TOP Family Travel Destinations
Estimated Reading Time: 10 minutes
Family travel, for any family size, and for all ages, inspires some of the most memorable and most influential experiences. Venturing out, seeing new sights, living and learning as a family unit, will set in motion a lifetime of growth for your beautiful family.
Covering some of the best and safest cities worldwide, below is a list of awe-inspiring family travel destinations and excursions to explore.
Family Vacation Destinations
London, England, United Kingdom
London has many historical, educational, and fun options for family travel. From art, to culture, food, Harry Potter, and wax figures - there’s something for everyone at this wonderful vacation destination.
Big Ben - The Great Bell (a.k.a. Big Ben) is London’s iconic 16-story clocktower that’s on the north end of the Palace of Westminster, London, England, U.K.
London Eye - London’s observation wheel (30 minutes for one revolution) is located on the South Bank of the River Thames. It is the most popular tourist attraction and perfect for families wanting a view!
Tower Bridge - A beautiful symbol of London, this suspension bridge crosses the River Thames (built in 1886-1894) and is a must see for new travelers to Europe and a great photo opportunity for families.
Harry Potter’s London - One of London’s major family travel attractions, Harry Potter’s London is the HP Fanatic and the best Harry Potter experience in the world. Visitors will be able to take a picture with Platform 9 3/4; tour Warner Brothers Studio in Leavensden (where the Harry Potter movie series was filmed); get tickets for the stage play, Harry Potter and the Curse Child; and even take a 2.5-hour Muggle Walking Tour!
Buckingham Palace - Tour Buckingham Palace (the London residence and headquarters for the United Kingdom monarchy), located in Westminster, London. Tours will walk you around the State Rooms; view the Grand Staircase; the fine art, flags and clocks within the palace; and finally visit the Throne Room. There’s also a Garden Cafe and Garden Shop to purchase unique Buckingham Palace souvenirs!
Madame Tussauds - Madame Tussauds is a wax figures museum and is one of London’s top tourist attractions for family travel. Take pictures up close with life-size celebrities and well-known public figures created from wax! Travel Tip: It is a better deal to purchase tickets online than at Tussauds’ ticket booth.
Oahu, Hawaii, USA
Oahu deserves a spot on the Top Family Travel Destinations list because of its wide variety of fun-in-the-sun for all. Water-sports, cultural interactive learning experiences, great shopping centers and swap-meets, delicious Hawaiian food, and more, Oahu offers a delightful and memorable family vacation.
Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay - Definitely one of Oahu’s top family attractions, Hanauma Bay is home to over 400 species of fish; has beautiful, clear, pristine waters; and so much beach area for any size family to enjoy the day. Snorkeling and other beach rentals are available. Travel Tip: Bring picnic food, supplies, sunscreen, and be prepared to spend at least 4 hours, if not more, there. You won’t want to leave!
Hike Diamond Head - Diamond Head is a volcanic crater and one of Oahu’s most iconic geological attractions. Families will enjoy the Diamond Head hike as well as the amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu. Travel Tip: You will need to bring walking shoes, water, and clothes you don’t mind breaking a sweat in.
Waikiki Beach - Spend hours roaming this iconic beach and enjoying its views (especially Diamond Head). You and your family will definitely enjoy the white sand, warm ocean water, restaurants and bars, and more. There’s also a wonderful commercial area; parasailing and other water-sports available. Travel Tip: Umbrella and chair rentals are available; and plenty of convenience stores around.
Polynesian Cultural Center - The PCC is an educational and very entertaining place to learn about the Polynesian Cultures in Hawaii and around the world. It is absolutely great for families and children. With live demonstrations, shows, and a luau and dinner (for extra purchase), your family will enjoy a wonderful and truly Hawaiian experience.
Dole Plantation: Pineapple Plantation - Rated one of the most enjoyable and fun experiences (and with yummy treats), Dole’s Pineapple Plantation is great fun for the entire family. At the Pineapple Plantation, you will tour the Pineapple Garden, see how pineapples actually grow, and get fresh samples of sweet pineapple straight from the earth. You can also ride around on the Pineapple Express Train; find your way through a garden maze, and enjoy a Pineapple Ice Cream Sundae! Total fun!
Barcelona is one of those places you can feel the culture alive and strong. Walk the streets, see the sights, eat delicious Spanish food, and learn as a family about this beautiful place.
Stroll through La Rambla - La Rambla is Barcenlona’s most famous and main street. Lined with outdoor shops, restaurants, cafes, and markets, this family travel destination will have you and your family fed and feeling wonderful.
Enjoy the City’s beaches - Platja de la Nova Icaria, Barcelona’s most popular beach is known for its boardwalk; cafes, restaurants, and bars. Enjoy the water-sports rentals, bicycle rentals, volleyball nets, and more!
Barcelona Bus Turistic - Hop on Hop Off Bus Tours - Enjoy the best Barcelona has to offer, and, at your own pace. Hop on and off this bus tour at the destinations you choose and enjoy your tour through the city without any worry of transportation, parking, etc.
