Looking for some family travel inspiration? This guide features some of the all-time favorite family vacation destinations by families that live and breathe travel. This list includes family-friendly vacation spots from all over the world.
We are always looking for nice destinations to visit with family. In this quest for new ideas for family travel destinations, I decided to reach out to other traveling families and ask them to share their all-time favorite, best family travel destinations worldwide.
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 helped with this article. These are one by one families that have seen a lot of the world and they share their absolute favorite places to travel with family 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 our personal favorite as well!
Featured image by Eric Stoen from Travel Babbo
Some of the best family travel destinations worldwide:
1. Daintree Rainforest, Australia
Recommended by 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 riverboat 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.
TIP: You can also easily visit Daintree as a day trip from Cairns or Port Douglas. You can find the best selection of organized tours here.
Here you can find everything you possibly may want to know about visiting the Daintree Rainforest.
Recommended by 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 lookup 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.
Furthermore, Iceland is really easy to visit on your own. In summer, you can drive the entire Ring Road, or just focus on the South Coast attractions – there’s plenty to see and do, also with kids. If you don’t feel like driving in Iceland in winter, you can just stay in Reykjavik and make a couple of day trips.
You can read more about Kevin and Christina’s family trip to Iceland on their blog.
Our experience: We have been to Iceland multiple times and in all seasons and indeed, it’s a great place for a more adventurous family trip! On our blog, you can find a huge selection of Iceland destination guides, itineraries, and practical tips. Check our Iceland travel guide for the complete overview.
3. Bali, Indonesia
Recommended by Eric from Travel Babbo.
Bali has become one of our favorite family travel destinations the past couple of 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.
4. Costa Rica
Recommended by various families
Costa Rica is one of the most recommended family travel destinations in the Americas. It has all the ingredients for a perfect family-friendly travel experience: tropical climate, beaches, rainforests, lots of sightseeing possibilities, fun adventurous activities, and a big variety of wildlife.
No matter what kind of a family travel experience you’re looking for, Costa Rica makes it all possible.
Looking for a relaxing family vacation at a beautiful resort? Head to one of the many coastal destinations.
Looking for adventure and action-filled vacation with teens? Check out the La Fortuna – Arenal area, aka the adventure capital of Costa Rica.
Or plan a road trip and see the best that Costa Rica has to offer, and add some relaxing pool time to make it fun for the whole family.
The good thing about Costa Rica is that it’s an extremely family-friendly destination. And – if you’re coming from the US, you won’t have to cross too many time zones. It’s also a place that you can visit the whole year round (a tropical rain shower is always possible, however).
Here you can find a sample 2-week Costa Rica itinerary that covers some of the best places, gives you plenty of opportunities to see wildlife, get to know the culture, try some fun activities such as zip-lining or wild water rafting, and also plan some relaxing time by the pool or at the beach.
5. Crete, Greece
Recommended by Paul from A Luxury Travel Blog.
The Greek 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.
If you are looking for a family-friendly destination in southern Europe, a place that has is all, then you can’t go wrong with the Greek Islands and especially Crete!
Check Paul’s blog for all things luxury travel.
6. Whitefish, Montana, USA
Recommended by 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.
7. Gulf Shores, Alabama, USA
Recommended by 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 Alabama Beaches here.
8. Cape Town, South Africa
Recommended by Keri from Baby Globetrotters (and one of our personal favorites too).
Everything about Cape Town is simply breathtaking! Nestled beneath the unmistakable 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 the Baby Globetrotters blog.
Our experience: We completely agree with Keri – Cape Town and the whole of South Africa is amazing with kids and one of our own personal favorite places in the world. Here you can find more tips for visiting South Africa with young kids and here you can find a list of the best places to see in South Africa.
Recommended by several families, including us.
If you are looking for a truly unique family vacation destination, then definitely consider Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. It’s such a special place (and totally different from anything else on this list), but it has so much to offer for families!
From beaches to deserts, impressive skyscrapers, and sensational attractions for the whole family, there’s so much to see and do in Dubai that you can easily fill several family vacations here and never get bored.
Visit the world’s highest building, ride a camel in the desert, spend time at one of the many theme parks, or go swimming at some of the world’s most impressive water parks… These are just a few of the amazing things to do in Dubai with kids!
