So much to do and so little time (especially once the kids have started school!) but having children doesn’t mean you have to put off travelling the world; taking them along with you can be an amazing experience for the whole family. Whatever your dream destination, have a look at what we consider to be the best family holiday destinations in the world.
You don’t have to travel far for our first recommendation, which will be a relief for all of you with really young families. From surfing on Cornish beaches to scaling some Scottish mountains many of us have some amazing childhood memories of staycations so why not pass them down through the generations.
Where to go with kids in the UK
For me, my top recommendation for a family holiday in the UK is Cornwall. Some might say it doesn’t feel like being in the UK at all! The beaches in Cornwall are absolutely stunning with some of the best waves in the world. The coastpaths and in land walks are perfect if your family enjoy a good hike. And the food – ranging from fish and chips on the beach to Michelin starred dining means there’s something to suit every palate.
Coming in a close second to Cornwall is North Wales. A beautiful country, again with some amazing beaches and mountains to climb. Head to the Llyn Penisila, my go to place for when I want to get away from it all.
If cities are more your thing, London should definitely make it onto your family travel bucket list. Home to some amazing parks to run around in, excellent museums to visit and shed loads of history. Have a look at our Free things to do in London blog for even more inspiration.
But the UK isn’t all about London, It’s home to some other very family friendly cities. We loved our recent visit to Bristol, visiting the SS Great Britain and fallowing a Banksy Trail around the city. Manchester is another firm family favourite. And of course Birmingham, where I grew up.
If you’re after specific attractions, older kids will get a buzz out of visiting attractions such as The Harry Potter Studio Tour or caving at Cheddar Gorge whilst younger kids will love Thomas Land at Drayton Manor or getting up close and personal with the animals at Longleat Safari. I couldn’t finish my gushing about the UK as one of the best family holiday destinations in the world without mentioning the National Trust. Who restore and look after a huge variety of historical buildings, parkland and coastline. Our family membership is absolutely worth every penny!
Apart from my home country obviously, Thailand has to be the best best family holiday destinations in the world. Forget gap year back-packing and full moon parties, Thailand is a brilliant destination for a family holiday. Whilst the long haul flights can be pretty expensive, when you arrive you will find luxurious accommodation at budget prices. Children are welcomed pretty much everywhere in Thailand and will be cooed over by most locals. They’ll also be made to feel like mini celebrities in most places you visit. There are 7 Eleven convenience stores dotted around all the tourist areas so you can stock up on most essentials when you are there.
Where to go with kids in Thailand
It would be a shame to travel all that way without visiting a few places so we recommend making the most of it and including a city, beach stay and a visit inland to your trip. Bangkok is most definitely a city the family will never forget mixing culture with new sights and smells and some brilliant hotel options. Read my recommendations in my Bangkok destination guide.
The beaches of the South offer beautiful clear water and most are safe to play in (check before you do!). I recommend the Islands of Phuket and Koh Samui for family friendly white sands and total relaxation.
Inland offers a wealth of beautiful temples to visit and some of the most amazing wildlife you will meet. A particularly special moment was rice picking in Chiang Mai. A city that still feels like the Thailand of old but with all the convenience of a big city.
If you remember to follow a few simple rules – don’t let young kids eat the street food before you’ve checked it first (It can be very spicy!). Be mindful of the heat so no one gets too grotty or dehydrated. And plan plenty of rest. Thailand can truly be your best family holiday destination in the world.
If simplicity with a side of adventure is what you’re after then the USA is a great place to start. America has some amazing cities and a wide breadth of cultures, so choosing a base can be a bit overwhelming but most places will have something to please the whole family.
Where to go with kids in the United States
One of my favourites is Chicago, with amazing museums, very family friendly dining options and hotels and the fabulous Navy Pier. A visit to the windy city will make you feel like you have had a beach and city break all in one. Check out this Chicago Blog for some more great tips. We also fell in love with Washington DC during a recent visit, the museums are free, the politics exciting and the green space is perfect for energetic kids.
Las Vegas is another city well geared up for families. Forget the gambling and nightlife – visit the amazing hotels and attractions on the Strip. Kids will be enthralled by the décor and it’s all for free. When the ding of the slot machines get too much, it is easy to escape the crowds and visit the Hoover dam and Grand Canyon for some spectacular scenery. I highly recommend the helicopter experience, a “must tick” for all bucket lists! Don’t leave without a visit to Old Town Vegas and the Las Vegas Boneyard to see a totally different side of the city.
