Asia with your new baby, then Taipei, Taiwan should definitely be at the top of your list.

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3 Chicago, Illinois

via:doneriterecovery.com

Chicago is one of the busiest cities in the United States, which has positives and negatives. However, for a new mom, Chicago is a great place to visit with a baby in tow. Many of the streets and sidewalks in Chicago are designed with strollers in mind, making it easy to navigate the city and see the sights. And a lot of the museums want you to visit, even if you have a baby in a stroller. These museums provide special stroller tours, where you can learn a lot while sharing the experience with other moms and their infants. Chicago, Illinois offers a lot to the new mom and her new baby.

2 Tuscany, Italy

via:dreamofitaly.com

Italy is a very baby-friendly country in general, and Tuscany really builds on this to make it easy for new moms and their infants to get out and enjoy places like Pisa and Florence. As with other places in Europe, Tuscany allows for public nursing, which makes it that much easier to enjoy the experience of the vacation for everyone. There is a lot to see in Tuscany, and the fact that they welcome moms and their babies really should be appreciated. From the plazas of Florence to the Tower of Pisa, you are sure to be making memories with your infant.

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1 Tokyo, Japan

via:themalaymailonline.com

Japan is a very interesting country, and if you have the opportunity to visit it, you should take it. Tokyo is the capital of Japan and is a very large and busy city. But that does not mean that Tokyo is not friendly towards babies and new moms. With baby cafes and designated play and sleep areas throughout the city, your baby seems like just another guest in this great city. And with nursing areas and rooms all over Tokyo, you and your infant will not feel the need to return to the hotel for feeding. Overall, Tokyo really hits all the high points when it comes to traveling with an infant.

Traveling with a baby can be a daunting prospect, but these 25 places really take the “daunting” out of the idea. From rentals or free baby accessories to open places for feeding, any of these places will give you, your family, and most importantly, your new baby a great travel experience.

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Summer vacation has come to an end and I found myself looking for a nice destination to take our family to next year. In this quest for new ideas and family travel inspiration, I decided to reach out to other traveling families and ask them to share their all-time favorite, best family travel destinations worldwide.

Family travel bloggers share their favorite travel destinations

I received a variety of responses covering an amazing variety of family-friendly destinations from all over the world. From winter holidays in the Arctic to desolate beaches in the Pacific, from city breaks to ski resorts – there is something in here for everyone.

I’m happy to say that some of the world’s most well-traveled families have collaborated to this post. These are one by one families that have seen a lot of the world and they share their absolute favorites, hidden gems, places that they keep on going back to.

With their help, this guide to the world’s best family travel destinations was born. In this post, you’ll find some great family trip ideas and plenty of inspiration for family vacations for many years to come.

Read about the travel bloggers’ favorite family travel destinations and scroll all the way down to the bottom to find out ours!

Featured image by Eric Stoen from Travel Babbo

Image by Eric from TravelBabbo

Top-20: Best Family Travel Destinations Worldwide

Daintree Rainforest, Australia

Caz and Craig from YTravelBlog. One of our favorite destinations for families is the Port Douglas Daintree region in Tropical North Queensland.

Port Douglas has the largest reef system and the oldest rainforest in the world to explore. What more can you ask for? Our girls loved snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, zip-lining over the canopy of the Daintree Rainforest, playing on stunning beaches, searching for wild crocodiles on river boat cruises, and enjoying delicious exotic ice cream made from the rainforest fruits.

It’s a relaxed and beautiful tropical destination with plenty for all members of the family to love.

Here you can find everything you possibly may want to know about visiting the Daintree Rainforest.

Snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef – © YTravelBlogDaintree Rainforest – © YTravelBlog

Kevin and Christina from Wandering Wagars. There are few places in the world that offer the opportunity for a family adventure like Iceland.

Where else can you spot Blue Whales from a schooner, swim in ice cold glacier water while continents tear themselves apart around you, and feel the roar of Europe’s largest waterfall, all within a few hours drive of each other. If that isn’t enough to whet your appetite, Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world. You can even look up the Prime Minister in the phone book.

Icelandic people understand the unique needs of children and families. It’s rare to find a restaurant that doesn’t have an area set aside for children to play.

You can read more about Kevin and Christina’s family trip to Iceland on their blog.

*We have a huge selection of Iceland-related posts on our blog as well. You can find it all in our Iceland travel guide.

Iceland – © WanderingWagars

Eric from Travel Babbo. Bali has become one of our favorite family travel destinations the past couple years. There’s a perfect mix of beaches and culture, and there’s always something to do, from attending festivals (which seem to take place all the time) to visiting water parks to hiking through rice fields.

