Every year we ask fellow family travel writers to share the best trips for kids they have experienced. Their recommendations never disappoint, and if anything, they add to our already lengthy family bucket list. Here are the best places to go with kids in 2020 and we hope you find some new vacation ideas for your family.
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Have you ever wondered where to travel next? There are endless possibilities for the perfect family vacation, but each family has unique ideas about what works for them. For some it’s adventure, and others it’s history, but everyone agrees, these destinations for families do not disappoint.
Best Places for Kids to Travel
Africa and the Middle East
Contrary to what many might think, Egypt with kids is a fantastic idea and perfect for your 2020 travel list. The people are welcoming and there is a ton to see capturing the imaginations for those big and small. From mummies to the Great Pyramids of Giza to swimming in the Red Sea, Egypt offers opportunities to experience some of the world’s oldest history in person.
Since the revolution, tourism has been much lower than in its heyday. This means prices are lower as are the crowds. However, the tourists are returning and it is safe to take your kids to Egypt! 2020 is the year to travel to Egypt before the major crowds return. The new Egyptian Museum, housing some of the most famous artifacts, will also be open this year!
Egypt is a great destination and worth the effort to visit. Whether you hike inside a pyramid, sleep on a traditional felucca boat or snorkel in the Red Sea, you will find yourself immersed in mesmerizing history no matter where you turn.
If you feel nervous about visiting on your own, there are a ton of tour groups in Egypt as well as internationally that can organize your trip from start to finish. We highly recommend Intrepid Travel for their family trips. Otherwise, upon arrival you can organize day guides for sight seeing at all the major sites around the country. Having a guide might not be your thing, but here in Egypt they help bring stories of pharaohs to life, engaging children and adults alike. Karilyn of No Back Home
Israel is the perfect destination for families because it offers something for everyone – fun beaches, beautiful hiking trails, fascinating history (both ancient and modern) and an amazing food scene. Israel with kids does not disappoint. Kids will be welcome everywhere and playgrounds are abundant when they need to blow off some steam. Because the country is small, driving distances are short so you can pack more into your Israel family trip without exhausting the kids! Melissa at The Family Voyage
We love exploring the African continent as a family, and for families wanting to dip their toe in, I always recommend Morocco as the ‘accessible Africa’. We did a 2.5 week road trip around Morocco with our boys (aged 3 and 5). We hired a car from Marrakech airport and drove north to the blue city of Chefchaouen, via Rabat, then back down through Moulay Idriss to the Sahara, and across to Marrakech through the Atlas Mountains.
Visiting Morocco with kids is a great option, especially for those in Europe as there is no jet lag, and good connections with low cost airlines particularly. Plus there are no visa or vaccination requirements. Kids will love running around the maze of colourful medinas, camel riding over sand dunes, riding a mule through the Atlas Mountains, not to mention all the warm interactions with locals who make a fuss over them. Jenny of TraveLynn Family
Petra, Jordan’s most famous archaeological wonder, makes the perfect destination for families as a part of a trip to the Kingdom. Its massive size makes it an outdoor playground for kids, somewhere they can run and play, without busy traffic or crowds! If they like animals, they can count orange cats, or ride a donkey from a local Bedul bedouin.
The locals are friendly and helpful towards children, and there are always things to look at! From blue lizards to caves, to the rock cut remains of the Nabataens it is a place for the imagination! If your kids tire easily, stop for some sweet Bedouin tea outside the Treasury and give them some time to chase Pokemon Go characters. They will quickly forget how much ground they have covered!
Along with a visit to Petra with kids, families coming to Jordan should visit Wadi Rum for a jeep tour through the desert and camp in a Bedouin tent, snorkel in Aqaba and experience the bustling city of Amman. Lindsay of Step Into Jordan
Myanmar is probably not the first place you think of when planning a family holiday, and I was told by many that the kids would be bored, wouldn’t enjoy it, or would get ‘templed out’. We travel regularly to South East Asia so my kids have seen their fair share of temples. I can honestly say that my kids rated Myanmar, in particular Bagan as one of their favourite places of all our travels.
