5 Best Vacations for Families with Toddlers
The key to planning a worry-free vacation with toddlers is choosing the right destination. Whether it’s an exciting city brimming with hands-on activities, a peaceful beach, or a rural setting where kids can explore, it has to be a place where both the young and getting older can have fun (after all, it’s your vacation, too!).
To help you choose, we’ve hand-picked 10 of the best vacations for toddlers from coast to coast. From the action-packed streets of Washington, DC to the picturesque shores of San Diego, the places on our list make every curious toddler’s favourite question—”Why?”—easy to answer. We’ve even included our top pick for a kid-friendly attraction your little ones will love.
Captiva Island, Florida
Captiva Island rests just off the coast of southwest Florida in the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s known for its shallow waters and gentle waves, which make it an ideal beach vacation spot for families with toddlers. With your little ones at your side, chase waves retreating into the ocean, build an enormous sandcastle, or comb the beach for colorful seashells—the possibilities are endless! Choose a beachfront condo with kid-friendly activities (think kite-making and coconut-painting) or book a vacation home with tons of space for a stress-free getaway in Captiva Island.
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
With its small-town vibe and inviting atmosphere, one thing’s certain: you’re sure to feel at ease in Pigeon Forge (at least, while the kids aren’t testing your patience!). Situated in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, this outdoorsy destination is all about experiencing the Appalachian wilderness hands-on. In other words, it’s a toddler’s dream-come-true. Explore the dense forests on foot, bike along nature paths, or take a dip in the local swimming holes. If that’s not your thing, downtown Pigeon Forge boasts family-friendly theme parks, unique attractions, and the sounds of country music on almost every street corner, ensuring a good time is had by all.
Located just miles from Smugglers Notch, one of Vermont’s largest state parks, Stowe boasts countless kid-friendly hikes, scenic byways, and undiscovered attractions. Translation: Stowe is the ultimate natural playground for toddlers. Let your children run free, climbing over twisted roots, playing hide-and-go-seek among the trees, and breathing in the fresh mountain air. Once everyone’s all tired out, retreat to your spacious cabin rental, and spend the evening cuddled on the couch watching movies and reading bedtime stories. Sometimes the best vacation for toddlers is one that involves minimal plans and a place to let loose.
It goes without saying that Orlando is one of the best vacations for toddlers. Home to the world-famous Disney theme parks, happiness fills the air here. Explore a lush, African savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, stay cool at the Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, or watch your children’s eyes light up while hugging Mickey Mouse. The fun doesn’t have to end when you exit the park’s gates, though! Many Orlando vacation rentals bring the magic home with Disney-themed rooms, fabulous pools, and lots of space to play. Visit Orlando and even adults will feel like kids again!
Lake Ozark, Missouri
With miles of scenic lakefront, world-class boating, and a convenient location in the center of Missouri, Lake Ozark is a fabulous vacation spot for families, especially those with toddlers. Let the hours slip by swimming, strolling, or simply relaxing on the picturesque shores. For toddlers, there are endless things to do and no shortage of hiding spots for your inquisitive little one(s) to discover. At the end of the day, kick up your feet at your cabin rental, and watch the sunset over the water. Indoors and outdoors, your whole family will have fun in Lake Ozark!