Whilst not known for being particularly child friendly, New York is still an amazing destination to visit. Central Park is beautiful at any time of year with loads of play areas and organised activities to burn off some energy. Broadway has some great family friendly shows, and all the Museums have special trails for little ones to follow whilst learning a bit at the same time!
We couldn’t mention family holidays in the States without including Florida – the theme parks undoubtedly offer a little something for every age and will create some everlasting memories. Have a look at our top tips for surviving Disney and these tips for visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Don’t miss the bright lights and bustle of Miami, or the beautiful beaches of the Florida Keys.
The Canary Islands
The Canary Islands are my favourite place for a bit of winter sun. A Spanish Archipelago off the coast of North Africa. They’re perfectly geared up for tourism and super family friendly.
Where to go with kids in the Canary Islands
Tenerife is probably the best known (and best value) for a family holiday. Having welcomed family travel for many years there is heaps to do on the island for all ages and many resort hotels, often with kids clubs and entertainment. The weather is pretty good year round and although the sometimes black sand beaches aren’t the best in the world, you’ll be sure to find a sandy spot somewhere. Make sure you take the time on your holiday to visit inland Mount Teide which is part of a National Park and the amazing Siam Park waterpark.
Lanzarote has to be another favourite of mine. The terrain is extremely rugged and even more beautiful. Nothing beats a hike around Timanfaya National Park in the Southwest of the island. There’s even a restaurant where your dinner will be cooked by the heat of a volcano.
Another Asian Country to make it onto the list is Vietnam. Somewhere I absolutely fell in love with last year. The people are amongst the friendliest I’ve met anywhere. And as I was traveling alone with my daughter this made the trip feel even more special.
Where to go with kids in Vietnam
I’m sure you have heard of the famous cities of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi but it’s worth heading off the beaten path a bit. I loved the central coastal area around Da Nang. It has everything you would want from an Asian City break but also some amazing beaches perfect for recovering from jet lag. It’s also close to the Ba Na Hills theme park, home to the famous Golden hands bridge. A magnificent place to visit with kids.
Another favourite spot in Vietnam is Hoi An. A delightful village full of colourful lanterns and Japanese inspired architecture. But to be honest, taking the kids to anywhere in Vietnam will make for a wonderful family holiday.
France is another country that feels like you can all the different holidays in one. The variety alone makes in one of the best family holiday destinations in the world. It’s super easy to get to from the UK, either by train, ferry or flight and once you’re there the roads are good and easy to navigate.
Where to go with kids in France
For and exciting city break, you can’t really beat Paris. Most kids will recognise the main sights such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. And will love a wander along the river or an open topped bus ride taking in the attractions.
If you have the time though, make sure to explore the rest of this beautiful country. Normandy and Brittany are great options due to easy access by ferry from the UK. I recommend a French road trip, taking in various stops on your way further South. Our favourite place to stay is the Dordogne area for its unspoilt countryside, medieval chateaux and endless vineyards.
I couldn’t finish this list of the best family holiday destinations in the world without mentioning Bali. One of THE best places to visit with kids we’ve ever tried. This culture of this Indonesian island provides so many interesting things to see and do and the miles of coastline ensure you can squeeze in some relaxing between the exploring.
Where to go with kids in Bali
You’ll be spoilt for choice when planning your family holiday to Bali. Everywhere is welcoming to kids, they will be adored and well looked after where ever you end up. You could try beachside Jimbaran. A quiet area of the island near the airport with some of the best fish restaurants in the world.
Ubud is the cultural capital and somewhere I would seriously consider moving to one day. Kids will love the monkey forest and colourful temples. For the ultimate in relaxation, Nusa Dua would make a great final stop. It’s a perfect tourist bubble with some amazing resort hotels (think luxury kids clubs and beach clubs) and loads to entertain the kids.
Yes it is a long way to travel so just make sure you spend enough time there to make the flight worth it! And read my tips on long haul travel with kids to get you ready!
Let me know your best family destinations in the world, leave a comment below.