When it comes to traveling, we’re all looking for different things. Some may want to immerse themselves in a foreign culture that’s completely different from their own. Others may want to stroll through cobblestone streets or simply relax at that beach. Whatever it is you’re looking for, there’s one thing we all have in common; a desire to find new and captivating places to visit. This seems true now more than ever. The pent up desire to travel has us dreaming of destinations around the world. Use these bucket list ideas to help plan your next family vacation.
Bucket List Inspiration for Families Who Love Travel
If your family wants to create a bucket list, start with a family meeting. Let everyone brainstorm some ideas, and if you get stuck, be sure to use these travel destinations as inspiration.
1. Florence, Italy
Italy is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and for good reason. Off the top of my head, I think about pizza, pasta, and gelato, but that’s only the beginning. Florence is such a special place, and if it isn’t on your family bucket list, it should be.
Get lost in Florence as you wander the cobblestone streets and soak up the breathtaking architecture. Head straight for the Duomo and climb the 463 steps for stunning views of Florence’s red rooftops. Make a stop at the Uffizi Gallery to see one of the world’s top art collections.
Kids will love the Leonardo da Vinci museum where they can see his sketches come to life. End the day with a stroll across Ponte Vecchio bridge to the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens where kids can run through the hedge mazes. Kids will love everything about Florence.
2. Cairo, Egypt
Cairo is a place of wonder and adventure that should definitely be on your family travel bucket list. From the treasures of King Tut’s tomb, to the perfectly preserved mummies and exhaustive collection of artifacts in the Egyptian Museum to the Great Pyramid of Giza, these world class attractions should be on everyone’s must see travel list.
Cairo is an interactive history lesson in the awesome and the ancient that your little ones won’t soon forget. Monique of An Unstoppable Journey
3. Athens, Greece
Is there any place on Earth as beautiful and historically rich as Athens? Known for its splendid monuments, ancient ruins, and museums, the city of Athens is an excellent place for history buffs.
The must see sight for most visitors is the Acropolis, one of the most important works of architecture of the ancient world. At the National Archaeological Museum there are thousands of rare historical treasures and kids will be blown away by their collections.
For a fun treat, head to the Panathenaic Stadium and see the site of the Olympic Games and let kids imagine what it would be like to compete on the Olympic stage. Be sure to take the Teleferik cable car to the top of Lycabettus Hill for stunning city views. Looking for more ideas? Check out this itinerary for Athens with kids.
4. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is well known for its narrow houses, masses of bicycles, colorful tulips, and impressive canals. Discover the city by taking a boat tour, strolling through the floating flower market, or sampling some delicious stroopwafels or pannenkoeken (Dutch pancakes) at one of the local cafés.
Make sure to visit the Van Gogh Museum and explore Van Gogh’s biggest masterpieces such as “Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat,” “Sunflowers,” and “The Bedroom”. The nearby Rijksmuseum has a stunning collection of Dutch masters.
History buffs will want to visit the Anne Frank house which pays tribute to the Jewish WWII diarist.
Vondelpark is the perfect spot when kids need to burn some energy or head to Artis, one of the oldest European zoos. (Here are some additional ideas if you’re visiting the Netherlands with kids).
5. Dubai, UAE
Dubai, UAE, is a great place for a family vacation. This modern vibrant city has so much to offer the entire family! It’s a very cosmopolitan place with beautiful resorts, great restaurants, and a big variety of family-friendly activities including several waterparks, theme parks, aquariums, and so much more… Furthermore, the weather is always nice, there are lots of great beaches, and the city is surrounded by a desert that offers lots of possibilities for fun adventures.
Don’t miss a visit to the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa! Every kid will be impressed by this skyscraper that’s over half a mile tall! Another must-see is the magical Dubai Fountain show, at the foot of the Burj Khalifa tower.
But our kids’ absolute favorite activity was the 4×4 dune safari just outside the city. Dune bashing in a jeep, followed by sand boarding, a camel ride, and dinner under the desert sky is an experience that every kid will remember for years to come! Here you can find more suggestions for things to do in Dubai with kids. Jurga of Full Suitcase
6. Paris, France
Paris has been dubbed the “City of Lights” because of the 300 plus illuminated sites that light up at night. Scattered throughout this magical city, you’ll find churches, bridges, monuments, statues, and national buildings completely wrapped in twinkling lights. Take a dinner cruise along the Seine with Bateaux Parisiens for the perfect nighttime views. (This was one of our favorite things to do in Paris with kids).