Bagan was granted the title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2018 after trying for many years. Bagan consists of over 3000 temples and pagodas scattered around the area and many are still fully intact and you can enter and explore them. We hired e-bikes for 2 days and rode around the area visiting as many temples as we possibly could. The kids were on the back of the e-bikes which they found pretty exciting.
Sunrise in Bagan is spectacular. If you are there during hot air balloon season from October to May, you’ll find the sky filled with dozens of balloons dotting the sunrise in every direction you look. We arrived on Oct 1 and unfortunately, were not able to get a hot air balloon, you have to book well in advance. Sally of Our 3 Kids V The World
Bhutan, the remote Himalayan kingdom that embraces ‘Gross National Happiness’ over Gross National Product, has captured the attention of the world. And in 2020, Bhutan is the number one country to visit, according to Lonely Planet.
Apart from the attraction of a ‘Gross National Happiness’ philosophy (because who doesn’t need more happiness in the family), there are many other reasons to travel to Bhutan.
As the first carbon-neutral country in the world, Bhutan is forward-looking. But in addition to environmental conservation, the government also values the country’s rich history and culture. Bhutan is preserving the past with both eyes on the future — it’s an unforgettable family travel destination. Nancy of Luxe Travel Family
Tokyo is hosting the Summer Olympics in August, so visit Japan in late October or mid-November 2020. That way you’ll catch all the deals, avoid the crowds and miss typhoon season. I lived in Japan 20 years ago and took my daughter back this autumn. It was incredible. Food prices haven’t changed and hotels are way cheaper than what I paid.
If you have teens or pre-teens a visit to Harujuku is essential and trendy souvenirs can be found at Tokyu Hands, an uber cool department store. The littles will want to check out a Pokemon Centre and a good one is at Tokyo SkyTree. Afterwards you can go up the Skytree tower for epic views of the city. Don’t miss these other suggestions of things to do in Tokyo with kids and Tokyo day trips if you want to explore more. Jody of Travels with Baggage
Vietnam is an incredible country to visit with children. With an abundance of fresh and delicious food, beautiful countryside, and friendly kid-loving people, Vietnam is one of the best places in the world to travel with your family. The streets are busy, which can be a bit stressful when traveling with kids (especially those who like to run off), but you’ll never be searching for something to keep your little ones entertained.
You can spend the night on a junk-boat in HaLong Bay, hike the rice terraces of SaPa or get lost in the ancient city of Hoi An. If you’re looking for a bit of adventure with the comfort of a well-traveled backpacker circuit, Vietnam with kids does not disappoint! Kyla of Where is the World
Cavtat is a small, pretty coastal town in southern Croatia, a short drive from popular Dubrovnik. It is a quiet, family friendly town with a pedestrianized esplanade and welcoming waterfront cafes and restaurants. You can access the clear, warm Adriatic from the harbor front which is a popular spot for local families to swim after school and work.
There is also a small rocky beach here and several water sports on offer. The harbor extends into two peninsulas covered in woodland which provide short scenic walks and cool shade. There are excellent transportation by land and sea to Dubrovnik. If that isn’t enough to tempt you, Cavtat has the best family owned ice cream shop our family has ever visited! Sinead of Map Made Memories
The best thing about Cornwall is that it’s fun for all ages. Surfing, beaches, fantastic walks, beautiful scenery, great tourist attractions, it’s got it all.
If you have young children, a farm stay is great fun and Cornwall has them in abundance. Many of the farms also have great amenities, including playgrounds and swimming pools. We loved it so much we did it for two consecutive years.
Our two boys have additional needs, including autism, and this type of family holiday was our first big success. The kids enjoyed the routine of feeding the animals each morning, the swimming pool and the freedom to run around safely.
