best family travel destinations

For us the start of the new year means planning our travel for the coming year. Based on our experiences from 2017, as well as fellow family travel bloggers whom we respect and admire here’s our round up of not-to-miss family travel destinations for 2018. You will also find tips on what to do and how to make the most of your time at that destination. There’s bound to be a destination or two in our round up that you hadn’t thought of and will now be inspired to visit.

Best Family Travel Destinations Your Kids Will Love in the United States

best family travel destinations - napa valley
Cheryl Ng Collett’s top pick for family travel in 2018 is Napa Valley, California. Photo: Cheryl Ng Collett. Itty Bitty Foodies

Napa Valley, California ~ Cheryl Ng Collett

Whenever we say Napa Valley is one of our favorite vacations, people always ask us “with the kids?” Yes! Napa Valley is very kid friendly. As with any trip, you need a little planning ahead and here’s our travel tips:

We recommend going to Calistoga in the northern part of Napa Valley which tends to be less touristy and more laid-back. There are many family-friendly activities to do as well as a few opportunities to slip in some wine drinking along the way. Here’s how:

  1. Pack a picnic and head to Old Faithful Geyser in California. There’s plenty to do to while away a lazy afternoon including a geyser that spouts regularly much to our kids’ delight, a geological museum, outdoor games, a small garden and petting farm. Bring your own wine and they provide wine openers and glasses. Less than a ten minute drive is the Petrified Forest, home to the largest collection of Petrified redwoods in the world. The docent-led one hour hikes are easy for little ones and stroller friendly.
  2. If you have older kids (5 years and up), make advance reservations to Castello de Amorosa. Parents and children get to drink their age appropriate grape juices while touring the medieval style building which includes a drawbridge.  during the tour. The walking tour is two hours long and no strollers are allowed.
  3. Foodie families need to make a stop at Solbar at The Solage. Don’t let the Forbes Five Star rating deter you, they cater to families. There’s even a Kids Menu if you need one. Take advantage of the outdoor bocce courts adjacent to the patio and let the kids play while you enjoy a local wine flight.

Cheryl Ng Collett is a lifestyle travel journalist and Mama to the IttyBittyFoodies, a blog geared towards modern families who like to eat adventurously and travel well.

Best Family Travel Destinations 2018
Becoming a Travel Family says, whether you’re into mountains or beaches, there is a place for you in the Pacific Northwest. Photo: Allison, Becoming a Travel Family

Pacific Northwest ~ Allison with Becoming a Traveling Family

When thinking about our favorite travel destinations for the whole family, one place that always comes to mind is the Pacific Northwest. This region of the United States has something for everyone in the whole family. Fascinating cities like Seattle offer interesting sites and fun finds. If you visit Seattle, make sure to watch the fish merchants toss their fish at Pike Place Market, and visit the Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe on the waterfront- both iconic places in the Emerald City.

You don’t have to travel far to leave the city behind and enter the great outdoors. National and state parks abound in both Washington and Oregon. Whether you’re into mountains or beaches, there is a place for you. Fort Worden State Park on the Washington peninsula is a great place for families. Kids love exploring old military bunkers and splashing around in the Puget Sound during the summer.

By Allison with Becoming a Travel Family.

best family travel destinations
St Simons was our ultimate family travel destination this past year. Our kids continue to ask to return. About to work on those plans! Photo: Liana, Insider Families

St Simon’s Island, Georgia ~ Liana, Insider Families

Beautiful beaches alone are a real treat, but pair that with history and authentic regional food and you’ve got the perfect vacation. St Simons tops our personal list of favorite family travel destinations because of the delight and awe we saw through the eyes of our kids. St Simons Island is a beach town, one of the Golden Isles, located on the Atlantic Coast of Georgia just north of Florida. Not only does the island have spectacular beaches, but also a deep history, authentic southern food and lots for a family to do. In addition to playing and relaxing on the beautiful beach there’s a historic lighthouse to climb, tree spirits to search for via bikes built for two and more.

St Simons Island Insider Tip: Don’t miss searching for ghost crabs on the beach after dark. Our kids were lucky enough to spot one and their undulated excitement at actually seeing a ghost crab scamper across the beach to escape the beam of our flashlight was a pretty memorable experience.

By Liana, Insider Families

best family travel destinations - san francisco
San Francisco is Julie with More than Main Street’s top pick of best family travel destinations that your kids will love in 2018. Photo Courtesy: Julie, More than Main Street

San Francisco ~ Julie, More than Main Street

Julie with More than Main Street says her family’s pick for their number one best family travel destination for 2018 is San Francisco, California!

