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12 Best Family-Friendly Destinations

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Young girl ziplining in Costa Rica

Ziplining in Costa Rica

Our travel specialists have recommended the 12 best family-friendly destinations, each demonstrating how traveling with your loved ones is rewarding, with incredible adventures, exciting experiences, and unforgettable memories.

Every family is different and the right destination for yours will depend on your goals, needs, and expectations.

Whether you want a tropical escape, an exploration of natural wonders, or to witness ancient history, these family travel destinations can help you find the right place for you and yours.

  1. 1. Italy
  2. 2. Greece
  3. 3. United Kingdom
  4. 4. France
  5. 5. Costa Rica
  6. 6. Australia
  7. 7. New Zealand
  8. 8. Kenya & Tanzania
  9. 9. Japan
  10. 10. Iceland
  11. 11. Spain
  12. 12. Portugal
  13. Explore the Best Family Travel Destinations

1. Italy

Roman Furum ruins in Rome, Italy

Roman Furum in Rome, Italy

An epicenter of ancient life, art, and cuisine, Italy is nothing less than inspiring for children of all ages. Your family can sift through the past to follow the steps of Roman emperors, learn famous artists’ techniques, and hear stories of legends.

With endless access to gelato and pasta, spectacular landscapes from rolling hills to the gorgeous coastline, as well as intriguing adventures, it is easy to understand why Italy has long been a darling of family-friendly travel.

“The country has millennia of history,” says Eleonora, an Italy travel specialist. “Amazing nature and the best food make Italy a great playground.” From exploring historical icons to playing in Renaissance gardens, families of all kinds can enjoy the vast selection of activities and warm traditions.

Family-Friendly Things to Do: Venetian rowing lesson in Venice • Gelato tour with gelato-making demonstration • Cheese-making course • Visit an educational farm

Learn more: Italy Family VacationsItaly ToursItaly Family Travel Guide

2. Greece

Knossos palace in Heraklion, Crete

Knossos palace in Heraklion, Crete

Greece is the cornerstone of Western civilization and the foundation of enchanting European mythology. The passion for music, food, storytelling, and art has been preserved through the ages to create the perfect environment for a family trip.

Sun-bleached ruins, magnificent beaches, remarkable hiking trails, and endless pathways that lead to remnants of the gods can capture your family’s imagination. “Greece, with its calm and mostly sunny weather, is ideal to travel with children throughout the year,” says Anthia, a Greece travel specialist.

Athens is a fantastic starting point for families as it offers day trips from the mainland to islands and archeological sites to balance the best of Greece’s mainland and coastal wonders.

Family-Friendly Things to Do: Endless beach days • Sea kayak and snorkel to unexplored bays • Hands-on excavation workshop at archeological sites • Athena treasure hunt • Pottery workshop

Learn more: Greece Family VacationsGreece VacationsGreece Family Travel Guide

3. United Kingdom

 Jacobite Steam Train over the Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct in Scotland, UK

Jacobite Steam Train over the Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct in Scotland, UK

Home of Harry Potter and the Beatles, King Arthur and Loch Ness, shamrocks and giants, the United Kingdom will charm kids and adults with legendary histories, captivating mysteries, and dramatic landscapes revealing one of the best family vacation spots in the world. Whether eager to witness castles or uncover the quiet ambiance of classic gardens, England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland bring the past to life through a modern culture that pays homage to its heritage.

The United Kingdom will spoil your family with choices. “Plan as early as you can to suit every member of your family,” says UK travel expert, Anne Marie. With so much to offer, a destination specialist can take much of the stress, pressure, and planning off your hands. With skip-the-line tickets and private tours, maximize your time together with smart planning and every detail covered.

Family-Friendly Things to Do: City walking tours • Afternoon tea • Jacobite steam train • Harry Potter • Historic palaces and castles • Sheepdog experiences • Falconry • Stonehenge

Learn more: UK Family VacationsEngland Family VacationsScotland Family Vacations

4. France

Château de Beynac, France

Château de Beynac, France

France is where your family can experience and savor culture. Art, food, castles, and epic stories create a majestic ambiance that spans coastal cliffs to lavender fields.

France is the embodiment of beauty in which the family can immerse itself in architecture, museums, fashion, food, and landscape. From the Eiffel Tower to storybook villages, elegant gardens to grand chateaus, your family will not only witness the beauty for which the country is known, but experience it.

France travel specialist Stephen mentions how walking through France is like bringing the past to life. From chalets to fortresses, visiting fairytale villages or finding the artistry of artisan crafts, France is a family travel destination that will give you a new perspective on heritage, culture, and cuisine.

Family-Friendly Things to Do: Conquer the Montbazon fortress • Play with Da Vinci’s inventions • Guided hike through an enchanted fairytale forest • Stone-cutting workshop • Louvre treasure hunt

Learn more: France Family VacationsFrance ToursFrance Travel Guide

5. Costa Rica

Aerial view of teenagers with surf instructor waiting for a wave in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Costa Rica is considered one of the best family destinations for its variety. Adventure, heritage, beaches, and wildlife create a blanket of charm and allow your family to dig deep into the limitless possibilities.

