Travel may be on the back burner right now, but you and your family can still live vicariously through the plots, characters, and settings of fantastic travel movies. You can escape into exciting destinations at a moment’s notice right from the comfort of your couch. Learn about global cultures, inspire wanderlust, and have plenty of fun as a family.
And because our list of the best travel movies for families appeals to all ages, you’ll look forward to movie night just as much as your children. Let’s dive in!
1. Rio & Rio 2
When it comes to travel movies, Rio’s (2011) at the top of our list. It artfully introduces kids to Brazil with a samba-heavy soundtrack and plenty of scene-stealing characters. Your kids will love the introduction, featuring upbeat music and a rainbow-colored gathering of birds flying in unison. The plot moves from Minnesota to Rio during Carnival and follows the story of Blu, a male Blue Macaw, and his owner, Linda. During the movie, both Blu and Linda find love in Brazil despite the efforts of bird-kidnapping smugglers and their mean cockatoo. While Rio showcases the city of Rio de Janeiro, Rio 2 focuses on the Amazon rainforest. Kids will be captivated by the plot and the vibrant and exotic wildlife. (Rated G)
Moana (2106) is a stunning animated movie that explores ancient Polynesian culture. It showcases Moana Waialiki, the only daughter of a chief in a long line of navigators, who has inherited her father’s wanderlust but is expected to stick close to home. When a terrible curse incurred by the Demigod Maui threatens the food supply of her island, however, Moana must answer the Ocean’s call. To do so, she has to seek out Maui and set things right. The result is a mad-capped ocean adventure that tops our films for families list. (Rated PG)
In the captivating and heartwarming movie Coco (2017), aspiring musician Miguel struggles with his family’s generations-old ban on music. Dreaming of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz, Miguel travels to the Land of the Dead following a mysterious series of events. While on his journey, he meets Hector, the charming trickster, and together they set off to uncover the real story about Miguel’s family. Your kids will love this gorgeous exploration of Mexican culture and Día de los Muertos. (Rated PG)
4. Finding Nemo
Finding Nemo (2003) represents the ultimate road trip movie with a twist. It takes place almost entirely underwater. The action begins when a clownfish named Nemo gets scooped from the sea and plopped into a dentist’s aquarium. Desperate to return to his dad, Marlin, and the ocean, Nemo devises a wild plan with the other inhabitants of the aquarium that might work. In the meantime, we also get plenty of comic relief from Marlin. He, along with the very forgetful Dory, encounter a variety of obstacles in their search for Nemo. (Rated G)
The movie Brave (2012) is set in Scotland in a rugged and mystical time and follows the journey of Princess Merida, the impetuous daughter of Queen Elinor. An aspiring archer, Merida refuses to bow to the expectations placed on her by society, namely a marriage of convenience. She unwisely seeks out the help of a mischievous witch only to accidentally transform her mother from an elegant queen into a hideous monster. Now Merida must discover the true meaning of bravery to reverse the curse and save her mom and people. (Rated PG)
Ratatouille (2007) transports your family to the sewers, streets, and restaurants of Paris in this unlikely tale of a rat named Remy, who longs to become a great French chef. When fate places Remy in the Parisian section of the sewer right below his culinary idol, Auguste Gusteau’s restaurant, it sparks an exciting and hilarious rat race that forever changes the French culinary world. (Rated G)
For another fantastic movie about Paris for kids, check out Leap! (2016). It tells the story of Félicie, an orphan girl, who dreams of becoming a ballerina. To pursue her goals, she flees her home in Brittany for Paris, along with her best friend, Victor, a young inventor. Passing herself off as a pupil at the Grand Opera House, they enjoy many fantastical adventures. (Rated PG)
Frozen (2013) transports families to 19th-century Norway for a reworking of “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen. It follows the story of two royal sisters, Elsa and Anna, who rule over Arendelle (inspired by the real-life Scandinavian city of Bergen). From traditional Norwegian costumes to the architecture of Arendelle, Frozen is a spectacle that spares no detail. It also contains unforgettable characters your children will fall in love with like Olaf, the snowman. You and your kids will be humming its songs, like “Let It Go,” long after the movie’s closing credits. (Rated PG)
As a boy, Carl Frederickson longed to explore the jungles of South America in search of the forbidden Paradise Falls. At the age of 78, however, he still has yet to achieve his dream. Now a lonely widower fighting to save his house from eminent domain, he makes a drastic choice. Equipping his house with balloons, he determines to “float” away but inadvertently ends up with stowaways, a Wilderness Explorer named Russell and his dog. Their whimsical adventure to Paradise Falls in Up is both heartwarming and inspiring. (Rated PG)
10. The Sound of Music
Of all the feature films for families, The Sound of Music (1965) remains an iconic favorite. Filled with uplifting music and gorgeous scenery, the movie will transport your family to Salzburg, Austria, between the world wars. It follows the Von Trapp family and their nanny, Sister Maria. The plot takes place against the stunning backdrop of the Austrian Alps as Sister Maria sings her way into the hearts of the Von Trapp children. Besides the breathtaking setting of this classic, your kids will come away with iconic songs to sing, from “Do-Re-Mi” to “Favorite Things.” (Rated G)
11. White Fang
One of our favorite adventure films for family? White Fang (1991), based on the classic novel by Jack London. The movie explores the friendship that develops between a Yukon gold hunter and a mixed dog-wolf, White Fang, that he saves from mistreatment at the hands of another man. The film also explores the awe-inspiring beauty of the great Alaskan frontier and will teach your children valuable lessons about caring for animals. (Rated PG)
Best Travel Movies for Families
From the jungles of Brazil to the wilds of the Alaskan frontier, get ready for an inspiring journey on family film night. You’ll have the chance to explore Parisian restaurants behind-the-scenes, Día de los Muertos festivities in Mexico, ancient Polynesia, and much more. Where will your travel adventure in film begin?
At Our Whole Village, we craft transformational trips for curious families who want to create lasting memories while making a difference. We’re here to help you and your family experience the world, its people, and its cultures. While traveling doesn’t make sense at the moment, there’s no reason you can’t plan and dream! When the time’s right, we’ll be here, crafting unforgettable journeys for adventure-seeking families just like yours.