9 Hulu Shows that Let Your Whole Family Take a Virtual Vacation

What if all you have to do to get away is plop down on your couch?

Once you have kids, a vacation can be quite the undertaking, and suddenly the staycation gets a lot more attractive. No lugging car seats through an airport, no motion sickness, no guest rooms. With Hulu, you don’t even have to leave the house. Your family can take a virtual vacation and see new places, get a glimpse at different cultures, or even travel to another time.


These shows take you somewhere else. Just don’t forget the popcorn.

The Amazing Race
At our house, this competition reality show has become a family favorite: We love to mimic host Phil Keoghan’s catchphrase “A rrrrrrace around the world!” As the teams travel from country to country, we find each location on the globe and discuss what language they speak, what the climate is like, and so on. The contestants visit cultural and historical landmarks, but also complete crazy stunts like bungee jumping and herding sheep, which keeps kids utterly hooked.

Gravity Falls
Disney’s Gravity Falls is an animated adventure about a brother and sister spending a summer with their great uncle in Gravity Falls, Oregon, but the mysterious town holds all kinds of secrets, like a kiddie Twin Peaks. Dipper and Mabel quickly find a journal full of clues that will help them unravel the (cute, funny, wacky, and expertly voice-acted) mystery.

Obviously kids are too young for Game of Thrones. But BBC America’s Atlantis is more like the Downton Abbey of Greek mythology, just with a bit of sci-fi flair. Modern-day undersea explorer Jason accidentally travels back to the ancient kingdom of Atlantis, where he becomes instant friends with Pythagoras and Hercules. The fantasy monster-battling violence might be scary for very young kids, but older kids will love the adventure.

Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild
Each 20-minute episode of Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild examines one animal in its natural habitat, and the excitement of the Hanna’s experts is beyond contagious. Kids will get a glimpse of not just the animals, but the lives of the researchers who study them in the field. The show has a strong conservation message, naturally.

Xploration Outer Space
By the time our kids are grown, space tourism might become as normal as a trip to Disney World. Until then, Xploration Outer Space gives them a behind-the-scenes look at space exploration, from how astronauts train to how satellites work to the life cycle of a star.

Top Chef
Each season of the cooking competition show takes place in a different city, and the professional chefs learn about the local specialties and experience the area’s food culture. A couple of seasons even have the “cheftestants” travel through a region to really dig into what gives the local cuisine its unique flavor: Season 9 winds its way through Texas, Season 11 soaks up New Orleans, and Season 13 cruises the California coast.

Rock the Park
Lifelong friends Jack Steward and Colton Smith want to visit every national park in the country, and their documentary series might just inspire your family to plan a trip to a national park too. In two seasons streaming on Hulu, they’ll take you from Yellowstone to Denali, from Yosemite to the Virgin Islands. The nature is breathtaking, and the hosts’ enthusiasm is definitely contagious.

The animated stories of 12 little girls in two straight lines (and the littlest one was Madeline) takes place in Paris, and the girls also go on far-flung adventures to places like London, Cannes, New York, the Orient Express, and even the North Pole. Adults won’t mind watching over and over just because the narration by Christopher Plummer (yes, Captain Von Trapp himself) is just so very soothing.

Wilderness Vet
This reality show about a vet in the rugged Yukon Territory of Canada will show kids how Dr. Michelle Oakley and her daughters work together to help a huge array of animals, from moose to horses to sled dogs to musk ox. The landscapes are beautiful and the animals adorable, but what really shines is the hard work and dedication of Dr. Oakley and her team.

Read More >