Traveling Moms know the secret to finding the best family travel spots around the world. Here we share some of our favorites for visiting with kids in 2016. From the Caribbean to Eastern Europe to sunny Central America to warm and inviting Mexico, these are a few of our favorite spots for vacationing with kids.
Best Places for Family Travel Around the Globe
Turks & Caicos
Family friendly and easy to get to, once you arrive with your family at the Caribbean island of Turks & Caicos, you’ll not want to leave.
Turks & Caicos has the most beautiful & serene beaches in the world, with incredible scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and shelling I have ever encountered. . – Rebecca Darling, Texas TMOM
TRAVEL TIP: Turks & Caicos is the most beautiful beach location to relax in the sun & play in the water.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
The rock formations and sunsets in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. are one-of-a-kind.
Cabo San Lucas is located where land literally ends in Mexico, and it feels like a world away from daily worries and stress. Resorts like the Hacienda Encantada will have you wanting to plan return visits right away. – Desiree Miller, Family Fun TravelingMom
TRAVEL TIP: Don’t feel like you need to stay on the strip to make the most of Cabo San Lucas. In fact, you’ll enjoy the trip more if you stay away from the action and appreciate the views from Mexico resorts located further away, such as Hacienda Encantada.
Mexico City, Mexico
Easily accessible but completely foreign, Mexico City has it all!
My pick for the perfect 2016 4-day weekend is Mexico City. Not only will you find culture at every turn and some of the world’s best food, you’ll also find a safe and welcoming environment. Mexico City’s a real bargain, too! World class hotels and dining are a fraction of what they would cost in the US or Europe so you can explore in luxury without busting your budget. – Dia Adams, Travel Hack Traveling Mom
TRAVEL TIP: Go to Mexico City in October if you can–the decorations for Dia de Los Muertos are not to be missed.
Surrounded by volcanos and straddling the center of the earth, Ecuador’s capital city of Quito is a fascinating destination.
Climb aboard an old steam train for a ride past a string of active volcanos representing some of the tallest on the planet. Stand on the equator with one foot in each hemisphere and experience the scientific wonders of the earth at latitude 0. Or spend a day exploring the historic city center where a massive statue of the Virgin Mary keeps a watchful eye over the city and The Company of Jesus church is decorated in pure gold. There’s always something to discover in Quito, Ecaudor! – Terri Marshall, Globetrotting TravelingGrandmom
TRAVEL TIP: Quito, Ecuador, is full of surprises, but don’t miss the ride on the old steam train!
Visit the villages of Panama’s native tribes and be regaled with stories of customs, traditions and village life.
Obviously a trip to Panama will include a transit on the Panama Canal. But about an hour outside of Panama City, I spent the afternoon with the Embera Indian tribe – and it was my favorite Panama experience. We were greeted on the banks of the Chagres River where we boarded a dugout canoe to the Embera village. The chief shared stories about Embera customs, traditions, and village life. Lunch was tilapia caught fresh from the river below and cooked over an open flame. Afterwards we shopped for handicrafts, had temporary tattoos painted on our arms and danced with members of the tribe. It was an ideal excursion for all ages. – Terri Marshall, Globetrotting Traveling Grandmom
TRAVEL TIP: Spend an afternoon with the Embero Indian tribe for a glimpse into this indigenous culture in Panama.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires’ variety of good restaurants, funky designer shops, respect for modern design, habit of eating dinner at 10 or 11 pm – as well as its street litter and graffiti – all reminded us of a big city in Spain or Italy.
Next winter, want a little summer? Seasons in Buenos Aires, Argentina are the reverse of ours in the United States, so it’s usually about 80 in December. The city’s ice cream, a delicious legacy of its Italian immigrant roots, is lighter than gelato and it is everywhere. Be sure to try the many varieties of dulce de leche. Our teenagers enjoyed the Evita Peron museum and the beautiful Recoleta Cemetery, which feels like you’re walking in a miniature city of gravestones. – Sarah Ricks, Philadelphia Traveling Mom
TRAVEL TIP: Buenos Aires, Argentina, and its gorgeous architecture, museums, and dinner hour of 10 pm all make it feel like a big city in Spain or Italy.
The Irish brogue, the vibrant green landscape, castles, and sheep — all combine to create a fairytale-like vacation with your family.
Ireland is a wonderful family destination with gorgeous scenery, castles and sheep everywhere!! There are also lots of fun family activities like fishing and horseback riding. Historically, 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rebellion which ultimately led to the creation of the Republic of Ireland. – Heather Lee, 7 Continents TravelingMom
TRAVEL TIP: If you are comfortable driving on the left side of the road, rent your own car to explore Ireland’s lovely scenery at your own pace!
From the mountains to the sea each landscape is inspiring, each town intriguing, and each experience – well, amazing!
Consistently ranked as one of the happiest places on earth, Norway is my No. 1 destination. The Norwegian fjords are among the most famous nature-based attractions in the world. Villages with timber houses painted brown, red and gold, rolling countryside, majestic mountains and glistening lakes frozen in winter complete the postcard worthy scenes. The perfect introduction to these awe-inspiring sights is a Norway in a Nutshell tour that combines travel by train, ferry and bus. Perfect for couples and families. – Terri Marshall, Globetrotting Traveling Grandmom
TRAVEL TIP: Get a taste of Norway with the Norway in a Nutshell tour.