The weather is warm year-round, although the rainy season (November through March) is exactly what it sounds like. The food is excellent and inexpensive. My 10-year-old’s favorite restaurant in the world is Cuca, near Jimbaran Beach.

Bali’s hotels are amazing, and virtually all welcome kids. We’ve stayed at hotels on the beach, but also in villas with private plunge pools overlooking river valleys and villas surrounded by rice fields. We always try to do activities through our hotels, like fish feeding, anti-gravity yoga, rice planting, ceramics, and local walks. We’re never ready to check out.

Even though there are more tourists every year, Bali never feels touristy. Ubud retains a really cool, artsy vibe. Plus there’s a monkey forest there – what kid doesn’t want to be surrounded by monkeys?

You can find more tips for visiting Bali with kids on Eric’s blog.

Bali – © TravelBabbo

Crete, Greece

Paul from A Luxury Travel Blog. The island of Crete is somewhere we’ve frequently holidayed as a family. Crete has everything we could possibly want – a lovely climate, pure relaxation, great beaches, excellent food and a beautifully slow way of life. There are some superb hotels on the island too!

We’ve often been drawn to a small fishing town Elounda which has some excellent luxury accommodation and plenty to see and do.

Check Paul’s blog for all things luxury travel.

Spinalonga Island Crete – © Luxury Travel Blog

Whitefish, Montana, USA

Nicole – The Passport Kids. If you are thinking about experiencing what a winter wonderland would be like, our recommendation is the Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort in Montana, USA. The resort offers many family-friendly amenities and activities including daycare and kids ski & ride school directly on the resort.

Enjoy some outdoor winter fun with snowboarding, skiing, snowshoeing or sledding; then cozy up by the fire with some hot chocolate.

The resort and city of Whitefish offer a small-town American feel where life slows down for a while but still offers a great selection of hotels, restaurants and shopping.

Check Nicole’s blog for more information about Whitefish ski resort.

Whitefish Montana – © ThePassportKids

Gulf Shores, Alabama, USA

Karen from Family Travels on a Budget. Gulf Shores, Alabama is perfect for families because it’s got all the beach without all the crowds!

We love Gulf Shores for its white sand, seashells, sunsets, and seafood. But what makes it special is the space — wide beaches and smaller crowds mean we have more space to unwind.

Gulf Shores is more than a beach, though. We also enjoy hiking and biking the trails at Gulf State Park, catamaran day trips, paddle boarding and sunset dinners at local restaurants. It’s our home away from home — at the beach!

Read more about Alabma Beaches here.

Alabama Beaches – © FamilyTravelsOnABudget

Cape Town, South Africa

Keri from Baby Globetrotters. Everything about Cape Town is simply breathtaking. Nestled beneath the unmistakeable Table Mountain, many start their South African adventure at the lively V&A Waterfront.

Near to the city, you will find the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens and Tree Canopy Walkway, the Table Mountain Cable Car or why not take a ferry and tour around the now infamous Robben Island?

Heading further out of Cape Town for a couple of days is a must – head to where the oceans meet at the Cape of Good Hope, visit the Penguins at Boulders Beach and spot the seals at Hout Bay.

Next head east to the Stellenbosch wine region – so many family-friendly wine farms it’s hard to choose where to start. Finish off your Cape Town adventure with a simply breathtaking sunset over the Atlantic Ocean from Signal Hill or Camps Bay.

Find out more about Cape Town family vacation on Baby Globetrotters blog.

*We completely agree with Keri – Cape Town and the whole of South Africa is amazing with kids. Here you can find more tips for visiting South Africa with young kids.

Cape Town – © BabyGlobetrotters

Cambodia

Alanna from The Travelling Hams. Most people don’t think of Cambodia as a family-friendly destination, but we wholeheartedly disagree!

The country is full of stunning nature and some of the most beautiful temple ruins in the world. Our toddlers loved exploring the ruins as much as we did! For our kids, the ruins were the ultimate playground! Each equipped with crumbling stairs to climb, plenty of rocks and leaves to play with, and even some wildlife to watch. It’s a great way to challenge their senses and it gives you a chance to enjoy them yourself – a double bonus!

Cambodians are some of the friendliest people in Southeast Asia. They love to stop you and chat about your children and give friendly pats and pinches. For those with really young ones- they even help to watch your children while you get a few mouthfuls of food in!

Here you can find more inspiration for visiting Cambodia with kids.

Cambodia – ©TheTravellingHams

Rovaniemi, Finland

Erin – Travel with Bender. If you ask our kids out of the 67 countries they have been to in their 6 years of life, which was their favorite they would unanimously agree – Finland. More specifically Rovaniemi to the North of Helsinki. Why? So many reasons!

