Family vacations are great for bonding and making memories you will remember for a lifetime. But if you think about it, a vacation is not a vacation if all you do is look after kids and worry about where they are or how to entertain them if they are bored. We understand that you also need some time for yourself to recharge your own batteries while on holidays.
Every family member is into something different. Some enjoy sightseeing, some love history, some love beaches and sun, and for some it’s all about adventure. Following are some destinations that offer something for everyone, and where your kids won’t miss Wi-Fi, computers, TV or playing with other kids.
Why: Friendly people, easy to get there, child care facilities
An island country in Melanesia is the perfect destination for parents with small children. With a chain of more than 330 tropical islands, white coral beaches, beautiful nature and wildlife, Fiji is the perfect place for diving, snorkeling, jet-skiing and kayaking. You can even go on a cruise and discover remote beaches and hidden bays. Finding family-friendly accommodation in Fiji is easy, and you can enjoy many resorts that offer child care facilities.
People are so very friendly, you can’t even imagine. Not a minute goes by without your being dazzled by smiles and hugs. Fiji is relatively small, so getting around is easy and cheap and also allows you to plan more than one activity a day. Fiji can really be a playground that you and your kids will adore.
Why: Love families, pizza and ice cream, heritage sites
Italians are known for having big families, respecting tradition and loving life in general, so they will surely love your family as well. They adore kids and they don’t mind having them in restaurants, even though they laugh out loud, run around and … be kids. It’s not unusual for the owner of a restaurant to come out and take the kids for a walk so that you can enjoy a little quiet time. Most family hotels and resorts provide cribs and high chairs, and many beach clubs are kid-friendly.
There are many things you can do in Italy. Legendary cities like Rome, Venice and Florence are very close to one another, and thanks to Italy’s superb and well-organized train network, you can visit them all in one road trip. Remember, Italians are all about “the more the merrier,” so traveling with kids is even better than traveling alone.
Why: Back to nature, affordable, big adventures
This is a really great destination for adventurous families because it has a huge variety of animal life, very friendly people, beaches and adventures for adults and children. Costa Rica has the world’s most stunning rainforests, where you can enjoy the best canopy tours. Plenty of zip-lines accommodate small children (under 120 cm), as kids can zip while attached to a guide. If you are afraid of zip lines, you can explore the canopy by hanging bridges. Don’t miss seeing the volcano at Parque Nacional Volcan Poas, which is also stroller-accessible. There are plenty of family-friendly accommodations, but for an unforgettable stay, you should try sleeping in one of the Tree Houses Hotels. (One is near San Carlos and one is near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.) Kids will love it!
Why: Affordable, wildlife, fun in the sun
Belize is a country in Central America which has many of the key ingredients needed for a fun family holiday, and it is pretty affordable compared to other Caribbean destinations. Split your time between beachy resorts and the jungle. On the seacoast you can go snorkeling, scuba diving, fly fishing, kayaking, and boating. On the inland, you can go hiking, caving, horseback riding and much more.
A number of national parks are heaven for animal lovers, especially the Community Baboon Sanctuary, 20 square miles of preserved habitat for the endangered black howler monkey. These monkeys are accustomed to visitors and the guides know where to find them, so kids can see the monkeys in their natural habitat. If your family loves action, you should visit the private jungle lodge at the Caves Branch Adventure Company. Visitors of this wonderland can go horseback riding, cave tubing and jungle walking, and there are even on-site accommodations which are perfect for families. Best of all, children under nine stay for free.
Why: Family friendly, exotic, beaches for beginner swimmers
There are a few cultures on earth that love children and Thais are definitely one of them. Small foreign children are instant celebrities and “chat openers” in Thailand. Locals are crazy about them! :) If you are staying in a hotel, babysitting and kids club services are often available so that you can have a break and some “mommy and daddy” time alone.
There is just one little problem: Thai cities can be a little too claustrophobic for children due to the crowds, so make sure you don’t stay in bigger cities for too long. If you can, save visiting Bangkok until the end of your trip. That way, your children will get adjusted to the Thai people and their culture so they won’t be bothered so much when they arrive in the crowded capital of Thailand. The best regions for kids are Ko Chang, with shallow seas that are great for young swimmers, and Chiang Mai, which is the center of elephant tourism and a place where you can go trekking, zip lining and bamboo rafting.
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