There are some great days out in Cornwall. Not only does it have some of the best beaches in the UK, it also has some wonderful tourist attractions, including: The Eden Project, Lost Gardens of Heligan and Lappa Valley, all of which are fantastic for families. Lizzie of A Curious Journey
La Romandie, Switzerland
The French-speaking part of Switzerland (“La Romandie”) is a family travel wonderland! To best explore this stunning region, base yourself in the charming city of Lausanne on Lake Geneva. Head to the fairy-tale village of Gruyères, where you can enjoy delicious fondue after learning all about cheese-making at the factory museum. Follow up with the ultimate kid-fantasy: all-you-can-eat chocolate at the nearby Cailler Chocolate Factory.
Another day, make your way around the lake to the atmospheric 12th century Château de Chillon, with its spooky and storied dungeon. Take a dip at the adjacent beach before continuing on to Martigny to visit the adorable St. Bernard dogs – named for the monastery at the nearby mountain pass to Italy, where they really did assist in the rescue of snowbound travelers! Back in Lausanne, don’t forget the inspiring, excellent and kid-friendly Olympic Museum. Julia of Inspire World Travel
Leiden, The Netherlands
The university city of Leiden has a rich history and is a popular tourist destination. It’s located in the province of South Holland and is close to popular cities Amsterdam, The Hague, and Rotterdam. Leiden University was founded in 1575, making it the oldest university in The Netherlands.
With almost 2800 monuments in the city center and 800 years of history, just walking around takes you back in time. Add to that the picturesque canals, many restaurants and cafes and cultural activities and you quickly realize Leiden is a special place to visit.
The natural history museum, Naturalis, is one of our favorites in Leiden, as is the Museum of Antiquities (Museum Oudheden). A visit to Museum Corpus, where you can travel inside the human body, is still on our wish list. Other fun things to do in Leiden are sightseeing on the canals and visiting the oldest botanical garden in The Netherlands. From the end of November until the start of January, there’s a floating ice skating rink in the city center. Lisa of Flip Flop Globetrotters
Northern Ireland is a fantastic destination to explore with kids, and as uncertainty about the future of the UK grows, there’s no better time to visit than in 2020. Belfast is an easy drive north from Dublin and has plenty to offer city-lovers including the famous Titanic Belfast museum.
We recommend getting out of the city and taking a drive along the Causeway Coastal Route which runs from Belfast around the coast to Derry. Families will love exploring Giants Causeway and its unique basalt columns (which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and learning the local myths surrounding its creation.
Also pay a visit to the nearby Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge for amazing views and one of the most unique bridges you may ever cross. Finish up your Causeway tour with a visit to Bushmills for a hearty meal and a tour of the oldest distillery in Ireland. Carrick of Along for the Trip
Outer Hebrides, Scotland
If you’re looking for stunning white sand beaches and turquoise seas, but without the tourists, then a trip to the Outer Hebrides is certainly a good bet! Of course they won’t be as warm as the Caribbean, but the views and the friendly locals will certainly have you wanting to return.
Aside from the beaches, you can also find a fantastic cultural and historical heritage to explore with sights such as standing stones, iron age brochs and plenty of small museums. The wildlife is pretty special too, as you can easily spot dolphins and whales out at sea or listen to the Corncrakes call within the coastal grasses.
The Outer Hebrides have so much to offer, yet their remoteness certainly makes it less travelled, which is good for those of us who like some peace whilst on holiday! Jenny of Monkey and Mouse
I cannot think of a better family destination for 2020 than the wonderful region of Puglia (Apulia) in the South of Italy. This beautiful area has the family-friendly atmosphere Italy is so famous for and much to offer to all ages. If you are looking for sea and sun relaxation, Puglia has wonderful sandy beaches with crystal-clear waters, perfect for young swimmers.
Culture lovers can explore UNESCO sites such hobbit-like Alberobello, a sure hit with children and the pretty ‘white towns’ of Locorotondo and Ostuni are perfect for families who want to set a home base and explore at a slow pace.
The area is not huge and you can cover a lot of ground even with a short stay. With one week in the South of Italy, you can see much of Puglia and even stretch to Matera, nearby, a truly unique site! Marta of Learning Escapes
Sicily is a brilliant destination for early or late summer sun as it is one of the most southerly parts of Europe. There is a great range of history and culture in Sicily which even the most reluctant scholar will enjoy: ruined Greek temples, lofty hilltop castles and dramatic Baroque cities. Children will love the traditional puppet shows, the ancient mosaics and the tales of Greek mythology.
