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22 Best Places in the World to Travel With Kids

Family vacations are for making memories. But it can be hard to please everyone in the family when trying to make the best decision as to where to travel. Fortunately, these destinations might just do the trick, offering something for people of all ages and types to enjoy.

North America

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/Montana/Idaho Yellowstone National Park
Credit: Yellowstone National Park by bigstock.com

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/Montana/Idaho

Why Come Here: All kids should have the chance to experience Yellowstone National Park before they grow up.

What To Do: One of America’s most spectacular national parks, it boasts more geothermal features, including hot springs, mud spots, and geysers, than anywhere else on Earth. They’ll be in awe watching Old Faithful shoot steam as high as 185 feet into the sky and watching many other lesser-known geysers too, along with the gurgling mud pots, colorful paint pots, and brilliant multi-colored hot springs. Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in the country, was named for its striking coloration in hues that match the rainbow dispersion of white light by an optical prism of orange, yellow, red, green, and blue. Stop at the Old Faithful Visitor Center to pick up an infrared-thermometer gun that takes readings of thermal pools when pointed at the water – the kids are guaranteed to love it. Of course, they’ll also love seeing all the wildlife, including elk, bison, Bighorn sheep, and perhaps even the more elusive bear or wolf.

New York City, New York Central Park, New York City
Credit: Central Park, New York City by Bigstockphoto.com

New York City, New York

Why Come Here: Visiting New York City is the perfect opportunity to teach your kids about U.S. history in a much more fascinating way than they could ever learn by studying books.

What To Do: Visit the Statue of Liberty, one of the nation’s most recognized symbols of freedom, and walk in the footsteps of the millions of immigrants who came through Ellis Island in hopes of a better life. At Ground Zero, they’ll be able to link what they’ve heard about 9/11 to the actual site and read the names of the victims that are etched in the bronze panels that surround the twin reflecting pools. Of course, there are plenty of opportunities for fun too, including watching the performers in Central Park, visiting the zoo, and walking through the bright lights of Times Square.

Honolulu, Hawaii Waikiki Beach and Honolulu's skyline
Credit: Waikiki Beach and Honolulu's skyline by © Sorin Colac | Dreamstime.com

Honolulu, Hawaii

Why Come Here: Families who travel to Hawaii frequently know that it’s a great place for kids to experience not only striking natural beauty but a multicultural environment and a true aloha spirit.

What To Do: The sun is out nearly every day of the year, and in Honolulu on the island of Oahu, older kids and teens will be able to experience the legendary scene at Waikiki and have the chance to learn to surf, boogie board, parasail, or even paddle an authentic outrigger canoe. While families love the collection of Honolulu’s beachfront hotels, a highlight for many parents is the chance for kids to learn firsthand what the Aloha spirit is all about. It’s more than just an expression, but a way of living and treating people with kindness and generosity.

The Black Hills, South Dakota The Black Hills
Credit: The Black Hills by South Dakota via Flickr.com

The Black Hills, South Dakota

Why Come Here: Most people come to the Black Hills to see Mount Rushmore, but this beautiful region offers many other unique sights and attractions too.

What To Do: Kids, and the kid at heart, will love digging for mammoth bones, splashing in water parks, and exploring Wind Cave, one of the longest in the world. At Custer State Park, there are all sorts of family-friendly activities, including taking a paddle boat out on Lake Sylvan, famously used as the backdrop for scenes in a number of films, including “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” fishing, horseback riding and wildlife watching. By taking a scenic drive on Wildlife Loop Road, you’ll encounter the famous begging burros, along with bison, elk, deer, pronghorn, mountain goats, and more. Hill City offers the chance to relive the Old West on a historic 1880 steam train, and in Rapid City, you can embark on a wildlife safari at Bear Country U.S.A., visit Cosmos Mystery Area where “the laws of nature seem to have gone completely berserk,” and take a selfie with a giant Aldabra tortoise at Reptile Gardens.

Juneau, Alaska Meadows and mountains just outside downtown Juneau
Credit: Meadows and mountains just outside downtown Juneau by © Yasushitanikado - Dreamstime.com

Juneau, Alaska

Why Come Here: Juneau is a must-see for nature lovers, with plenty of wildlife watching and glacier viewing available.

What To Do: The waterways of Southeast Alaska serve as the summer feeding grounds for humpback whales that feast on large schools of baitfish and krill. They’re known for their unique bubble net feeding here, an unforgettable sight that’s sure to thrill everyone in the family. This is also a great place to witness a glacier, with close-up views of Mendenhall Glacier, easily reached with a short trek. If you’re really adventurous, you can take a guided walk via helicopter. Nearby at Eagle Beach, there will be countless bald eagles feasting on salmon during the summer months. Right in town, the Mount Roberts Tramway provides stunning views over it all, and you’ll also find plenty of fun shops, famous eateries like Tracy’s King Crab Shack for a mouthwatering feast, and the Alaska State Museum for discovering the city’s past.

