It can be a real struggle choosing a destination which actually works for you but really clicks with your kids too.
There’s nothing that quite compares to dishing out a ton of money, using up all your days off at work and discovering such a depth of organizational talent that you briefly consider applying to a travel agency (its not all bad) – not to mention traveling thousands of miles trapped in a cramped metal container which is essentially working against nature itself (come on, don’t pretend you get planes).
By the way: If you do have a pesky (and very real) fear of flying, discover these 5 effective ways to cope with your phobia for your next trip.
…All that only to make the horrifying and ultimately disappointing discovery that your kids might well have shown a similar level of enthusiasm during your weekly trip to Target – provided ice cream was involved of course. And that day out would have been significantly cheaper.
But there is no need for this – seriously, none! It’s not, either the kids have a good time or we do. A bizarre everything or nothing ultimatum apparently taken straight from a 60s James Bond movie title. Or it shouldn’t be.
Choosing a vacation destination that does the job for both of you is easy. Or it is now at any rate. We’ve researched the seven most kid friendly vacation spots around the world. The kid friend-liest spots you might say. Not to fear though, these destinations will be nice and friendly to the parents too.
So (and in no particular order), here they are:
- Reykjavik, Iceland
- Durham, England
- Munich, Germany
- Huntsville, USA
- Amsterdam, the Netherlands
- Glacier National Park in Montana, USA
- Dordogne, France
Wanna know why exactly these destinations are the world’s most kid friendly vacation spots? (That was rhetorical, please don’t say no 🙏) Keep scrolling to find out.
Kid Friendly Vacation Spots #1
Explore the natural beauty in Reykjavik, Iceland
If there’s anything worth knowing about Iceland, it’s got to be the fact that Icelanders believe in the existence of elves. Which essentially means that your younger kids or maybe the die-hard Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings fan among you will fit right in! (Kidding, this is just a stereotype. Probably.)
But some of Iceland’s traditions really do hark back to ye times of olde. One such handy example being the safety of kids (or everyone really – told you it was adult friendly). It’s a very common sight to see Icelanders leaving their babies in prams outside shops or in open gardens. Despite how it may seem to us, this really isn’t neglect; with such low crime rates, it’s just safe and normal to do this. Point one to Iceland.
These next pros are even better than Elves, however (never thought I’d say that). Think the Northern Lights, naturally occurring thermal hot springs, whale watching – basically everything cool that happens in nature. Take a day trip from Reykjavik to visit the geothermal Blue Lagoon Spa or stick around and explore this amazing capital city. I’d recommend a visit to the Saga museum – because who doesn’t love a bit of the Vikings? (meaning both the TV show and the horn-wearing warriors of course).
Kid Friendly Vacation Spots #2
Feel the charm of Victorian Britain in Durham, England
Durham, England, folks, not the US knock-off 😉.
I do hate to bang on about Harry Potter (that was a lie), but Durham Cathedral (the courtyard specifically) just so happens to double up as Hogwarts. Naturally, there was a good reason behind this decision and even non-wizarding fans will be hard-pressed to not love the beautiful and historic cathedral – and indeed town.
History lovers can go one step further. Head to Beamish, Britain’s largest open-air outdoor museum, which takes you back to an England in the middle of the Industrial Revolution. If you think your kids will enjoy seeing (and tasting) old-fashioned sweets (English word for candy, get with it) getting made, old-fashioned outfits being rocked and walking around building kitted out with all sorts of old-fashioned stuff (which they can touch and play with), then be sure to visit. You can even take a ride on the steam train… Make sure you check out the website beforehand to check out all the kid friendly(/specifically designed for kids) events.
And speaking of cool, hands-on vehicles, look up Durham’s Diggerland too… You might be able to guess what the kids get to ride on here.
Make sure the family tries a chip butty while you’re in the north of England. This chips (English word for fat fries) in a buttered bread role specialty/carb-overload may sound disgusting (which it is), but it holds a sort of thrill to tackle it.
Kid Friendly Vacation Spots #3
Enjoy a wunderbar trip to Munich, Germany
Oh, Ja. Lederhosen and beer abound. But although it’s a good one, that’s not the only reason to visit Munich. Shocking, I know. Do you have any science-loving, part-time Disney prince/princesses among your hoard? No? Well then pick a side.
First up is one of the biggest and oldest Science museums in the world, the Deutsches Museum, which is found in Munich. With floors of touchable science-y objects and gadgets, your kids (and you, trust me), could spend hours in here. The Kids’ Kingdom is a good place to start, with over a 1000 activities for kids spread over a whole floor. The top floor viewing deck of the museum also has a pretty good view of the stunning city itself, by the way.