And while visiting a destination like this with the whole family can quickly get quite expensive, there are quite a few really nice free and cheap things to do in Dubai as well.
Furthermore, Dubai enjoys warm weather the whole year round (albeit a bit too hot in the summer months), and it’s a perfect family vacation destination for off-season travel as well.
What we also love about Dubai is that it’s extremely multicultural, and kids can get in touch with different traditions. We were pleasantly surprised by the food in Dubai as well! With so many cuisines and middle-eastern touches, the food is absolutely delicious. It’s also another great way to introduce your children to different cultures.
Recommended by 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!
11. Rovaniemi, Finland
Recommended by 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!
First, 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.
In addition, when you are not visiting Santa, you can spend days doing all kinds of fun winter outdoor activities. Ride husky sleds through a winter wonderland, take a reindeer sleigh through the forest, opt for a snowmobile safari that also visits reindeer and huskies, or go 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.
Recommended by Alex – My Life Long Holiday.
Central Portugal has been a family favorite for us since my parents emigrated there a few years back. The area has such a laid-back vibe, great food, 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.
Our experience: Inspired by Alex’s suggestion, we have visited Portugal with kids. And we were hooked – it’s one of the most beautiful and family-friendly travel destinations in Europe! In fact, we loved it so much that we went back to Portugal and the Portuguese islands several times. Nowadays, we go to Portugal a few times a year. Here you can find our Portugal travel tips.
13. Philadelphia, USA
Recommended by 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 a new appreciation for all that this city has to offer for families.
Federal Hall is a must-see on 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.
Here you can read more about Philadelphia with kids.
LEARN MORE: How to See the Best of Philadelphia in One Day
14. The Canadian Rockies
Recommended by 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.
15. Cook Islands
Recommended by 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.
16. Glacier National Park, USA
Recommended by Craig and Bryanna – Crazy Family Adventure.
Glacier National Park is one of the most visited National Parks in the USA and for a good reason. It’s also an amazing family travel destination! The views are out of this world, hiking is amazing, and there are so many fun activities for the whole family!
We really enjoyed driving the scary yet breathtaking beautiful Going to the Sun Road. You can see glaciers, waterfalls, and stunning mountains. There is also so much wildlife and you may even see a mountain goat, bighorn 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 than the last!
LEARN MORE: Glacier National Park itinerary suggestions
17. Big Island, Hawaii, USA
Recommended by Bethany – Flashpacker Family.
Our family’s new favorite 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!
You can swim with turtles, stay in beautiful resorts, enjoy a luau, go whale watching and snorkeling, hike to waterfalls, visit a volcano, and even sail 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!
TIP: If you are planning a trip to Hawaii, don’t miss Maui – one of the most beautiful islands. Here you can find Maui itinerary suggestions and here you can read about the very best Maui activities. It’s a wonderful destination for families as well!
18. Florence, Italy
Recommended by Scarlet – Family Focus Blog.
Our favorite family travel destination so far has been Florence in Italy. And yes, it’s a city, but 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.
In addition, Florence is located in the heart of Tuscany region with the beautiful rolling hill landscapes, charming little towns, and the most friendly locals that absolutely adore children!
Our experience: It’s not a secret that Italy is one of our absolute favorite countries in the world and we have visited with and without kids countless times. Tuscany is indeed a wonderful region for a family vacation and Florence is the most beautiful of the Tuscan towns. Rent a villa or look for a nice hotel with a pool, and you can have the best family trip ever – a perfect combination of sightseeing and a relaxing vacation.
19. Hamilton, New Zealand
Recommended by Nadine – Le Long Weekend.
Our 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, 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.
20. Florida Keys, USA
Recommended by 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 love 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 such as Key West and Islamorada. This amazing place proves that your Florida family vacation adventure doesn’t have to include any roller coasters.
Here you can read more about Marathon, Florida.
21. Dordogne, France
Recommended by 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 from everything and spend some quality time with your kids.
We especially 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.
22. Swiss Mountains
Our personal recommendation.
This list wouldn’t be complete without me sharing at least one of our personal favorite family destinations as well. And if I have to choose just one, it has to be Switzerland!
Switzerland in general, and the Swiss mountains, in particular, has been one of our favorite travel destinations for years. We just love the Swiss Alps!
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.
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.
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