Family Vacation With Toddler

Taking a family vacation is a great way to spend quality time with your loved ones and travel in luxury more affordably. If you have kids, whether they’re toddlers, youngsters or school-aged children, you will want to consider the differences of traveling with them and their needs versus if they weren’t with you on your trip. Below are some tips for getting the most out of your family vacation when you’re traveling with your toddler or child.

A family vacation is like taking a beautiful picture; everyone should be in the shot. A toddler can dramatically change the composition of your holiday and it is not always for the better. Even if you are traveling without them, or think they will be too young to remember, toddlers play an important part in family life. The following tips will help you get through your trip — with the whole family intact.When traveling with your toddler, it may seem like you have to go out of your way to have fun. But with a little planning and some creativity, you can not only have a great vacation, but also make memories you’ll cherish for years.

I’m off to a conference in San Diego. Last week, I also started working two jobs. Cort, my five-year-old, is all excited about our upcoming family vacation to Disney World. He’s on cloud nine — everything seems up and including his vocabulary. Press Tab to write more…

Family Vacation With Toddler

If you’ve always loved travel, there’s no need to check your wanderlust at the nursery room door. Believe it or not, now — while your baby is still, well, a baby — is a great time to get up and go on a getaway. After all, babies and toddlers are lightweight and portable — and it is possible to plan a family vacation with them. Best of all, most airlines and hotels give them a free ride! Not all family vacation spots are created equally, though, if you’ve got young kids in tow.

5 vacation destinations your kids (and you) will love

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Here, our tips and picks for the best in baby-friendly and kid-friendly destinations.

Beach vacations

Beaches are one of the most popular destinations for all travelers. When tot-friendliness — not ocean views — is your prime concern, look for beach spots with plenty of family attractions and services.

family vacations with baby or toddler: beach vacations
Shutterstock / Aleksandar Todoro

Where to go: Paradise Island, Bahamas

Cool option: Atlantis

Why parents will love it: “Prompt Response Line,” allows parents to order anything they need to care for their baby; custom meals for severe food allergies; Johnson & Johnson Gentle Travel Kits; Atlantis Kids Adventures (AKA) and Sea Squirts interactive marine animal program and feedings for kids ages 3 and up; CPR certified babysitters; luxurious Mandara Spa.

Why kids will love it: 141 acres of water attractions including Splashers, a waterplay area just for tots; 50,000 fish and sea creatures; make-your-own stuffed animals at Atlantis Pals; free nightly family movies.

Cost: $$$$

When to go: Year-round with great rates during fall months

Best for: Families who love water activities, particularly those with at least one school-aged child.

More great options:

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Explore a national park

A national park is the perfect place to cultivate a lifelong love of nature. Toddlers will be wide-eyed and wondrous at the towering trees, blue sky and curious critters they encounter in these great green spaces — best seen from the stroller, child carrier or bike trailer.

family vacations with baby or toddler: national park vacations
Shutterstock / bjul

Cool option: Olympic National ParkPort Angeles, Washington

Why parents will love it: With mountain vistas, tropical rainforests, and coastal tidepools, it’s got three eco-systems to discover; there are several bike paths and stroller-friendly hiking trails (get suggestions from the visitor’s center); East Beach has a shallow swimming area with sandy shore for digging and castle making; Sol Duc Hot Springs has a toasty mineral water wading pool (and day use rates), so you can soak with your little one safely beside you; picnic areas are scattered throughout the park for alfresco meals; and there’s lodging in and outside the park.

Why kids will love it: In the forest they’ll discover bright yellow banana slugs and skittering salamanders, and glow worms after sunset; the tidepools are filled with sea stars, crabs, snails and tiny fish; the Discovery Room in the park’s main visitor center has interactive touch tables and a pint-sized Ranger Station playhouse, with puppets, dress-up clothes and more.

Cost: $ – $$

When to go: Summer and Fall

Best for: Outdoorsy families

More great options:

Visit a farm

Little kids love feeding baby animals and helping to bake homemade cookies, two of the many activities that are often part of farm stays. In addition, visiting a family-friendly farm can be a fun, economical getaway for your whole gang.

family vacations with baby or toddler: farm trips
Shutterstock / WDG Photo

Where to go: New York’s Catskill region

Cool option: Hull-O Farms

Why parents will love it: Escaping the hustle-bustle of the city for a relaxing change of pace; enjoying warm hospitality and delicious food; teaching kids about farm life.

Why kids will love it: Feeding baby animals; milking cows and goats; playing with kittens; hay rides; fall corn mazes; bonfires and s’mores; fishing; kite flying.

Cost: $ – $$

When to go: May through October

Best for: Families who enjoy animals, nature and home cooked meals — particularly those who need an escape from the big city.

More great options:

RELATED: How two families traveled the world with kids — and how you can, too

Amusement parks

With their tot-tested appeal, Disney WorldDisneyland and Legoland (now in Florida as well as California) are often seen as the standard bearers. Families visiting Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter can stop at Seuss Landing for tot-friendly rides.

family vacations with baby or toddler: amusement parks
Shutterstock / SerbBgd

Where to go: Langhorne, Pennsylvania

Cool option: Sesame Place

Why parents will love it: Many creative opportunities for young kids, all rides and attractions are designed for kids ages 2 to 7; and a special 10,000-sqare-foot pool for babies and toddlers.

Why kids will love it: Sesame Street characters; nine tot-sized water rides; Elmo’s World, a 21,000-square-foot playland with cute character shows; the rockin’ daily Neighborhood Street Party parade.

Cost: $ – $$

When to go: Daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day, weekends from early May through late October.

Best for: Families with little ones looking for a day of fun outdoor activity.

RELATED: 5 ways to save money on your next family vacation

Lounge at the lake

With their calm waters and family attractions, lakes are popular vacations for families with babies or toddlers. Lakes can also be great spots for family road trips, saving big bucks on travel costs.

family vacations with baby or toddler: lake vacation
Shutterstock / Elena Elisseeva

Where to go: Lake Champlain, Vermont

Cool option: The Tyler Place Family Resort

Why parents will love it: All-inclusive resort with lots of opportunities for “me” time; nine unique programs for newborns to kids up to 30 months of age; kids camp program for toddlers; Parents’ Night Out — whenever you wish; parents’ only candlelight cocktails and dining; one caregiver to every one to two children; special activities for families with young children; art and water sports activities, bikes with baby seats; parents’ helpers and evening sitters available for extra charge.

Why kids will love it: Playhouse Playground; fishing for perch; Splash Pad and indoor/outdoor water play areas; theme parties; campfires; storytelling; teepee and tree house.

Cost: $$$ – $$$$

When to go: Open late May through mid-September. Special rates are available in May, June and September.

Best for: Water-loving families, parents of little ones seeking some romantic time alone and families who prefer all-inclusive vacations.

More great options:

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