Waiting to see how this is Disney relevant? Just an hour’s drive from Munich is the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s not so humble abode. Visit the spectacular Schloss Neuschwanstein, a spectacular castle built by mad King Ludwig II which perches at the top of a steep hill with the most amazing view over rural Bavaria. Just make sure to take the horse and carriage to the top – not just because horses are cool, also because walking up hills is exhausting. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
If you’ve still got time, take them to the Toy Museum, a museum full of toys from the ages. Obviously. Then a Biergarten? It’s okay, kids are welcome too.
Kid Friendly Vacation Spots #4
Get your space on in Huntsville, USA
US Space and Rocket Center. Need we say more?
Well, alright then. This jazzy center is packing rockets, space shuttles, lots of awesome NASA memorabilia. It has a great shop too. But the absolute BEST thing? It has a space travel simulator! How cool is that! Floating around pretending to be Doctor Who. Or an astronaut I guess – whatever floats your rocket.
I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t be, but if you’re not a space fan, then you are hopefully a butterfly fan. Head to the Huntsville Botanical Garden to experience Purdy’s Butterfly House, where 1000s of butterflies, frogs and turtles fill the rooms.
Once you’re in the nature mood, head off to the Monte Sano State Park to take part in some nature trail walks or stay in one of its famous stone cabins.
Kid Friendly Vacation Spots #5
Take a Trip to Amsterdam, the Netherlands
You know when teachers say something like, ‘forget everything you think you know’? Well, this is one of those times. Please, please forget any previous trips (don’t act innocent, you know what kind of trips I mean 😉) that you’ve taken in Amsterdam, pre-kids. It’s not like that.
Amsterdam has plenty to offer beyond a famous red light district and marijuana. And funnily enough, it really is one of the best kid friendly vacation spots in the world. Quite aside from its architectural charm, Amsterdam has an undeniable cultural scene. Take your kids to the Anne Frank Museum for a great educational visit, or alternatively to the Van Gogh Museum for a bit of art.
Anyone envisioning a more active trip (stop it!) for their family vacation, can travel to Amsterdam safe in the knowledge that gorgeous nature trails, bike routes and boat activities are there aplenty and for all levels of ability.
And best of all of this? The pancakes. Try ’em.
Kid Friendly Vacation Spots #6Get active in the Glacier National Park, USA/Canada
This one can only be about an active family vacation. If you can’t stop your kids running around and playing outside every chance they get, then – well done, that’s an achievement. But seriously – then you should take them here.
You can travel here via Canada or the USA, or take a two-countries-in-one kind of approach if you’re feeling ambitious. The area is a natural wonder, even the little ones might be able to appreciate it with big eyes! Even if they’re unlikely to remark on the beauty of the mountains, they’re certainly not going to get bored of the water rafting, cycling, and hiking routes on offer here.
The trail to the Photogenic Hidden Lake has something tempting about it, doesn’t it? And I’m prepared to bet it’ll look good in the pictures. Who knows, maybe even good enough to stick on a personalized postcard and send to your mom and dad. While we’re on the subject, here’s how to make the postcard-perfect photo.
But take pictures while you can! The effects of global warming are already threatening these last rare examples of glaciers in America. If you want to learn about some easy environmentally friendly travel tips, click here.
Kid Friendly Vacation Spots #7See ancient sights at Dordogne, France
Seeing some of the oldest cave paintings in Europe is … kind of amazing. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon opinion so make sure you book tickets early for your preferred cave to avoid any disappointment.
If you like old things in general then you’re in luck. The Dordogne region in France is home to over 1000 medieval castles. To get the most out of the castles, choose one or two to thoroughly explore and then consider planning a road trip to see the impressive facades of the outsides. You can be confident that the kids will find this pretty magical – maybe you can buy them little royal outfits too? And a crown? Or am I getting carried away?
By the way: If you do decide to go for a road trip, here’s how to plan it easily in 9 steps so that it goes off with a bang: Plan my road trip.
You don’t need to be stuck somewhere before the Middle Ages for the whole visit, however. Dordogne has a few great adventure parks, each catering for varying ages. Lose yourself in local markets in some of the adorable villages along your way and try the local delicacies. After all, the French aren’t half bad at baking…
We’re actually pretty confident that these are some of the best and most kid friendly vacation destinations in the world. But if you happen to know of any other awesome family friendly destinations, write them in the comments and maybe we’ll add them here..!
Discover more: Traveling with your family can sometimes seem intimidating. Luckily there’s a family podcast out there that deals with issues and provided much-needed encouragement. Find out more here!