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Top Family Travel Destinations For 2024

by Staff

Traveling with my now 2 1/2-year-old is one of the most extraordinary, enriching experiences I’ve had as a parent. Sure, there are challenging moments—like when his nap schedule gets interrupted or jet lag sets in and we’ve got an overtired toddler on our hands—but it’s truly so joyful to see the world through the bright, wide eyes of a child and that makes every hard moment worth it a thousand times over. 

Of course, some destinations are better suited for families than others, whether that’s because of the abundance of activities, outdoor recreation, or hotels that cater to pint-sized guests. Looking to 2024, I’m all about broadening travel horizons to places people might not have considered bringing tots such as Dubrovnik and Tokyo, while also shining a light on the more kid-friendly side of domestic darlings that many parents already know and love (hello, Charleston and New York City). 

Scroll on for ten of the best family travel destinations to consider for your next trip. 

Tokyo, Japan

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Yes, Tokyo very much fits the definition of a booming metropolis—which means lots of lights and city noises—but on the plus side, it provides constant stimulation for active toddlers and kiddos. In addition to futuristic skyscrapers, ancient temples, and theme parks like Tokyo Disneyland, Japan’s capital is also super clean with longstanding hospitality culture, so people are very welcoming to families and babies. You’ll notice many stroller parking areas and nursing rooms. It’s easy to navigate the city and check out different neighborhoods thanks to the intuitive metro system. The same goes for the bullet trains, should you have aspirations of venturing to Kyoto and Osaka, too. 

Dubrovnik, Croatia

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While your kids, like mine, are probably too young to have seen Game of Thrones, the fantasy charm of Dubrovnik still casts its spell on travelers of all ages. Famed for its fairytale architecture and old city walls (pro tip: go early to avoid the crowds and up your chances of getting a family photo without heaps of other tourists).

The mild Mediterranean climate makes it the most popular destination in Dalmatia, ideal to visit year-round. However, Dubrovnik shines brightest from late spring to early fall when the Adriatic coastline buzzes with vacationers boating to the nearby Elaphiti Islands, hopping on a ferry to Lokrum, and doing kayaking excursions. 

Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica

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Located just 30 minutes from Liberia International Airport, Peninsula Papagayo is a gated community with villa rentals and family-friendly resorts (we had the best time celebrating my son’s first birthday at the Four Seasons Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica). But it also has golf courses for mom and dad to hit the links and spas for unwinding while little ones are happily engaged at the kids’ club or busy with a babysitter.

Costa Rica’s pura vida ethos comes to life through access to endless natural beauty. There are gorgeous beaches for swimming, snorkeling, and stand-up paddle boarding. If you want to explore further into the island, it’s a breeze to coordinate zip-lining through the lush rainforest canopy, horseback riding, and wildlife-peeping tours. 

Amsterdam, Netherlands

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The charm-filled Dutch capital might not seem like the most obvious pick for a family holiday, but take it from me, Amsterdam is an exceedingly accessible and kid-friendly city break that’s easy to explore on foot or bike.

The airport welcomes countless non-stop flights each day and ticket prices tend to be quite reasonable, which helps when you have to buy multiple seats. Guided boat rides along the famous canals teach visitors about the history of the city. You could (and we did) spend the entire day chasing kiddos around the NEMO Science Museum. From pancakes and Dutch apple pie to fries and bitterballen, a lot of the local eats are an easy sell for tiny—even picky—palates

New York City

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Many parents write off the “city that never sleeps” because of its non-stop energy. The benefit of that 24/7 excitement? There’s always something to do — whether that’s seeing a Broadway show (The Lion King and Aladdin are particularly well suited for kids), getting an eyeful of bright lights in Times Square, expanding kiddo’s culinary horizons at the thousands of restaurants, or grabbing everything in sight at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the Museum of Ice Cream.

The paved, stroller-friendly Hudson River Greenway has plenty of grassy areas and playgrounds to pull off and let kids run off energy. Central Park reigns supreme as the ultimate Big Apple green space with a carousel, zoo, and sprawling lawns. 

Algarve, Portugal

The Algarve—Portugal’s sun-splashed southernmost region—is a dream come true for beach lovers with miles of sandy shoreline, sparkling ocean, and a laid-back vibe that encourages chilling out immediately.

Older thrillseekers will have a blast learning how to surf, while youngsters splash in the warm water. Carrier-friendly hiking trails wind through dramatic coastal scenery. There are secluded coves and sea caves to discover by boat.

Casual eateries in charm-filled villages serve up authentic local dishes like octopus rice and seafood stew. It’s also quite affordable (yes, even during the peak summer season) as compared to other popular European destinations, so families don’t have to shell out a lot for a memorable holiday. 

Fiji

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Not every parent wants to hop on a long-haul flight (or two) with tiny passengers, but for families that don’t mind spending a little extra time in the air, Fiji feels like a true escape that leaves stress many miles away. (FYI there are direct overnight flights from Los Angeles International Airport to Nadi International Airport, so you might luck out and have some sleepy heads who snooze the entire time in the sky).

Once you touch down the South Pacific island, it’s all sandy beaches and crystalline water. Not surprisingly, it’s a popular spot for snorkeling. Fijian dance and language lessons are great ways to teach youngsters about the local culture. Acclaimed resort VOMO just rolled out new two-bedroom beachfront villas with bunk beds and paddle pools for tots. 

Newport Beach, California

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Many West Coast-based families bucket vacation days for San Diego and Santa Barbara, but Newport Beach deserves ample attention. Great for travelers looking for a mix of culture, nature, and nostalgia, this coastal southern California city wows with its beaches, surf breaks, harbor cruises, and pleasant year-round weather.

Restaurants and shops dot the Balboa Pier. It’s also home to the Balboa Fun Zone, a classic amusement park that delights kids (and parents) with rides and games. The Resort at Pelican Hill really embraces the idea of a family vacation and boasts amenities like youth yoga, pirate treasure hunts, and in-room tents.

Anguilla

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A postcard-worthy island in the Lesser Antilles, Anguilla is my favorite sun-splashed Caribbean destination for crews looking to relax and catch some rays. Its pristine, sugar-fine beaches are a playground for building sandcastles and digging holes. Clear, calm waters invite swimming, snorkeling, and sailing.

Casual eateries like the SunShine Shack serve up fresh-caught fish and ribs. Travelers can also sink into vacation mode at the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla, an upscale option with a kids club, multiple swimming pools, and spacious accommodations. Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club promises to be a mecca for families when the water park and new kids and teens clubs open in the coming months. 

Charleston, South Carolina

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The unofficial capital of Southern charm is the photogenic South Carolina city that draws many couples and bachelorette groups. But it’s low-key fantastic for families. The tot-approved Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry and South Carolina Aquarium are highlights.

Parents and older kids will enjoy historic walking tours along The Battery to admire all the waterfront mansions (tykes might just point and smile at all the “big houses”). It’s also packed with parks and the nearby islands supply a really lovely change of pace. Sullivan’s Island trades cars for bikes and beaches. And you certainly won’t have to barter with kids to get them to eat yummy Lowcountry staples like shrimp and grits.

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