#1 it’s where the real Santa lives. When you send a letter to Santa it goes here. You can see all the pigeon holes from around the world with letters to Santa. You can even post your own! You can spend an evening with the elves in the forest, decorating trees, baking cookies and learning Santa secrets.

Santa’s Village in Rovaniemi – © ExploreWithErin

When you are not visiting Santa you can spend the days riding husky sleds through a winter wonderland, taking a reindeer sleigh through the forest or snow tubing down giant hills and through ice caves.

Top that with snowmobiles to capture a glimpse of the Northern Lights and a hot dinner of reindeer meat and what could be more perfect?

Here you can read more about winter holiday in Roveniemi Finland.

Husky sledge – © TraveWithBender

Portugal

Alex – My Life Long Holiday. Central Portugal has been a family favourite for us since my parents emigrated there a few years back. The area has such a laid-back vibe, great food and culture and beautiful scenery.

For adventurous families, there are activities like cycling, hiking and kayaking, but my kids equally like exploring little old villages up in the mountains which haven’t changed for ages, so long as there’s ice-cream at the end of it!

The Portuguese love children and you’re welcomed wherever you go with genuine smiles and warm hospitality, add to this the warm sunshine and you have the formula for a relaxing, easy holiday.
Check Alex’s blog for more inspiration for a trip to Portugal.

* Inspired by Alex’s suggestion, we have recently visited Portugal. In fact, we loved it so much that we went back several times. Here you can find our Portugal travel tips.

Portugal – © MyLifeLongHoliday

Philadelphia, USA

Eileen – FamiliesGo! Philadelphia is close enough to home that it has been a frequent day trip for us. Now that we travel with a child we have begun to stay for a night or two, which has given us new appreciation for all that this city has to offer for families.

Federal Hall is an essential for your first visit (the Declaration of Independence was signed here). The city also has a lot of family-friendly museums.

Please Touch Museum will be a hit with younger kids, while school-going children will appreciate the Franklin Institute and the sprawling Museum of Art.

Philadelphia is also known as a great city for eating out. I recommend Federal Donuts near Rittenhouse Square, Hawthorne’s near South Street and Reading Terminal. Great city break for families.

Read more about Philadelphia here.

Philadelphia – © FamiliesGo!

The Canadian Rockies

Melissa – Parenthood and Passports. As a family who wants to see as much of the world as possible, it’s rare for us to visit the same destination twice. But there is one place we return time and time again: The Canadian Rockies.

The Canadian Rockies are one of the most naturally beautiful wonders on earth. The mountains have a rugged, majestic appeal. Nestled between them are glacial lakes that shimmer a vibrant shade of blue.

Banff National Park, located in the heart of the Rockies is one of the most family-friendly places we’ve ever visited. The establishments are very accommodating to children, and the area is great to explore with kids.

Banff is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. You’ll find everything from easy hikes to backcountry camping and winter mountain sports. We love exploring outdoors and hope to instill that same passion in our daughter. I can’t think of a better place to do so.

Read more about visiting Banff here.

Canadian Rockies – © ParenthoodAndPassports

Cook Islands

Karilyn – No Back Home. One of our favorite family destinations is the Cook Islands in the South Pacific. For West Coast travelers it’s a short overnight flight with only a 3 hour time change.

The largest and main island, Rarotonga, is actually quite small with a ring road only 29 miles long! You will be welcomed to the island by beautiful white beaches with excellent snorkeling in calm lagoons and lush green mountains as your backdrop.

With plenty of adventure activities from hiking to buggy driving to kayaking to private islands, your family will have the time of their life in this island paradise!

Read more about the family-friendly Cook Islands here.

Cook Islands – © NoBackHome

Glacier National Park, USA

Craig and Bryanna – Crazy Family Adventure. Glacier National Park is an amazing family travel destination. The views are out of this world and you won’t find better hiking.

We really enjoyed driving the scary yet breathtaking beautiful Going to the Sun Road. You can see Glaciers, Waterfalls, and Huge Mountains. And you may even see a mountain goat, big horn sheep, or a bear! We really enjoyed hiking to Hidden Lake, on the Trail of Cedars, and Apakuni Falls.

Each hike has something to offer from being able to step into the frigid cold glacier water, to seeing amazing waterfalls, or a lake surrounded by mountains. Everywhere you turn in Glacier National Park you are met with a view more beautiful then the last!

Read more about Glacier NP.

TIP: Here you can find some great Glacier National Park itinerary suggestions.

Glacier NP – © CrazyFamilyAdventure

Big Island, Hawaii, USA

Bethany – Flashpacker Family. Our family’s new favourite destination is the Big Island of Hawaii. Hawaii is such a special place but the Big Island really takes the cake. You can do everything here!