Newfoundland, Canada humpback whale and an iceberg in Newfoundland, Canada
Credit: humpback whale and an iceberg in Newfoundland, Canada by © Newfieboy - Dreamstime.com

Newfoundland, Canada

Why Come Here: This easternmost province has so much to offer with endless activities for all ages, including some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet, making travel with kids infinitely easier and more rewarding too.

What To Do: While Newfoundland may not be on your radar, it should be. It’s one of the world’s best places to see whales, with the largest population of humpbacks that return every year to feast on the capelin. If you can visit around mid-June, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to spot lots of whales and icebergs that float in from Greenland. Moose are commonly seen throughout the province too. By traveling to the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula, you can also visit L’anse aux Meadows, the only authenticated Viking site in North America, complete with a recreated Viking village that includes guides in period dress.

The Yucatan, Mexico North Beach, Isla Mujeres, Yucatan, Mexico
Credit: North Beach, Isla Mujeres, Yucatan, Mexico by Bigstock.com

The Yucatan, Mexico

Why Come Here: The Yucatan is another great place to take the kids with a well-developed tourism infrastructure and lots of fun things to see and do.

What To Do: In Quintana Roo, there are beautiful freshwater pools carved from the rocks called cenotes for swimming in, snorkeling opportunities, ancient ruins to visit, sandy beaches to play on, and charming towns to explore. You can hit one of three theme parks, go snorkeling with the turtles, and swim with the dolphins, and in Tulum, located along cliffs overlooking the cerulean sea below, you’ll be able to explore one of the last walled cities to be built by the Maya people. The archaeological sites are incredibly well preserved, and it’s easy to imagine the once-bustling community.

Europe

London, England View of the Palace of Westminster from the Thames
Credit: View of the Palace of Westminster from the Thames by Levrani/shutterstock.com

London, England

Why Come Here: London is a family-friendly destination for parents who want their kids to experience a major European city.

What To Do: While English is obviously spoken, it still feels like a foreign place, and they’re likely to be fascinated with the world they may have seen on screen in Harry Potter or other films. Teens and older kids will especially enjoy the ghoulish tales heard at the Tower of London. Europe’s first fortress, it was constructed in the 11th century at the request of William the Conqueror. Queen Anne Boleyn was beheaded there in 1536 and is rumored to still haunt the place. Princess lovers won’t want to miss Buckingham Palace, the former home of Queen Elizabeth. Gather at the big iron gates for the Changing of the Guards, where soldiers march out in their trademark red coats and black hats, accompanied by music and royal horsemen.

Ireland Gleninchaquin Park, Ireland
Credit: Gleninchaquin Park, Ireland by © Michael Walsh - Dreamstime.com

Ireland

Why Come Here: Ireland is for everyone as a land filled with castles and myths, rich history, and incredibly friendly people.

What To Do: There are countless opportunities for kid-friendly activities, from hiking through lush mountain scenery to beaches to play on, and medieval feasts to enjoy. Many of the pubs are kid-friendly, and local families often join in music sessions to play traditional music together. In Dublin, you can wander through Phoenix Park, Europe’s largest city park and visit the zoo, and explore the ancient artifacts at the National Museum of Ireland, which includes the famous bog bodies. Other highlights around the country the kids are sure to enjoy include the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle, Bunratty Castle with its creepy dungeon and medieval banquets, and countless national parks from Wicklow and Killarney to remote Glenveagh.

Iceland Northern Lights in Iceland
Credit: Northern Lights in Iceland by © Tawatchai Prakobkit | Dreamstime.com

Iceland

Why Come Here: Iceland may not seem like a destination the kids would love, but this is a place that’s truly magical for people of all ages.

What To Do: You can see everything from the other-worldly landscapes complemented with a backdrop of colorful, dancing northern lights to erupting geysers and hot springs like the legendary Blue Lagoon. Bathing in the warm milky turquoise waters encircled by black lava rocks with the steam rising all around is truly a surreal experience. And, as most Icelanders believe in elves, or “Huludufok,” which translates to “hidden folk,” they’ll be fascinated with the tales of these fantastical creatures that are said to be invisible to the human eye. Talk with a local, and they’re likely to have a story or two about them, in fact, many building projects have been diverted to avoid their reputed habitats.

Chania - Crete, Greece Paleochora Beach, Crete, Greece
Credit: Paleochora Beach, Crete, Greece by © Jure Gasparic | Dreamstime.com

Chania - Crete, Greece

Why Come Here: No matter what the ages of your kids are, you can always find something to do in Crete, the largest of the Greek Islands.