There are miles of beaches in Sicily, an active volcano and plenty of islands to explore. And of course the food and hospitality is legendary: pizza, pasta, gelato and granita! Annabel of The Smudged Postcard
Snowdonia, in North Wales, is a giant outdoor playground and perfect for adventure loving families. Complete with mountains, rivers, beaches, castles and pretty towns and villages, it is the perfect destination for those that love the great outdoors.
Climb Snowdon (the highest mountain in England and Wales), zip-line the world’s fastest zip-line, trampoline in a cave (yes really!), explore dramatic castles or try your hand at mountain biking. Snowdonia with kids doesn’t disappoint and all ages will love it. Nicky of Go Live Young
St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg, Russia is a great family destination because it is easy to navigate, yet feels exotic. From eating Soviet-Era donuts, to cuddling kitties at a cat cafe, to thumbing through children’s books at an iconic bookstore, there is a lot to do.
Of course, the reason you go to St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) is for the Soviet and Russian history. Our kiddos loved the grand palaces, museums, and churches that displayed the wealth of some Russians, as well as the parts which show the reality of most Russians.
I recommend getting tickets to the Mariinsky Ballet before you go — the theater is as amazing as the performance — and spending time just walking along the canals and admiring the architecture. If you arrive on a cruise (or a ferry, as we did), you are eligible for a free 72-hour visa. Melynda at TravelingMel
Warsaw is one of our favorite cities to visit in Poland. It offers something for everyone, from unique history and rich culture to modern entertainment. Poland also has some of the best food in Europe!
A visit to Warsaw would not be complete without a stroll through the old town. The town square sits beside the impressive Royal Castle, where you can learn about the rebuilding of Warsaw and its history. They also have special tours for children.
Kids will love the Palace of Culture and Science with fun, interactive science exhibits. It also offers impressive views from the top of the tower.
For outdoors time, don’t miss a visit to Łazienki Park to see the palace on the water and explore the extensive gardens. It is the largest park in Warsaw, with heaps to explore.
Warsaw is beautiful all year round and a place the whole family will adore! Holly of Four Around the World
Banff with kids is the perfect vacation, especially those who love to get out and enjoy nature. There are plenty of activities all year round. You’ll be able to find hikes of any length and for every activity level.
In the summer, you can enjoy a walk up the popular Johnston Canyon to see the waterfalls. We also recommend doing it in the winter to see the falls completely frozen into a wall of ice. Small kids will be so pleased summiting their first mountain by climbing up Tunnel Mountain right from the Banff townsite.
In the winter, try something new by signing everyone up for ski lessons, skating on a frozen lake or strapping on snowshoes for the first time. Any time of year, Banff will make for an incredible family getaway. Celine of Family Can Travel
Mexico City, Mexico
Despite some preconceptions and false truths (previously from myself included), Mexico City is also quite safe, extremely clean and the locals are generous, helpful and kind — especially with kids. Mexico City is modern, artistic, full of green space and color and super kid-friendly. The city has a vibrant art scene, tons of parks and playgrounds and the food is incredible. Plus, the history of the city is fascinating for adults and kids alike.
Our favorite neighborhoods to stay – especially with kids – are Roma Norte or Condesa. We also love visiting the Teotichuacan Pyramids in the Northern part of the city and the Xochimilco canals and boats in the southern part. Shoretrips provides family friendly tours of both of these incredible locations within the city. Sarah of The Wandering Rumpus
Indiana Dunes National Park
One of the newest national parks, Indiana Dunes National Park, is one of the most unique parks we have visited. Located on the south shore of Indiana, the park covers 15,000 acres and boasts 15 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. Families will love hiking through the forest and sand dunes all in one day.
