What do the best family vacation ideas of 2020 include? Plenty of culturally-immersive, experiential travel. Opportunities for kid-friendly, adrenaline-packed activities. And sustainable practices that give back to local communities.
How do you find a family vacation that checks all of these boxes and more? By choosing an experienced, reputable family travel company—whether you’re discovering the Brazilian Amazon rainforests of Jaú National Park or the alpine vistas of Bariloche, Argentina.
As for the top destinations for this year’s fun family vacations? You’ve got plenty of fantastic options. Check out 2020’s family adventure hotspots and learn more about family-friendly itineraries to visit each.
La Paz, Baja, Mexico
La Paz is adventure central when it comes to marine wildlife excursions. But the city also proves picturesque and culturally vibrant.
Enjoy a stroll along the Malecón, three miles (5 km) of oceanfront promenade. Offering sensational views of the Sea of Cortez, your kids will have many chances for sand play along the way. Dynamic sculptures line the walking path depicting the city’s history. They include a mischievous mermaid and dolphin and a giant pearl, a nod to La Paz’s historic role in the pearl trade.
At the ocean-themed playground, your kids can interact with local children while practicing Spanish. And the beach is lined with palapas, thatched-roof shelters perfect for family picnics.
From La Paz, you’re a short boat ride away from prime whale shark territory. If you’re feeling adventurous, head into the waters to snorkel with these massive, peaceful creatures. Your kids will learn more about ecology and conservation in one afternoon at the Sea of Cortez than in many years spent in a classroom. Find out more about visiting La Paz on a family-friendly vacation to Baja.
Manaus/Amazon Rainforest, Brazil
Boasting one of the most vital ecosystems on Earth, the Brazilian Amazon teems with life. To get there, you’ll pass through Manaus, with its own unique charms. These include the 19th-century opera house, the Amazon Theater. Built during the height of the rubber boom in the opulent “Belle Epoque” style, the theater remains an elegant reminder of Manaus’s affluent past. (It was known as the “Paris of South America” a little over a century ago.) A working historical landmark, today it houses the Amazones Philharmonic and hosts the Amazones Opera Festival.
Manaus also provides easy access to a stunning natural phenomenon, the Meeting of the Waters. Head out by boat to observe the convergence of the dark Rio Negro and the brown Amazon River. Amazingly, they run parallel to one another for 3.7 miles (6 km) without mixing.
Next, head to January Ecological Park where you can take to the suspended catwalk, catching glimpses of playful monkeys and gorgeous Amazon lilies. When you travel with us, you’ll also enjoy a one-of-a-kind chance to visit the indigenous Tukuna tribe. You may even get to taste one of their delicacies: crunchy ants!
There’s no better way to experience the Amazon rainforest than to cruise the calm and virtually mosquito-free waters of the Rio Negro. From Manaus, depart via river cruise to Jaú National Park, the largest freshwater forest park in the world. Here, enjoy unplugged travels, explore a different way of life, and experience the abundance of the rainforest firsthand.
Machu Picchu/Cusco, Peru
A hub for adventure seekers preparing to visit Machu Picchu, Cusco showcases a vibrant synthesis of Inca and Spanish cultural influences. These influences infuse local architecture, artisanal crafts, and traditional cuisine. Staying in the Sacred Valley for at least two days before heading to Machu Picchu and Cusco also allows your family to acclimate to a higher elevation.
Fortunately, the Sacred Valley contains many lesser-known sites that you won’t want to miss. In Awanakancha, tour a llama and alpaca farm. Then, enjoy a traditional weaving demonstration, from wool to textile. In Pisac, stroll a beautiful artisanal market. And at Piuray Lagoon, take a bike ride around the lake or paddleboard its calm waters.
Cusco offers many family-friendly activities. But remember to take it slowly as you adjust to life at 11,152 feet (3,400 meters) above sea level. A walk around the city yields many local treasures, from the ornate Cusco Cathedral to the historic main square, La Plaza de Armas. Your kids will also appreciate fun, interactive museums such as Choco Museo. Here, participate in a two-hour chocolate-making workshop. At nearby Museo Inka, the Incan Empire comes to life through colorful artifacts and even mummies.
Discovering Cusco and the Sacred Valley will also cultivate a deeper appreciation for Machu Picchu. The “Lost City” contains more than 150 buildings, a sprawling royal estate inexplicably abandoned before the arrival of the Spanish. Exploring its ruins will transform your kids into mini-versions of Indiana Jones. Learn more about a family adventure to Peru including, the Sacred Valley, Cusco, and Machu Picchu.
