Best family vacation destinations in the world: a roundup of the best vacation spots for families and best family holiday ideas for 2020 – by real families!
As the year comes to an end, I look back at the wonderful family travels we took this year and start planning for the year ahead.
Googling ‘the best family vacation destinations in the world’ is my addiction and the result of these web wanderings is a list of family travel dreams and family vacation ideas that are guaranteed to inspire your wanderlust – and that of your kids!
These are my top picks of great places for family vacations around the world.
They are based on our own trips which we now recommend to others and real family vacations fellow travelers and friends have actually taken and loved.
I hope it will inspire you and help your family travel plans!
On the fence about taking the kids on international travels? Read these family travel quotes and find all the encouragement and inspiration to pack up and go!
Family adventure in Italy by train
Italy is one of the most family-friendly destinations in the world and the perfect spot for a family vacation for pretty much all types of families!
In Italy, you can have a sea and sun holiday, you can have a hiking adventure, you can binge on city exploring or you can do a bit of everything, all without taking off work more than a couple of weeks!
Even better, you can keep your Italy family adventure eco-friendly if you use the excellent train system that criss-crosses the country.
You can find tips and suggestions on what to see in Italy with kids in the following articles:
- 10 days in Italy – classic Italy itinerary for first-timers
- Italy itineraries: 9 ideas for new and returning visitors
- 50 awesome things to do in Italy with kids
- How to plan a family trip to Italy – step by step guide
Top tip: for first hand, personalized tips for visiting Italy with kids, join my facebook group about Italy with Kids Travel Tips and Ideas – it is free, super friendly and packed with info. I would love to see you there!
Family road tripping in Ireland
If you are looking for a road trip destination that stunning, easy and not too tiring for kids, then look no farther than Ireland.
Small, English speaking and so beautiful you will have to pinch yourself to make sure you are not dreaming, Ireland is an exceptionally family-friendly destination and a great place for a family vacation both for experience travelers and families at their first international travel experience.
We have been living in Ireland for the last 15 years, and these are our guides to visit Ireland with kids.
- Best Ireland itineraries for 7, 10 days, 2 weeks in Ireland
- Tips for planning your first trip to Ireland
- Top things to do in Ireland with kids
- Traveling to Ireland with kids: tips for families
- Driving around Ireland: need to know
Ireland is so child-friendly and easy to explore, it is our tops pick as best destination to travel with family for first-time family travelers.
California dreaming family adventure
California steals everyone’s heart and how could it be otherwise?
This gorgeous US sate is breathtakingly beautiful, varied, interesting, family-friendly and easy to explore: what is not to love?
There are many ways to visit California but the quintessential California adventure takes you on the road and there are plenty of family road trip itineraries around California to choose from!
Short on time? Take a few days to discover the San Francisco area and stretch to wonderful Yosemite.
Want to add a special treat for the kids? This is the home of Disneyland, family days out don’t get much better than that!
We have been going on a family holiday to California for the last 4 years in a row. These are our family travel guides to the area.
- Things to do in Southern California with kids
- Joshua Tree with kids
- Yosemite with kids
- Things to do in LA with kids
- Driving the Pacific coast highway with kids
US National Parks Utah and Arizona family adventure
A road trip through the stunning scenery of the Southwest of the US may well be the most beautiful family adventure you will ever take.
Utah and Arizona are a powerhouse of beautiful landscapes and have some of the most impressive National Parks in the country as well as some of the most unique landscapes in the world.
Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon, Zion are out of this world beautiful and they are so well equipped for families, the make this area the best family destination in the US and one of the best family holiday destinations in the world.
You can find tips and resources for a family road trip in the Southwest in the following guides:
- US Southwest family itinerary
- Visiting Grand Canyon with kids
- Utah family road trip itinerary
- Visiting Monument Valley: full travel guide
Family road tripping in Jordan
Adventurous families may well find in Jordan their family travel ideal destination.
This is the country I have on my personal watchlist for the coming year and the more I read about it, the more I get persuaded it is a place for a great family vacation especially with school-age kids.
Compact and safe, Jordan can be visited in as little as 10 days and has famous locations such as Petra (a great excuse to watch Indiana Jones with the new generation!), Amman and of course the Dead Sea, where you can float like never before!
The resources I have been using to plan our trip to Jordan are:
Theme parks and desert adventures for families in the United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates are one of the best family vacation destinations for families looking to mix theme parks fun for the kids without renouncing a taste for the exotic.
Safe, easy for families and close enough to Europe to be a great family destination even for a short school break, the Emirates is a great place for winter sun and for families who enjoy good hotels and resort facilities.
I hear the theme parks (Ferrari world! Legoland! Yas Waterworld!) and the hotel pools are out of this world!
I am myself planning a trip to the Emirates for the coming spring and these are the best resources I have come across.
- One day in Dubai
- Best things to do in Dubai with kids
- Dubai desert safari with kids
- Best things to do in Abu Dhabi with kids
Sea, smiles and culture family vacation in Bali
Bali entered my list of best family vacations in the world thanks to the website ‘Rolling Along with kids’ which is entirely dedicated to the island of Bali and how to enjoy it as a family.
