The best places to go with kids have plenty of action for children and enough variety to keep everyone in the family happy. While all-inclusive resorts, family beach vacations, and theme parks remain popular year after year, families are increasingly looking to smaller cities, outdoorsy destinations, and international vacations as places to go with kids, too.
Whether you’re traveling with a Swiftie or an ancient history buff, the best places to go with kids in 2024 have enough variety to please everyone in the family. From making music in Nashville to eating ramen in Tokyo, these are the top places to bring the kids in the year ahead.
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1. Nashville, Tennessee
Calling all Swifties! The Eras tour isn’t the only way to get your Taylor Swift fix in 2024. The mega-star donated $4 million to build the Taylor Swift Education Center in the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, where songwriting tutorials and banjo instruction are just a few of the interactive possibilities.
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Known as Music City, Nashville has plenty of engaging ways to expose kids to new kinds of music. At Gibson Garage, celebrity memorabilia, live concerts, and a shop where you can build your own guitar are a magnet for music-oriented teens and tweens. And families are invited to listen to free live music along the Honky Tonk Highway before 7:00 p.m. on most nights. Stay at the trendy Bobby Hotel, which is home to a floppy-eared dog who loves to cuddle kids.
2. Cody, Wyoming
Explore the American West in Cody. Situated at the doorstep of Yellowstone National Park, it makes a fine basecamp for park explorations and a worthy standalone vacation destination. A smorgasbord of outdoor options, from fishing to horseback riding, join attractions that explore the history of the American West.
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At the Smithsonian-affiliated Buffalo Bill Center of the West, five museums mingle under one roof, including the Plains Indian Museum, where Indigenous traditions are told through an innovative lens. The Heart Mountain Interpretive Center offers a window into the lives of the Japanese-American citizens who were interned there during World War II. A visit may set the stage for important family discussions about this brutal chapter in America’s history. Top off your trip with an overnight stay in a fully-equipped teepee at Cody Trout Ranch Camp.
3. Bastrop, Texas
For small town vibes with Austin’s cosmopolitan charms only 30 minutes away, nostalgic Bastrop is one of the best places to go with kids in Texas. Its pedestrian-friendly downtown is filled with shops, art galleries, and comfort food eateries, while Bastrop State Park is part of the Lost Pines ecosystem, a mosaic of pines, oaks, shrubs, and grasslands punctuated by hundreds of colorful bird species and dramatic wildflower blooms. You can swim, geocache, and bird-watch with hardly another person in sight.
Stay on the banks on the Lower Colorado River at the Lost Pines Resort and Spa, one of the best family resorts in Texas. Horseback riding, a lazy river ride, golf, and a corral filled with friendly alpacas and goats will keep kids entertained. The resort is adjacent to McKinney Roughs Nature Park, where you can soar through the treetops on a zipline.
Building sand castles takes on a colorful distinction in Bermuda, just 600 miles off North Carolina’s coast, where beautiful beaches are fringed with pink sand. At Baby Beach on Horseshoe Bay, a natural pool surrounded by large rocks forms a protected environment of calm water for tiny splashers.
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Budding geologists will enjoy Crystal Caves, a subterranean fairyland of icicle-shaped formations of stalagmites and stalactites. Locals actually wear those knee-length Bermuda shorts, and tween fashionistas can stop by TABS and check out quirky and classic versions in sizes for both kids and adults. Stay at the Hamilton Princess Hotel and Beach Club, which has multiple swimming pools and overlooks the harbor.
5. Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is a modest-sized New England city that packs a big cultural punch. For a rich visual experience, hit up the contemporary art collection, hands-on workshops, and robust family programming at RISD Museum. Meanwhile, the educators at the Providence Children’s Museum celebrate the power of play with water activities, an outdoor garden, and a lab where young innovators work with real tools, from glue guns to sewing machines.
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Time your 2024 visit to coincide with WaterFire, a multisensory, periodic public art installation of bonfires that seem to magically perch atop the city’s three rivers. Dates are posted on the official WaterFire website and updated as events are added throughout the year. Stay at the convenient Hampton Inn and Suites Providence Downtown, which serves a complimentary hot breakfast.
6. Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
On Vancouver Island’s remote West Coast, Tofino feels like the edge of the earth. The laidback vibe and amble aquatic adventures are a perfect match for outdoorsy families. Book a fishing excursion at the Tofino Resort + Marina’s Adventure Centre and you may see orcas, grey and humpback whales, seals, puffins, and sea lions.
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Catch salmon, halibut, or lingcod in the pristine Pacific waters and have a local restaurant cook it for you. Take a boat to Hot Springs Cove and follow a cedar boardwalk through an emerald-tinged forest for a relaxing soak in geothermal mineral pools. Spend your nights in the casual guest rooms at Tofino Resort + Marina, where everything is designed to seamlessly blend with the natural surroundings.
7. Rome, Italy
The Eternal City brings history to life in a way that no textbook ever could. Marvel at famed ancient sites first-hand, including the great gladiatorial arena the Colosseum and the magnificent ruins of the Roman Forum. For a hands-on experience, book a timed visit at Explora, the Rome children’s museum, where kids can play at being a railroad conductor, deejay, or gardener.
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When you crave a quiet corner in this energetic city, the public Rose Garden on the Aventine Hill is a fragrant oasis of calm. Splurge for a stay at the deluxe Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, spread across 15 acres of parklands.
8. Savusavu, Fiji
Fiji is a tropical island nation in the South Pacific Ocean, an archipelago of hundreds of islands and islets formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago. Visitors are lured here by the dreamy beaches, plush rainforest, and exceedingly friendly locals. And if Fiji is a dream, Savusavu is a dream within a dream. Locals call it Fiji’s hidden paradise, home to an astonishing variety of coral, a pearl farm, and a bean-to-bar chocolate factory.
Savusavu’s pristine natural beauty and an immersion in Fijian culture can be yours at the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, one of the best all-inclusive beach resorts in the world. An array of activities from Fijian cooking lessons to snorkeling with the two staff marine biologists are at your fingertips. An incredible children’s program has a conservation message and personal nannies, for an all-inclusive family resort experience that’s hard to beat.
9. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Little kids and manageable-sized cities go together like peanut butter and jelly. Oklahoma City hits the sweet spot, with enough to do without overwhelming. The First Americans Museum shares the collective histories of Oklahoma’s 39 First American Nations with immersive activities and exhibits highlighting the unique identity of each tribe.
The Boathouse District along the Oklahoma River has canoeing and kayaking plus miles of paths for walking and biking. The Myriad Botanical Gardens is a green space in the heart of the city. Stay at The National, Autograph Collection at First National Center, which retains fun vintage details such as original mail chutes and safe deposit boxes.
10. Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo is very exciting and very big. To get the most out of a Tokyo visit with kids, it’s worth focusing on a specific neighborhood. My pick is Nihonbashi, the birthplace of modern Tokyo that remains the heart of the city with many kid-friendly attractions. Enjoy a hands-on papermaking workshop at Ozu Washi, where artisan paper is made in appealing patterns and colors.
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Fans are a symbol of national pride in Japan, and you can get acquainted with this elegant art form at Ibasen, where they’ve been handcrafting fans since 1590. Head to the Imperial Palace East Garden and stroll its shady paths, open to the public. When hunger strikes, slurp a steaming bowl of noodles at one of the many eateries on Tokyo Ramen Street. Stay in a serene parklike setting at Mitsui Garden Hotel.
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