San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina
Known as “Bariloche” by locals, this Argentinian gem is the “Switzerland of South America.” It’s also one of the nation’s foremost outdoor adventure hubs. Located in the Lake District, winter activities include skiing and snowboarding.
When temperatures rise, families head outdoors for hiking, picnics, and beach time along area lakes. Kitesurfing proves a popular sport here and one that’s entertaining to watch. Prime locations include Bahia Serena, Playa Bonita, and Varadero Beach.
Locals call Mount Otto “the pinnacle of fun,” and with good reason. You can reach Otto’s summit (6,890 feet above sea level) via a family-friendly cable car ride with excellent views of Lake Nahuel Huapi. At Habsburg Stone, marvel at the panoramic scenery, including views of Ventana Hill and Lake Gutierrez.
And that’s just the beginning of your outdoor adventure opportunities. Go ziplining near Colonia Suiza, the first European colony in Bariloche. Or, head out by raft on the Manso River. Check out our adventure-packed Argentina family vacation itinerary for more information.
Puerto Natales/Torres Del Paine, Southern Patagonia, Chile
Puerto Natales is the gateway to Torres Del Paine National Park. This city combines the charm of a ranching settlement with an active adventure scene. Filled with colorful houses set against a backdrop of natural wonder, Puerto Natales provides endless photo ops. So, keep your phone or camera charged! You’ll also appreciate local restaurants where you can sample Patagonian cuisine and fuel up for your next excursion.
Patagonia’s rugged beauty and one-of-a-kind landscapes rival any destination in the world. A land of massive glaciers, rock pinnacles, exotic wildlife, and turquoise lakes, its sublime landscapes will leave you wonderstruck. One of the best places to capture the diverse ecosystems of this region? Torres del Paine National Park.
Boasting the Paine Massif, an eastern spur of the Andes, these three granite peaks dominate the landscape. The park is also rich with wildlife from black-necked swans to Chilean flamingos, South American gray foxes to guanacos (a distant cousin of the domesticated llama). Ideal for active families with older kids, hike to lake-fed waterfalls. Visit 8,000-year-old cave paintings. Or, horseback ride through the park enjoying its gorgeous vistas.
Situated along the shores of Última Esperanza Sound, embark from Puerto Natales Pier for a full-day expedition to explore Patagonia’s awesome glaciers and the Última Esperanza Fjord. Learn more about the endless adventures awaiting your family on a journey to Patagonia.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
When it comes to vacation ideas with kids, Chiang Mai represents the perfect mixture of adventure and city. Travel highlights include discovering the culture of local hill tribes, visiting an elephant sanctuary, and exploring one of the city’s plentiful night markets.
The ethnic Chiang Mai hill tribes live in the mountains of northern Thailand. Their tiny villages, often numbering fewer than 20 households, offer fascinating glimpses into another culture. Some are so remote you won’t find them marked on maps. Each village houses a different tribe with distinct cultures and histories.
Besides exploring the varied cultures of the hill tribes, Thailand also contains a diverse array of wildlife. This wildlife includes the nation’s largest resident, the Asian elephant. The Patara Elephant Farm near Chiang Mai offers sanctuary to these gentle giants. They allow visitors to participate in the “Elephant Owner for a Day” program, a hands-on experience where guests care for these gentle giants.
Thailand’s night markets, like Chiang Mai Night Bazaar and the Sunday Walking Street, offer some of the most colorful shopping experiences in the city. The Night Bazaar runs every evening from 6 to 10:30 pm at the intersection of Chang Khlan Road and Loi Khro Road. The Sunday Walking Street happens in Chiang Mai Old City, from the Tha Pae Gate to Ratchadamnoen Road, and operates from 4 to 10 pm every Sunday. At both markets, you’ll find a wide variety of artwork, handicrafts, souvenirs, and fun finds such as carved elephants.
Explore Southeast Asia’s rich cultural heritage, iconic monuments, and contemporary cityscapes on a family vacation to Thailand and Cambodia.
Family Vacation Ideas 2020
Our top family vacation ideas for 2020 blend educational adventures, authentic cultural experiences, and breathtaking natural landscapes. Our trips also give back to local communities through well-established partnerships. From a Brazilian Amazon river cruise to a leisurely afternoon spent in one of Chiang Mai’s hill tribe villages, a world of new adventures is ready for you and your family. Where will 2020 take you?
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 see the world, connect with locals, and explore other cultures. Contact us to learn more about the unforgettable experiences that we curate for adventure-seeking families just like yours.