17 Ideal Vacations for Families With Toddlers (PHOTOS)

Traveling with babies and toddlers requires a special kind of destination -- one that allows you to make short excursions between naps, isn’t full of Ming vases, and will entertain in big animals and bright colors.

The good news is you might not be competing with school schedules, and you can test these hot spots year-round. From east coast to west (including islands off the mainland), we’ve got you covered.

best toddler vacations

 

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  • El Conquistador, Fajardo, Puerto Rico

    1

    With perfect weather all year round, Fajardo entices with blue-green waters and white sand beaches. The Conquistador is known as an ideal family friendly resort because of its 2.4-acre water park (free for those under 3), but there’s plenty more. The short ferry ride to the beach might annoy teens looking to escape, but it’s a huge hit with toddlers. And since moms are already trained to pack every single thing the moment they leave the house, trips to the beach with baby are easy, relaxing, and fun (we swear!).

  • Crayola Factory, Easton, PA

    2

    A toddler’s dream isn’t a parent's nightmare only at the Crayola factory! Kids are encouraged to make a mess, paint everywhere, and experiment -- without worrying about cleanup. And no one has to leave without a souvenir of their own custom crayon and label!

  • Olympic National Park, Port Angeles, WA

    3

    Olympic National Park has stroller-friendly trails -- need we say more? Spending time in nature elevates moods (which can be unpredictable after baby), and a vacation might be just what the doctor ordered. And your little ones will love building sandcastles on East Beach or splashing in the Sol Duc hot springs. If they’re the type that chases little creatures, you’ll have no problem spotting banana slugs, salamanders, crabs, and snails for days of fun!

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  • Wild Dunes Resort, Charleston, SC

    4

    Charming Charleston has endless attractions for families, but don’t miss the Wild Dunes Resort on Isle of Palms just off the city. In addition to their many amenities, the draw to this resort is its cottage-style living, which means you can make proper meals for your picky toddler and lay them down in a bed for their important snoozes. It feels like home away from home.

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  • Inn at East Field Farm, Troy, NH

    5

    The Inn at East Field Farm promises an authentic farm experience at this family-run business steeped in tradition. Summer at the farm is time for swimming, fishing, and horseback riding. For those ready to hike, grab your baby backpack and tackle Mt. Monadnock, the second most climbed mountain in the world, or the smaller Gap Mt., the perfect trek for older siblings/younger children.

  • Balboa Park, San Diego, CA

    6

    Everyone knows about the fame of the San Diego Zoo, but you shouldn’t miss the larger Balboa Park, a 1,200-acre cultural park with its gardens and 15 museums. Head over to Bird Park at Upas for a playground designed specially for new walkers and curious toddlers. You’ll find activities for days in this unforgettable park in a beautiful city.

  • Tyler Family Farm, Lake Champlain, Vermont

    7

    You’ll fall in love with the idyllic pictures floating by on the Tyler Family Farm website, but it’s the Infant and Toddler tab that will have you packing up the car. With specialized programs for under 12 months, 12-18 months, and 18-30 months, it’s clear this all-inclusive resort knows the nitty-gritty of little kids. And they get parents too -- offering the perfect balance of family vacation with ample opportunity to reconnect with your partner. Are you still here?

  • Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia. PA

    8

    That's not a typo, the Please Touch Museum is begging for your curious toddler to grab and test everything! They know that toddlers learn by touching and tasting, and they're not talking about the grocery-cart handle or your morning cup of coffee. You won't say, "Don't touch that!" once during this trip, because as their tagline promises, this is “where kids age 1-7 are boss.” Need we say more? 

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  • Breakers, Palm Beach, FL

    9

    Jungle gyms, splash pools, and arcade games will entertain your little ones at Breakers, a beautiful luxury resort. For older siblings (3+) there are supervised camp activities, and there is fine dining for parents. The whole family will love a vacation at Palm Beach.

  • Riverboat Rides, Cincinnati, OH

    10

    Kids love boats, and a cruise down the Ohio River aboard a historic riverboat will please the whole family. They offer lunch or dinner, in addition to the snacks we know you’ll have stashed in your bag. While you’re in town, visit the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden and wear them out at Sky Zone Springdale trampoline park.

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  • Aulani, Ko Olina, Oahu, Hawaii

    11

    A trip to Disney can be magical for parents at this resort in Hawaii. Aulani is geared toward the younger set, offering character breakfasts, Toddler Splash and Play on the beach, and the baby-friendly Waikolohe Pool. But parents will relax in a paradise of palm trees and crystal waters.

  • Monterey Bay Aquarium, CA

    12

    Kids love bright, colorful, and interesting fish, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium won’t disappoint. Jellyfish, octopus, sharks, penguins, and sea otters will make your toddlers ooh and ahh and point with their adorably chubby hands. When the kids are done exploring the ocean, stop by The Farm in Salinas for an equally special land animal experience.

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  • Smugglers' Notch Resort, Jeffersonville, VT

    13

    Smugglers’ boasts a million-dollar child-care center and there are experts on hand to focus on babies as young as 6 weeks old. Treasures is available all day from 9-4 and is staffed with trained first aid, CPR, child development, and behavior management caregivers. Stop in for a break, an afternoon excursion, or a week of child-enriching activities -- and never have a moment of worry.

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  • Boyne Mountain, Boyne Falls, MI

    14

    The breathtaking resorts of Boyne Mountain offer year-round fun for families. The ski chairlifts offer scenic views in summer and fall. Or take a swim in Lake Michigan or the resort indoor waterpark. Older siblings can spend time at adventure camp. We dare you not to fall in love with this unique destination.

  • Weatherbury Farm in Avella, PA

    15

    Weatherbury Farm is a family-owned and -operated sustainable farm located in the rolling hills of southwestern Pennsylvania. They promise instant relaxation in a quiet place, “far from the madding crowd.” Your tots will love the experience of feeding goats and cows and collecting eggs from chickens with very gentle fingers!

  • Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA

    16

    How many places can you ride a Ferris wheel on the edge of the Pacific Ocean? Even if you don’t like heights, the view from the Santa Monica pier is like nothing else we’ve ever experienced. Enjoy some old-fashioned rides, eat at the Lobster Roll, and shop along the Third Street Promenade. It has a vibe all its own, and you and the little ones will love this outdoor excursion.

    More from The Stir: Best Baby Travel Distractions

  • Sesame Place, Langhorne, PA

    17

    For generations, toddlers have been entranced by the characters on Sesame Street, and now they can see them IRL at Sesame Place! They can live in Elmo’s World and visit Cookie Monster Land, or get wet on Bert & Ernie’s Slip & Slide. The little ones are free before their second birthday, so go early and often and snap lots of pics for memories.

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