You’re exhausted from late night feedings and changing countless diapers. Let’s face it: you need a vacation! Toting your little one around a brand new place might sound like a nightmare, but believe it or not, your baby is at his or her most portable stage right now. Plus, with the increasing availability of vacation rentals around the world, you won’t have to worry about waking up your hotel neighbors in the middle of the night. In addition, you’ll have your own kitchen to prepare food for your baby, and you can toss clothes in the washer any time things get a little bit messy. Here are the top vacation spots to bring your baby or toddler.
1. Paradise Island, Bahamas
The beach is a popular destination for any traveler, but thanks to fun attractions and easy accessibility, it’s even more attractive to traveling families. Just throw everything you need into your rental minivan and you’re good to go! Nassau Paradise Island also offers day passes making it easy to explore the beaches, pools, and activities of the best hotels in the Bahamas. One of the hotels included is the extremely popular Atlantis Paradise Island which offers 141 acres of water attractions, a water-play area just for toddlers, and 50,000 fish and sea creatures. We recommend the Discover Atlantis Tour where you can explore the streets and tunnels of the lost city of Atlantis while viewing stunning marine life exhibits.
2. Olympic National Park, Washington
Toddler’s eyes are full of wonder, so a national park is the perfect place to let them explore. Olympic National Park has several stroller-friendly hiking trails, plus, with mountain vistas, tropical rainforests, and coastal tidepools, it has three different eco-systems to discover. East Beach has a shallow swimming area with sand that’s perfect for castle making, and there are picnic areas scattered throughout the park, so it’s easy to stop for a break and a snack. Don’t pass up the park’s main visitor center. The Discover Room has interactive touch tables and a Ranger Station playhouse with puppets, dress-up clothes, and more.
3. Disney Cruise Line
No matter what route you’re taking, cruise ships offer great children’s programs and expansive play areas. Choosing a family-friendly cruise line like any of the vacations offered by Disney will ensure a great time for kids and adults alike. Just like the Disney Parks, every inch of the Disney ships have a touch of that Disney magic. There are character meet and greets (sometimes you can even swim with Mickey!), princess makeovers, and magic artwork that comes to life in the hallways. There’s also childcare for ages 3-36 months, a free kids camp for kids 3-10 years old, and even adult-only retreats at the spa just in case you need your own private getaway. Plus, cruises can be a good value since a lot of the vacation costs, like meals, are included in the price.
4. San Diego, California
There are a ton of great family attractions in San Diego, but we’re focused on the main events, The San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld. You can never go wrong at a zoo! All kids love animals, and there’s even a special children’s section with interactive areas for petting and feeding the critters. If you want to see most of the zoo, and your little one’s legs aren’t up for walking, try the bus tour. Most kids love sitting on top of the double-decker bus, and you’ll see about 75% of the zoo. When you visit SeaWorld, be sure to get your kids involved in the interactive pin trading experience. Collect your favorite pins and trade them at the park with Team Members and other guests.
5. Oahu, Hawaii
When you want to get tropical without leaving the United States, Hawaii is the answer. If you’re on the West Coast, you can also get good deals on flights. One of the best things about Hawaii when you’re traveling with your little ones, is the abundance of both vacation rentals and beaches. Look for a condo within walking distance of the beach. Take the short walk in the morning and then head back when it’s nap time. Don’t forget to check the closets because a lot of vacation rentals also offer a nice collection of beach toys for making sand castles or boogie boarding.
6. Rocking Horse Ranch, New York
What kid doesn’t want a pony for Christmas? At Rocking Horse Ranch in Highland, New York, you’ll have some good old-fashioned family fun. There are over 100 indoor and outdoor activities including pony and wagon rides for kids ages two and up, an interactive playground for babies and toddlers, and a comprehensive nursery program. Even if your kids aren’t interested in roping and riding, they can laugh at a comedy show or climb a rock wall. They can also go water skiing or ride a banana boat on the lake during the summer, or go sledding during the winter.
7. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
The small town vibe of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is sure to make you feel at home. Right in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, this is the perfect destination for any outdoorsy families. Experience the Appalachian wilderness hands-on by exploring the dense forests, biking along nature paths, or taking a dip in the local swimming holes. Downtown Pigeon Forge also has everything from miniature golf to go-carts to the Titanic Museum, and of course, Dollywood!
8. Stowe, Vermont
Located just miles from one of Vermont’s largest state parks, Smugglers Notch, Store also has countless kid-friendly activities. You can even forgo the activity planning for a day and just let your kids run free in the fresh mountain air. Rent a spacious cabin vacation rental and cuddle up to watch a movie before reading bedtime stories. This is the best vacation for families who don’t want to go through the trouble of planning a vacation.
9. Lake Champlain, Vermont
There are endless things families with toddlers to do at the lake. Spend the day swimming, strolling the banks, or simply relaxing on the picturesque shores. Lakes are also perfect for little ones because the water is a lot calmer than the ocean. Lake Champlain stretches almost the full length of Vermont and is one of the most beautiful attractions in the Eastern United States. There are plenty of lake houses available for rent, and you’ll also be close to the charming downtown area of Church Streets which offers shops, bars, restaurants, and live music. For families with older kids, there are plenty of adventures to be had while hiking, kayaking, paddle-boarding, or boating.
10. Orlando, Florida
Okay, this destination goes without saying, but we couldn’t have a list of vacation destinations geared towards families with babies and toddlers without including Orlando, Florida. Home to the world-famous Disney theme parks, you can explore the African Savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom or cool off at the Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. Sometimes, it’s just the simple things like getting a picture with Mickey Mouse that will bring a smile to your child’s face. Don’t forget about Universal Studios! On top of the rides and attractions, your kids can goof around in the multiple play areas.
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