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After many couples have their first child, they transform into homebodies and are too nervous to travel with their new miniature-sized addition to the family. This can be a seriously rough transition for those who have a passion for travel and adventure. Although there’s no denying that traveling with kids is a challenge, it can be done and it’s often well worth the little hassles in the long run. Beach vacations, cruises, theme parks, all-inclusive resorts, mountain lodges, and ranch/farm destinations are all great options for little ones.
All babies and toddlers are different, and some can handle traveling much better than others. And similarly, some travel spots are better-suited to handling the needs of families with children. So whether you’re on your first child or your fifth, these are some of the most accommodating destinations for families with babies and toddlers to consider for your next vacation.
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Families who live or who want to travel on the west coast will feel safe, comfortable, and pampered at the Las Costa Resort & Spa near San Diego. There’s a lavish spa available for adults and a nursery for babies that are six months or older. For older kids, there is an exotic fish tank that is always impressive. Diaper Genies and other baby supplies are available from the staff, and there are family rooms available for larger groups with grandparents in tow. Health and wellness-minded adults love staying here because of the golf courses, yoga classes, tennis courts, and nutritional counseling. LEGOLAND, the San Diego Zoo, and Sea World are popular attractions in the area for families.
Outdoorsy parents can’t wait to introduce kids to their favorite national parks and experience them again through the wondering eyes of a child. Kids of all ages love to be outside, and there are so many educational opportunities to learn about plants, animals, and the environment in beloved parks. Olympic National Park in Washington is a family-friendly destination that is both beautiful and accommodating. There are some hiking paths here that are wide enough for strollers and even a beach area that’s great for playing in the sand. Take a soothing dip in the Sol Duc Hot Springs after visiting the visitor center’s discovery room to learn about native habitats and some playtime with the interactive exhibits.
Many little kids love to learn about animals and spend time playing with them. If your family lives in the city or suburbs, consider a trip to a rural area to spend time on a farm or ranch. One great option is the Hull-O Farms, which has programs to teach even the most city-dwelling kids about farm life. They’ll get to milk cows, play with kittens, go through corn mazes, make s’mores, and try fishing. Busy parents will enjoy taking a step out of their normal routine and some amazing farm-fresh food. Stay in one of the three private guest houses for a true farm experience. Another fun place to visit in the Northeast is the Inn at East Hill Farm in Troy, New Hampshire, and the Bar Lazy J Ranch in Colorado is a great western pick as well.
Hawaii is traditionally reserved for honeymoons and anniversaries, but there’s no reason your baby or toddler can’t accompany you on a trip to Hawaii – as long as he or she can handle the long flight, of course. Aulani is a top family-friendly Disney resort that has hundreds of hotel rooms and villas with beautiful views and kid-friendly perks. The spa offers infant massage and will even teach you how it can improve your baby’s health. Disney characters are onsite to meet and perform shows, and the hotel is equipped with Pack ‘n’ Plays, strollers, swings, and diaper supplies to use. Babysitters are available for guests.
Keystone Resort is a mecca for ski and snowboard enthusiasts, but it’s also a destination that is great for non-skiers as well as kids. If you visit during the summer months, you can check out this mountainous region’s food festivals, arts & craft fairs, and outdoor concert and picnic venues. At the resort, you can rent high chairs and cribs to use, and there’s a children’s center that takes care of babies as young as two months old. This service is available during ski season, which typically extends from November to April. For kids too young to try snow sports, consider taking them on the scenic lift ride to give them a safe view of the mountain scenery.
This resort has been around since the 1930s and is an ultimate summer camp for both kids and adults. This is a great vacation destination for infants all the way through teens, as youngsters are broken up by age group and engaged in age-appropriate activities. There’s a craft studio, pools with lifeguards, and lots of sports to keep active. It’s a peaceful and relaxing rustic destination along Lake Champlain that offers family suites and cottages. Parents enjoy the after-dinner entertainment with musical performances and champagne cruises, as well as bike trips, arts & culinary classes, and yoga.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Mackinac Island always makes a wonderful road trip destination for families in the Midwest. It has a charming and nostalgic vibe, with cobblestone streets with no car traffic, home cooking restaurants, and tempting fudge shops. The Grand Hotel is a top-rated all-inclusive family hotel in the U.S. that is typically open to guests between early May and early November. There are spacious rooms and you can borrow a crib to use for your rooms. Since all transport on the island is by horse or bicycle, make sure to take your little ones on a ride on the Grand Hotel Carriage!
Disney Cruises – Port Canaveral, Florida
Some parents worry that their little one isn’t old enough for a cruise, but Disney Cruises are designed with the youngest passengers in mind. Parents can make reservations for childcare for babies as young as three months while traveling onboard, and there’s a kids camp for kids between the ages of three and 10. There are adults-only areas, like spas and entertainment lounges to relax in. Meanwhile, kids will enjoy character meet-and-greets, swimming pools, and fun themed designs in the rooms and common areas.