Here are some of their favorite things to do and insider tips:

  • Visit Alcatraz- Be sure to get your tickets online way in advance! They sell out early. Even young children and non-history buffs will be fascinated with the audio tour.
  • Visit the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, and The Painted Ladies (even if you don’t have a car you can get an Uber or Lyft driver to take you!)
  • Take your kids to The Exploratorium! This fantastic hands-on science museum will entertain kids of all ages for hours upon hours.
  • Visit the Mission District and take in the street art…it’s like an outdoor art museum!

San Francisco is very easy to get around as long as you’re prepared for the hills- they are no joke! And don’t forget to take a ride on a cable car at least once! Lines can get long at popular stops, so be generous with your timeline, or in our case, get on at a stop with no wait and see where it takes you! San Francisco is one of our family’s absolute favorite cities to visit in the U.S.

By Julie, More than Main Street!

best family travel destinations
Your Vail summer family vacation really needs to include a ride up the gondola for the views! Photo: Liana, Insider Families

Vail, Colorado ~ Liana, Insider Families

While Vail, Colorado may be best known for its epic ski slopes, the area has even more to offer during summer. With warm sunny days, cool nights, clear skies and the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, summer is the perfect season to enjoy Vail outdoor adventures and nature at its best. From speeding down the mountain on the Forest Flyer or tubing hill or flying through the air on a zip line, to testing your bravery on one of the ropes courses, there is something for kids and adults of all ages at Epic Discovery located atop Vail Mountain.

Bright and beautiful music and culture from around the world converges on Vail in the summer. The mountains come alive with the music of Bravo! Vail and their four resident orchestras — Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra and New York Philharmonic. Meanwhile the Vail International Dance Festival brings the best of dance to the stages and streets of Vail. All offer programs ideal for and even specifically for kids and families. Summer camps range from outdoor science and nature camps to mountain biking and BMX camps. The summer concludes with the thrill of adventure racing at the Kids Adventure Games. Kids cross the finish line, muddy, sweaty, smiling and with a much deserved sense of pride and accomplishment.

Vail Insider Tip: Think Vail is too expensive? Think again! While the ski lifts won’t be running, May and October are very affordable and less crowded. Hotels offer highly discounted lodging as do restaurants. While ski season is the most popular season, summer is probably the best for families. Outdoor activities and summer camps abound.

By Liana, Insider Families

best family travel destinations
Santa Fe is a city that ignites all the senses. From authentic New Mexican cuisine to interactive arts there is something for everyone. Just be sure not to miss Meow Wolf. Photo: Liana, Insider Families

Santa Fe, New Mexico ~ Liana, Insider Families

A visit to Santa Fe with kids is a magical experience. It delights all of the senses from the sight of enchanting vistas to the smells and tastes of the chilis and chocolates of New Mexican cuisine.   Explore the fantastic museums and other cultural attractions, most of which include an interactive component for kids. Take time to enjoy traditional New Mexican cuisine comprised of flavors of native chilis, beans and chocolate and accompanied savory tortillas. Our children departed with a new found love of tacos. Take in the views. New Mexico is aptly named the Land of Enchantment in part due to its spectacular landscapes and sunsets. Take a hike, not just to enjoy the scenery, but also learn about the ancient Pueblo people.
Santa Fe Insider Tip: When visiting Santa Fe with your family the one attraction that you must not leave off of your list is Meow Wolf. This multi-dimensional, multi-sensory place of discovery and imagination that was born of art is both amusement park and art experience. Meow Wolf is sure to enchant your entire family.
By Liana, Insider Families

Caribbean Family Travel Destinations Your Kids Will Love

best family travel destinations 2018 - st. lucia
Photo: Amanda Bowers, Vera Vise

St. Lucia ~ Amanda Bowers VeraVise WOW Travel

A very popular cruise excursion in St. Lucia is the Pitons in Soufrière.  Soufrière, however, is three hours round trip from the port. With three young children this wasn’t an option. We  opted, instead, to visit Pigeon Island National Landmark (PINL).  PINL is 30 minutes from the port and cost approximately $60 round trip. The cruise shore excursion would have cost over  $200.  In addition to saving time and money, PINL is great for families.

  • The entry fee is $8 for adults, $3 for children 5-12, and children under 5 are free.
  • PINL offers hiking, swimming, and other outdoor activities.
  • PINL has two restaurants on site serving local Caribbean cuisine. It was amazing!
  • PINL offers a calm bay to swim with your children.  Chairs are only $2
  • Finally, PINL is beautiful!  We were there on an overcast day and were impressed.  I imagine that a clear day would be even better.

