The Best Destinations in the World for Families
It’s nearly the end of the year which surely means it’s time to start planning your next family vacation! If you’re looking for some family travel inspiration then this list of the best family destinations around the world should help. Chosen by 29 top family travel bloggers, these family holiday destinations are ones that should be on your travel wish list for 2017. Here’s why…..
Australia is an amazing country to visit for families. The climate in Australia all year around lends itself to families getting outside and exploring all Australia has to offer. From the outback red centre to the rural area’s and onto the magnificent coastline. You can spend days at the beach, swimming and making sandcastles. You can explore the many National Parks from alpine regions to rain forests. You can spot Koalas, kangaroos, wombats and possums. All Australia’s major cities have green areas for kids to run, play, rest and enjoy their time. Australia practically encourages an outdoor lifestyle for kids and adults alike. Partake in our national sports like football, cricket and surfing, see our icons like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Great Ocean Road. There will be something around every corner for every family on a visit to Australia
Chosen by Mark Wyld, Wyld Family Travel
Jordan may not be on the radar for one of the best places for family travel, but it should be! Its warm spring and fall weather, its array of outdoor things to do (with amazing history I might add), its affordable accommodations, its ease of travel, and its safety are all reasons why families should consider putting Jordan on their 2017 list! Yes I said Jordan is a SAFE place. We visited in the fall of 2016 and felt safer the entire time in the country than we feel in some US cities! The warm, friendly nature of the Jordanians and the fact that everyone we met spoke amazing English made our visit to the Middle East unforgettable!
Chosen by Lindsay Nieminen, Carpe Diem Our Way
Namibia is probably the best African country for a family trip and one of our personal favourites worldwide. Namibia is safe and child-friendly, it’s incredibly diverse, and it has some of the most amazing landscapes and lots of wildlife. Add to that good weather, fantastic accommodations and delicious food, and you have all of the ingredients for a successful family trip. What kid wouldn’t love to climb the world’s tallest sand dunes and then run/roll/slide back down… Or walk on the beach where tens of thousands of seals live… Our boys couldn’t get enough of the safari rides and we loved all the action at the waterholes. It was like watching National Geographic Channel, but in real life. We saw animals we never even knew existed! If you are looking for a different family vacation, you cannot go wrong with Namibia!
Chosen by Jurga Van Steenbergen, Full Suitcase
The rugged natural beauty of Scotland has been drawing travellers for decades. It is easy to escape the crowds, hike into the mountains and not see a soul for days, or if you are more city inclined, you can set up your home base in Edinburgh and day trip to the country side from there with your kids. For a true family adventure, rent a car and start driving. Book cottage stays (preferably on a farm) or cozy up in one of the quaint B&Bs along the way. Enjoy dinners at night in the pub with your kids (yes, they are allowed in) and picnics on the moors as you wander through Glencoe or across the Isle of Skye. No trip to Scotland is complete without a trip to a locke. You don’t have to go looking for Nessie, but you do need to see one of these enchanting lakes that are littered throughout the country.
Chosen by Keryn Means, Walking on Travels
Delectable tapas, warm seas, fiery flamenco, stunning mountains, world class museums and temperate weather are just a few of the multitude of reasons Spain should be on the top of your vacation list! If beaches are your thing, bask in the Mediterranean sun of Marbella, Costa del Sol and Costa Brava. Want to expose your children to the genius of Gaudi? Visit modern festive Barcelona. For those who love museums and exciting city life, head to Madrid. Our family’s favourite is historic Seville with quaint areas to explore and the intricate Alcazar. No visit to Spain is complete without a day spent at the grand Alhambra – truly a wonder of the world. And as if that wasn’t enough – tapas, paella and churros await – the perfect family-friendly dining experience!
