Planning a vacation that everyone in the family will love and remember can have its challenges. To make sure your next family getaway is a smash hit, consider everyone’s needs and don’t be afraid to shake things up by going somewhere new. From family-friendly resorts and theme parks to exciting outdoor and cultural adventures, the best family getaways always offer something for everyone. Based on our travel specialists’ own experience and those of their clients, here are the Top 5 Family Vacation spots in the world.
1. Costa Rica
A veritable playground for kids of all ages, Costa Rica packs in a more natural beauty, culture and adventure than most countries many times its size. What kid wouldn’t love seeing fascinating wild animals, lush rainforests, towering volcanoes and warm sundrenched beaches? Friendly, affordable and endlessly captivating, Costa Rica is an ideal destination to choose if you’re looking to mix in some educational experiences for the kids. The country’s rich biodiversity is practically everywhere, making for plenty of What’s this? What’s that? moments. Arenal Volcano National Park and Braulio Carrillo National Park are great places to get up close with the country’s flora and fauna. Best of all, a trip to Costa Rica can be as adventurous or as relaxing as you want it to be. The country’s small size allows you to spend time both on the beach and in the rainforests.
2. Grand Canyon National Park
Want to really impress the family with a vacation filled with endless ooohs and aaahs? Then head straight for Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Carved out of rock by the Colorado River over thousands of years, Grand Canyon National Park has oodles of fun programs for a wide range of ages. These free activities explain some of the canyon’s mysteries in a way that even the youngest kids will understand. One of the most popular programs is the Junior Ranger program where kids get to participate directly with the park’s rangers by learning how to help preserve our National Parks. Once the kids have completed their assignments in their booklets, you can head to the Visitor’s Center to have their “research” reviewed by a Park Ranger. After a swearing in ceremony, each Jr. Ranger will then receive an official Grand Canyon Junior Ranger Certificate and badge.
A family vacation to Italy—are you serious? Absolutely! The land of gelato is perhaps the best European country to take the gang to thanks to its family-friendliness. Italians tend to have very strong family values and are very accommodating to children. From the beaches and cliffs to the Amalfi Coast to Rome’s wonderful piazzas and Tuscany’s ancient villages, there’s always something new (an old) waiting around every corner of the country for kids to discover. Even a day or two spent wandering around Venice’s maze of stunning architecture and canals will keep them enthralled (they’ll think it was created by Disney). Italy overflows with history and beauty, monuments and museums. And when it comes to dining out with family, Italy is tough to beat. Children are warmly welcomed in pizzerias and trattorias where high chairs are often available for toddlers and babies.
4. Orlando, Florida
No one place in the world holds more magic for kids than Orlando, Florida—better known to them simply as Walt Disney World. The Walt Disney World Resort is about as good as it gets for kids. So good in fact, families can make return visits and always be surprised by new things throughout each of the resort’s four parks: the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, the Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If that’s not enough fun for your family, the resort’s Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon will certainly keep the kids well entertained and wet. But there’s much more to Orlando just outside the magic Kingdom’s gates that shouldn’t be missed. Universal Studios Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando and Universal’s Islands of Adventure have become popular spots for keeping the excitement going. Check out our exclusive, nonstop flights to Orlando from local airports in Pennsylvania.
5. Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos
Enjoying a little romance while on a family vacation can be difficult—but not at Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort & Spa. Only a 75-minute flight from Miami, this all-encompassing, all-inclusive resort in the beautiful Turks & Caicos Islands has it all: a 45,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art waterpark; three magnificent villages with Italian, French and Caribbean-inspired architecture; incredibly sumptuous hotel accommodations; a 12-mile powder white-sand beach lapped by clear turquoise waters; and endless activities for everyone, from tots to tweens and teens. And yes, the resort and location are just as beautiful as you can imagine. The resort hasn’t forgotten about anyone—parents included. At Beaches Turks and Caicos, kids are given extra attention with tailor-made, supervised programs for five different age levels at no extra charge—giving parents lots of time to themselves to enjoy one of the world’s romantic settings.