Setting travel goals, AKA a travel bucket list is a great way to start planning and saving for future trips. Check out these 20 family travel destinations and add a few to your bucket list.
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Over the years, I’ve consistently kept a couple of travel destinations on my mental bucket list. But, there was a huge part of me that doubted ever going.
Looking back, that initial doubt and negative mindset is probably the largest thing that has kept our family from traveling to these places. Granted, finances and money play a role. But, that just requires some decision making and discipline.
This year, after traveling to Sayulita, Mexico with the kids, I decided it was time to stop with the doubt and the excuses, and start planning some epic vacations.
Between the culture, food, experiences, and lessons the girls learned in Mexico, I have no doubt now that traveling the world is now a necessity. We have to do it.
But, where to do we start? I spent hours flipping through Wanderlust: A Traveler’s Guide to the Globe (freakin’ coolest and most motivational travel book ever). I read and read. And I took notes on all the places that made my heart flutter when I imagined taking the girls there.
Every person has different ideas of what a “dream vacation” looks like. But if you are like I was and you want to start travel planning for your family, check out these family travel destinations. Maybe there is one nearby that you can check-off your travel bucket list within the next six months to a year.
20 Family Travel Destinations to Put on Your Bucket List
Right off the bat, I’m curious to know if there is one place you have always wanted to travel. With kids, without kids, it doesn’t matter. Let me know in the comments below so I can check it out.
1). Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
If you have never been to Yellowstone National Park, located in Northern Wyoming and stretching into Idaho and Montana, you definitely need to put it on your list.
Yellowstone is home to one of the world’s largest calderas, spanning 45 x 30 miles. And there are over 10,000 thermal features located in the park.
For children and adults alike, seeing geysers spray water and steam into the air is almost magical. One of the largest active geysers, Old Faithful, erupts almost every hour and launches water 130 to 140 feet in the air each time.
After seeing Old Faithful, you can make your way through Geyser Basin to see an array of geysers, both active and inactive. You can also check out the mud pots (my kids think the bubbling hot mud is awesome, and they think it sounds funny).
On top of that, there are numerous hot springs and colorful pools with seemingly surreal colors to check out. Pick up a souvenir and grab lunch in Mammoth, Norris, West Thumb, or Canyon.
Within the park, there are a decent amount of hotels and cabins you can rent. Or you can pack a tent or take your RV and camp at designated campsites within Yellowstone.
2). Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach is home to the East Coast’s only 200-ft SkyWheel. If you aren’t scared of heights, this is a must-do activity while in the area.
On top of that, kids will enjoy going to play mini-golf at any of the 50+ mini golf courses. For older children, you can take them to Family Kingdom Amusement Park to ride rollercoasters or head to Splash’s Waterpark for some extreme whitewater adventures overlooking the ocean.
While you’re there, spend some time lounging on the pristine white beaches and soaking up the warm sun. And follow it up with a trip to the Hollywood Wax Museum, Topgolf, or Ripley’s Aquarium.
3). Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
Something about the intriguing country of Thailand makes me want to pack my bags and leave tomorrow. From the aqua blue waters and sharp rocks that jut out of the ocean, to the warm faces and unparalleled kindness of the people who live there.
Ko Phi Phi is a wonderful place to bring your young family. The north end has quiet beaches, perfect for chill days where you don’t want to do much.
On the other days, you can go snorkeling, take a SUP tour, head to the Viking Caves, take a Longtail Boat Tour, or head downtown for some Pad Thai or even pizza.
If you have your sea legs, check out this Phi Phi to Phucket 4-Day Boat Tour.
4). Sydney, Australia
Sydney gets about 4.6million international tourists each year. Because of this, the city has made plenty of accommodations to keep visitors busy and happy during their stay.
You can spend a good portion of the day in Circular Quay exploring the buzz of the city. From good food to entertainment to taking photos in front of the Sydney Opera House, you will stay occupied all day.
From Circular Quay, hop a ferry to go to Luna Park or Taronga Zoo. For the older and more adventurous kids, head up to the Sydney Tower Eye Skywalk, which will add a level of thrill to your trip.
Or put this 7-Day Sydney to Brisbane guided tour on your family bucket list. This trip is for children 8-year or older and includes city tours, kangaroo watching, wine tasting, sailing along Port Macquarie, cuddling with koalas, and local food.
5). Moab, Utah
This is one of the great family travel destinations for outdoorsy families.
Moab, Utah is only 5 miles from Arches National Park. The Park boasts over 2000 sandstone arches and other incredible natural features. You’ll be amazed by the balancing rocks and sky-high spires.