Chosen by Lisa Grabelle, Hilton Mom Voyage
The Colombia of today is a far cry from the country torn apart by violence in the 1980’-90’s. Today, the rebel factions and government have learned to work together, and Colombia has become one of the most high-ranking countries for travel. From the bustling, art-filled streets of Bogota, to the walled city and pirate legends of Cartagena, Colombia has something to fill every family travel wish-list. Children will love splashing on the Caribbean beaches, or searching for the lost treasure of El Dorado, while parents will be fascinated by the rich history and amazing Colombian culture.
Chosen by Kevin Wagar, Wandering Wagars
There are few places on earth like India. Magical, mysterious and, at times, completely overwhelming, it can be one of the most challenging places to travel and can test even the most experienced of travellers. But it can also be one of the most rewarding countries to visit, even with children in tow. Sure, you might not have kid-friendly menus or highchairs in restaurants. Driving distances can be maddeningly long at times and the poverty can be extreme. But it is an incredible country; home to whimsical palaces and fairytale fortresses, majestic mountains and lazy waterways, chaotic cities and peaceful villages. It’s also a wonderful place to spot wildlife, including elephants, tigers and rhinos. And, if nothing else, kids are warmly welcomed in India – usually with an over-zealous squeeze of the cheeks and an enthusiastic plea to smile for the camera!
Chosen by Katja Gaskell, globetotting
The biggest reason we have for recommending Guadeloupe is that we spent a week there and both kids and adults enjoyed everything we did. The Island has a lot of quite diverse nature — volcanoes, rain forest, water falls, and beautiful beaches. We took a glass bottom boat and snorkelling tour around Pigeon Island off the West Coast of Basse Terre and it was fantastic. The glass bottom wasn’t a flat floor but the whole keel of the boat and the visibility was very good. The water was too rough for my daughter to snorkel but she stayed in the glass bottom for the whole trip and her persistence paid off. She saw all kinds of fish, SCUBA divers and even turtles (she is the only one in our group who saw the turtles). We did a short walk to a popular waterfall on Basse Terre that the kids loved wading in. And we spent some days exploring local beaches, like Gossier Island and Plage Caravelle on Grand Terre. Both had very good snorkelling right off the beach, especially Caravelle. Gossier Island was small with lots of trees to climb and an outdoor restaurant with very fresh fish. We relaxed and snorkelled, the kids explored and climbed and everyone came back exhausted. Perfect day! I also would add that we ate fish for at least one meal every day. It was all local and very fresh and we thought very modestly priced (especially for the Caribbean) for the quality. Really what more do you need in a beach getaway?
Chosen by Eileen Gunn, Families Go!
Iceland’s position straddling the Mid-Atlantic Ridge yields extraordinary landscapes giving families opportunities to witness active geysers, walk on glaciers, relax at geothermal spas, duck behind waterfalls, climb into volcanoes and observe dramatic rock formations. During our family visits, we have also found ourselves enchanted by whales, puffins, Icelandic sheep and Icelandic horses. Descending directly from Viking horses, a ride upon an Icelandic horse gives families a unique and tangible taste of history. With easy to manage travel via rental car or by tour and the hot dog as a national favorite dish, Iceland is always ready for family exploration!
Chosen by Melissa Schwartz, A Little Time and a Keyboard
Mauritius is one of the world’s most beautiful tropical islands located in the Indian Ocean and is a perfect year-round family-friendly destination. Not only does Mauritius boast a crystalline sea with long stretches of white-sand beaches, but steep green mountains which rise majestically into the clouds. Families will appreciate the relatively calm sea as it is surrounded by reefs so even the littles can enjoy splashing in the warm water. Because Mauritius is a rather compact island, it is easy to get out and explore the diverse attractions featured throughout the island. Take a safari or zipline at Casela Nature Park, explore Pamplemousse Botanical Gardens and learn about flora and fauna unique only to Mauritius, or explore the sand dunes of the Seven Coloured Earth in the Chamarel Mountains. You will find something for everyone on Mauritius.