Cuitadella Park - Also known as the Garden of Barcelona, Cuitadella Park is a must see during your family vacation. Spend a few hours in this beautifully arranged park, near its lake and the iconic Cuitadella park fountain. This park is also home to the Zoological Museum and Museu de Geologia.
Orlando, Florida, USA
Orlando, Florida is home to two theme parks. You may have heard of them: Walt Disney World, Orlando and Universal Studios, Orlando.
Walt Disney World, Orlando - Disney World is made up of four theme parks: Magic Kingdom Park; Epcot; Disney’s Hollywood Studios; Disney Animal Kingdom Park; and two water parks: Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon; Disney’s Blizzard Beach. Tickets for 1-Park Per Day or Park Hopper options; annual passes; as well as vacation packages are available for family travel.
Universal Studios, Orlando - Universal Studios is made up of four theme parks: Universal Studios Florida (includes The Wizarding World of Harry Potter with Diagon Alley); World Class Destination (including Fast & Furious Supercharged); Universal Islands of Adventure (includes The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade); and Universal Volcano Bay (water park). Universal Studios, Orlando also has the famous City Walk, which is a commercial, souvenir shopping and eatery center.
Japan deserves a spot on the Top Family Travel Destinations list for its sheer magnificence, cultural splendor, and amazing food and people.
Tokyo Skytree - The Tokyo Skytree is an iconic landmark for Japan. As the world’s tallest tower, measuring at 634 meters, it contains a restaurant, an observation deck, and is also a broadcasting tower in Sumida, Tokyo, Japan.
Hato Bus Tokyo Tours - Hato Bus tour guides will give you detailed information on Japanese history and culture, along with seeing Hibiya Park; Tokyo Tower; the Rainbow Bridge; Ginza; and more!
Meiji Jingu - Also known as the Meiji Shrine, this iconic Japanese shrine is dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. The Meiji Jingu Shrine is also a Shinto Shrine (Shinto is Japan’s ancient original religion).
Tsukiji Market - The Tsukiji Market is one of the largest and most popular fish markets in Japan. This market has an assortment of seafood and a viewing area for its famous tuna auction amongst the chefs.
San Diego, California, USA
San Diego Zoo - The San Diego Zoo offers many family-friendly tours: a Guided Bus Tour (duration: 35 minutes); and Botanical Tours. The SD Zoo also offers the Kangaroo Bus (hop on, hop off transportation throughout zoo); an Aerial Tram (view the safari from the sky); a few entertaining animal shows; a 4-D Theater; and Animal Encounters (meet and learn about the zoo’s animals from their keepers). There are also zoo-themed play areas for children; and the Balboa Park Miniature Train (3-minute train rides around a portion of Balboa Park).
San Diego Museum of Man - The Museum of Man is a museum of anthropology located in Balboa Park, San Diego, CA. At this museum, learn about the history of man, human societies, cultures, and their development; human relationship between the earth and animals; and what it means to be human. Travel Tip: FREE for San Diego residents and active duty military and their families on the 3rd Tuesday of every month for “Residents Free Day.”
Balboa Park, San Diego, CA - Balboa Park is more than recreational park! This park contains a world famous zoo, many museums (more than are listed below), a carousel, and more! Here are just a few of the museums offered within the park:
Centro Cultural de la Raza
Japanese Friendship Garden
San Diego Art Institution
San Diego Mineral Gem Society
San Diego Natural History Museum
World Beat Center
LEGOLAND California Theme Park, San Diego, CA - Families and children (ages 2-12) can enjoy more than 60 LEGO-themed rides, attractions and shows within the park. Park includes rollercoasters, an aquarium, a waterpark and more!
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada - Within Toronto, Ontario, your family will enjoy discovering and learning about 20,000 aquatic animals at Canada’s Ripley’s Aquarium underwater adventure! Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, visitors will explore Canada’s largest indoor aquarium and learn of underwater life.
Admire Toronto’s Graffiti Alley - Toronto’s Graffiti Alley is one of Toronto’s newest, major tourist attractions. This massive collection of colorful and creative street art will have its admirers gazing for hours. Enjoy the downtown area and walk through this alley expecting a wonderful time. This is a popular location for photo opportunities, as well.
Niagara Falls - Niagara Falls is located in the city of Ontario, Canada. Niagara Falls, linked with the U.S. by the Rainbow Bridge, is a major tourist destination that has attractions, tours, restaurants, events and more!
Casa Loma, Toronto, Canada - Casa Loma is an elaborate 18th century castle in Toronto that offers tours of the castle and garden. Casa Loma is a Gothic Revival style mansion that is now a historical landmark and museum.
CN Tower, Toronto, Canada - Located in downtown Toronto, the CN Tower is the tallest free-standing building, reaching 1,815 feet. Families will enjoy the glass elevator ride up to the observation floor. Travel Tip: Dining at the 360 Restaurant includes the price of admission for the observation deck.
