One of the greatest things that parents can do for their children is help them travel and see more of the world. Understanding that the world is grander than their little corner of it can help kids become more empathetic of other cultures and more understanding of other types of people. Traveling can also be a lot of fun for the whole family. It’s a great way to take the focus off of work, school, and chores, and to put the focus on bonding and having a good time.
Of course, your dream vacation looks a little different when there are kids involved. Kids need to be entertained. Meanwhile, as parents, you want to have a good time yourself, and you may even hope your kids actually learn something along the way. With that in mind, here are seven of the best travel destinations in the world for families with kids.
7.) Indianapolis, Indiana
Indiana might not be the first place you consider when you’re picking out family travel destinations, but perhaps it should be. Why? It’s home to the world’s largest children’s museum. Your kids will be delighted from the moment they see the giant dinosaur that looks like it’s peering into the museum from outside. The museum is packed with fun things for kids of all ages to do, and most travel guides say you should plan to spend at least one full day there with your kids.
Indianapolis also boasts an outdoor sanctuary of climbable art at their art museum, a rhythm museum for kids who love to make a lot of noise, and a zoo that comes complete with a dolphin show. It also has Conner Prairie, an interactive museum that is Indiana’s answer to Plymouth plantation. And if you or your kids get tired of all the various fun, educational activities Indianapolis has to offer, there’s always glow golf to give you a straight-up good time.
6.) Plymouth, Massachusetts
If you want your kids to experience a step into history, look no forward than Plymouth, Massachusetts. Plymouth Plantation is a recreation of what a pilgrim village would have looked like in 1627, complete with actors and actresses who take on the role of villagers. You and your kids can move through the town learning about what life was like—and you’ll learn almost as much as your kids do along the way.
Plymouth has tons of other historical sites to visit, including Plymouth rock and the Mayflower. It also has a planetarium, which is a great educational activity that will still feel like a departure from the rest of the day. Meanwhile, Plymouth is less than an hour’s drive from Boston, so if you wanted to, you could spend a couple days of educational time in Plymouth and then head to Boston for some shopping and live shows.
5.) Glen Rose, Texas
If any of your kids are into dinosaurs, Glen Rose, Texas is the best vacation spot for your family. Home both to Dinosaur World and Dinosaur Valley State Park, your kids can enjoy fossil digs, check out real dinosaur footprints, and also enjoy swimming and horseback riding. Glen Rose is best enjoyed as a camping location, which can make for a fun, low-key sort of family vacation.
Glen Rose is also about 20 miles from Glenbury, where you can further explore the heart of Texas by visiting the historic Hood County Jail Museum and also book a show at the Glenbury Opera House. Overall, this is a great vacation spot if you like to set your own pace while being outdoors and getting your hands a little dirty.
4.) Hershey, Pennsylvania
Let’s be real: There’s nothing our kids love more than sweets. That’s why Hershey Park in Hershey, Pennsylvania is such a big hit with kids: It’s a whole park dedicated to chocolate. Hershey Park has both roller coasters and aquatic rides to enjoy with your kids. They even have a whole chocolate town to explore.
Meanwhile, for a broader cultural experience, Hershey also has a theater and an orchestra. The area around Hershey is also rich with cultural experiences, from learning about the Civil War in Gettysburg to learning about the Amish in Lancaster County.
3.) Canary Islands, Spain
The Canary Islands in Spain are a great place for parents and children to both enjoy. Many of the islands have kids’ playgrounds in their town squares, and you can feel good about letting your child join local kids playing ball while you grab a bite within eye’s view. Fiestas may go late into the night, and almost all of them are kid-friendly, with local children staying up into the wee hours of the night having a good time. This is a great place to bring your children if they’re at an age where they’re chomping at the big to bend some rules and test some boundaries in a safe space.
Meanwhile, Tenerife boasts theme parks that your children will absolutely love, from Siam Park, with its breathtaking aquatic rides, to an entire park dedicated to bubble soccer. The island also has whale-watching and go-kart rides, so there are definite options for everyone in your family.
2.) San Diego, California
If you think the San Diego Zoo is the only kid-friendly attraction in San Diego, California, you couldn’t be further from the truth. While your kids will love the San Diego Zoo, what they’ll really go bananas for is Legoland, California, a theme park and resort that celebrates everything your kids love about Legos. Not only does Legoland have both a regular theme park and a water park, but it also has interactive shows, meet & greets with characters, and minifigure trading opportunities.
Meanwhile, if you time your visit correctly, you can also hit up the San Diego Comic Con, also known as Comic-Con International. It’s one of the foremost comic conventions in the world, filled with exhibits, artwork, live actors and actresses, and public presentations that everyone in your family will love.
1.) Orlando, Florida
Of course, no list of places to visit with your kids would be complete without mention of Orlando, Florida, and nearby Kissimmee, Florida. Between the two, you have access to three of the best places to take your children: Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World. Really, the hardest thing about visiting Orlando with kids is prioritizing which parks to see.
For a unique experience your children will love, you should also check out Medieval Times while you’re there. The theatric dinner experience includes a jousting tournament. If your kids get a kick out of stories of gallant knights and beautiful princesses, it’s a dinner event you won’t want to miss.
There are plenty of great ways to travel with your kids, indulging in their energy and excitement while also introducing them to cultural experiences they wouldn’t get if you just stayed home. These 7 locations are only a few of the great places you and your family can discover together. So, get out those passports and see what the world has to offer!