Chosen by Lara Dorman, 2 Moms Travel
While the temples of Angkor Wat entice adventure travelers, few families have discovered what a hidden jewel Cambodia is. Her people have an extraordinary love for children. Everywhere we went, there was a slew of eager “babysitters” happy to play with our kids. In Siem Reap, you will undoubtedly explore the ancient temples. However, for our kids their highlights centered around the thousands of butterflies we got nose to nose with at Bantaey Srei Butterfly Center, listening to a blind orchestra whistling a traditional melody from a leaf, taking a ceramics class at the wonderful Khmer Ceramics Center, watching their dad eat a silk worm on the Artisan d’Angkor Silk Farm Tour, and roaming through the floating village on Lake Tonle Sap.
Chosen by LiLing Pang, Trekaroo
Italy is an exceptionally family friendly country, full of holiday options for all ages and taste. Beautiful sandy beaches are perfect for budding swimmers, its pristine alpine scenery is a glorious backdrop for family adventures and a remarkable number of UNESCO world heritage sites makes history come to life. Even better: families can take in all this while licking copious amounts of gelato and melt in your mouth pizza! Kids are treated like royalty in Italy and you can see that family here really comes first: people and establishments go out of their way to make parents feel welcome and it is an addictive feeling that will make you want to go back to Italy over and over again.
Chosen by Marta Correale, Learning Escapes
Canada is a humble nation. But when Lonely Planet picked the nation as the #1 destination to visit for 2017, it’s tough not to swell with pride. Canada has a lot to celebrate, and Canadians want everyone to join the party. Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday next year. There will be parties and events across all 5.5 time zones, in every little corner and big city in the great white north. The National Parks will be free to all, including the meccas of Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. If that weren’t enough, the fantastique city of Montréal will be celebrating its 375th birthday.
No matter where you choose to visit, Canada will amaze family travellers with its jaw-dropping natural beauty and warm welcome. From the friendly east coast of the Maritimes, the multi-ethnic urban centers of Toronto and Montréal, the golden ranchlands of the Prairies, vast expanse of the Northern Arctic, and to the wild west coast of British Columbia, Canada offers travel adventure opportunities for every family.
Chosen by Claudia Laroye, The Travelling Mom
France is an amazing destination for families because it offers a wide variety of adventures to satisfy every type of traveler. Many families head to Paris, but those who travel outside the city might get a better glimpse of French hospitality. In Alsace, families will find the capital city of Strasbourg with its Gothic cathedral and German/French charm. Nearby Colmar is a charming medieval village worth a visit any time of year. There are bicycle trails, castles, and vineyards to explore. On the opposite side of the country, the Dordogne region offers prehistoric cave exploration, river kayaking, and hedge mazes to explore. The entire country offers culinary delights from chocolate filled crepes to buttery croissants and baguettes. The country offers everything from the beach to the Alps to city life which makes it perfect for families seeking a little bit of everything.
Chosen by Kirsten Maxwell, Kids Are A Trip
If you want somewhere that’s easy to get around with a stroller or carrier, the flat land of The Netherlands is your answer. From the UK, it’s less than an hour’s flight so it’s an ideal way to ease yourself into flying with a baby. The Netherlands offers much more than just the fun and games of Amsterdam. Hop on the train to nearby Den Bosch to hang out with the locals. You’ll find cute markets to browse, beautiful architecture to admire and popular with littles (and grown-ups), De Dry Hamerkens, an adorable café where you can order a mug of hot milk and a chocolate stick as a spoon.
