These top baby and family-friendly destinations are safe, have child-oriented accommodation, and have lots of fun activities for the whole family!
So you’ve decided to take your whole family, babies included, on vacation. Awesome! Taking young ones traveling is a great idea as it opens their eyes to new cultures and ways of life, allows them to explore various attractions, and keeps them on their toes with new activities to try.
However, in keeping your family comfortable and well equipped for every situation, picking a child-friendly spot is of the utmost importance. To help you plan the perfect trip, we’ve listed out some great family-friendly destinations – as well as a few that aren’t’!
Destinations That Are Baby and Family Friendly
If you’re looking to take the family to East Asia, then Tokyo, with all of its attractions, is fun for the whole family. Kids will enjoy the bright, colorful culture, as well as the many child-centric things the city has to offer. While there, take the kids on a rickshaw ride, head to the Sega game center, take a cruise, meet Hello Kitty at Puroland, and, if you’re feeling particularly energetic, head on over to Tokyo Disneyland.
As a whole, Tokyo has a minimal crime rate, stroller-friendly areas, very welcoming locals, and a great healthcare system in case you should have a hiccup.
With its wealth of things to do, stroller-friendly streets, and general attitude, London is one of the most child-friendly cities in Europe. As far as transportation goes, kids under five ride the tube for free, and you can download a step-free Tube map that will allow you to see which stations have escalator and elevator access for stroller ease. Additionally, it’s perfectly acceptable to breastfeed in public in London, and you’ll even find baby change facilities in most major centers, museums, and galleries.
There are also tons of activities that will keep children occupied such as children’s theatres, city farms, and parks. Not to mention, kids under 5 get free entry to many attractions, including the London Eye, Tower of London, and Madame Tussaud’s.
Oahu is the perfect Hawaiian island for families and first-time visitors. Honolulu is a bustling city with tons of amenities, it’s super easy to travel to, and is relatively affordable.
While on Oahu take the family to attractions such as the Honolulu Zoo, Iolani Palace, Kualoa Ranch (where you’ll be able to horseback ride and go on a movie set tour), and take a tour through the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden. For added kid-fun, check out the Children’s Discovery Center – an interactive museum where kids will be able to learn and play with exhibits made just for them.
And while on Oahu, be sure to hit the beach. Beaches tend to be calm here, so taking your little ones to splash around in the shallow waters will be a safe and fun activity.
The Gold Coast, Australia
Not only is it strikingly beautiful, but Australia’s Gold Coast also has a plethora of family-oriented hotels, child-friendly restaurants, and stroller friendly attractions. The Gold Coast enjoys an average of 300 days of sunshine per year and holds a steadily warm temperature.
Child-friendly activities here include theme parks, beach playgrounds, the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, the Australian Outback Spectacular, cruises, the Wet and Wild water park, and plenty of beaches on which to surf, swim, and relax.
A European-style city with big parks and unique attractions, Montreal is a great city to take the family. Not only are there plenty of kid-friendly restaurants, but Montreal is also home to toddler-dedicated playgrounds and wading pools, indoor child amusement parks, a science center, and a Biodome.
There are also lots of outdoor activities for the family to enjoy, such as hanging out in stroller-friendly Parc Jean-Drapeau, walking or biking along Lachine Canal, climbing Mount Royal (there are steps which will be the shorter route, but a winding path that you can head up and down with a stroller), as well as year-round festivals.
Additionally, the metro allows kids 5 and under to ride free, and the Family Outings program even allows older children to ride free on school breaks and weekends. However, keep in mind that much of Old Montreal is cobblestone and has narrow sidewalks. There isn’t much room for strollers here, so plan accordingly.
San Diego, California
My hometown, San Diego is one of the most popular family-friendly destinations in the United States. The city is home to plenty of kid-friendly restaurants, the climate is consistently sunny and not overwhelming, and there are tons of activities to enjoy. While here, heard to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, The New Children’s Museum, Lego Land, Old Town San Diego, Balboa Park, and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Centre.
And be sure to check out La Jolla Cove – visitors of all ages are sure to love the beautiful scenery, barking seals and seal pups, and expansive lawns.