The more I read about it, the most I am convinced this is one of the best spots for a family vacation if you are looking to mix time at the beach with cultural exploration and family-friendly fun.
The Balinese are known for being exceptionally welcoming to kids!
My go-to resources for a family trip to Bali are:
See and sun vacation in Curacao
It is hard to beat the Caribbean when it comes to sea and sun vacation but this is not always the easiest destination for families with school age children.
Hurricane season happens just when the schools are off, threatening rain or worse. However, there is a solution and the solution is going to Curacao!
Curacao is a wonderful island right in front of Venezuela.
Located immediately below the hurricane belt, it is safe to visit even in summer, when kids are off school, and it has wonderful beaches as well as Unesco World Heritage Site city: Willemstadt.
Well connected to Europe with directs flights to the Netherlands (Curacao is Dutch) this is a great vacation destination for families with kids who want a sea and sun Caribbean holiday during the long school summer break
Read more about Curacao with kids here.
Downunder family vacation in Australia
Far, beautiful, English speaking and the home of koala and kangaroos: Austalia simply had to feature among as one the best family travel destinations in the world!
There is a lot to see and do in Australia with kids so much, actually, that the problem is not much what to see in Australia but rather: how to see it all!
The distances here are immense and I don’t just mean the time needed to get there: the country itself is huge!
Depending on the time you have, you can see it all or break it down into more manageable chunks.
These are the best resources for planning a family trip to Australia:
- Top things to do in Sydney with kids
- Top things to do in Melbourne with kids
- Top things to do in Canberra with kids
- Western Australia family road trip itinerary
Spain and Portugal family travel train adventure
If you dream of a family holiday in Europe that mixes city sightseeing, time at the beach and a little bit of adventure, then a rail trip through Spain and Portugal may just be the ticket!
Blessed with beautiful weather, great scenery and some of the best European cities to visit with kids, Spain and Portugal are super family-friendly and easy to explore by train.
They are the perfect destination for great family vacations for families based in Europe who do not want to fly and or families coming from overseas looking for a low impact and fun way to travel once in Europe.
Family travel resources for Spain and Portugal are here:
- Madrid with kids
- Barcelona with kids
- Seville with kids
- Mallorca with kids (island)
- Portugal with kids
- Lisbon with kids
Eastern Europe family trip to Bulgaria
If you are looking for a family vacation in Europe with a difference, then Bulgaria may be the perfect place!
Easy to reach, beautiful safe and not yet overrun by tourism, Bulgaria has beautiful cities, lovely mountains and even the beach: what is not to love!
We will be going to Bulgaria this summer, and we are getting inspired and ready following the tips on family guide to Bulgaria
Mainland Greece sea and myths family road trip vacation
Greece is a very popular family travel destination and with that stunning blue sea and gorgeous waters, it is easy to see why
However, popularity comes at a price and if you are traveling with kids in the summer, the very high season, the price can be literal and prohibitive.
Unless, that is, you think a little bit out of the box, skip the most popular islands and head to mainland Greece and the Peloponnese!
Compact, beautiful and a fraction of the price compared with busy Santonrinni or Mikonos, the Peloponnese has stunning sea, world-famous archaeological sites and is within easy reach from Athens.
This is the best family vacation destination for families who want to mix cultural adventures and time at the beach.
Good family resources for a family trip to Greece:
Benelux to Paris train travel family vacation
If you want to show your kids some of the most beautiful European capitals without driving or covering excessively long distances, then this train journey in the Netherlands, Belgium Luxemburg and France is just what you need!
With an itinerary in this area, you can easily visit Amsterdam, Brussels, Luxembourg and Paris all in the space of a few days and you can also add many shorter day trips to explore the fabulous countryside of this part of Europe.
Each of these destinations has plenty to offer to kids and their parents and know it well since we go often and can personally vouch for it!
You can find family city guides for this area here:
Mountain delight family vacation in Switzerland
Families who love outdoor pursuits should put one place on their family vacation list: Switzerland!
Located in the heart of Europe and blessed with some of the most beautiful mountain scenery you can dream of, Switzerland is the perfect family destination for sporty kids, both in summer and winter!
Some of our favorite resources for family travel in Spain are:
Santa’s village magic family trip to Rovaniemi
I am going to close this list of the best family vacation destination with one that is so magical, it might even be too much: a family trip to Santa’s Village in Rovaniemi, Finland!
A trip to see Santa is the best family holiday idea for families who want to travel in winter and supercharge the magic of Christmas and I know several people who have done it and have built spectacular family memories!
If you are planning a trip to see Santa, here are some useful resources:
- Awesome things to do in Rovaniemi with kids
- How to visit Lapland on a budget as a family
- All you need to know to visit Lapland with kids
I hope you enjoyed this list of great family vacation destinations and ideas around the world and it inspired your 2020 family travels. Safe travels!