8 incredible things to do in Mexico with kids for a perfect a family vacation

Tulum Mexico

Dreaming of visiting Mexico with kids but unsure where to go? Then you will love our handpicked selection of the best places to visit in Mexico with kids and the best things to do in Mexico with kids on a first visit. Ideas for a family beach vacation in Mexico, best Mayan ruins to visit with kids, fun activities in Mexico for adventurous families.

Mexico is a fantastic destination for a family vacation, full of attractions and things to do to keep kids and parents happy.

When visiting Mexico with kids, you can choose to relax on Mexico’s pristine beaches, go snorkeling, go exploring mysterious and beautiful Mayan ruins.

You can also head to Chiapas and its beautiful towns and villages and, of course, indulge in all the excellent food Mexico has to offer.

Whatever type of family vacation you have in mind, chances are Mexico will deliver!

These are our favorite places to visit in Mexico with kids and fun things to do in Mexico on a family vacation.

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Best places to visit in Mexico with kids map: our top picks

8 Fantastic things to do in Mexico with kids on a family vacation

Enjoy the beaches and waters of Isla Mujeres, Yucatan – the best beach in Mexico for families with toddlers and small kids

Isla Mujeres is the first place we visited in Mexico and our favorite for a Mexican vacation with the kids.

Located immediately in front of Cancun and its international airport, it is easy to reach and a bit of an island paradise.

The main thing that made us fall in love with Mexico here is its Playa Norte (North Beach).

North Beach Isla Mujeres is immediately in front of the Mexican Yucatan Coast and the waters here are crystal clear, warm and shallow.

It is absolutely perfect for kids and beginner swimmers, and so are the white sandy beaches that gently degrade into the Caribbean Sea.

Other beaches of Isla Mujeres are suitable for snorkeling and more adventurous swimmers.

Excellent for kids and adults is Park El Garrafon, where you can go snorkeling, but also rent a kayak or go ziplining and Parque de Los Suenos Water Park, where you can go kayaking, paddle boarding, water sliding, swimming freshwater pools, climbing walls, dangle on rope swings and more!

In terms of facilities, Isla Mujeres has many hotels and resorts for all budgets and lovely restaurants and cafes with amazing juices and food to suit all ages and tastes.

We love Isla Mujeres for kids. We find it is more pleasant and relaxing than nearby playa del Carmen and Cancun, popular yet too built up for our taste.

Top Tip: to enjoy the many things Isla Mujeres has to offer, we recommend you equip them with essential beach gear for kids. Find here >>> our family beach vacation packing list.

Things we found useful were kids’ rash vests, kids’ snorkeling goggles and kids’ water shoes – perfect for getting in and out of the water with no stress.

Find family resorts and kid-friendly hotels in Isla Mujeres here

Enjoy Tulum with kids

Another fantastic beach destination in Mexico for kids is Tulum.

Tulum beach with Mayan ruins on rocky promontory overlooking the sea
Beautiful beach with turquoise water in Tulum Mexico, Mayan ruins on top of the cliff/ Depositphotos

Located on the Gulf Coast of Mexico, only a short drive south of Cancun, Tulum is a paradise of white sand, palm trees, pristine waters, and Mayan ruins, all in the same place!

Compared with Isla Mujeres, the waters are less shallow, so we feel Tulum is more suited to families older kids but equally heavenly!

Our favorite way to enjoy Tulum is by staying in a beach cabana.

Several resorts offer this option, and it is a beautiful way to connect with the natural feature of Tulum without having to compromise excessively on comfort.

The cabanas are safe, secluded and give you perfect access to the ocean.

Kids love the idea of a hut on the beach and the freedom to go in an out in their bare feet on the soft sand is fantastic for them!

As well as the beach, Tulum has Mayan ruins perfect on the top of a rock promontory overlooking the ocean, which are a must-see for families.

I highly recommend you check out this comprehensive travel guide to Tulum: it has all you need to plan your stay.

Fun story! When we visited Tulum for the first time, I had to confront my biggest phobia: butterflies!

You can read all about the incident here.

Find family-friendly resorts and hotels in Tulum here

Marvel at the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza with kids

Chichen Itza has some of the most famous Mayan ruins in Mexico, and it is an easy and beautiful place to visit with kids.

Chichen Itza is a large archaeological site, mostly flat and therefore east enough to explore with kids of any age, even toddlers.

The star of the show in Chichen Itza is the main Pyramid, which is sure to make an impression on kids and parents alike.

When we visited the first time, it was possible to climb the pyramid, which was fun for kids but crazy, if you think of the damage the climbing can do to these priceless monuments!

Now you cannot go up anymore but the effect is still spectacular and there are several other areas in the archaeological site worth seeing.

We loved the area with the columns, fantastic for parents and a great place to run around for kids and the incredible Caracol, a round, imposing building worth seeing.

Yucatan and its ruins make a wonderful educational vacation spot!

Top tip: Chichen Itza gets very hot. Make sure you are well equipped with water, sun hats, sunglasses and sun and bug protection – you will need it!

Swim in Mexican Cenotes – the perfect activity for adventurous kids in Mexico

Adventurous kids and parents will love the chance to swim in a cenote. A cenote is a naturally occurring limestone filled with fresh water where you can swim surrounded by impressive rock walls!

People swimming in Dos Ojos cenote. This cenote is located 20 km from Tulum in Yucatan peninsula, Mexico/ Depositphotos.

It is one of the most unique and best things to do in Mexico with kids!

Not all cenotes are suitable for kids so it is worth doing some research. I also recommend you have life jackets especially if your kids are not confident swimmers.

Some of the best cenotes in Mexico for kids are Gran Cenote, Cenote Dos Ojos, Cenote Ak Tun Ha, Zachil Ha and Cenote Azul in Playa Del Carmen.