Once in the park, you can head to the visitor center for fun and interactive learning experiences. There is a 150-seat auditorium and a bookstore with a variety of items for sale.
You can also head to Canyonlands National Park for a huge variety of hiking trails. And you can keep the kids entertained and learning something at Moab Giants Dinosaur Park.
6). Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole has acquired quite a name for itself over the years. The town is elegant in nature and boasts the most fun winter activities you can imagine. There is so much to do in Jackson Hole, that you will not spend a moment being bored.
Located just a few minutes outside Jackson Hole is Snow King Mountain. The resort is open year-round and has a variety of summer and winter activities depending on the time of your visit.
In the winter, learn to ski, go snow tubing, or take a ride on the Cowboy Coaster and breeze past skiers and snowboarders through almost a mile of loops and turns.
In the summer, improve your navigation skills at Amaze’n Maze. Or, head to the Bungee Trampoline, play mini-golf, or get physical with Treetop Adventure, a course with zip-lines, suspension bridges, swinging logs, and more.
7). Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galápagos Islands is one of the most fearless wildlife spots in Ecuador in South America. Starting with giant sea tortoises, flightless birds, and playful baby sea lions, you will find your kids lost in this beautiful animal world. It will make you reminisce about your childhood and want to play with them energetically.
Being one of the family travel destinations, it is home to a diversity of several species of plants and animals, many of which can be found nowhere else in the world. This volcanic archipelago, located 600 miles from the Ecuador coast, remained as a hidden natural treasure for millions of years.
Families can find solace and friendliness of natural habitat in this bucket-list destination. Some of the engaging activities that you can carry out with your kids include diving, hiking, snorkeling, surfing, and kayaking.
You can even try your hand at horseback riding, especially on the Santa Cruz hillsides. Other adventurous activities include cycling through the impressive scenic beauties, right from the highest points of the islands to the bottom.
8). Tokyo, Japan
Going to Tokyo, Disneyland has always been on your kids’ travel bucket list. To fulfill their wishes, a visit to the capital city of Japan will give your children a fun-filled and adventurous treat and will make them thrilled. The town comprises a vast range of kid-friendly destinations that you can enjoy with your family including the Ghibli Museum and the National Museum of Nature and Science.
The Tsukiji Market is worth visiting with your family and children wherein you can see the famous tuna auctions in the early morning. The Ueno Zoo, on the other hand, is a beautiful spot for having a relaxing time among a range of animals, with tigers, pandas and elephants being the highlights.
Do you know you can get free admission to the most adventurous and fun-filled Fire Museum, where you and your kids can dress up as a fireman and play in the fire helicopters and trucks? Yet another amusement spot for kids is the Legoland Discovery Center where they can try their hands with a lot of blocks and roll around on the play area.
9). Kerala, India
India, a country full of rich cultural heritage and diversity, has so much to offer for families to have an enjoyable time. One such place is Kerala, a state situated in the extreme south in the Indian peninsula.
To start with, you can visit Fort Cochin, a small quarter situated in Kochi. It is home to some of the most beautiful restaurants and hotels, where you can enjoy yourself with your family.
On a day trip, consider witnessing the spectacular backwaters, lying parallel to the coast of the Arabian Sea in the West. It is like a labyrinth system, having interconnected rivers, canals and inlets, and stretches to over 900 km of waterways. You can travel down the Kerala backwaters on a houseboat made of palm leaves and wood.
Children will also love Kerala’s national parks, such as the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can spot the elephant or engage in bamboo rafting activities. The best time to visit the state would be during Winter, between September and March, the time when you can find a comfortable and soothing climate.
10). Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is indeed a great entertainment spot for kids to have fun and is one of the unique family travel destinations. This city in South Africa comprises some incredible beaches, Boulders being one of them. Children will have a wonderful time with the penguins playing around, a thing long-pending on your travel bucket list.
Traveling a little further down to North to the Fish Hoek beach, you can let your children play around and jump on the gentle waves and the beautiful playground. You can also have an exceptional dining experience at the Foodbarn in Noordhoek Farm Village, an extremely family-friendly spot.
The city even boasts of aplenty open spaces and parks, having favorable weather, which serves as some remarkable picnic spots. As far as the monsoon season is concerned, you can consider visiting some of the city’s renowned museums rich in cultural heritage. Some of the most favored ones include Zeitz MOCAA, Iziko South African Museum, Norval Foundation, and Warrior Toy Museum, amongst many others.