Aside from its magical nighttime atmosphere, stroll through the charming cobblestone streets, play at the parks, and grab an ice cream at the picturesque cafés. Buy tickets in advance for the Musee du Louvre, Notre Dame, and Paris Catacombs, and be sure to spend time shopping along the Champs-Elysées. If you want to make the most of your time in Paris, don’t miss this Paris bucket list!
7. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Located in Western Canada along the Pacific coast, Vancouver BC boasts many reasons to be a family bucket list destination! There is always something to do in any season you visit, whether you are looking for water/beach activities in the spring/ summer, hiking in the fall, or skiing down the North Shore Mountains in winter.
Explore Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium, or check out the views from Brockton Point along with its wonderful array of Coast Salish art and try to decipher some of the symbolism in the art, passed down through the generations.
If you are adventurous, take a hike and see how well you fare on the Grouse Grind. Or visit all of the incredible stands at Granville Island, where you will also find some amazing artisan studios. It’s a favorite spot to watch some cool glass blowing.
Another idea is to rent a bike and explore more than 22km of sea wall throughout Vancouver to discover some of its sights while you ride! Rossanna of Life is Full of Adventures
8. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Known as “the Paris of South America,” the city of Buenos Aires has a personality of its own. It’s the only place in the world where you’ll feel like you’re walking through the streets of Barcelona, London, Paris, Los Angeles, and an old-fashioned South American “barrio” all at the same time.
Take tango lessons on the streets, explore the European-Latin American blend of architecture, or shop for unique souvenirs at the San Telmo market, a Sunday street fair that is loaded with antiques, trinkets, and unique pieces of artwork. If this isn’t enough, don’t miss these fun things to do with kids in Buenos Aires.
9. Hong Kong
One of the most magical cities in the world is Hong Kong with plenty to do for all ages. Take in a birds-eye glimpse of the city from the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car or a dangling gondola ride to Big Buddah and Po Lin Monastery.
Brave the lines for a historical tram ride to the top of Victoria’s Peak with modern restaurants, shops and spectacular views in all directions. (Tip: behind the complex, discover a local favorite, the historical Peak Lookout restaurant built in the 1800s).
Cruise the waters of Aberdeen Harbor on a small junk boat to tour the hundreds of ornately painted houses and fishing boats nearby. There’s a stop mid-cruise at the famous floating restaurant, Jumbo Kingdom serving dim-sum and famous teas.
In Victoria Harbor, catch a ride on the observation Ferris Wheel and a Harbor City Cruise before the nightly Symphony of Lights show. (Tip: Keep your eyes peeled for pink dolphins and the red glowing sails of the infamous Aqua Luna junk boat).
The markets, such as Temple Street Night Market, come alive in the evenings all over the city while you shop handcrafted souvenirs and unforgettable street cuisine.
Travel tip: Allow plenty of time before your flight home at the Hong Kong Airport (voted one of the world’s top airports) with high end shops, unforgettable restaurants, an IMAX theater, golfing and an outside sky deck to watch planes take off and land with incredible views. Tonya Kerr
10. Barcelona, Spain
From the beach to the mountains, Barcelona has everything you could possibly want and more. Most travelers come to this Spanish city to admire the incredible architecture of its multi-colored tiles, stone, and contemporary architecture. It’s one of the most beautiful cities in Spain!
Make sure to visit the masterpieces of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí: Casa Batlló, Casa Mila, La Sagrada Familia, and Park Güell. Ride the Telefèric from the beach to the top of Montjuïc, where you can explore the city’s castle and enjoy stellar city views.
Take a stroll along the city’s main boulevard, Las Ramblas, and be sure to stop at La Boqueria Market to sample the local produce, seafood, and cheese.
We love Barcelona with kids and we think you will too!
11. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
The colonial town of San Miguel de Allende is definitely one of the prettiest in Mexico. Famous for its pink sandstone church, charming cobbled streets and art galleries, it’s a popular spot for a holiday. But what about for kids? There are no beaches nearby and you won’t find any family resorts here, but if you’re looking to explore Mexico beyond the all-inclusives then you couldn’t pick a better place.
For starters, it’s an easy place to discover either on foot or an antique-looking trolley bus ride. There’s an excellent toy museum, parks and playgrounds, and plenty of places for ice cream. You’ll quickly find that the ice cream stores here serve up some pretty unusual flavors too.
