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Your (free) guide to the top travel destinations for families with babies, teens and everyone in between.
Where do you take well-traveled kids who think they’ve been everywhere and seen it all? Jordan! This bucket-list-worthy destination comes with many rich and mysterious locations to visit, including the ancient site of Petra, made famous by 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. But what to do in Jordan doesn’t stop there. Other iconic sites abound, including Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea. And you’ll also enjoy countless opportunities to explore the rich depths of Middle Eastern culture in a nation renowned for its welcoming and safe environment.
From exotic markets filled with stunning carpets, textiles, spices, perfumes, and local artisanal crafts to delectable cuisine, visiting Jordan with kids will satiate your thirst for exotic locations, archaeological masterpieces, and endless adventures. Here’s everything you need to know about planning the perfect family vacation to Jordan.
Although Jordan feels like a world away, families can see this nation in as little as a nine-day tour. This makes it a surprisingly accessible trip, even if all you’ve got to work with is Spring Break. What’s more, the experts agree that March through May marks one of the best times to visit. The weather tends to be milder this time of year (along with September through November), which means no baking in the sun or freezing at night.
Jordan is also a safe and family-friendly destination. It cultivates a welcoming vibe exemplified by King Abdullah II’s enthusiasm for his nation and tourism. Because Jordan’s leaders place a premium on stability and safety, the country has remained neutral, avoiding tensions and conflicts in other parts of the globe, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, in recent years. Yet, it also affords a wonderful place to learn about the ancient cultures that historically made this area home.
What to do in Amman? This delightful capital contains many remarkable attractions that your family will want to see.
These include the Amman Citadel, the site of ancient Rabbath-Ammon with numerous excavations that revealed several incredible Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic ruins.
The citadel also houses the National Archaeological Museum, which provides fascinating insights into the many civilizations that once controlled this region. Although modest in size, the museum showcases impressive examples of local artifacts, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, housed and exhibited on-site.
The Folklore Museum of Amman, the Museum of Popular Traditions, and Amman’s Roman Theater are also must-see destinations. Best of all, they’re housed together, making a tour of all three a cinch. The Roman Theater was built between A.D. 138 and 161 during the reign of Antonius Pius, and it still hosts special events. But its primary function now includes housing the Folklore Museum in its right wing and the Museum of Popular Traditions in the left. There, your family will explore Jordan’s varied cultures.
In the left wing of the theater, you’ll find the Museum of Popular Traditions. The museum is filled with impressive artifacts from all over Jordan and features a special Palestinian Folk Culture exhibition. The facility invites you to explore five different halls, each showcasing a unique cultural aspect of Jordan.
Amman is also incredibly cosmopolitan, with delightful shops, fantastic restaurants, and bustling nightlife on Rainbow Street and beyond. While vacationing in the city, consider a fun family photoshoot with a professional through flytographer. Here’s everything you need to know about hiring a flytographer for your family vacation to Jordan.
While Hollywood has ensured Petra gets all the attention, Jordan is filled with many other extraordinary archaeological sites. In fact, Jordan contains one of the best-preserved Roman cities outside of Italy, Jerash. The site dates back 6,500 years but remained hidden beneath sand for centuries. Only uncovered 70 years ago, it showcases a remarkable level of preservation.
From its colonnaded streets to its stately temples and theaters, your family will feel transported back in time as you walk its millennia-old, paved roads. Jerash still contains fountains, baths, city walls, and countless public squares where the echoes of ancient hustle and bustle remain. Conveniently located near Amman, Jerash also provides the perfect launch pad for more adventures.
History runs deep in Jordan. What to do in Madaba? Known as the “City of Mosaics,” Madaba contains excellent examples from the Byzantine and Umayyad eras. And you won’t want to miss out on a visit to the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint George.
Saint George contains the oldest surviving map of the Holy Land in existence today. How old is it? A cartographer named Salamos forged it circa A.D. 560!
In Wadi Rum, explore the expansive magnificence of the desert. It is one of the largest and most pristine landscapes in Jordan and is highly photogenic. No wonder it was the selected filming location for the movie The Martian. So, come prepared with your best camera to capture the picturesque panoramas of a timeless landscape colored by coppery shades of desert sand.