11). Edinburgh, Scotland
Being the capital of Scotland, it is considered one of the best family travel destinations in the United Kingdom. The city is small enough for families to stroll and roam around the place with kids enjoying some of its lovely and energetic tourist attractions, including the Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, and of course, the most recent, Royal Yacht Britannia.
The city sees a host of festivals and cultural events taking place throughout the year, which makes it stand out from other family tourist spots. You can join one of the twelve festivals taking place in Edinburgh, including the most popular Fringe, along with the science fest, the storytelling celebration, and many others.
However, even if you miss out on these festival seasons, you need not worry, since the famous Camera Obscura museum would not only offer you with some cool and crazy family photos but would also provide you with one of Edinburgh’s most spectacular rooftop views. Additionally, the Museum of Childhood is going to get your nostalgic and children would absolutely love the place.
12). Havana, Cuba
Havana is one of the best destinations where you can find some entertaining activities to spend a lovely time with your family. You will find a number of places which your kids will find exciting. You can consider taking a tour through the four floors of the planetarium, starting from the cosmos to the Big Bang. Also, make sure that you don’t miss out on the light and sound show of the later as your children will love it.
Havana has a vast expanse of greenery, especially at the Parque Almendares, which makes it a great picnic spot. You can even consider rowing on the river or going crazy on the golf course. Additionally, you can also have some joyful time at the beaches and have a host of cultural experiences and fun-filled tours in this island nation.
To check off items in your family travel bucket list faster, Cuba is the perfect vacation spot for you. Consider taking a day trip to Viñales, a two-hour drive from the capital city of Cuba. The things you can do include horse riding, visiting the tobacco farm, and of course, taking part in the most adventurous ziplining. Your kids will thank you for it!
13). Puglia, Italy
If you are looking forward to gifting your kids the joy of taking part in adventurous activities, Puglia is a great choice. It is home to several beautiful landscapes, charming Trulli (traditional huts of Italy having conical roofs). Puglia is indeed an ideal place to keep your children occupied and enthusiastic.
Forming the hill of Italy’s ‘boot’, Puglia is known for its centuries-old farmland, whitewashed hill towns, and a vast Mediterranean coastline. From waterparks to wildlife adventures, you can spend perfect family time, having something for everybody’s taste.
You can spend some quality time at the splendid caves of Grotte di Castellana, which dates back to about 90 million years. This pretty looking natural cave network has a depth of 60 meters underground, unfolding the world of ancient fossils, spiky stalagmites and stalactites, and deep canyons.
The local guides will help you take a spectacular tour down these mystical winding passages, and you can find some colorful and incredible natural formations of the earth.
You can also take your children to the ZooSafari Fasanolandia, and let them have some fun time amongst the free-roaming wildlife, including creatures across the globe.
14). Costa Rica, South America
Being one of the most sought after family travel destinations, Costa Rica, a country in South America, is the world leader in adventure and ecotourism. The prime area that is the center of attraction is the Monteverde Cloud Reserve Forest that attracts numerous tourists each year. Families can explore from several outdoor activities, including camping, hiking, canopy tours, horse riding, and many others. You can have a great time with your family and children, and make some unforgettable moments.
Moreover, Costa Rica is a land of natural attractions, including unique wildlife, cloud forests, and volcanoes. Luxury travelers and family tourists find the country quite appealing, and you can observe some of the green sea turtles breeding in the Caribbean shoreline.
The country is home to one of the most visited spots, that’s the Manuel Antonio National Park, adjacent to Manuel Antonio town. Full of incredible beaches and wildlife, the place is famous for its lively and jovial atmosphere, which warmly welcomes family visitors.
15). Toronto, Canada
Families looking for some kid-friendly activities to accomplish from their travel bucket list would definitely find Toronto a marvelous family tourism spot. Right from cheap thrills, to crisscrossing across the town in a streetcar, children will have a fun time in Canada’s largest city.
Is your kid a great fan of the ‘Jurassic Park’ series? Toronto would probably be the right place for your young ones. Do give the CN Tower a shot, a symbol of Canada and an icon of the skyline of Toronto, to make your kids enjoy watching the dinosaur bones.
You can even choose to wander about the city with your family at Chinatown and the Kensington Market located nearby. These areas are located in a convenient place, away from busy city life. The world-famous Niagara Falls in the south or the rocky isles of Georgian Bay in the North are some of the best family travel destinations. To get yourself a luxurious abode during your stay in Toronto, Fairmont Royal York Hotel would be the right choice.