We swam with turtles, stayed in beautiful resorts, enjoyed a luau, went whale watching, hiked to waterfalls, visited an active volcano and even sailed in a submarine.

The Big Island is great for families because it’s easy to rent a car, drive around and enjoy something new every day. There’s no excuse to be bored on the Big Island!

Read more about Big Island, Hawaii here.

Big Island Hawaii – © FlashpackerFamily

Florence, Italy

Scarlet – Family Focus Blog. Our favorite family travel destination so far has been Florence, Italy.

Florence is wonderful for families because there is so much to do and see both indoors and outdoors. It is a great city to walk around in and explore and make memories that will last a lifetime. The whole family will enjoy the delicious Italian food, culture, and attractions.

More tips for a family trip to Italy.

TIP: If you are visiting Florence, you may want to check the other amazing Tuscany towns nearby as well. Here you can find our suggested Tuscany itinerary.

Florence – © FamilyFocusBlog

Hamilton, New Zealand

Nadine – Le Long Weekend. My favorite family travel destination is Hamilton in New Zealand. Hamilton is New Zealand’s best-kept secret when it comes to family holidays.

Our favorite activities include the Waikato Museum with its dedicated kid’s discovery areas; the Zoo where cheeky Kaka land on your shoulder in the walk-through aviary; and the themed Hamilton gardens which will transport you into a new civilization at every turn!

But what really sets Hamilton apart are the many ‘destination playgrounds’. These amazing parks have the usual fun fixtures, plus water features, in-ground trampolines and multi-story playhouses. Great for keeping the little ones busy while you enjoy coffee from a nearby cafe!

Read more about Hamilton, New Zealand on Nadine’s travel blog.

Hamilton, NZ – © LeLongWeekend

Marathon, Florida

Carrie Anne – Everything Mom. When thinking about traveling to Florida with the kids the first place to pop into your mind is probably Orlando. Perfect if you’re looking for thrill rides but the Florida Keys can offer families the chance to experience the more natural side of the state, specifically Marathon.

Take in a little history exploring the oldest home in the Florida Keys outside of Key West as well as remnants of the Flagler Railroad that connected all of the Florida Keys.

Kids, especially those too young to enjoy more adventurous water pursuits, will enjoy a nature scavenger hunt, swimming with fish or meeting rescued birds at the Wild Bird Sanctuary. You can even enjoy lunch under a large tiki hut restaurant just off of the scenic Seven Mile Highway.

Marathon also makes a great family destination due to how close it is to the other islands like Key West and Islamorada ensuring a Florida vacation adventure doesn’t have to mean roller coasters.

Here you can read more about Marathon, Florida.

Marathon Florida Keys – © EverythingMom

Dordogne, France

Kirsten – Kids are a Trip. The Dordogne region in France is one of our favorite places to explore as a family. With beautiful castles, rivers for canoeing, and medieval towns for exploring, it is the perfect place to get away.

We enjoyed the bucolic landscape and the friendliness of the locals and found there was plenty to do for families.

If you want to learn more, please read Kirstin’s post about her family visit to Dordogne.

Dordogne – © KidsAreATrip

Swiss Mountains

Jurga – Full Suitcase. Hey, that’s me! I thought I’d join my favorite family travel bloggers in this Top-20 and share our favorite family destination as well.

Switzerland in general and Swiss mountains, in particular, has been one of our favorite travel destinations for years. We love Swiss Alps! We try to go to Switzerland at least twice a year: skiing in winter and hiking in summer, and every time we don’t want to leave. Kids have asked several times if we could just move to Switzerland…

Charming mountain villages and small towns have such an amazing atmosphere that is hard to find anywhere else in the world. Add to that stunning landscapes, great food and a huge variety of things to see and do for families with children and you cannot go wrong planning a family trip to Switzerland.

Here you can read more about some of our favorite places in Switzerland.

Swiss Mountains – © FullSuitcase

So, this is a small selection of great vacation destinations for families. I hope you found some inspiration for your next family vacation!

What’s your favorite family destination? Let us know – leave a comment below!

***Read also: Best Travel Gear for Kids – Family Traveler’s Favorites***

If you found this post useful, don’t forget to bookmark it and share it with your friends. Are you on Pinterest? Pin this image!

Image by Melissa from Parenthood and Passports

Want to venture somewhere new—perhaps outside of the U.S.—in 2020? We know kids like active adventures like ziplining and kayaking (think Belize), but we also know parents want them to try new foods (like wasabi-infused specialties in Japan). Throw in some great tour leaders (we’re looking at you, Adventures by Disney) and some under-the-radar destinations (like Guyana) and you have tons of vacation options across the globe. These are the best international family vacations for 2020.

