Anytime someone finds out how many countries I’ve visited (66 at the time of this writing) and especially how many I’ve visited with kids (currently 48), the next question is usually, “What is the best country to visit with kids?” And I usually struggle to answer about the best international family vacations.
The truth is, every country we’ve visited has had something inspiring, beautiful, and magical about it. We’ve connected with peoples and customs in each place, and generally found something delicious to eat.
That said, there are a few places that have been especially wonderful with kids. These are places where the kids have been warmly welcomed or had activities available that truly kept them in mind. These are places that were fun and interesting for the whole family. I hope they inspire you to go exploring with your family, too!
Morocco is one of those places that wasn’t really super high on our list, especially with kids. But we were taking a trip to Spain and Portugal, so decided to extend the trip to visit Morocco, as well. And boy are we glad we did! It quickly became one of our favorite international family vacations.
Morocco absolutely blew us away. It’s an incredibly diverse country with the kindest people. And there were so many incredible activities for the whole family. From staying in a bedouin camp in the Sahara Desert to wandering the old medina in Fez, we fell in love with it all. And one of the best parts was that kids were welcomed – and encouraged – absolutely everywhere. They’re very much expected to participate as a part of society and it’s lovely. It was the best country to visit with kids (or at least one of them).
Having studied abroad in France, I definitely have a soft spot for the country. But many don’t, especially with kids. The French are often said to be rude, brusque, and intolerant of kids.
Fortunately, we’ve found the opposite to be true! While many French people, especially Parisians, tend to not be quite as warm and fuzzy as people from some other countries, we’ve found that a little effort of kindness (and the kids attempting a few French words) on our behalf goes a long way.
Plus, there are just so many amazing things to do in Paris with kids. We once spent a month there with 4 little ones in a home exchange and I truly think it’s one of the best international destinations with kids. Being in a local neighborhood coupled with seeing some amazing sites (some a bit off-the-beaten-path) was an incredible experience. And my kids still talk often about the cheese, pastries, and salads (my older daughter’s favorite)!
Of course, with lots of family in India and having visited there a number of times growing up, India is definitely special to me. And it was incredible being able to take our own little ones there! It’s definitely one of the best countries to visit with kids.
One wonderful thing about visiting India with kids is how absolutely welcoming everyone is to little ones. In Hinduism, children are incredibly important and are to be treated with utmost kindness, respect, and love. It’s not uncommon for people to want to give kids sweets and other snacks, and to pinch their cheeks while out and about. It can feel a little strange to those from less forward cultures, but it’s typically done out of love. This doesn’t mean you have to accept, of course, but it’s nice to know that it’s not an abnormal thing there.
India is also a very inexpensive destination to travel once you get there. Food and accommodations tend to cost much less than many other countries, making it easier to travel with kids in India.
Visiting the Galapagos Islands had been a dream destination of ours for years and years. And it 100% lived up to our expectations. What we didn’t expect was to love the rest of the country just as much.
For wildlife lovers, an Ecuador family vacation is an absolute dream. From visiting the Amazon rainforest to swimming with sea turtles in the Galapagos, it was incredible throughout. And the people were so kind and welcoming to little ones, too. Definitely one of the best international destinations for families!
I’m one of those people who just absolutely adores London. And a big part of that is because of how amazing it is with kids!
There’s something incredible about seeing really iconic sites, of course, but I also love the oodles of history and culture around every corner. And the best part is that so many museums are free! This means we feel free to check out a lot of them, and don’t feel pressured to stay beyond what our kids can handle. So we actually are able to enjoy more museums and leave our kids feeling like they enjoyed the experience and can’t wait to return, instead of dreading those visits. Plus, who can resist the appeal of the top deck of a double decker bus??
Not to mention, London is only a tiny piece of the UK. We loved the stunning beauty of Wales and Scotland, and Edinburgh is another winner of a city.
Here’s our 3 day London itinerary with kids!
There are few places that my kids have fell in love with like Thailand. Though our experience there was just under a week (we stopped over on our way back from India), we all connected so much and the kids immediately started asking to return. It was one of the best countries to visit with family.
From the rich cultural and religious history in Bangkok to the beautiful beaches and warm waters of southern Thailand, we loved it all. We’re anxious to go back and explore more of the country – it’s one of the best international trips for families.
