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Toddler-Friendly Vacation Ideas

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Just because you’re a parent doesn’t mean you have to stay cooped up in your house all day while the rest of the world posts vacation pictures on social media! Today, perhaps more than ever before, there are myriad vacation destinations that are perfect for families with toddlers. The below suggestions — sourced from experts who know a thing or two about traveling with kiddos — prove that you can have your tropical vacay and your little ones, too!

The Family Cruise
“While close quarters and open water don’t sound like Ideal places to travel with toddlers, we’re big proponents of family cruises,” said Anisa Arsenault, a parenting expert at The Bump. “Everything you need is in one place, you don’t need to tote a stroller around, and there’s built-in entertainment at every turn.”

The key for making a cruise toddler-friendly is to keep the duration relatively short. Arsenault said that there are plenty of weeklong cruises to tropical destinations like the Caribbean, but a four-night trip down the California coast makes for a great trial run with toddlers. Also, while you’re there, take advantage of the built-in perks, like nightly fireworks or kid-friendly shows!

“Disney Cruises, in particular, have some added perks for young families,” noted Arsenault. “You can order things like diapers and wipes ahead of time so you don’t have to pack them, and Disney is known for being extremely accommodating to food allergies or sensitivities.”

Toddler Friendly Resorts
The word “resort” may conjure up thoughts of adults-only vacation, but that’s simply not true! Many resorts pride themselves in specializing in family destinations, and others provide child-friendly extensions from their regular offerings.

“For the ultimate toddler-friendly beach vacation, Winnetu Oceanside Resort in Martha’s Vineyard is a great option,” said Grainne Kelly, a family travel expert and founder of BubbleBum, the first inflatable car booster seat. “This stunning beach location offers a children’s day and evening program, face painting, fire truck rides, lawn games, a playground, and even lemonade and cookies. And visiting farm animals at the adjacent farm is sure to be a hit with your toddler.”

She said there’s even a dedicated parent-toddler bonding program offered at specific times throughout the year that provides activities geared toward various stages in your child’s development.

Another great resort is the Tyler Place Family Resort in Highgate Springs, Vt.

“It boasts an award-winning infant and toddler program, and is the top destination for any family with a little one,” said Kelly. “Your family can relax in a country setting with acres of open space, gardens and facilities for your little tike to run free. This is very important when your toddler has found their feet and likes to explore.”

Like Martha’s Vineyard, Tyler Place offers a range of programs catered to specific age groups, and provides everything necessary for a trip away from home, including strollers, cribs, highchairs, and bikes with baby seats. That’ll save you the stress of lugging it with you on the plane or in the car!

Local Hotel as Vacation Destination
Sometimes the hardest part about going on vacations with young ones is traveling to a destination. If you’ve got it in you to hit the road or the skies, go for it, but remember that local hotels are a great option, too. Even if they’re right around the corner, the new setting and planned activities can make it feel like you’re miles away.

“Regardless of where you travel, you’ll need a place to stay,” noted Aresnault. “The Westin Hotels & Resorts took home the title Best Family Resort Chain in the World from Global Traveler’s 2017 Leisure Lifestyle Awards, and for good reason. The Westin goes out of its way to make traveling feel like an adventure for kids. Thanks to play tents in every room, you can check camping off your list!”

Also consider Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, which boast over 300 locations across the states. The chain also provides a comprehensive kids program for children three through 12 with localized activities, arts and crafts, sports, and swimming. Because they have a partnership with Babies Travel Lite, you won’t have to bring your equipment with you. You can even order essentials like diapers, baby formula, strollers, and more from the comfort of your hotel room.

“No matter what vacation destination you travel to with your toddler, it is essential that the resort offers the basic equipment needed for a toddler’s stay, including high chairs, play and stays and even a bath tub,” noted Kelly. “It is also important that there is space for your child to explore, and a children’s program to keep them entertained. For adults, a babysitting or childminding service is a plus.”

Wendy Rose Gould is a writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. She covers women’s lifestyle topics for numerous digital publications, including InStyle, xoVain, Refinery29, Revelist, PopSugar and ModCloth. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram or at

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