By Amanda Bowers of VeraVise WOW Travel

European Family Travel Destinations Your Kids Will Love

Best family travel destinations 2018
Alex with My Lifelong holiday says Bilbao, Spain is a fun packed city with so many amazing things to see that would inspire any child. Photo Courtesy: Alex, My Lifelong Holiday

Bilbao, Spain ~ Alex, My Lifelong Holiday

Bilbao is one of the most family friendly cities I have ever visited. I mean, the Spanish love children anyway but add to that the fact that they seem to have a perfect kid-friendly way of eating nailed too and you have the ideal city break! In the Basque area of Spain small dishes called Pinxtos are served in most bars from noon till 9pm. They cost around 1 euro and the selections on offer just blew my kids minds – they absolutely loved seeing the city with regular bar-stops to eat one or two pinxtos, refuel and set off again, excited about their next bite!
It’s a fun packed city with so many amazing things to see that would inspire any child. Be sure to hang out near the Guggenheim museum for a while, just soaking up the atmosphere, and don’t underestimate the effect all this culture can have on little peoples minds. Definitely an inspirational city and absolutely geared up for families.

Asian Family Travel Destinations Your Kids Will Love

best family travel destinations - Tokyo
Views from the Mori Tower over the vast concrete jungle of Tokyo. Photo: Courtesy Vanessa, Wanderlust Plus One

Tokyo ~ Vanessa, Wanderlust Plus One

There’s no place like Tokyo for families who want to experience culture and diversity, it is unlike anywhere else. Future and traditions come together in a surprisingly harmonious metropolis.  Kids will enjoy discovering the unusual everyday objects, from high tech toilets to vending machines on every corner, game arcades, an abundance of exciting museums and superfast lifts that will whizz high up in the sky scrapers to offer views never seen before.  Once the senses are on overload head to one of the many traditional parks and gardens, crazy playgrounds or the peaceful temples and shrines that dot the city to relax.  Tokyo will never cease to amaze, surprise and inspire you and your little ones, you will without doubt, want to return again and again.

By Vanessa, Wanderlust Plus One

best travel destinations 2018 Siargao
Mart with Raf’s World says Siargao has a lot to offer visitors, including families wanting a super adventurous getaway. Photo: Mart, Raf’s World

The New Bali: Siargao Island, Philippines ~ Mart, Raf’s World

Twenty years ago I set foot on a remote island completely unaware it was about to change my life. It became my home for seven years after I got married to the girl of my dreams, settled into tropical living, and started a family. Back then the island was a remote tropical backwater, but now it’s fast changing into Asia’s newest travel destination: Siargao Island.

Siargao has a lot to offer visitors, including families wanting a super adventurous getaway. From the moment you look down upon acres of mangroves and palm trees flying in, you begin to fall in love with this beautiful place. No matter how many days you plan to stay, there is always something to do. On one day take a pump boat to a paradise island (we recommend Casulian) or explore a beautiful lagoon (try Sugba). On another have a surf lesson or cruise around the island on a motorbike. If you’re already a good surfer, try one of nine waves to die for on Siargao.

Whilst the island first became popular with surfers, it’s so much more than waves. If you make the effort to go, you’ll be rewarded with paradise beaches, awesome seafood, friendly, English-speaking locals and a unique vibe. Our final tip: go there sooner rather than later, before development reduces some of its pristine appeal.

By Mart at Raf’s World.

 Insider Families round up of not-to-miss family travel destinations for 2018. Travel blogger certified. #familytravel #familyvacation #vail #tokyo #stlucia #santafe


Travel Blogger Certified Family Travel Destinations Your Kids Will Love

11 thoughts on “Travel Blogger Certified Family Travel Destinations Your Kids Will Love

  • January 15, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Great and varied suggestions!

  • January 18, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Thanks for including me!

    • January 21, 2018 at 4:00 am

      Thanks so much for contributing and adding to my wanderlust!

  • January 18, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    So much inspiration here! I would love to get back to the States soon and explore the Pacific Northwest and Colorado. Reading about Tokyo is getting me very excited about our trip to Japan later this year. Thanks for sharing on #farawayfiles

    • January 21, 2018 at 4:01 am

      Have so much fun in Tokyo! We went 11 years ago. Though I will admit I like Kyoto best. I am working on how to get back with kids in the next couple of years.

  • January 19, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    So many great family travel recommendations, Liana! I’d love to explore more of the Pacific North West. I’d like to take the kids to Seattle ( a city I loved) and I’m keen to see the rugged Oregon Coast. Bilbao in Spain looks fabulous too. Thanks for the inspiration. #FarawayFiles

    • January 21, 2018 at 4:02 am

      I’ve never been to Seattle, but it is certainly pushed up the list now. Thanks for stopping by and reading!

  • January 23, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    So many amazing choices! I’ve been to a few, but these new perspectives on old favorites are inspiring me to make some return trips! Thanks for sharing on #farawayfiles

  • January 24, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    Great list! Our family would probably pick Tokyo – we’d all love to see it! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles

  • June 11, 2018 at 7:28 am

    A lot of amazing places to go to. Summer’s gonna be fun!

  • July 27, 2018 at 8:50 am

    I don’t have kids so maybe i will travel this alone. Thank you for the suggestions, god bless!


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