Here’s a fun way to learn more about Thailand with kids!
While we had hoped to visit Israel for years before we went, Jordan was a bit of an add-on. It seemed that while we were so close, it was a good opportunity explore some related cultural, historic, and religious sites. We honestly had no idea that it would be so incredible.
But Jordan quickly became one of our very favorite places to visit and I would return in a heartbeat. I absolutely loved places like Petra and the Wadi Rum desert, but also lesser known ruins. I loved that it was quiet outside major cities and bustling within. I loved that the number of American tourists, and tourists in general, was fairly small, and it was easy to immerse ourselves in local culture and customs. And we loved the food!! It was one of the best overseas family vacations.
We’ve loved a lot of international family vacations, but Italy was near the top. There’s just something so delightful about visiting Italy with kids. Of course, the people tend to gush over and really love children, which certainly helps.
But even with all the museums and walking, my kids fell in love. Maybe it was the promise of gelato with practically every stop, but we seemed to never tire of the delightful passageways, beautiful buildings, and charming cafes. And having everything from beach to climbing historic buildings (like the Duomo or Leaning Tower of Pisa) to delicious food made it a perfect international family vacation for all ages.
To us, New Zealand felt like a magical fairyland with freedom to run and play in the most intense natural beauty. In short, New Zealand is stunning.
And it seems that gorgeous lakes and waterfalls and boat rides are a dime a dozen. There are so many adventures for kids of all ages – from babies to adults. Of course, the more adventuresome will find plenty of high-intensity activities, but even the youngest ones will find plenty of places to explore while surrounded by gorgeous vistas. Plus, I experienced an unforgettable shower there. 🙂
I don’t know that I’ve ever visited a place on an international family trip before that had so many child-friendly amenities. Honestly, we were blown away!
Every museum and castle had robust, beautiful, and educational areas for children. The children’s menus were not throw-away foods; instead, they were balanced and beautiful and much less expensive than the adult meals. Activities and museums were almost always free, and occasional cheaper with kids. (There was one museum that was actually cheaper for a family pass for 2 adults and children than it was to just pay for 2 adults!)
So while it’s definitely tricky to visit Sweden on a budget, we found that the accommodations for kids definitely had a big impact. We found this to be very similar in Norway – also expensive, also lots of accommodations for children. Even the train cars had incredible children’s play areas, and children’s tickets were very inexpensive.
Here are 7 reasons to visit Sweden with kids!
There are few more gorgeous cities in the world than Cape Town. It’s absolutely stunning! And the entire country has a fascinating, if sometimes very harsh, history.
While we visited when our oldest was a baby, I’d absolutely love to return with all our kids now. I’m certain they’d be over the moon for the safaris, of course. And the history of apartheid, while difficult to discuss, would provide inroads to start needed difficult conversations. The history is so fresh, raw, and salient there, and I want my kids to understand that advocacy is important in the present. The variety makes it one of the best international trips with kids.
If I’m being perfectly honest, El Salvador was definitely not a full international family holiday for us. Instead, we had a long layover of one full day and a couple nights. But this should tell you how amazing it is because we fell in love even in that short period of time – it became one of our favorite international trips for kids!
The outdoor adventures in El Salvador are plentiful and wonderful for kids. While there are tons of large-scale ones for adults, there are also oodles of incredible places to explore with little ones. Our kids were obsessed with a waterfall area (even the youngest ones loved climbing and splashing!) and we all delighted in our first surfing lessons ever. Such an incredible place with the kindest people. We’d love to return to explore further.
Here’s what to do with one day in San Salvador.
We were thrilled to visit Portugal as my husband lived in Brazil for a couple years and was excited to brush up on his Portuguese. (Turns out Portugal Portuguese is quite different, but he was still able to communicate just fine!) And we loved everything else about it, too!
Living near San Francisco in California, it was so fun to see another city that was the most similar to it that we’ve seen. Lisbon was so fun to explore! But we really fell hard for Porto – a city with the most gorgeous tile, delicious food, and stunning views. The Algarve had some of the most gorgeous rock formations and blue water that we’d seen. It was all stunning!
Here are 10 tips for visiting Portugal with kids.
Honestly, there are plenty of other international family vacations that we adored and that were so kid-friendly. But these were definitely some of our favorite international family vacations! I’d love to hear some of your favorites, too!