Top tip! Cenotes are a natural wonder but can be a little scary for small kids. Those with tall rock walls are stunning but feel wild and remote: adventurous kids will love them and feel like they are in an adventure movie, but smaller ones may find them a little overwhelming. I recommend you see photos of the ones you intend to visit so you can pick one that works for your child.

Get the kids snorkeling

Yucatan, the Mexican peninsula stretching into the Gulf of Mexico, is a fantastic destination for beginner snorkelers.

Make sure they are well geared-up for the best fun! Find our guide to the best snorkeling gear for kids or check one of our top picks below.

There are many family-friendly snorkeling spots on the Riviera Maya, and you can choose between open waters, cenotes, and lagoons.

Cool snorkeling spots in Mexico’s Yucatan for kids are Isla Mujeres, Akumal, and the lagoons of Xel-Ha or Yal Ku Lagoon, where you can see incredible marine wildlife in waters that are calm and sheltered from strong currents.

Xel-Ha, in particular, is a corner of paradise for kids.

Xel-Ha is an eco-park and it has areas for swimming and snorkeling and water games, water slides, cycling routes, an adventure zone with ziplining and rope courses, some cenotes, and food options for all!

After a day here, you will also be able to relax on a hammock here, hanging from swaying palm trees over soft sand. Heaven for kids ad adults!

Sightsee in pretty Merida

There is much more to Mexico than beautiful beaches and Marida is a perfect example of that.

Church in Merida, Mexico with big tree
Cathedral of San Ildefonso in the central square Merida capital of Yucatan Mexico/Depositphotos

A lovely city in Yucatan, Merida is a fantastic city to visit with kids and tap into Mexican culture.

Unmissable things to do in Merida with kids are sightseeing to Plaza Grande, Merida’s main square, Visiting the Mayan Museum and experiencing the beautiful and entertaining cultural performances that regularly happen in town.

Merida is a lovely place to call home on a family getaway to Mexico.

It is also close to many attractions in the area, such as the Mayan Ruins of Uxmal, cenotes and Choco Sory, where you can learn about the particular relation between Mayans and Chocolate!

Find family accommodation in Merida here.

Visit the breathtaking Mayan ruins of Palenque, Chiapas

Palenque is a beautiful Mayan archaeological site in Chiapas and my personal favorite when it comes to Mayan ruins in Mexico.

Ruins of Palenque, Mexico

Palenque is in the region of Chiapas and inland and compared with ruins such as Chichen Itza, it feels much wilder and atmospheric.

The area here is hilly and luscious, and the temples are surrounded by grass and very atmospheric jungle.

The ruins are very easy to visit with kids and compared with Tikal in Guatemala, which we had seen immediately before, it felt safer and contains, one of the reasons why I put it high up on your list of Mayan ruins to visit with kids!

Top tip! Palenque is a little more remote than other locations and it is better reached by car or bus. We recommend you combine it with a trip to San Cristobal de las Casas (see below), maybe our favorite place in the whole of Mexico! Find family accommodation in Palenque here.

Relax and cool down in pretty San Cristobal de las Casas

San Cristobal de las Casas is a beautiful Mexican city on the mountains of Chiapas in central Mexico.

Red and yellow church in San Cristobal del las Casas, Mexico

You reach the town via a good yet meandering mountain road, and if, like us, you get to it from lower altitudes, the first thing you will notice here is that the air light, less hot and mosquito-free!

The town is pretty and historic and has many digital nomads and international visitors, which offers a nice mix of local charm and familiarity.

Things not to miss here are the beautiful zocalo and its colorful cathedral, the interesting textile museum and the many pretty shops.

However, the main thing to do in San Cristobal de las Casas with kids is relaxing!

Especially if you have had an adventurous Mexican vacation with lots of driving or bus rides, this is the perfect place to call home for a few days, slow down, relax in the cafes.

Have a resort vacation in Mexico’s Los Cabos

Los Cabos area in the southern tip of Baja California, Mexico, and are among the most popular Mexican destinations for American families looking for a resort vacation.

Easy to access, Cabo has lots of accommodation options for visitors of all ages and budgets and a fantastic place if you want to get a nice hotel and have a relaxing and fun time at the pool, plus the option of lovely day trips to see marine wildlife, which is abundant here.

Find family resorts in Cabo San Lucas here

The ease of access and the many entertainment options are a bit of a mixed blessing as the place tends to get big crowds of spring breakers; however, enjoying Cabo with kids is easy.

There are many things to do in Cabo with kids. Los Cabos are a great place for marine life, and whale watching is a popular pastime with families with kids: there are several tours offering day cruises and seeing whales always makes an impression!

Cabo also has a fantastic natural arch, which you can go see up close with a boat tour and fun kids attractions such as the opportunity to go horse riding, zip lining and of course to hit the beach – just pick carefully has some have strong currents.

Ask your hotel or simply relax poolside for a safe day in the sun!

What to pack for visiting Mexico with kids

To visit Mexico with kids you want both beach gear and good walking shoes for city and ruins visits.

Lists you may find it useful are:

Our favorite travel shoes for kids

Our full beach vacation packing list for families

You may also find handy our beach essentials recommended buys below:

Find our handy list of toddler beach essentials so you know you will have all you need for long hours on the sand.

Grab our list of kid-friendly snacks and make ahead easy meals for the beach

Get our tips for a first trip to the beach with baby

Get a good beach cooler and pack it up with beach-friendly snacks and make ahead meals

Equip yourself with a good beach bag for mamas, so you can carry all you need and look good in the process

Consider getting a summer baby carrier, to wear your baby in hot climate and even water without overheating.

Equip your kids with rash vests and water shoes for sun and skin protection.

Consider a baby sun tent to protect your little one from sun and wind.

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