The park is easy to reach from both Chicago and Indianapolis, making it the perfect weekend getaway for Midwest families. There are plenty of restaurants in Michigan City, and renting a home at the beach will have everyone asking to return time and time again. Kirsten of Kids Are A Trip
Nashville was made for family fun! Take everyone (including the kids) line dancing, learn about country music at one of the museums, and explore the parks and beauty of the area. From Civil War history to a full scale recreation of the Parthenon to the Gaylord Opryland hotel, you will never run out of things to do in Nashville and Middle Tennessee. Lauren of Nashville Fun for Families
Orange County, California
For many families, Orange County in southern California is one of the world’s most family-friendly destinations for a singular reason: it’s the home of Disneyland. But ‘The OC’, located between Los Angeles and San Diego, has so much more than Mickey, Elsa and Darth Vader to offer family travelers.
Go beyond the theme park and explore the sun-soaked coastline of Laguna Beach in a kayak with the kids. Test the waters and your balance at Surf City USA, Huntington Beach. Or spend time as captain of your own adorable Duffy boat in chic Newport Beach. The OC has plenty to offer the curious, including docent tours of the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano in Los Rios. Top off your visit with a food and cultural feast at the Anaheim Packing House, a light-filled hall of over 20 cafes and kiosks in a former citrus packing house. There is so much to do in Orange County with kids. Claudia of The Travelling Mom
One of the best family-friendly destinations is Phoenix, Arizona. The best time to visit is at the end of February or the beginning of March, to catch major league baseball’s Cactus League spring training. The spring training stadiums are a lot smaller than regular season stadiums, which means your seats are closer to the field, and you’ll have better access to players for their autographs.
On day two, check out the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. Children’s museums can be a dime-a-dozen, but this one does not disappoint. They have several exhibits including gross-motor, sensory, art, and climbing exhibits. One unique feature is that they not only have a space for kids three and under, but they also have ‘little-kid’ zones built into some of the older kid exhibits.
Lastly, when tummies get hungry, head to Pizzeria Bianco for family-friendly pizza. Catherine of Traveling with the Littles
Sarasota, Florida is located on Florida’s beautiful gulf coast of the United States. Not only are there beautiful white-sand beaches, but there are so many other fun things to do with kids in Sarasota as well.
One of the best places to visit in Sarasota County is the Mote Aquarium. It doubles as a research lab and includes sea life native to Florida and beyond. Another unique thing about Sarasota it’s the former home of the Ringling Circus, and the circus arts are abundant throughout. From the Sarasota Circus to the Ringling Museum, there are so many fun ways to learn more about the circus first-hand.
If you’re looking for the best place to stay when visiting Sarasota, Siesta Beach is ideal. The beach itself is gorgeous and there’s a free trolley that takes you around Siesta Key Village and connects you to a variety of attractions in the area. Amanda of Toddling Traveler
Vail was one of our family’s favorite places to visit this past year. We enjoyed the charming Bavarian mountain village, a two hour drive from the Denver airport. Vail Mountain offers fun outdoor activities including an alpine slide, ropes course, and zip lining.
During the summer Vail offers hiking with llamas, outdoor concerts, and trails alongside the Eagle River that are perfect for cycling and walking. Vail’s food scene does not disappoint with everything from Southern pimiento cheese to German pretzels. The town is also very family friendly with a free transportation system and pedestrianized shopping area, where kids can run around. Vail is one of those destinations families will want to visit over and over again. Kirsten from Kids Are A Trip
Whitefish is a charming town that sits at the base of Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana that needs to be on your travel list for 2020. Families will love the summer here – you can go golfing, fishing, stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, rafting, boating, ride mountain bikes or go on hikes. Whitefish Mountain has ziplines, alpine coasters and other mountain adventures.
One of my favorite experiences though was seeing the Glacier backcountry from a float plane when I got to sit in the co-pilot seat aboard a small Cessna 180 for an unforgettable flying experience with the aptly named Backcountry Flying Experience that takes guests from the docks at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake! The downtown area is picturesque with boutique shops, art galleries and western-style stores that sell locally made crafts, restaurants and bars serve up the most amazing craft cocktails.