(Looking for some great vacation ideas closer to home? Check out the 10 Best U.S. Family Vacations for 2020.)

1. Belize

Belize’s Lodge at Chaa Creek is a 400-acre eco lodge specializing in adventure, with dozens of different activities offered each day. Be sure to go on a bird watching tour—this area has some of the best bird watching in the country—or take a tubing excursion deep into the jungle, where you can see plenty of beautiful toucans, the national bird of Belize. Zipline among the trees and see a view of the jungle from above. Naturalist guides will take guests horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking through the dense jungle while travelers take in the diverse flora and fauna of the region. Be sure to take a canoe trip down the Macal River to see birds, howler monkeys and other wildlife.

10 Magical Places to Take Your Family on Vacation (That Aren’t Disney)

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Let’s face it, many families visit Disney and other amusement parks because those destinations make it easy for parents to plan an all-in-one vacation that includes on-site accommodations, tons of rides, entertainment galore and plenty of restaurants with kid-friendly menus. But, there are so many more options out there for family fun. If you’ve been searching for something a bit different than riding a flume for the umpteenth time, consider these 10 places around the world that are magical for adults and kids alike (in a non-Disney sort of way).

Phuket, Thailand

(Photo courtesy of Karen Akpan/The Mom Trotter)

Famous for its turquoise waters and dramatic limestone karst formations, Phuket is one of Asia’s most dreamy and exotic locales. In addition to the island’s natural beauty, there are also many cultural attractions, such as Buddhist temples like Wat Chalong, that make it a hot spot for families. The beaches are gorgeous and the locals are warm and welcoming. It’s the kind of place where you and your family can slow down and reconnect with each other.

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Families can frolic on gleaming white beaches, partake in exceptional snorkeling and spend seemingly endless hours swimming and sunbathing. And, when the kids are bored with the beach and cultural exploration, there are plenty of pastimes to check out. Your kids can learn to surf in a wave-generating pool at Surf House Phuket FlowRider at the southern end of Kata Beach Road, play mini-golf at Dino Park, visit a go-kart speedway or explore the Phuket Aquarium.

Accommodations and meals are very affordable in Thailand, and if you can avoid peak season, you’re guaranteed an even more favorable rate. With accommodation costs starting around $40 per night, you can take your time on Thailand’s largest island, Phuket.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Marriott Puerto Vallarta (photo courtesy of hotel)

Mexico is a nation of music and dance, and is another solid travel destination for families. In Puerto Vallarta, there are colorful markets and delicious, flavorful fare you can actually enjoy on a budget — even during the peak summer season.

(Photo courtesy of Karen Akpan/The Mom Trotter)

In Puerto Vallarta, attractions such as horseback riding and ziplining can be quite affordable. My family found a great deal when we vacationed in Puerto Vallarta through Estigo Tours that cost $35 per person, for a total of $175 for our family of five. This is the cheapest zipline tour we’ve ever booked.

Even with a limited budget, you can book a family-friendly resort featuring a pool with waterslides and a children’s club. And if you have an annual Marriott 35,000 point certificate, you can stay at a Marriott resort right on the beach for free. With World of Hyatt points, consider an all-inclusive resort getaway to Hyatt Ziva instead.

Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo by Getty Images)

Kenya is the epitome of a magical vacation destination — especially for animal lovers. It’s a logical starting point for families interested in Africa vacations. Nairobi is known for sprawling grasslands and the Maasai Mara National Reserve, where you can witness the phenomenal annual wildebeest migration (usually in late November and December). On the other extreme edge of the country, there are unsung beaches along the Mombasa coastline. The culture is diverse, with more than 42 tribes in the area. Visiting Nairobi is the type of adventure your kids will remember for a lifetime.

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When visiting Nairobi with your kids, take them to the David Sheldrick Trust Elephant Orphan Center: a safe space for orphaned baby elephants and rhinos. Here, kids can watch baby animals being cared for, and learn more about them. At the Giraffe Centre, kids can even help feed the resident giraffes. Don’t skip the Village Market, Maasai Ostrich Farm and Nairobi Arboretum.

For a full safari, consider Amboseli National Park and Maasai Mara. Nairobi National Park is also an unexpected option, which is located inside the city. Although smaller than the other parks, it’s still a wonderful place to bring kids for a ride in a private or shared vehicle. Just don’t forget to pack safari hats, neutral-hued clothes and binoculars for every member of the family.

