The best family vacation spots offer something for everyone. Adults get plenty of opportunities to relax and savor an exotic destination while kids enjoy captivating, educational activities. Of course, fun family vacations also allow space for quality time together and a healthy dose of swimming, hiking, connecting with nature and local cultures, and much more.
Yes, finding all of this in one vacation may sound like a tall order. But we’re here to tell you it’s not only possible but the best way to travel as a family. Consider one of these top family vacation spots.
From a magical canoe ride through the Brazilian Amazon to an exploration of the sights and sounds of a Thai floating market, the six destinations below come with unique activities sure to keep everyone engaged. So, let’s go!
1) Snorkel with Whale Sharks in Baja, Mexico
Mexico’s Baja Peninsula measures nearly as long as the entire West Coast of the United States. Now that’s a lot of gorgeous ground to cover! The stretch from Todos Santos to La Paz represents one of the best vacation spots for kids because of its blend of family-friendly activities and spectacular ocean views. Among our favorites? Swimming with the Sea of Cortez’s true gentle giants, whale sharks.
Whale sharks can grow up to 40 feet long. Many migrate to the Sea of Cortez beginning in October to winter over until March. As a result, fall and winter represent fantastic times to swim with them in La Paz Bay. And don’t let their massive size or the “shark” in their name fool you. They are safe to snorkel with, even for kids.
The right outfitter will provide you with snorkel gear and wet suits so you can focus on the thrill of the adventure. Just remember to pack your underwater camera! You’ll want this fantastic family adventure on film so that you can cherish the memories for a lifetime.
And that’s just the beginning when it comes to traveling Baja with kids.
2) Explore the Flooded Jungles of the Amazon, Brazil, on a Magical Canoe Ride
From its sheer size to the incredible diversity of the plants and animals that it harbors, you’ve got to see the Amazon to believe it. Depending on the time of year you visit, you can explore it in a variety of ways, gaining unique perspectives.
For example, during the rainy season, the forests of the Brazilian Amazon are submerged in water. This precipitation transforms the jungle into a labyrinth of rivers, lakes, lagoons, and meandering waterways.
Navigate the narrow spaces between massive tree trunks and low-lying branches on a kid-friendly canoe trip. Overhead, the rainforest canopy promises glimpses of wildlife, including magnificent birds, a vibrant parade of plumage. There are also delicate frogs, displaying a remarkable diversity of coloring and patterns. And keep your eyes peeled for more subtly arrayed animals such as slow-moving brown sloths and long-limbed black spider monkeys.
Before heading back through the same otherworldly passages that brought you here, travel up the Rio Preto in search of rapids and waterfalls. Or, jump in the water and play, during one of the region’s seasonal downpours.
Learn more about all of the amazing experience you’ll have on a Brazilian Amazon Cruise.
3) Savor the Sights and Smells of a Thai Floating Market
Before roadways crisscrossed the region, lush jungles sprawled across what is modern-day Bangkok, rendering it nearly impassable by land for millennia. Thai business owners responded to these geographic challenges by taking to local waterways, including the Chao Phraya River and its tributaries. There, they transported people and goods. Today, commerce continues via the river, making for an extraordinary cultural experience.
While automobiles have transformed Thailand’s landscapes, they’ve had little effect on how business gets done at the floating market. Sellers have stuck to the river creating a shopping experience that people from all over the world flock to see. These water-based shops remain well-supported locally, allowing visitors a taste of riverside shopping.
At market time, the river’s channels fill with thousands of slender wooden boats propelled by paddle-wielding vendors in conical hats. Each vessel is a shop brimming with neat stacks of exotic goods or foods, an impressive assortment of vibrant hues and spicy fragrances. From seafood to fruit, souvenirs to flowers, you’ll find it all at the floating market.
Ready to explore all that Southeast Asia has to offer? Check out our action-packed itinerary for Thailand and Cambodia.
4) Discover the Land of Glaciers, in Patagonia, Argentina
Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park is the largest protected area in Argentina. A trip to the park reveals a land enveloped in mountains, punctuated by lakes, immersed in forests, and covered by glimmering glaciers. Situated in Santa Cruz Province, it sits in the Argentine part of Patagonia.
A breathtaking location, about 30 percent of the park remains covered in ice. Among its most famous sites is the Perito Moreno Glacier. And you won’t be able to miss the Cerro Torre and Mount Fitz Roy, both towering mountains located in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.
Head out on photography safaris, trout fishing expeditions, and rafting trips on the Santa Cruz River. Or, go biking or horseback riding on the park’s well-marked network of trails. When it comes to wildlife, keep a lookout for birds of prey like elusive condors and black-chested buzzard eagles.
Here’s more of what Argentina has to offer on a family trip.
5) Spend a Day with the Artisans of Huilloc in the Sacred Valley, Peru
Located thirty minutes from Ollantaytambo, a visit to the community of Huilloc will make you and your kids feel as if you’re stepping back in time. A dirt road connects the pastoral village to nearby areas, with various farms dotting the mountainous landscape.
Partake in a weaving lesson based on traditions handed down through the ages offered by the women of Huilloc. They weave their own textiles. As a result, the process of crafting one outfit often requires up to six months of dedicated labor! The men tend to their various crops from dawn to dusk and barter for goods with nearby villages. Bartering provides access to produce that locals can’t grow due to the high altitude.
The area’s population of less than 1,000 people remain dedicated to practicing and upholding Quechua and Inca cultural traditions. This commitment shows in the traditional costumes they wear. For men, that means a colorful maroon poncho and a hat. Women wear black skirts, red shawls, and hats.
Interested in your own Peru family adventure? Find out more.
6) Stargaze in the Atacama Desert, Chile, During an Astronomy Tour
The Atacama Desert in Chile combines otherworldly sights with endless opportunities for adventure. You’ll marvel at the picturesque dunes of the Moon Valley, the pink-flamingo-filled salt lagoons and marshes, and the mighty El Tatio Geysers.
During the day, discover the Atacama’s expansive desert landscapes, eerie ghost towns, and resilient, though elusive, wildlife. But the fun doesn’t stop after dark. At night, the Atacama’s skies provide exceptional stargazing opportunities.
Because of the arid climate, high altitude, and remote location, there’s no better place on Earth to observe astronomy. It contains some of the darkest night skies in the world, far removed from the light pollution that plagues most inhabited parts of the world. The European Southern Observatory has two astronomical bases in the Atacama, the Paranal Observatory and the La Silla Observatory.
And you won’t want to miss the Alma Observatory, the world’s largest astronomical project. The observatory contains an array of 66 antennae resulting in the equivalent of a ten-mile-long telescope. This setup provides visitors with views at ten times higher resolution than the Hubble space telescope!
Start planning your Atacama family adventure now.
The Best Family Vacation Spots in the World
From the stunning turquoise waters of the Sea of Cortez pulsing with abundant sea life to the majesty of pristine stargazing in the Atacama, a world of adventures awaits you and your kids. These represent some of the best family vacation spots in the world. Which of these family vacation destinations will you visit first?
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. Contact us today to learn more about the unforgettable journeys that we curate for adventure-seeking families just like yours.