Whitefish also serves as a gateway to Glacier National Park, an epic drive on the Going to the Sun road is something you can’t miss. Christmas is a great time to visit Whitefish, Montana as well. Winter enthusiasts will find plenty of adventures on the well-groomed slopes on the Whitefish Mountain Resort. Priya of Outside Suburbia
Want to know where to stay? Check out these options for Glacier National Park lodging.
The Gippsland Region, Australia
The Gippsland Region is an amazing destination for families who love the outdoors. The region stretches from the mountains of the Victorian Alpine Region to the waters of Bass Straight and the Ninety Mile beach. In between visitors will find National Parks, lakes and rivers.
The Gippsland Lakes are the largest inland waterway in Australia. In the summer, they are popular for boating, fishing, camping, and swimming. Skiing is possible in winter at at any of the three ski resorts in the area.
The towns of Lakes Entrance, Paynesville, Metung and Loch Sport come alive with festivals and entertainment for the whole family. Museums such as Old Gippstown, Gippsland Vehicle Collection, Power Works and more pay homage to the area’s history. Gippsland has something for everyone. Mark from Travels in Gippsland
Tropical North Queensland, Australia
One of the best family destinations to visit in Australia is Tropical North Queensland. The city of Cairns is easy to reach, making this area a popular choice for holidaymakers.
You are spoilt for choice in far north Queensland with many things to see and do that will keep every member of the family entertained. On your doorstep is the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system and a must-see in this part of Australia. A journey on the seven-kilometer gondola cableway towards the village of Kuranda gives you a bird’s eye perspective of the subtropical rainforest.
Take a trip to any of the spectacular beaches or snorkel off the islands found only a boat ride away. Experience one of the most picturesque drives as you travel up to Port Douglas known as the gateway to Queensland’s most beautiful sights, the rainforest, and the reef. Inspire Family Travel
Wellington, New Zealand
Wellington, really is the coolest little capital in the world. Nestled right on the waterfront, there are a myriad of family activities in Wellington, including viewing glow worms in the Botanic Gardens, exploring the interactive Te Papa museum and rare red panda encounters at the Wellington Zoo. Our kids loved creating their own street art treasure hunt as this is showcased all over the city.
But it is the outdoor activities we love the most. Climbing Mt. Victoria (about an hour) provides breathtaking views over the city, kayaking and jumping off the wharf in Wellington Harbour is outstanding, and even taking the iconic crocodile bikes for a spin is memorable.
If you are staying in the city, there is no need for a car. It is walkable, and there is public transport to everywhere you need. Wellington is also New Zealand’s coffee capital, surely any parents dream. Jennifer from Backyard Travel Family
Families who seek culture, nature, and adventure will love Argentina. From the vibrant and tango-filled streets of Buenos Aires, to the astounding Perito Moreno glacier, Argentina is fun and offers plenty of family-bonding activities.
Visit a traditional ranch to learn about the gaucho lifestyle, sail icy rivers to discover hidden waterfalls and hanging glaciers in Patagonia, discover the breathtaking Iguazu falls and enjoy incredible hikes and plenty of outdoor adventure in beautiful Bariloche. Did I mention the amazing Malbec wines from Mendoza? Argentina with kids does not disappoint. Patty of Our Whole Village
Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is one of the most dramatic capitals of the world. Nestled in a narrow valley high in the Ecuadorian Andes, it is flanked on both sides by steep mountains. This UNESCO World Heritage city is a treasure of grand colonial architecture mixed with mystical Andean culture.
Old Town Quito oozes character. You’ll find regular Ecuadorians going about both their modern and traditional ways of life. Quito is intriguing even if you never step into a single museum. The little shops are full of craftsmen, vendors, and natural healers. The grand cathedrals of Quito are as magnificent as any you might find in Europe. Look closer, and you’ll find local animal gargoyles as you climbed the steep spires of Basicilica de Voto Nacional. So, before you rush off to the Galapagos, spend time and soak in the Andean culture of Quito. Liling of Trekaroo
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