Have Kids, Will Travel
The teenager doesn’t want to do something or the baby needs a nap. Any way you cut it, family travel can be more of a trip than a vacation. But sometimes, a place is so different, so special, it actually becomes one of those vacations that’s more of an experience—one that maybe is even life-altering, where your now grown up children will tell their future friends or partner about the holidays they used to go on as kids. From domestic and far-flung adventure destinations to food tours on the other side of the earth, these are experiences that the whole family can get behind.
Alaska is, for lack of a better word, huge. It’s also full of adventure. Only a two-hour flight from Seattle, it’s not as far away as you’d think. The perfect multigenerational summer destination (still a growing trend in 2019), this state is known for its wildlife (land and sea), jaw-dropping vistas and a favorite amusement for kids: different modes of transportation. “Flightseeing” is a thing here, where you can land on a runway, the water, a mountain or even a glacier.
The “heel” of the Italian boot may be the best beach spot in Italy for families. Beyond its white sand shores, there’s nothing more iconic to this destination than the trulli buildings and homes. These whitewashed stone homes with cone shaped roofs give the area a fairytale-like appearance. Rather than staying in a hotel, rent your own trullo—many even have their own private pools.
It’s easy to spend 10+ days in Portugal, from the larger cities such as Lisbon and Porto to the southern coastline of the Algarve (we love these Kid & Coe homes to rent for families). For a more exotic feel, visit the mid-Atlantic archipelago of the Azores, also known as “Europe’s Hawaii.” Known for whale, dolphin and porpoise-spotting and its waterfalls, hot springs and geysers, these nine islands may be the best-kept secret in family travel.
With the 2020 Olympics coming to Tokyo, plan a trip now so that you can enjoy the new infrastructure and developments before all of the tourists arrive. Wander through an underground food market and the streets of Shibuya on a food tour—it’s a great way to introduce your kids to a new culture. Next up could be Tokyo Disneyland (go during the week to avoid the crowds), followed by an early morning at the Tsukiji Fish Market to watch the tuna bidding and wander through the endless stalls of food and trinkets.
This is the perfect road trip destination. If you have small children in tow, hiking the canyon may not be possible, so focus on the side trips. If you plan to visit over spring or summer break, you could stop in Sedona to hike the red rock canyons or visit one of the world’s largest crater sites near Winslow. Bearizona is a must-see wildlife park where the kids can see wolves, sheep, bison and bears, of course.
With nonstop flights, Iceland has become an extremely popular family adventure destination. There will be moments when you’re driving through vast open spaces dotted with horses and others where you’ll pull over to see if suddenly you’re on the moon (or seeing a lot of volcanic ash). Plan to rent a car and experience the Golden Circle to see waterfalls, geysers and geothermal areas. You won’t want to miss a day trip to the glaciers for a boat tour and a night or two in Reykjavik.
From jungles to volcanoes and beaches, there’s no reason to sit tight in Costa Rica. Take a few days to walk hanging bridges or go rafting, canoeing and zip-lining near Arenal. Keep the kids up late one night to join a guided tour and see giant sea turtles nesting on the beach. Finish off your stay at a beach region like Guanacaste, where you can surf and enjoy the Pacific coast.