It is our belief that a family vacation should be just that—a vacation for the family. Just because you have kids doesn’t mean the next 18 years of your life will be spent traipsing through water parks and attending princess-themed resort breakfasts. Here are 6 vacation ideas that prove that kid-friendly travel and parental happiness need not be mutually exclusive.
More than just sidewalk cafes, fabulous museums and fine wine, Paris is also a child’s urban dream come true. If you’re looking to burn off a pain au chocolat sugar high, be sure to hit up the Jardin d’Acclimatation, a playground aficionado’s dream come true. Looking to do something a bit more cultural? The Cite des Enfants is a kids museum that’s sure to delight parents as much as it will their offspring.
Swing by the Tuilleries Garden post-Louvre visit to ride the famous carousel and catch a puppet show. Or, hit up one of the small playgrounds scattered throughout the city. Whatever you end up doing, you’re guaranteed to find it all very magnifique.
Despite having acquired a reputation as being a haven for hipsters, Portland is the kind of place to take your kids for a relaxed but thoroughly enjoyable family trip. Public transportation is cheap. Add that to fact that kids get a kick out of busses and trains and you don’t have to deal with car rentals, and you’ll be getting a kick out of it too.
Be sure to check out the Oregon Zoo for your fix of cute animals, and encourage your budding Bill Nye by spending the afternoon at the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry. Restaurants like the Laurelwood Public House and Brewery cater to the entire family—you can sip on craft beer while your children play—it doesn’t get much better than that!
Looking for a family friendly city that’s heavy on charm? Amsterdam’s got what you need. With kid pleasing parks like Vondelpark and Amstelpark, you know your kids are going to be thoroughly entertained and chances are, you will be too. Open-air theatres, coffee shops situated beside playgrounds, and petting zoos galore virtually guarantee that there’s something to please everyone—even toddlers with the most discerning tastes.
Are you raising a budding chef? Take her to Kinderkookcafe for a lesson in pancake cooking where she can hone her flipping skills and eat some really good crepes. Or, just rent a couple of bikes, pack a lunch, and spend the day exploring this cyclist-friendly city together. No matter what you do, you’re bound to create some pretty fantastic memories.
New York City
There isn’t much prettier than springtime in New York. The trees are blossoming, the birds are chirping and the city itself seems to be awakening from a long hibernation in the most glorious way. Why not celebrate sunshine and longer days in the city that never sleeps? Looking to let your little ones work off some excess energy? New York is full of parks that are sure to wear out even the most energetic kids.
Visit Central Park for some tried and true classics or discover new spots like Teardrop Park or Pier 51—all are sure to appeal to even the hardest-to-please playground connoisseur. Looking to expand impressionable young minds? Visit the American Museum of Natural History or the Metropolitan Museum of Art—both feature exhibits that will appeal to parents and kids. And be sure to reward good behaviour with a trip to F.A.O. Schwarz – no trip to the big city is complete without a pilgrimage to this toy utopia!
Konnichiwa, Tokyo! This bustling metropolis is just the place to take your family if you’re looking for a phenomenal cultural experience that caters to all ages and interests. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the city’s impressive subway system and then head to Odaiba, a man-made island that features beaches, amusement park attractions and a marine park, for good measure.
Looking to incorporate some history into your itinerary? Imperial Park Gardens has just what you need. Be sure to visit some of the city’s magnificent shrines and temples—kids get a kick out of the cleaning stations, and they’re beautiful to look at. And be sure to explore all that Tokyo has to offer in terms of culinary delights. Many restaurants are kid friendly, and not much is cuter than a little one trying to master chopsticks!
Barcelona may invoke a decidedly grown up image, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be enjoyed with the littlest members of your family. Chances are you’ll find that its colourful architecture, beautiful waterfront, and abundance of play spots the ideal setting for a holiday that the entire family will find fabuloso.
One of your first stops should be Parc Güell, Antonio Gaudi’s outdoor masterpiece. The park plays host to miles of trails, countless architectural marvels and enough distractions to keep even the most active members of your family totally engaged. Sun and sand more your style? Barcelona’s beaches appeal to grown ups and kids alike and if you get tired of sandcastles, you can always rent a bike for a seaside ride. Like any good kid-friendly city, there’s also a wonderful zoo and plenty of food options that will make your little ones forget that chicken nuggets even exist.
Who is Kate Walker? She’s a freelance writer, yoga addict, and citizen of the concrete jungle. When not on the mat, Kate can be found at the dog park or on the dock in Muskoka. She is also pretty fond of running, skiing, and Settlers of Catan.