Las Vegas, Nevada

(Photo courtesy of Karen Akpan/The Mom Trotter)

Vacationing in Las Vegas may not seem all that magical at first glance, but scattered across the city are a number of rides, games and theme parks that delight families (okay, this one is a little Disney-esque). You can visit Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay to experience marine life in the middle of a desert, or you can take a turn on the new High Roller observation wheel, which gives you an epic view of the city and beyond. You might also take a gondola ride at The Venetian and have your kids entertained by Italian crooning without even having to take a flight to Italy. The Discovery Children’s Museum also gets high marks from parents.

Red Rock Canyon. (Photo by .com)

A family can also enjoy a vacation to Las Vegas without ever visiting the Strip. There are plenty of free outdoor activities, such as hiking at Red Rock Canyon and visiting the Hoover Dam (though the official dam tour is neither free nor appropriate for small children). Another free place to visit with a family is the Downtown Container Park, which has a few outdoor areas for kids and restaurants where families can eat and relax while the kids play and make new friends.

Although many shows and attractions in the city have an adult theme, there are family-friendly entertainment options, including the Tournament of Kings at Excalibur, the Fall of Atlantis at Caesars Palace, the Mac King Comedy Magic Show at Harrah’s and the Blue Man Group show at Luxor.

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Hotel prices vary widely in Las Vegas, but you can usually find decent accommodations starting at $100 per night. If you are spending a little more and have The Platinum Card® from American Express, try and make use of the Amex Fine Hotel & Resorts perks such as late check-out, resort credits and free breakfast. Alternatively, there are low-cost timeshare rentals available, so your family can really spread out.

Stockholm, Sweden

(Photo courtesy of Karen Akpan/The Mom Trotter)

Sweden’s laid-back atmosphere and family-friendly capital should be on your family’s travel radar. Plus, Stockholm has a variety of hotels you can book with points, such as the Hilton Stockholm Slussen, where kids even eat free.

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There are also plenty of free museums to visit in Stockholm, including the Medieval Museum, Moderna Museet, The Swedish History Museum and the National Maritime Museum. And, don’t miss the public parks scattered across the city, such as Rålambshovsparken, Tessinparken, Vasaparken, Stora Blecktornsparken and Bryggartäppan. Your kids will love a chance to run around in these lovely green and very ‘magical’ spaces.

When riding the bus or train in Sweden, kids under the age of 7 can travel for free with an adult — and up to six children between the ages of 7 and 11 can travel for free during weekends with someone older than 18 . If you prefer to be away from the city, Sweden is full of stunning landscapes, including quiet forests and medieval towns such as Visby. The rugged beauty of the country makes for fantastic outdoorsy (and thrifty) activities such as hiking, camping and fishing.

Toronto, Canada

(Photo courtesy of Karen Akpan/The Mom Trotter)

Our neighbor to the north has a lot to offer when it comes to fun and family-friendly vacation destinations. You may decide to take your family hiking or kayaking in Jasper National Park at Banff. If your family loves to ski, consider Vancouver and the world-famous Whistler Blackcomb. And if you want to learn more about the history of Canada (and experience a bit of Europe on this continent), book a flight to French-speaking Quebec City.

My family, however, opted for a vacation to Toronto, which has a number of tourist sites, including the CN Tower, Toronto Zoo, Ontario Science Centre, Hockey Hall of Fame, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Casa Loma historic house museum and Canada’s Wonderland theme park. All of these attractions are offered at a discount with the purchase of a city pass for $59 for kids between the ages of 4 and 12 years old. (The pass is $88 for those 13 and over.)

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After exploring Toronto, it’s easy to make the two-hour drive to Niagara Falls, so your family can see water plunge down a 188-foot cliff at nearly 70 miles per hour.

Bali, Indonesia

The beauty of Bali. (Photo by Getty Images)

There are roughly 20,000 temples on the island of Bali and the rice-terraced landscape is probably unlike anything your kids have ever seen. Bali’s beaches are ideal for surfing and diving and if spirituality is important to your family, you can easily join others in the practice of meditation and yoga. If you love fresh tropical fruit and Indonesia cuisine, you will be in heaven here.

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There are two seasons in Bali: the wet season, which runs from October to March, and the dry season, which runs from April to September. When visiting with kids, travel during the dry season to maximize your time outdoors. A few fun things that your children may enjoy are the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, Bali Bird Park, Tirta Empul temple and Elephant Safari Park. There are also several family-friendly beachfront resorts in Kuta such as Cheeky Monkeys, which offers child care.

Santiago, Chile

(Photo courtesy of Karen Akpan/The Mom Trotter)

Although flying to Chile can be expensive, the country is very affordable once on the ground. The long coastline provides for a land of extremes. From the driest desert in the world to old-growth rainforests and ancient glaciers framed by towering mountain peaks, Chile offers a wealth of experiences for every type of traveler. The Chilean people are very friendly, and the wine is excellent for parents.