Zipline through the jungle canopy, scour the trees for signs of endangered spider monkeys or colorful birdlife, learn to surf, sample chocolate, or witness turtle hatchlings, and that is just the start. Ecologically diverse, incredibly friendly, and overflowing with dramatic landscapes, Costa Rica is a family-friendly travel destination that’s ready to welcome kids and adults of all ages.

“Reconnect with your children, reconnect with nature, and bond as a family in the country’s more than 64 micro-climates,” say Alex and Francisco, two of our Zicasso travel specialists. Costa Rica feels like a village when it comes to raising children and is a natural paradise for every visitor.

Family-Friendly Things to Do: Canopy ziplining in the tropical rain or cloud forest • Tropical river tubing • Surf lessons • Coffee, chocolate, and sugarcane hands-on experience • Visit a rural elementary school • Tropical sea or mangrove kayaking

Learn more: Costa Rica Family VacationsCosta Rica ToursCosta Rica Travel Guide

6. Australia

Young girls feeding kangaroos at a kangaroo sanctuary in Australia

Australia Zoo in Queensland

Australia provides opportunities to embrace the unexpected. From the world’s oldest culture to the stunning colors of the Great Barrier Reef, the exciting myths of the desert to the enticing wildlife of the rainforest, there is an endless amount to explore. With the promise of white-sand beaches, kangaroos, sea turtles, and 4WD excursions, you can easily experience the adventures and charms of this splendid destination.

The possibilities in Australia are endless, but there is also room for relaxation for the perfect family trip. “When traveling with kids, I recommend booking accommodation with swimming pools and allowing a free day every few days to just enjoy the beach or pool, relax or do something unplanned which has caught your interest,” says Penny, a travel specialist for the South Pacific.

“Stay on an Island in the Whitsundays to access the Great Barrier Reef and build in some downtime so they can enjoy meeting other kids at the kids’ club or be a ranger for a day, looking after wildlife while the parents relax and take some time for themselves,” Penny says. “There are endless beaches in Australia to enjoy. Talk to the kids and ask them to research something they would love to see or do in each country so everyone gets a say.”

Family-Friendly Things to Do: Sydney Harbour Bridge climb • Surfing lesson • Kangaroo sanctuary • Ride a camel to the Field of Light

Learn more: Australia Family VacationsAustralia ToursAustralia Travel Guide

7. New Zealand

Hobbit house at Hobbiton in Matamata, New Zealand

Hobbiton in Matamata, New Zealand

Find plenty of soft adventure, thrilling activities, fascinating culture, and Maori traditions when discovering why New Zealand has some of the world’s best family vacation spots. “Take your time. Do not rush and make sure everyone gets a small say in the activities they would all like to enjoy,” says Kate, a South Pacific travel specialist. “New Zealand has beautiful scenery, great beaches, and a very relaxed vibe. You can try surfing in the morning and be kayaking on a lake in the afternoon. It is such a compact country, you can really fit a lot in.”

While you can fill your day with action-packed adventures, Kate recommends you take your time and enjoy the scenery at the right pace for your family. When traveling with children, she recommends you “don’t try to fit too much in. Build in a bit of free time. But If you have a wildlife lover, be sure to build in a special experience for them. If you have an adrenaline junkie, you can be sure to fulfill their needs too with something like a jet-boat safari or white-water rafting.”

New Zealand is remarkable for its ability to balance relaxation and adventure. By knowing what your kids like and the possibilities across the North and South islands, you can create the perfect itinerary.

Family-Friendly Things to Do: Surfing • Kayaking • Luging • Skyline gondola • Hobbiton • Jet-boat safari

Learn more: New Zealand Family VacationsNew Zealand ToursNew Zealand Travel Guide

8. Kenya & Tanzania

Kenyan guides on bush walk with kids in Kenya

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya. Photo courtesy of Sirikoi

Kenya and Tanzania highlight abundance in all its forms. Famous for their wildlife, endless plains, and unique experiences, Kenya and Tanzania are enchanting destinations that can combine wildlife adventures with exciting beach getaways. Scour the landscape for lions and elephants, canoe down lazy rivers, learn about historic cultures, or lounge on white-sand beaches reminiscent of a postcard.

Beyond incredible wildlife viewing, there are also opportunities to interact with culture. “Going out with the Masai/Samburu and learning about the various skills they need to survive in the bush is always a highlight,” says Sara, a safari specialist. “Children can learn to track the different animals, throw spears, and play with bows and arrows – there is a version of the Olympic Games with all sorts of fun activities that are played in luggas.”

Whether you learn how to track lions and warthogs in the bush or visit an elephant orphanage, you will have a deeper insight into the depth of culture and natural beauty in Kenya and Tanzania.