Prague, The Czech Republic
Cross its bridges or climb up to Prague’s castle to take in gorgeous views of bright orange tiled roofs contrasting with green hillsides.
Prague is beautiful. Be sure to look closely at the elegant houses lining cobblestoned streets. Some are decorated with paintings of fantastical creatures, geometric patterns, or mystical symbols that stood in for street addresses. But you knew Prague was lovely. Here are 4 reasons to visit Prague that may surprise you: its bizarre and funny public sculptures, good food, the emotionally powerful former Jewish ghetto, and the slight dropoff in crowds because Russians are traveling less. – Sarah Ricks, Philadelphia TravelingMom
TRAVEL TIP: Prague is a great destination for teens and tweens, and easier than you’d think because many people in the touristed area speak English.
Bad Winsheim, Germany
Bad Windsheim is a small city with a big tourist attraction including the Freilichtmuseum, or Open Air Museum.
Many people visit Rothemburg ab den Tauber and miss the close-by town of Bad Windsheim, Germany. Their thermal bath is relaxing and certainly clears your sinuses! Wonderful town square, lots of bike and hiking trails and an authentic feel. – Silvana Clark, RV TravelingMom
TRAVEL TIP: The village of Bad Winsheim, Germany, has the feel of an authentic German town without all the tourists!
Where else but Germany can you discover world class museums, vibrant cities, charming towns, an abundance of natural beauty, and some of the most beautiful castles in the world?
Germany is a must see destination for families in 2016. Berlin, Munich, and Cologne are bustling cities with thriving cultural and restaurant scenes. Visitors wanting medieval charm simply need to follow the Romantic Road to see some of the most beautiful villages and bucolic scenery the country has to offer. With over 25,000 castles, Germany is the perfect place for learning about fairy tales and legends. The country truly has something for everyone. – Kirsten Maxwell, Teaching TravelingMom
TRAVEL TIP: Pick a city, any city in Germany, and you’ll discover everything families could want from city exploring to outdoor adventures
Soak in the cultural experiences in Spain, from food to history.
After our recent 6 week visit, our family fell in love with Spain. Kids are adored and enjoyed here. There are tons of activities that are not only fun, but educational and historical. Without even trying, kids learn about the area, geography and history of their ancestors since my kids are half Guatemalan. And be sure to choose restaurants, such as Madrid’s La Barraca, which serve traditional styled food. – Marina Kuperman Villatoro, Gringa TravelingMom
TRAVEL TIP: Make a point to enjoy the diversity and culture of Spain. Trust me, you’ll fall in love too.
Croatia is like Italy for less – less money, less crowded.
Whether your dream destination is a sunny coast with crystal clear water, a hike near gorgeous waterfalls, a sophisticated European city, visiting the real Kings Landing, or a sidewalk cafés with a relaxed Mediterranean vibe – Croatia has it. Game of Thrones could have filmed anywhere – but chose Dubrovnik and Split in Croatia to film Kings Landing. Croatia has hundreds of islands, each with a different personality. To visit a sophisticated Central European city that costs less and is less crowded than Prague or Budapest, you’ll like Croatia’s capital, Zagreb. – Sarah Ricks, Philadelphia Traveling Mom
TRAVEL TIP: To visit a gorgeous rocky coast that’s sunny 300 days a year, Game of Thrones sites, and for less money than Italy – try Croatia.
Visit Sardinia in summer for its beaches, but for culture and food, Sardinia is a great year-round destination.
Sardinia, Italy is famous for its beautiful rocky beaches. But this island is a great destination even when it is too chilly to swim. Reasons to visit Sardinia outside of swimming season include great food, archeology, medieval churches, and Mediterranean sunshine. Sardinia has ruins of towns built in prehistoric times, as early as 1500 BC. The best preserved is Barumini, a UNESCO World Heritage site outside Cagliari. Outside of the busy summer season, the site is not crowded. – Sarah Ricks, Philadelphia Traveling Mom
TRAVEL TIP: The Italian island of Sardinia is a great year-round destination, even outside of swimming season.
Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong is a vibrant and friendly city awaiting discovery.
Kids will love exploring Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak by tram; Disneyland is less chaotic; and the Science Museum is one not to miss. Make sure you delight in some Xiao Long Bao, a traditional Chinese steam bun. – Heather B., Expat TravelingMom
TRAVEL TIP: Go into Hong Kong with an open mind, ready to explore vibrant Asian city.
If you love unreal clear waters, untouched beauty and a warm and hospitable people, The Maldives is your place.
If you’ve never heard of The Maldives, you’re not alone.
This small island nation in the middle of the Indian Ocean was only opened as a tourist destination in the 1970s. Once on the island, travelers tend to stay put as islands are far apart, but by no means are stranded with nothing to do. From water activies to spas, kids’ clubs to romantic restaurants, there’s never a dull moment. The Maldives is a luxury vacation for both couples and families. – Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan, International TravelingMom
TRAVEL TIP: The Maldives is paradise on earth for water lovers.