What To Do: The Chania district in the northwest corner of the island is particularly ideal with its clean beaches that edge shallow, crystal-clear turquoise water for swimming, snorkeling, or just splashing around. Plus, Greeks are known for their love of children and are some of the most welcoming, hospitable people you’ll meet. You’ll have no worries when it comes to dining as there are lots of kid-friendly eats like souvlaki, skewered and grilled marinated chicken, lamb, or pork.

If you want to enjoy a beach-focused getaway, Paleochora in the southern part of Chania is one of the best for families with children. There are also opportunities to delve into rich history for some educational fun. Chania’s Old Town is surrounded by a series of defensive walls and other fortifications while being easy to explore on foot. There are many ancient monuments dating to Egyptian, Ottoman, and Venetian times.

Rome, Italy Rome, Italy
Credit: Rome, Italy by Sorin Colac via Dreamstime

Rome, Italy

Why Come Here: There are so many activities for adults and kids alike in Rome, plus it’s like taking a trip back in time as an open-air museum for experiencing history as a living thing rather than forced reading in a textbook.

What To Do: A family trip to the Eternal City can include everything from tours with interactive experiences for the kids to time to burn off energy at a playground and indulge in some of the world’s best gelato. While visiting the Roman Colosseum is a must, consider signing up for a tour designed to entertain the kids, with options that allow them to play gladiator for the day. There are classes on pizza-making ideal for those with older children and teens while thrill-seeking teens will especially get a kick out of touring the Catacombs of St. Callixtus.

Scotland Edinburgh, Scotland
Credit: Edinburgh, Scotland by © Jenifoto406 | Dreamstime.com

Scotland

Why Come Here: Everyone in the family will love exploring Scotland’s breathtaking landscapes, watching for unique wildlife, and visiting some of the countless castles.

What To Do: With a storied countryside that includes countless lakes and tales of an ancient loch monster, not to mention Harry Potter filming sites and fairy pools, it’s the perfect place to bring the kids. The options are practically endless, but one of the top things to do is visit the reindeer herd in the Cairngorms Mountains on a short hill walk led by a herder, departing from Aviemore. The free-ranging animals are friendly, and you’ll have the chance to hand-feed them and take plenty of photos too. If the kids are fans of Harry Potter, you might take a ride on the Jacobite Steam Train, which crosses the famous 21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct made famous in the films. There are beautiful beaches for sandcastle-building, short nature walks leading to waterfalls, canal boats for cruising The Kelpies, and so much more. Start in Edinburgh with a visit to the castle that soars over the historical center.

Caribbean

Grand Cayman, The Cayman Islands Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Credit: Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands by © Ericlaudonien | Dreamstime.com

Grand Cayman, The Cayman Islands

Why Come Here: Families that enjoy diving and snorkeling together can enjoy one of the most breathtaking underwater worlds on the planet by heading to Grand Cayman Island.

What To Do: The largest of the three Cayman Islands, it’s a water lover’s paradise with a multitude of family-friendly activities and attractions. Many of which are right on picture-postcard beaches or in the warm waters that are as clear as a swimming pool. At Sting Ray City, a shallow sandbar, the kids can wade out into the sea, where they’ll almost instantly have hundreds of gentle stingrays all around them. They can even feed them by hand for an especially unforgettable, if ticklish, experience.

Barbados Barbados
Credit: Barbados by bigstock.com

Barbados

Why Come Here: Barbados is one of the most child-friendly and safest islands in the Caribbean, ideal for families with visitors of all ages warmly welcomed.

What To Do: Of course, you can enjoy the usual beach activities with countless stretches of pristine sands and brilliant pale blue waters, ideal for snorkeling with abundant marine life. There are shipwrecks to discover, a cave to explore, and even cruises on a pirate ship that includes rope swinging, walking the plank, stopping to feed fish, swimming with sea turtles, and sightseeing. Plus, the capital city of Bridgetown is jam-packed with shops, museums, and eateries. You’ll also find plenty of luxury all-inclusive resorts that are perfect for a stress-free vacation getaway.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Credit: Ocho Rios, Jamaica by © Byvalet | Dreamstime.com

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Why Come Here: Jamaica is a great Caribbean island for families with many budget-friendly resorts that offer lots of activities for the kids and the chance to experience a rich reggae-infused culture.

What To Do: Ocho Rios boasts spectacular white sandy beaches as well as being home to Dunn’s River waterfall, one of the top attractions on the island. Plus, you’ll find plenty of eateries serving tasty, cheap meals like jerk chicken with local produce. Enjoy a wealth of water sports, from sailing and boogie-boarding to swimming and snorkeling, along with zip-lining and whitewater rafting. Thrill-seeking teens and adults might even scale the famous waterfall.