16). Isle of Wight, UK
Want to have that buckets-and-spades holiday time with your family? The Isle of Wight in England is going to make you nostalgic! This lovely island has plenty to make your trip a fun-filled one, and kids will never fall out of adventurous activities. From playing on the sandy beaches and rock pooling to playing around in the cliff-top gardens, children will be kept entertained.
You can have some good family time witnessing some of the old-school attractions, which include a steam railway, a model village, and Blackgang, which is the oldest amusement park in the UK.
Additionally, you must not miss out on the iconic Needles Landmark Attraction on your visit to the Isle of Wight, where you can enjoy some stunning views. There’s nothing like taking an enthusiastic ride on the famous chairlift to see the chalk rock formation and colorful sands down the beach. It’s going to make your trip memorable!
17). Lake Retba, Senegal
Senegal, a West African country, has plenty to offer for families. It is home to some splendid natural wonders, ranging from open beaches to the beautiful Atlantic coast. Lake Retba, commonly known as Lac Rose, is less than an hour from Dakar, the capital city of Senegal. This salty lake looks like a pink lemonade is sure to catch the visitors’ eyes due to its unusual and vibrant pink color.
You can go on boat tours with your family and even consider riding an ATV or going on a 4×4 safari. You can even visit the salt flats and watch the local people extract sand from the lake. Also, don’t forget to visit the Ile de Fadiouth, a small island made entirely out of shells.
You can even swim in the salty lake with your family and kids, but make sure to rub some shea butter on your skin! Moreover, cruising on a wooden canoe, popularly known as a pirogue, across Lake Retba wouldn’t be a bad idea.
18). Maribor, Slovenia
To achieve your travel bucket list, a visit to this small yet brilliant country in the Balkans is not to be missed. It is one of the most preferred family travel destinations with loads of natural attractions like caves, nature parks, lakes, waterfalls and mountain peaks.
You can rent a car and travel North towards Maribor from the capital city of Ljubljana, and be an active part of the real entertainment of the country. You can find compelling activities to explore, suitable for all ages, in this mountain city.
Consider gifting your family and children with the gift of an exciting canoeing experience on river Drava during the summer. Winter too, will bring about a host of adventures with some skiing time in the nearby Pohorje Ski Resort.
You can also take your family to the famous Regional Museum Maribor to view the castle’s grand and dazzling interior, known for its luxury. The museum is a vast treasure chest of compelling antiques and collectibles, having a massive collection of Iron Age Celtic weapons, Frankish swords, Roman age coins, and some old age paintings and photography. Your kids will not only love them but also learn something new.
19). Antalya, Turkey
This populous city in Turkey is a great tourist spot where families can spend some quality time with a host of day trips and excursions spots. You can give your family a 4D cinema treat at the Antalya Aquarium, lying behind the Konyaaltı beach. Families can have fun at the Wildpark, having a range of reptiles and insects to witness.
If you want to experience some of the 1:25 scale recreations of the country’s most iconic and magnificent landmarks, a visit to the Antalya Minicity is a good idea. You can even take your kids to the indoor snow park and the famous Toy Museum situated at Antalya’s harbor.
Some of the top attractions of the city, include Lower Duden Waterfalls, Kursunlu Waterfalls, Kaleici, Konyaalti Beach, Old City Marina, Termessos and many others. You can even visit the Antalya Muzesi, a museum comprising 13 display halls, all of which exhibit the old times, right from the Paleolithic Age to the era of Ottoman.
20). The Maldives, Indian Ocean
This must be on your travel bucket list, and now it’s time to tick it off. The Maldives is not just a honeymoon spot, but is, in fact, a great family destination. It houses some kid-friendly resorts, where you can spend good family time.
Consider renting a hut on the beach and let your little ones play around gleefully on the white sand, and snorkeling in the waves and shallow waters. Some of the islands even have swimming pools, where you can indulge in some thrilling beach games or go kayaking together. There are driving courses as well for older children.
Apart from taking part in watersports, you can join the dolphin spotting and island hopping activities. Moreover, with beachside dining facilities and outdoor cinema under the clear starry skies, it enables families to have a perfect time during their stay in the Maldives. What’s more, you can even ride the most thrilling ride in a miniature submarine, which is bound to fill your holiday with some high-spirited moments.
Traveling with kids or a young family can seem a bit intimidating. But, once you take that leap, there is no going back. Taking them to these magical places around the globe will give them experiences and learning opportunities that cannot be replicated in a traditional learning environment.
Where would you go if money and time weren’t issues? Let me know in the comments below. And please be sure to share this list with your friends and family on social media.