Travelling with family is a great way to expand horizons and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Whether you want to build sand castles on a tropical beach or explore a new city, there are many ideal child-friendly destinations all over the globe.
Here are our top picks for a family holiday that ticks all the boxes.
This tropical paradise is only a short flight away, so it’s an ideal first international plane trip for younger children.
Simply take your pick from a large number of family friendly, all-inclusive resorts that make the holiday easy and enjoyable for the whole family.
Most resorts feature kids’ clubs, with all kinds of activities to choose from. Perhaps your children fancy sailing, tennis lessons, snorkelling or even competing in a talent show? The kids’ club will pick them up at breakfast and keep them entertained all day, while parents can relax around the pool or enjoy activities on their own. You can collect them whenever you like for some quality family time, too – just don’t be surprised if they’re having too much fun and don’t want to hang with their parents!
These resorts have everything covered, whether you prefer to stay on the mainland or venture out to an island. Of course, it helps that these activities are set amongst crystal clear tropical waters, beautiful sandy beaches and palm trees!
For younger children, there are experienced nannies available who can offer parents some relaxation time, or a chance to enjoy a dinner out.
Like Fijian resorts, many cruises offer all-inclusive packages that cater to the whole family, with kids’ clubs, shows, nannies, different restaurants and teenage only areas.
The great benefit of taking the family on a cruise is the ability to visit a range of beautiful locations, without having to take the kids on multiple flights or battle through airports to get there.
It also means unpacking only once, then having your mobile bedroom travel with you, with everything you need at your fingertips. It’s a great way to avoid disrupting the kids sleep schedules too!
Cruises have different options available, so check out what’s on offer. If your children are into sci-fi, Disney cruises offer Jedi training and Star Wars themed days, along with the ubiquitous Disney Princess activities.
All this is available while taking in the beauty of the seas and exploring exciting new ports.
3. Bay of Islands, New Zealand
For an easy family break that’s just a short flight away, why not head across the ditch? New Zealand’s Bay of Islands has plenty on offer for the whole family, from whale watching and kayaking to beautiful beaches and picturesque parks.
There are plenty of accommodation options, with family friendly hotels and resorts throughout. Animal lovers can take boat trips in search of whales, dolphins and sea birds in their natural habitats. These cruises cater to families, with activities for all ages that are sure to impress the whole family.
For thrill seekers, why not try parasailing, take an adventure cruise, or head to Action World? Families can visit Action World and find plenty to entertain everyone, with adrenaline-filled activities for older children and more friendly ones for youngsters.
When you’ve exhausted the kids, head to the Waiariki natural hot springs to revive tired muscles. Of course, there are plenty of free activities too, with beaches, bush walks, waterfalls and historic sites to boot.
4. Los Angeles, California, USA
You can stay at one of Disneyland’s onsite hotels, where the magic of Disney continues beyond the gates of the legendary theme park. But the "happiest place on earth" isn’t all that’s on offer in Los Angeles. In the realm of theme parks, there are multiple others to choose from including Universal Studios and Six Flags.
All of these have options that cater to children of all ages, with exciting attractions for both older and younger kids, plus shows and parades to entertain the whole family.
For the inquisitive ones there’s also the Kidspace Children’s Museum, the Griffith Observatory, the Los Angeles Zoo and the California Science Centre.
Once their brains are full of information, you could head out on a bus tour of famous landmarks or visit the Hollywood walk of fame. Perhaps you’ll even see a celebrity or two!
Finally, there is the famous beach of Santa Monica, with a pier topped with a Ferris wheel, roller coaster and carnival games.
Whatever you do, one thing is certain: after a family trip to Los Angeles, the kids will certainly sleep well!
5. Copenhagen, Denmark
As the home of one of the greatest children’s authors in the world, Hans Christian Andersen, it’s no surprise that Copenhagen is a great holiday destination for children.
Beyond the beautiful, colourful city and the iconic Little Mermaid statue, there’s a world of child-friendly attractions to explore that make the long flight worth it.
The many majestic palaces and historical sites mean that sightseeing around the area will get the imagination soaring.
Tivoli garden is a well-loved local theme park and concert venue, or for those who love to create, take a trip to the famous LEGOLAND.
Let the children explore in a world created from everyone’s favourite building blocks, meet Lego characters and ride rollercoasters, trains and pirate ships.
For the animal lovers, there’s the National Aquarium, the zoo and the zoological museum. Budding young scientists will enjoy the planetarium, while the Children’s Museum and the Viking Ship Museum will have the whole family stepping back in time together!
When the kids are tired from all the exploring, it’s a good idea to visit one of the many ice cream parlours for a special treat. Although Copenhagen is a lot further to get to, the parent superpowers required for the long flight are worth it for the beauty and culture the whole family can appreciate.
This popular holiday destination for adults also has plenty to offer children, so you can still visit your favourite holiday spot with the family in tow.
Bali has it all, from beautiful beaches and rain forests, to exotic culture and cheeky wildlife. Many family resorts cater to children with kids’ clubs, activity schedules and even nannies available to accompany families whether they’re in the resort or out and about.
Planet Trekkers club at the Intercontinental offers everything from cooking classes, to pool activities and cultural experiences. Parents can relax or dine out while the children are happy and entertained by staff.
Outside the resort, Waterbom Park is a real highlight for families. It’s one of the largest water parks in the world, with all bases covered – right from activities for youngsters through to thrilling waterslides and adrenaline-pumping rides.
If that’s not enough there are plenty of other great activities around Bali, from treetop adventure walks, to surf schools for kids.
For animal lovers, the Ubud Monkey Forest is worth a visit, although it’s important to keep an eye on belongings as the monkeys can have sticky fingers!
The butterfly park is another great attraction, where vivid colour and grace combine to amaze the kids.
If you’re feeling inspired to head overseas with the family, great! There’s more to it than just the destination, though, so we’ve compiled a few helpful pointers to help with smooth sailing. The simple things can make all the difference!
- Allow for extra time. As you know, things move a bit slower when children are involved, so set realistic expectations for activities and allow plenty of extra time for packing day bags and getting everyone ready each day.
- Lists are your friend! When holiday relaxation mode hits, it can be easy to forget the small things that make a big difference. Before you leave, create a list of daily necessities for the kids. As you pack the kids’ day pack each day you won’t have to think about it or wonder if you’ve forgotten anything.
- In case you become separated, write your mobile number on your child’s arm.
- Always check your accommodation is child friendly when you arrive. You can start by checking the locks on doors and windows to make sure the room is secure. If possible, move furniture around to cover power sockets or wires that are exposed. It's also a good idea to check the temperature of the hot water. If it’s too hot, you’ll be able to warn the kids.
- Kids can be more susceptible to illnesses, especially tummy bugs! Carry hand sanitiser with you and if you’re ever in doubt about the quality of water, it’s best to play it safe and stick to the bottled stuff.