Embracing the vast openness of the valley are rugged ridges reaching thousands of feet skyward. Scientists have hypothesized these strange landforms were created by a massive upheaval resulting in a giant crack in the earth. You’ll also want to notice the smooth, dome-shaped tops of the ridges, worn smooth by millennia of wind action.
From traditional Bedouin camps to glamping experiences like the Martian domes in the luxury desert camp of Sun City, the options are endless and incredible.
What to do in Wadi Rum? For a bird’s eye view of Wadi Rum, book a sunrise hot air balloon ride. Known as the “Valley of the Moon,” the desert landscape looks otherworldly, and there’s no better place to appreciate it than from the skies overhead. Enveloped by breathtaking landscapes stretching for miles in all directions, the early morning hours make for pleasant temperatures and exceptional lighting for more photos.
Once the sun sets, Wadi Rum affords other equally compelling activities. Among these is stargazing, which takes full advantage of the area’s pristine nighttime skies. The desert rises more than 3,000 feet above sea level. Coupled with its isolation from the light pollution of major cities, savor incredible views of constellations, planets, satellites, and more. There’s no better way to spend an Arabian Night!
North of Petra, you’ll find Siq al-Barid (translated as “the cold canyon”). Referred to as “Little Petra,” this site contains a Nabataean settlement carved into the canyon’s sandstone walls. Although smaller than the actual city of Petra, it sits within the larger Petra Archeological Park and is also designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders.
Next, it’s on to the fabled city of Petra, carved from the rose-hued sandstone of the canyon. Like Little Petra, the larger city was constructed by the Nabataean Empire and dates to the first century B.C. Historically, the town occupied an important strategic location along the Silk Road, making it an attractive addition to the Roman Empire.
The Romans absorbed the city in A.D. 106, ensuring its continued growth. Yet, within 400 years, the city fell into abandonment and disrepair. While archeologists have hypothesized many possible causes (including earthquakes and an invasion by the Persian Sassanid Empire), the verdict’s still out.
Despite this puzzling change in the city’s fortunes, it remains a popular tourist attraction. One of the most haunting and beautiful ways to see it is at night. During the Petra Night Show, more than 1,500 candles illuminate the monumental location, creating an unforgettable spectacle you must see to believe. Legend says the city was built using magic, and you’ll see why after viewing it at night by the soft glimmer and glow of candlelight.
The sacred waters of the River Jordan feature prominently in historical, and more specifically, biblical accounts. These waters welcomed individuals such as Joshua, Elijah, Elisha, and John the Baptist to cross its waters, and Jesus of Nazareth was famously baptized in the Jordan. In the nearby town of Behabara (a.k.a. Bethany), explore the location where Joshua crossed the River Jordan heading into the “land of milk and honey” after the death of his master, Moses.
A thirty-minute drive from the River Jordan brings your family to the lowest point on Planet Earth, the Dead Sea. Located a whopping 1,312 feet below sea level, the Dead Sea contains high mineral and salt levels, contributing to the lack of life in its waters. Interestingly, the salt and minerals in the water have also contributed to its reputation for having curative properties. As a result, the site is a hotbed for medical treatments and spas. Moreover, Dead Sea Mud and Dead Sea Salts are renowned worldwide for their therapeutic abilities.
A perfect end to any adventure.
What’s one of the best ways to incorporate meaningful travel experiences into an itinerary to Jordan with kids? The Meaningful Travel Map launched in partnership with Tourism Cares is a must-have resource. The map outlines unique, hands-on cultural experiences for families.
Best of all, the enterprises highlighted offer travelers authentic, sustainable experiences that leave destinations better than you found them. There’s no better way to experience Jordan while knowing you’re harnessing the power of travel to better the lives of people and help destinations thrive.
While the Meaningful Travel Map offers multiple ways to see Jordan at its most authentic and culturally rich, one of our personal favorite experiences is the Ammarin Bedouin Camp. Explore Bedouin living in multiple ways, from music and dance to food, beverages, and more, while savoring immersion in Jordan’s mesmerizing desert landscapes.
A family trip to Jordan comes with a hefty dose of adventure and many exotic locations. Among the most iconic of these is the rose-colored city of Petra, but you’ll also have chances to explore the River Jordan, the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum, and much more.
Are you ready to find out more about what to do in Jordan with kids? We’ve got you covered. We have the travel expertise, family travel know-how, and the best local connections to facilitate a magical family getaway.
Ready to get started? Let’s chat!
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