Family-Friendly Things to Do: Walking with camels in the bush • Track animals • Throw spears • Learn to use bows and arrows with the Masai or Samburu • Rock climbing • Sleep under the stars

Learn more: Kenya Family SafarisTanzania Family SafarisKenya Safari GuideTanzania Safari Guide

9. Japan

Tokyo cityscape with Sensō-ji and the Skytree in Asakusa, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Japan is a place of timeless tradition, fused with a futuristic vision of the modern world. Preserved traditions remain an important part of daily culture and historic legends, fascinating architecture, and a sense of connection to the epic scenery will charm your family. With supreme ease of travel, you can uncover Japanese heritage in the authentic cuisine and customary castles, find the quiet beauty of mountain escapes or embrace the thrills of unique destinations for the perfect family-friendly getaway.

Japan is a family destination of a lifetime. “It is very safe and kids generally have a lot more freedom to wander around,” says Jeff, a Japan travel specialist. There are plenty of wonderful parks where children can play, so the family can always explore in new cities or towns. “Japan is a great place to travel with babies … you almost never have to touch any doors as everything is automatic, so you can be hands-free,” adds Suzie, another travel specialist.

Family-Friendly Things to Do: Shimanami Kaido cycling road • Sea kayaking • Tokyo Skytree • Kids’ plaza • Sanrio Puroland

Learn more: Japan Family VacationsJapan ToursJapan Travel Guide

10. Iceland

Iseljalandfoss waterfall in Iceland

Iseljalandfoss waterfall in Iceland

Iceland is a pure spectacle, dazzling pre-teens and teens alike. Whether searching for the Northern Lights in winter or gazing at the majestic mist of staggering waterfalls in summer, it is easy to become entranced by the natural and cultural beauty of it all. Endless opportunities to explore bring volcanic tunnels, walks over glaciers, rides on Icelandic horses, and fantastic Viking history.

"Most of Iceland's nature is untouched and unbound, so it is important to enjoy it, respect it, and especially to be aware of the power of nature," says Andres, an Iceland travel expert with Zicasso. "Most important when traveling with children is to have a thoroughly well-planned trip ahead of time."

Family-Friendly Things to Do: Hiking • Whale watching • Seal spotting • River rafting • Farm visit • Lava tunnel visit • Horseback riding

Learn more: Iceland ToursIceland Travel Guide

11. Spain

Mosaics at Park Guell by Gaudi in Barcelona, Spain

Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain

Spain immerses your family in history accentuated by cobblestone villages, dramatic castles, and historical vineyards. The present echoes history on idyllic golden beaches, in gorgeous hills, and contemporary culture woven into the tapestry of heritage cities. From ancient Romans to passionate dance steps, epic artistry to mouthwatering cuisine, Spain offers your family endless surprises in a welcoming atmosphere.

Spain is a peaceful and safe destination. It feels welcoming and warm, receiving visitors with open arms. Spain travel specialist Ana recommends a variety of activities for your family, from flamenco to cooking classes, hiking to bottling your own wine, with fantastic options for children of any age.

Family-Friendly Things to Do: Kayaking • Flamenco masterclass • Truffle hunting • Horseback riding • Sheep farm visit • Hiking • Visit to artisan workshops • Museum scavenger hunts • Gaudi mosaic workshop

Learn more: Spain Family VacationsSpain ToursSpain Travel Guide

12. Portugal

Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal

Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal

Portugal is a picture-perfect destination for the family. A postcard of golden beaches and azure waters along the coastline, fairytale castles and storybook fortresses, the cities provide captivating history and the countryside becomes a bucolic escape for children of any age.

The varied landscape can unveil dramatic seaside archways or introduce you to hiking trails that wind through the hills. You can wander down cobblestone lanes away from city crowds or uncover a favorite restaurant hidden in a remote town.  Portugal travel expert Filomena says, "Each region has its charms and secrets to explore and enjoy."

From walking along the ruined walls of historic strongholds to finding a quiet regal garden or enjoying a cave adventure, Portugal can bring history to life and immerse you in thrills beyond what the eye can see.

Family-Friendly Things to Do: Swimming • Kayaking • Fado class • Cooking class • Horseback riding • Hiking • Visit artisan workshops • Museum scavenger hunts • Azulejo tile workshop

Learn more: Portugal Family VacationsPortugal ToursPortugal Travel Guide

Explore the Best Family Travel Destinations

Mother and daughter in Piazza San Marco, Venice

Piazza San Marco, Venice

Traveling as a family is a great way to bring everyone together, whether with kids or on a multi-generational trip. The diverse activities create endless opportunities to explore and experience a new place according to your family’s preferences, from wildlife spotting to hiking, artistic discoveries to sampling new foods.

Our family vacation travel guide has more ideas on where to go and what to do for your vacation. We can also tailor any trip from our sample family tours to your needs and goals. Discover the unique places to visit as a family with your kids for more off-the-beaten-path discoveries, or find inspiration on the types of trips Zicasso can help make possible with our trip ideas for the family traveler.

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