Chosen by Char Taylor, Taylor Hearts Travel
Belize isn’t as well-known as a family travel hotspot as Costa Rica, but its off-the-beaten-path appeal is just one of the nation’s countless charms. Love beaches? The east coast is chock full of beautiful ones, with exceptional snorkeling and Scuba diving on the Belize Barrier Reef just offshore. Love history? Check out the magical Mayan ruins of Caracol and Xunantunich in the west, both of which are uncrowded and offer spectacular scenic views. Love wildlife? Look for monkeys, birds, and the world’s largest population of Jaguars at Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Whatever you do, don’t miss the colorful Garifuna culture of Hopkins Village, which boasts the largest African-descended population in Central America. Kids will love learning their traditional style of drumming and dancing, with weekly jam sessions anyone can join. –
Chosen by Bret Love, Green Global Travel
Families get a warm welcome in The Philippines. Don’t be surprised if you get invited into the homes of strangers and offered copious amounts of food, especially during festival or fiesta time. (It’s said there’s a festival every day of the year somewhere in The Philippines!) But the main reason to visit one of the 7,107 islands in South East Asia is to have an adventure. On Bohol and Cebu we enjoyed snorkelling, hiking, tree root climbing, walking around the outside of a skyscraper, zip wiring, and sky biking. We also fed tarsiers (shy and peculiar primates that look a bit like Dobby,) and floated along the river in a canoe while fireflies lit up the night. And had the ultimate karaoke night. What more could a family want? Apart from swimming with whale sharks. Oh and you can do that too!
Chosen by Kirstie Pelling, The Family Adventure Project
Chocolate, waffles, and comic books for the wee ones. Beer, medieval architecture, art and fashion, insanely good food, and, did I mention beer, for the grown-ups. That adds up to a pretty amazing family vacation in the less-visited and easily navigable country of Belgium. Hotel prices are surprisingly low in Belgian cities, especially on the weekends, and the train system is a great way to get from town to town, with no trip over three hours. Don’t miss a boat ride on Bruges’ narrow canals or eating a street waffle on Brussels’ glorious Grand Place.
Chosen by Vero Autphenne, Belgium with Kids
Copenhagen, Denmark is a fabulous place to visit with families. From adorable bakeries and coffee shops to creative playgrounds seen worldwide on Pinterest there is so much to do in this city. Tivoli Gardens is a sure hit for everyone with roller coasters, carousels and fun family-friendly restaurants. Watch the changing of the guard at Amalienborg Palace and imagine what it might be like to live like royalty. There are so many ways to get around the city too-from boat rides and bicycle rentals and a great transit system. Denmark is also the birthplace of Lego and in mid-2017 Lego House, a unique experience center in the city of Bilund, will open for the first time.
Chosen by Terumi Pong, An Emerald City Life
Mexico is a fantastic destination for families with a wide array of activities, gorgeous coastlines, beautiful weather, warm welcoming locals and delicious kid-friendly eateries. Cancun in particular has a host of incredible all-inclusive resorts that cater to families. Places like Hard Rock Hotel, where little ones can play at the kids club with Barney and Angelina Ballerina, while older kids learn to play the guitar and mix music, and grown ups enjoy delicious cocktails while taking in the gorgeous ocean views are a perfect way to make sure everyone is entertained. Families that are looking for an educational aspect can also team with local sea turtle conservation groups and get a hands on experience helping baby sea turtles hatch. Mexico definitely has something for everyone!
Chosen by Amber Mamian, Global Munchkins
We think Costa Rica is the perfect exotic destination families! It’s safe; there are two international airports, making it easy to travel to & from; and it’s one of the 20 countries with the most biodiversity on earth! There is something fun to do for EVERY age and interest level – from ziplining and hanging bridges, to volcanoes and beaches, to surfing and white-water rafting, to hiking and wildlife-watching. Here you can hang out at beautiful beaches and hike through jungles spotting animals like sloths, toucans, monkeys, and parrots.
Chosen by Sara Wellensiek, Mom Endeavors
Few countries in the world offer the natural and cultural diversity found in Brazil. Zika concerns aside (read the alert here), Brazil offers plenty of unforgettable family experiences. From the awe-inspiring Iguazu falls in the South, to vibrant Rio de Janeiro, to the lush wetlands of Pantanal, to sand dunes and blue lagoons in Lençóis, to the abundant nature of the Amazon, the challenge is choosing what region to focus on! The people, however, is what makes this vast country the very best when traveling with little ones. Warm and friendly, Brazilians will go out of their way to make you feel welcome. You’ll always be met with a kind smile, temper tantrums and all.