Africa

Cape Town, South Africa Penguin colony at Boulders Beach near Cape Town
Credit: Penguin colony at Boulders Beach near Cape Town by © Ilyas Kalimullin - Dreamstime.com

Cape Town, South Africa

Why Come Here: You’ll find lots to explore here and throughout South Africa, including opportunities for kid-friendly safaris in some of Africa’s most incredible national parks.

What To Do: Bring the kids on a trip of a lifetime by booking flights to Cape Town. In Kruger National Park, you’ll have the chance to spot the “Big Five” along with hippos, crocs, and giraffes, among many other creatures. Just outside Simon’s Town, a suburb of Cape Town is Boulders Beach, where thousands of African penguins can be seen, with summer the peak period. Plus, you can swim in the calm, clear blue waters, thanks to the granite boulders that protect it from the wind and large waves.

Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Credit: Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya by bigstock.com

Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Why Come Here: Kenya is one of the top countries for a classic safari experience with some of the best parks on the continent, including Masai Mara National Reserve, where visitors can witness the annual great migration.

What To Do: At Masai Mara National Reserve, you’ll have the opportunity to see the Big Five: lion, leopard, black rhinoceros, African bush elephant, and African buffalo. Unique game drives are available that are led by Maasai warriors, and families with children can join the Warriors Academy to learn survival skills taught by Maasai and Samburu Moran warriors. You’ll learn traditional animal tracking methods while following elephants or leopards, learn to build a bush camp and more.

Asia

Tokyo, Japan Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan

Why Come Here: There are many kid-friendly destinations in Japan, but for a place that offers activities the whole family will enjoy, you’ll be especially spoiled for options in Tokyo.

What To Do: Let the teens explore Akihabara, where every other store on its main street is either a video game shop, a toy shop, or a manga retailer (a Japanese-style comic book store). You’ll find plenty of parks and interactive museums to explore together too. And Tokyo Disney Resort is an experience not-to-be-missed. Imagine a Magic Kingdom that combines the best of Disney World and Disneyland.

Bali, Indonesia Kelingking Beach, Nusa Penida, Bali, Indonesia
Credit: Kelingking Beach, Nusa Penida, Bali, Indonesia by © Bidouze Stephane | Dreamstime.com

Bali, Indonesia

Why Come Here: Bali is one of the top family-friendly destinations in Asia, offering a wide range of experiences with everything from tropical forests inhabited by countless monkeys to white sandy beaches and numerous cultural attractions.

What To Do: While it may be a long-haul trip, once you get there, it’s very affordable. For an adventure-packed vacation, you might take surfing lessons, go paddleboarding, or hop on a boat for a short ride to Nusa Penida to swim with giant manta rays. From Ubud, perhaps chase waterfalls or tour the lush, terraced hillsides where you’ll find ziplines and jungle swings. There are temples, craft markets, and art galleries to visit, and special cultural performances too.

Oceania

Queenstown, New Zealand Queenstown, New Zealand
Credit: Queenstown, New Zealand by © Martin Maun | Dreamstime.com

Queenstown, New Zealand

Why Come Here: New Zealand is incredibly diverse, with soaring mountains, wild coastlines with beautiful beaches, sparkling lakes, waterfalls, hot springs to soak in, and much more.

What To Do: While the North Island offers plenty of delights for kids and adults alike, including the Hobbiton set, if you’re an outdoor-loving family and don’t have time to explore both islands, consider flying into Queenstown on the South Island. It’s the adventure capital of the country, and some say the world, not to mention some of the most breathtaking scenery for enjoying it all. There are endless opportunities for hiking along with big thrills like jet boating and whitewater rafting, which even kids as young as three can enjoy, along with zip lining for those six and up and even bungee jumping for older kids, 10 and up.

Central America

Costa Rica Gondoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge,  Manzanillo Beach, Costa Rica
Credit: Gondoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge, Manzanillo Beach, Costa Rica by Simon Dannhauer/shutterstock.com

Costa Rica

Why Come Here: There’s a lot to love about Costa Rica, from its gorgeous untouched landscapes to the incredible wildlife and memorable outdoor adventures.

What To Do: An ideal family travel playground, the country is filled with exotic wildlife, including an abundance of colorful birds, monkeys, and the incredibly adorable sloth. You’ll find gorgeous beaches and lush jungles, as well as the opportunity for scenic hikes, swimming under waterfalls, zip-lining, kayaking, and more. Even kids as young as six can ride river rapids on a “safari float,” a gentle river ride over Class I and II rapids. If your timing is right, you might even be able to witness a mother turtle hauling herself up on the beach to lay her eggs, an unforgettable experience for travelers of all ages.

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