There are hotels in Chile but to get the best deal, I recommend booking a home on Airbnb for your stay. In Santiago, we stayed in a property in the heart of downtown, within walking distance to several restaurants and public transportation.

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You can book tours ahead of time, or wait until you arrive to map out your time. Many Airbnb owners have connections with tour operators and can offer a generous discount when booking through them. We booked all our tours while in Chile and, though they were private, we still enjoyed reasonable rates.

Cairo, Egypt

(Photo courtesy of Karen Akpan/The Mom Trotter)

You might be surprised to find Cairo on the list, but Egypt is actually an amazing place to visit with your family. Not only is Egypt very inexpensive, but it’s also a breathtaking place to explore. You’ll be able to stay in five-star luxury hotels for a remarkably affordable price using cash or points. For example, there are several Hilton hotels in Egypt available for just 5,000 Hilton Honors points per night. With the coral reefs and striking deserts, Cairo is a destination your children won’t soon forget.

Of course, you can’t fly to Egypt without visiting the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, where you and your children will learn about how the tomb of one of the greatest pharaohs of Egypt, King Tutankhamun, was unearthed.

On your family’s visit, you can also learn about the nation’s livelihood, culture and food as you take a boat cruise along the Nile. The beaches along the Red Sea are wide, and ideal for a family beach day. During our family’s trip to Cairo, we had no safety concerns and roamed the streets without issue. Security guards patrol the perimeters of the hotel and ensure that only hotel guests are allowed in and out.

Yosemite National Park

(Photo courtesy of Karen Akpan/The Mom Trotter)

Camping can help your family break free from the daily grind, de-stress and connect with the magic of nature — and one another. The trick is to find a good campground. Yosemite has options for RVs, camper-vans or tents. Build a campfire to enjoy with the kids in the evening as you take in Yosemite’s unparalleled natural beauty. At night, don’t forget to look skyward to see twinkling stars.

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Yosemite National Park has several popular and family-friendly campgrounds that book up far in advance, so you’ll want to reserve your space as soon as the date becomes available. Campsites range from $8 to $16 on a first come, first served basis, and from $26 to $50 for family or group reservations. Three of the most popular campgrounds at Yosemite National Park for families are Upper Pines, Lower Pines and North Pines.

When booking a campground, call in advance to confirm what amenities are available. Access to showers, bathrooms, a river, pool or a play area go a long way when camping with kids.

Bottom Line

The world is big, beautiful and, you guessed it, full of natural magic and wonder. Take that trip to Disney, but don’t stop there. Keep going around the world with your family to experience breath of experiences and destinations waiting to be discovered.

You can follow Karen and her family’s travels on her blog, The Mom Trotter, and on Instagram.

Featured image courtesy of Francisco Goncalves – Getty Images

The Best Cities to Travel with Kids in North America

With so many amusement parks, zoos, beaches, water parks, and museums; it has never been harder to choose where to travel with your kids in North America. From the beautiful Islands of Hawaii to traveling back in time to Williamsburg, VA; we have dug deep to find the top ten cities in North America that offer the best for family vacations. Kid-friendly hotels, ease of access to destinations, entertainment factor for both parents and kids and maybe even some learning opportunities were all taken into account (but don’t tell the kids about the learning one). North America is a wonderful place for all ages to explore and we have just touched the tip of the iceberg with our suggestions on activities in these destinations. We invite you to dive in, explore more and discover what makes these ten cities the most kid-friendly vacations in North America.

10. Kauai, Hawaii

Anywhere you go in Hawaii is a great place to travel with kids, and frankly we could have made a whole other list of places to go just in Hawaii but we chose Kauai for a few reasons. Fewer crowds, beautiful weather and affordability pushed this island to the top of our list. Condo rentals are in abundance on this island while still having resorts to choose from if you wish. With lifeguarded beaches, short driving distances between destinations and activities for the whole family to enjoy; you will never want to leave. Stay all day on the beach with a picnic, zip line through the jungle or bike along the coastal path; the possibilities are endless.

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9. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Smack in the middle of a 60-mile stretch of beach is the budget-friendly, family-friendly, city of Myrtle Beach. Known to have some of the best body surfing waters around, you can spend all day watching the kids play in the ocean. Don’t miss out on walking the boardwalk and promenade that stretch a mile along the sand with the carnival like atmosphere. Family-friendly hotels with on-site pools, waterslides and so much more make this city one hot spot. Kids will love the bigger amusement and water parks just a short trip away. Be sure to check the average annual temperatures before you book your trip as this destination is best enjoyed in the summer months.