Just note that it’s recommended to rent a car during your stay in San Diego. For gear, there are plenty of baby equipment rental companies to choose from – many of which deliver straight to the airport rental car centers.
Taking a cruise may not intuitively seem like a kid and baby-friendly thing to do, but there are many cruises you can take that are specifically designed with families in mind. I recommend taking a cruise somewhere that you don’t have to get special vaccines beforehand.
These days, kid-friendly cruises can come with cabin layouts fit for cribs, nursery’s, baby and toddler playgroups, play areas, diaper delivery, and onboard stores stocked with baby necessities.
Chicago is a famously kid-friendly city, due to many of its attractions being downtown and easily navigable, and deep-dish pizza being an easy sell no matter what age you are.
Navy Pier is an iconic family-friendly destination laying claim to a 150-foot Ferris wheel, kid-friendly eateries, and sightseeing cruises. Right beside Navy Pier, you’ll find the Chicago Children’s Museum, which features interactive exhibits. Additionally, Chicago is also home to two zoos, and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum — a kid favorite.
Puerto Rico is an affordable tropical escape with great facilities and tons of stuff to do for kids and families. The town of San Juan has a colorful culture, great beaches, and child-friendly museums, but note that strollers there will probably be a pain. If you have a baby in tow, opt for a hiking-style child carrier.
Apart from the sites in San Juan, most of the family activities in Puerto Rico will be outdoors. While there, go walking in the rainforest, check out the bioluminescent waters of Fajardo, and go swimming and snorkeling in the calm waters of Culebra & Vieques.
However, keep in mind that the opening hours of many attractions in Puerto Rico can be unpredictable, so be sure to plan ahead. Also, there are plenty of resorts and hotels that cater to younger travelers, so be sure to scope these out ahead of time.
If you’re looking for a beach vacation that the whole family can enjoy, then definitely keep Nassau, the Bahamas in mind. Not only is the weather here fairly consistently sunny and warm, but there are also a million swim-friendly beaches to choose from and activities to enjoy. Nassau is home to Atlantis Water Park, the Pirates of Nassau Museum, and the Ardastra Gardens Zoo & Conservation Center.
Additionally, many of the resorts in Nassau cater to families and have children’s needs in mind. In many of these properties, you’ll be able to find cribs, playpens, and bassinets, baby toiletries, protective clothing, and strollers for rent.
Destinations that Aren’t so Kid-Friendly
Las Vegas, Nevada
Sure, there may be attractions in Las Vegas that all ages will enjoy, but with the notorious drinking culture, adult-oriented attractions, and casinos aplenty, this is a city that is best conquered when the kids are a little older.
That said, Nevada is home to plenty of gorgeous sites to see, even close to Vegas, that you’ll all enjoy. For example, the Grand Canyon, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and Red Rock Canyon are all relatively close by.
Cinque Terre, Italy
While Cinque Terre could easily be done with children who are a little older, this Italian gem is not so stroller-friendly. Built in the 11th century, many of the streets and footpaths are very narrow and steep, and cobblestones lead the way.
However, if you do head to Cinque Terre, consider renting an apartment opposed to a hotel, find a place close to a grocery store, and consider bringing along a hiking carrier opposed to a stroller.
New Orleans, Louisiana
While it’s relatively easy to get around New Orleans with kids in tow, the culture may be a bit over their heads. So much of the famous activities here revolve around jazz music, history, and Cajun food, things that children might not quite enjoy.
While New Orleans has a lot to offer, it’s probably best to wait until the kids are old enough to really enjoy it.
Bangkok, Thailand can be a sensory overload. Not only is the city famous for its adult-oriented entertainment, but the streets are also bustling and may provide an eye-opening experience for little ones, to say the least.
Also, child-friendly amenities and activities here are lacking – car seats are tough to find, and the walkways tend to be uneven and broken. That said, there are some child-specific museums, and Thai hospitality is always a treat, so if you find yourself heading to Bangkok with kids in tow, be sure to do some extra research on the best areas.