Toronto Zoo - Known for its interactive and educationally unique activities for families, visitors will learn about the conservation of wildlife and more.
Yosemite National Park, California, USA
Yosemite National Park is located in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains and is well-known for its ancient, breathtaking sequoia trees; iconic viewpoints; and endless hours of outdoors adventures and excursions.
Tunnel View - Tunnel View is a famous scenic viewpoint of Half Dome and Yosemite Valley, on State Route 41. Definitely take the family to this spot for the jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring sights.
Yosemite Ski & Snowboard - Yosemite National Park also offers skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and much more. Rentals are available for days of family fun!
Yosemite Falls - Yosemite National Park is home to many dazzling water falls. Yosemite Falls is one of the world’s tallest waterfalls (consisting of 3 falls, totally of over 2,000 feet of falling water).
Glacier Point - Glacier Point is an overlook viewpoint at Yosemite National Park, that oversees the following: Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and Yosemite’s high country. Another great scenic viewpoint at this national park!
El Capitan - View El Capitan, one of Yosemite National Park’s iconic vertical granite rock formations. This rock formation is visible on many hiking trails and a major point of interest for visitors.
Eiffel Tower - The Eiffel Tower, founded in 1887, is a symbol for Paris. It’s a world-famous structure that glitters at night, made of a wrought-iron lattice design and towers over Paris on Champ de Mars. A must for all Paris family visitors, spend hours gazing up at its glory and taking tons of pictures.
Louvre Museum - The Louvre is the world’s largest art museum and one of France’s historic monuments. Travel Tip: On Wednesdays and Fridays, from 6:00-9:45 PM, entrance to the museum is at a reduced price, and FREE for people under the age of 26 (Friday evenings only)!
Notre-Dame de Paris - Also known as the Notre-Dame Cathedral, is a medieval Catholic cathedral, that is one of France’s finest, most elaborate examples of French Gothic architecture. Travel Tip: Entrance is FREE, but visitors will have to pay ticket prices for entrance to Notre-Dame tower.
Arc de Triomphe - One of Paris’ most famous monuments, overlooking Champs Élysées. Rooftop tickets are available for purchase.
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Cloud Gate - Also known as The Bean, Cloud Gate is one of Chicago’s most famous public sculptures and is the focal point of the AT&T Plaza at Millennium Park within the Loop community. Definitely a main attraction for your family vacation.
360 Chicago - The Observation Deck Chicago, 360 Chicago, is located 1,000 feet above the Magnificent Mile within the iconic John Hancock Building. Stand over glass flooring and peer down to the streets from the 94th floor. Book your tickets and enjoy this thrilling experience with the entire family.
Navy Pier & Centennial Wheel - Your family travel to Chicago needs to include walking the Navy Pier, taking part in its many family interactive activities, and experiencing the Centennial Wheel (Chicago’s iconic Ferris wheel). Navy Pier is also home to Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the largest visual performing arts venue! Look into purchasing tickets to their latest show!
Shedd Aquarium - The Shedd Aquarium is an indoor public aquarium that houses 32,000 animals is one of the U.S.’s largest aquariums in the world. Fun for the whole family, visitors can participate in tours, interactive educational experiences, and be up-close to marine life.
Adler Planetarium - Chicago’s Adler Planetarium is America’s first planetarium and serves as a major inspiration for future generations of space exploration. Through Adler Sky Shows, visitors will enjoy learning about the universe and space exploration.
Miami, Florida, USA
Airboat Everglades & Grasslands Tour - Your family travel definitely has to include a Miami, Florida’s Everglades and Grasslands tour. Your family will enjoy cutting through the Everglades in a high-speed airboat, all while searching for alligators lurking in the waters!
Zoo Miami - Zoo Miami is the largest and oldest zoological garden in Florida. The Zoo Miami is also the only zoo within the US to have a sub-tropical zoo (sub-tropical meaning, its collection of animals are mostly kept in large, open spaces).
South Beach, Miami - Enjoy one of Miami’s most famous beaches, South Beach! Walk through South Beach’s most famous street, Ocean Drive (art deco architecture, art, restaurants, and a nightlife); Lincoln Road (shopping, art deco, and art); Española Way (shopping center); and Washington Avenue (art deco and shopping). South Beach, Miami also offers plenty of water sports and rentals. Definitely a great time for the whole family!
South Beach Eateries - South Beach, Miami also offers many delicious multicultural eateries, restaurants and cafes. My personal favorite is Olas (cuban food)! Please order you and your family some of their empanadas and a coffee!
Family travel is something we can all hope to experience. Sometimes, it’s hard to find just the right locations in which to do so. I hope you found this list of my top family vacation destinations useful and inspiring. Let’s get you and your family one step closer to being out the door and on your way!
Disclosure: Please note that some links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission, if you make a purchase. I only recommend products and services that I use and the income earned will help to support the Holistic Travelers community and my work.