Chosen by Patricia Monahan, Our Whole Village
England is a fantastic destination for families to visit. First and foremost, the lack of language barrier makes everything simpler. London, itself, has great transportation links and lots of activities to keep the whole family entertained (even when it rains!). Many of the museums are free and so you can whiz in and out of them keeping in mind that children’s attention spans may be limited. Many restaurants have kid-friendly food options or you can pick up sandwiches and snacks at a deli or supermarket. Outside of England, the countryside is gorgeous. My children love visiting palaces, castles, manor houses and gardens many of which have child-friendly activities to keep children occupied. In the wake of the Brexit vote earlier in 2016 the value of the British pound has dropped and England offers plenty of affordable options. Come visit!
Chosen by Shobha George, Just Go Places
South Africa has a reputation as being a non-family friendly reputation. Our family’s experience was the complete opposite! Safaris from lions to penguins, one of the best cuisine scenes in Africa, easy access to the rest of the continent, good weather at the beaches all year long, and a low cost of living are why we chose this as our next long-term destination. Check out the Baz Bus- it takes the acclaimed Garden Route and stops at some of the world’s best hostels along the way. They can arrange for your participation in controversially extreme sports including shark diving, gyrocopter flying, and ostrich riding.
Chosen by Kalli Hiller, Portable Professionals
Our family has visited Japan several times. We love this incredible country for many reasons. While it is home to ninjas, geishas, samurais, endless vending machines, Hello Kitty, anime and bullet trains, it’s also a land of fascinating history and culture filled with stunning temples and palaces. It is bursting with natural wonders like Mount Fuji to unique and amazing theme parks like Tokyo DisneySea. Japan offers exceptional experiences from watching sumo wrestlers to feeding wild deer to temple visits for the whole family. Japan is extremely clean, safe and easy to navigate with friendly locals and the best customer service we’ve experienced.
Chosen by Mary Solio, The World Is A Book
Hong Kong is an excellent family travel vacation destination. Sure, there is Disneyland and another sea-themed amusement park called Ocean Park, but the city is full of temples, fabulous food and unique cultural experiences beneath the skyscrapers and on the outer islands. What many people don’t realize is that it’s a great place for outdoor enthusiasts with a network of hiking and biking trails, beaches, and Geoparks full of natural wonders that are all suited to traveling families. Hong Kong is also gateway to the rest of Asia as a multitude of destinations in China, Japan, Taiwan and Southeast Asia are just a few hours away by plane, departing from one of the world’s most efficient airports.
Chosen by Katie Dillon, La Jolla Mom
Switzerland’s location makes it an ideal family vacation destination, especially if you are short on time. The trains are clean, reliable, and easy to navigate. You can go from city exploring, shopping, and dining in Zurich to paddle boating in Lake Zug to mountain adventures within a day. You can also easily visit bordering France, Italy, and Germany within a few hours by train. We love that there’s a variety of cuisines offered throughout the country, and that our children are exposed to the French, German, and Italian languages as we travel from one part of Switzerland to another.
Chosen by Marlynn Schotland, Urban Bliss Life
Vietnam is my top pick for a family friendly destination for a number of reasons. We travelled across the country in the summer and found the people to be so warm and welcoming, they love children and it shows. We spent sunny days splashing in the sea in Da Nang and learnt about the Vietnamese / American War in the tunnels around Cu Chi. My nine year old son took a vegetarian Vietnamese cookery class and now makes banh mi at home for the rest of the family and we all swam in a pool overlooking the Saigon River and the rooftops of the city. There’s so much to see and do in Vietnam and a wonderful mix of fun family activities with cultural insights. We loved it and can’t wait to return.
Chosen by Nichola West, Globalmouse Travels
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