5 Cities for Family VacationsMay 18, 2020 | By Leah Freeman-Haskin
Planning a family vacation can be a complicated task. From deciding on a location that suits everyone’s needs and interests to finding family-friendly restaurants and attractions for all ages, sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start. Here are some suggestions to suit the ages and interests of every family member.
1. London, United Kingdom
There are tons of great options for families in London. From ages 1 to 101, this dynamic city is home to some of the best restaurants and engaging attractions in the world. Enjoy the free parks and playgrounds, live shows, and main tourist attractions like Big Ben, as well as these additional highlights.
London Duck Tours is a great way to explore the city with kids. Adults will enjoy the scenery and guided tour, while children love the excitement of the ride.
If it’s your first time in London, then a trip to The London Eye is a must. The children will love taking a ride on Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel, while everyone will enjoy the stunning views. Sunset is an ideal time to visit.
Not far from the Eye is the Sea Life London Aquarium. If your kids love marine life, be sure to buy your tickets in advance to avoid the long lines and spend the afternoon exploring underwater worlds.
Enjoy traditional English afternoon tea at St. Ermin’s Hotel. Their afternoon tea is kid-friendly, including delicious treats for everyone and a menu specially designed for kids.
2. Riviera Maya, Mexico
If you are looking for a family getaway centered around the beach and outdoor activities, Riviera Maya in Mexico is an ideal location. The Riviera Maya is a stretch of Caribbean coastline on Mexico’s northeastern Yucatán Peninsula that includes Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and other tropical destinations.
Outdoor enthusiasts will love swimming in cenotes, natural water pools and wells, snorkeling the Great Maya Reef, and exploring the Mayan ruins at Coba and Tulum. These activities may be best for older children, but for younger ones, Xcaret and Xel Ha theme parks are a bit pricey and gimmicky, but offer a range of activities for all ages.
3. San Diego, California, USA
San Diego is a beautiful, coastal, southern California city. In addition to San Diego’s numerous beaches, hiking trails, restaurants, public parks, and shopping destinations, here are a few additional attractions to consider during your stay.
The New Children’s Museum is designed to stimulate imagination, creativity, and critical thinking in children through inventive and engaging experiences with contemporary art. San Diego Zoo is a world-famous destination and is home to more than 3,500 rare and endangered animals representing more than 650 species and subspecies, and a prominent botanical collection with more than 700,000 exotic plants.
Head to the San Diego Natural History Museum to partake in programs that are timely, user-friendly, and relevant to the real-life needs of the diverse populations of the San Diego-Baja California region today and tomorrow.
4. Boston, Massachusetts, USA
A historic city known for the Red Sox and clam “chowda”, Boston is a great place for the entire family. Spring and Fall are the best times to visit and enjoy the many award-winner restaurants, the Boston Commons, shopping in Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Harvard Square, or Newbury Street, and taking in a baseball game at Fenway Park. Here are some other attractions to consider.
Boston is home to some incredible museums for every age. The New England Aquarium, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Children’s Museum, and the Boston Museum of Science will offer days of entertainment for the whole family.
For the ultimate Boston tourist experience, be sure to hop aboard a Swan Boat, departing from the Boston Commons. The Swan Boat ride lasts about 12-15 minutes while the driver pedals you around the Public Garden lagoon.
5. Toronto, Canada
Located along Lake Ontario’s northwestern shore, Toronto is a city known for its beauty, clean downtown, and friendly locals. Enjoy the iconic views from the top of the CN Tower, take a ferry to Centre Island’s Amusement Park, let the kids run wild at High Park, or just spend the afternoon strolling through Chinatown or along the Toronto Waterfront. Here are a few other top attractions you won’t want to miss.
The Ontario Science Center is a great place to indulge the mind of a budding scientist. The Centre delights, informs and challenges visitors with hands-on experiences and engagement with science of local, national, and global relevance.
Riverdale Farm is great for children under 10. According to the website, Riverdale Farm is a working farm located in Toronto’s downtown Cabbagetown neighborhood. Visitors to the 7.5 acre property will get a first-hand taste of farm life, from raising livestock (cows, pigs, sheep, goats, and chickens) to the year-round handwork and craft programs in The Meeting House.
The country’s largest aquarium, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, is a great destination for kids. With numerous galleries, daily programs, and educational experiences, you and your kids will be entertained all afternoon.