Discover local artwork at Fabrica La Aurora and watch life go by in El Jardin, the main town square. While there, pop into La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, the pink church. If visiting with teens then take a bicycle tour of the surrounding areas making sure to stop in at the Botanical Gardens, 170 acres of natives scrubland and plants.
The other great thing about San Miguel de Allende is the food. There are countless excellent restaurants to choose from as well as delicious bakeries for when the kids – or you – need a sweet treat. San Miguel de Allende with kids does not disappoint. Katja of Globetotting
12. London, United Kingdom
You’ve heard of iconic symbols like the London Eye ferris wheel, Big Ben, the Tower of London, and Parliament. Plan a trip to London with kids and see all of these landmarks and more.
Be sure to visit Queen Elizabeth and the jaw-dropping Buckingham Palace. Okay, so you might not be able to actually see her, but you can take a tour of the palace and walk around its magnificent State Rooms while marveling at some of the most fantastic treasures from the Royal Collection.
Find time for a stroll through the pastel-colored homes of Notting Hill, grab afternoon tea, or spend time people watching in Trafalgar Square. If kids get tired of sightseeing, be sure to head to one of the many city parks. Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground and Hyde Park are both very kid friendly.
13. Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul is a magical city that is perfect for visiting with kids. It’s a stopover city for many flights traveling from Europe to the east, but it’s worth staying for a few days.
First of all, you need to know that all over Turkey, the people absolutely love children. Everywhere we went, people were showering our children with kindness and were so eager to talk to them.
Istanbul is also one of the best places to be introduced to the history of the early Christian church as well as Islam since both have a very strong influence in the city. Mosques, museums and churches are all must visit locations, though one of the standout features of Istanbul is the shopping.
While the Grand Bazaar is the most well known, don’t forget to visit smaller bazaars and souks as well, where you can enjoy all of the beautiful textiles, glassware, clothing, and especially the huge variety of spices and sweet treats. Jessica of Bring the Kids
14. Sydney, Australia
Experience the waterfront views of Sydney and hop on a ferry towards the beaches of Manly, Bondi, or Bronte where kids can play in the surf of the beautiful turquoise waters.
Once you’re done sunbathing, head back to the waterfront and snap a photo in front of iconic Sydney Opera House which stands on the harbor. It’s one of Australia’s most famous landmarks. If you’re brave enough, try the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb, where you can take in city views from 440 feet above the ground.
If you need something a little less thrilling, head to Luna Park amusement park for games and rides. Or take a sunset cruise in Sydney Harbour and see the city from a different point of view. There’s always something fun to do in Sydney with kids!
15. New York City, New York
New York is more than a bustling city, and families will love the numerous family friendly activities New York City has to offer. Hop on the ferry and head to Ellis Island and take a tour of the Statue of Liberty. Afterwards, head to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Probably best for older children, this experience is one that will be remembered long after the trip.
Make time for climbing to the Top of the Rock or the Empire State Building, strolling through Central Park, and visiting the American Museum of Natural History.
If the kids need to run around, head to The High Line (an elevated green belt) or the Vessel where they can climb a unique New York City landmark for stunning city views.
16. Marrakesh, Morocco
If you want a bucket list destination that ticks all the boxes, head to Marrakesh. This bustling city will delight all of your senses! Head to the souk or Medina and wander the alleyways while interacting with the locals. Take in the sights and sounds of Jemaa el-Fna Square with its street performers, food stalls, and photo ops.
Schedule a tour of the Bahia Palace and learn about Moroccan architecture and culture. And when the energy of the city overwhelms the kids, head to Jardin Majorelle, a garden oasis in Marrakesh.
There is so much to explore in Marrakesh and Morocco in general. See what we did on our Morocco family tour with National Geographic and G Adventures to help plan your trip!
17. Cape Town, South Africa
As your plane approaches Cape Town you will realize you’ve reached paradise when you catch a view of the majestic Table Mountain. Once you land, you’ll see there’s plenty to enjoy with kids in Cape Town!
Head to Boulders Beach to see African penguins in their natural habitat. Hop in a car and head to the Atlantis Dunes outside of town for some epic sand boarding. Visit the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. And when it’s time to relax, head to one of Cape Town’s 72 beaches. Llandudno Beach and Muizenberg Beach are great choices for families.
And if you’re a true outdoor enthusiast looking for an adventure then make sure to check out Table Mountain National Park and explore the Cape Floral region of the park which is one of the richest floral regions on the planet.
18. Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm, the capital of Sweden and Scandinavia, is a great choice for a family-friendly vacation. Discover excitement and adventure at the Vasa museum, housing the impeccably preserved ship that sank on its maiden voyage and lay at the bottom of the Stockholm Harbor until it was salvaged more than 300 years later.
Don’t miss Junibacken, a museum dedicated to children’s literature with special focus on the fictional heroine, Pippi Longstocking.
Dancing queens and kings of all ages will love to dance, jive, and have the time of their lives at the ABBA The Museum!, which chronicles the career of the beloved musical group and showcases the history of Swedish pop music, and the Eurovision Song Contest.
Stockholm is also home to Djurgården island, which has parks, trails, museums and Gröna Lund amusement park. The city truly has something for the whole family and will delight the young and old. Monique of An Unstoppable Journey
19. San Diego, California
When people think of California, they tend to think of San Francisco and Los Angeles, but San Diego is one of our favorite destinations for a California bucket list.
San Diego beaches are second to none, with 24 beaches running along the Pacific Ocean. Head to Coronado beach where you can admire the famous Hotel del Coronado and play in the soft golden sand (specs of mica will leave you covered in golden glitter). Or try Torrey Pines State Beach for hiking and beach time. All of the beaches have stunning sunset views, so make plans to catch at least one.
Kids of all ages will love the San Diego Zoo and adjacent Balboa Park with its unique museums. Legoland is a hit with the younger crowd, while older ones might enjoy Belmont Park and its roller coasters.
Don’t miss kayaking in La Jolla, touring the USS Midway, or the seals at the La Jolla Children’s Pool. We are sure your kids will never want to leave San Diego and you might agree!
20. Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
The first words that come to mind when I think about our family trip to Quebec City are “Fairy Tale.” I have never before been in a city with such a perfect combination of cobblestone roads (winding up charming hills), European-style historic buildings (many of which look like princess castles), public art (from murals to street performers), and (in summer) FLOWERS — all draped along the mighty Saint Lawrence River.
Of course, the Chateau Frontenac is the famed visual highlight of Quebec City, but every corner and every structure of the town offers a different fairy tale delight for the eyes.
How is it for food? Good news: The town is delicious! I still have dreams of the rabbit pie I ate in a Quebec City restaurant courtyard illuminated by tiny golden lights. Quebec City is a truly magical place, and I look forward to the day my family and I can return to explore more. Lillie of Around the World “L”
21. Tokyo, Japan
Families will not believe how family friendly Tokyo can be! Take a walk through local temples (Senso-ji and Meiji shouldn’t be missed), cuddle with hedgehogs at a local animal cafe, or go shopping in the Harajuku district.
See the city from a rickshaw, head to the top of the Tokyo Skytree, or take a cruise on Tokyo Bay. Each option will give you unique perspectives of this bustling city.
If you have extra time, be sure to take a day trip from Tokyo to Mt. Fuji or Hitachi National Seaside Park. Both are perfect for spending time outdoors and enjoying the stunning Japanese countryside.
22. Sayulita, Mexico
Located on the Pacific Coast, Sayulita is the most family-friendly town in Mexico. The town’s layout is fit for families traveling with kids as the roads are very safe. It is a walking town, however, the streets are very narrow that cars are not very common. If they are, they usually run at a 10km speed limit. You don’t need to worry about your children’s safety! The most common transportation here is ATVs and golf carts. You can even rent one for your family to enjoy (about $50 USD per day).
Things to do in Sayulita with kids include horse riding, fishing trips, and jungle hikes. Sayulita is also a beginner surfer beach so you and your kids can definitely learn how to surf here. The waves are not that strong but of course, if you are a pro, there are other beaches that have bigger waves. Sayulita is big on the outdoors so there will be lots of nature activities that your family can enjoy!
The layout of accommodations here is definitely built for families. Airbnbs are the most common and they usually start at $200 USD per night for a family of 5. These accommodations are very beautiful and often have beach views so I find this very reasonably priced. All restaurants in town have a kids’ section on their menu so don’t worry about your children’s hanger. I know how hard it is to travel with kids especially when they are picky with food but in Sayulita, cross this out. This won’t stress you and you won’t even need to plan anything! Your kids will probably pick their own restaurant favorite! Food budget in Sayulita is from $3 – $8 USD per meal per person.