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8. Williamsburg, Virginia

Visiting Williamsburg is to step back in time to the 18th century where this living history museum is sure to thrill the little ones. Let the kids travel back through time with a costume rental and traditional chores and farm work opportunities so they can really feel the part. Free guided tours that take you through town encompass the right amount of history and interaction, and the best part is they’re led by kids for kids. When the feet grow weary from exploring, be sure to hop onto a carriage ride where the driver will delight you with stories of who once owned that very same carriage. Once you are done living in the past; head to Busch Gardens or Water Country USA for some modern thrills.

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7. Toronto, Ontario

Kids like nothing more than to climb to the top of things (and truth be told so do most adults) and where else can you find something as tall as the CN Tower to climb! Toronto is a vibrant buzzing city that has so many family friendly activities we can’t name them all. To start you off on your next Toronto vacation here are just a few of our favorites. The Science Centre, Canada’s Wonderland, Ripley’s Aquarium (the largest indoor Aquarium in Canada), The Toronto Zoo, Royal Ontario Museum and the list could go on forever. Don’t miss out on the chance to ferry across to Centre Island where the kids can burn off their energy in wading pools, endless green space and antique rides.

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6. Washington, D.C.

Loaded with free museums, a free national zoo and The White House; Washington is not only a great place to visit as an adult but surprisingly very kid-friendly. While the Museum of Natural History is perfect for the dinosaur lover and the National Museum of Air and Space will get any rocket crazed kid excited; Washington’s official travel website offers a printable activity book for kids. Loaded with contests, take a “selfie” ideas and scavenger hunts; the kids won’t be bored. Washington also offers many free walking tours and make sure you watch that white house lawn; the president’s helicopter lands there several times a week. Finally, a trip to Washington wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the National Mall to ride the carousel.

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5. Vancouver, British Columbia

Known for its moderately warm temperatures in the winter, Vancouver is a city you can visit any time of the year. The famous Stanley Park is made up of 1000 acres and lets families explore the seawall and jungle like sanctuary. Tired of walking through the park; pop into the Vancouver Aquarium where the indoor and outdoor exhibits let you get up close and personal with the animals. Granville Island, located just a short ferry ride away has emerged into a family friendly oasis. Markets (including a children’s market), live entertainment, shops and the largest free water park in North America make up this unique little island. For the adventure seeker, Grouse Mountain is just a short trip away or visit one of the suspension bridges located outside the city.

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4. Chicago, Illinois

It’s not a question of whether Chicago is a kid-friendly city but a question of where to take the kids first. Do you venture to one of the many museums that offer free admission to kids? Or do you check out the famous Millennium Park to visit the sculpture known as ‘The Bean’? For budget activities, Lincoln Park offers one of the few free zoos in the country. You’ll also want to head down to Navy Pier to visit the Children’s Museum and the famous 150 foot high Ferris wheel. If you have a little sports fan, be sure to catch a game or take a tour at Wrigley Field. With hot dogs and deep dish pizza being the top food choices, your kids will have nothing to complain about.

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3. San Diego, California

San Diego is filled with family fun activity and luckily you can enjoy the sights just as much as your kids will. The world famous San Diego Zoo is a must see on any trip to the city. As a bonus the zoo has opened a Safari Park which allows you to tour an enormous wildlife reserve with animals from Africa and Asia. Looking to relax while in San Diego? Head on over to Point Loma and let the kids explore the trails, lighthouse and tidal pools at low tide. If you’re craving some adventure after a relaxing beach day, head on over to Belmont Park, the only beachfront amusement park in San Diego.

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2. Niagara Falls, Ontario

Not only will the view of hundreds of thousands of gallons of water rushing down over the rocks thrill your little ones but there is so much to do in Niagara Falls. Geared towards tourists, this town is one big amusement park for kids and adults alike. Take in the neon signs, haunted houses, arcades and restaurants that line Clifton Hill. Travel as close to the falls as possible on the boat tours, take a helicopter tour to get the best view or hit up the largest indoor water park in North America. Stay up late to watch the falls illuminate and watch the spectacular firework display over the falls. If that isn’t enough; discover the zoos, aquarium and bird kingdoms nearby.

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1. Orlando, Florida

What would a top ten list of cities to visit with kids be without Orlando? Besides the obvious Disney World which encompasses all four different theme parks plus two water parks, Orlando is filled with kid-friendly activities. Pay a visit to International Drive where the kids can discover an upside-down house, laser tag, Ripley’s Believe it or Not and many other family focused activities. After splurging on all of the above take a quick drive to the coast and relax on one of the many beaches or take a dip in one of Orlando’s freshwater springs. If that isn’t enough to keep your family occupied; take a trip to LEGOLAND, SeaWorld or stroll through downtown Orlando and hop into a paddleboat at Lake Eola.

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