TOP INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS WITH TODDLERS
The thought of traveling internationally with your toddler might be a little scary, but I am here to tell you that it is possible. Some of the best international places to travel with toddlers love kids, so don’t stress.
We’ve been traveling full-time with our son since he was 14 months old, and it’s been an adventure. He’s now 3 years old and has had great experiences traveling internationally.
Honestly, it’s better than the US. In other places, it feels as though kids are allowed to be kids. You don’t have to stress yourself out trying to make sure your little one is perfect or feel bad for the occasional tantrum.
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With the help of other family travel bloggers, I’ve compiled a list of the best international places to travel with toddlers.
This toddler-friendly destination guide will help you find the best international places to travel with your toddler for your next family vacation.
Before we get started, I didn’t forget Europe. There are so many great countries that there had to be a separate post just for Europe. You can check out the best places to travel in Europe with toddlers here.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
If you are ready to take the leap and explore outside the US, these are the best international places to travel with your toddlers, according to families who’ve been there.
BEST INTERNATIONAL PLACES TO TRAVEL WITH TODDLERS: NORTH AMERICA
I think people forget that the US isn’t the only country in North America. Mexico and Canada are two family-friendly destinations with so much to do with young kids.
Let’s not forget the Caribbean, which has always been a popular international destination for families with toddlers.
Here are our favorite international places to travel with toddlers in North America.
Riveria Maya, Mexico
Travel Girl from Let’s Jet Kids
Escape to the warm waters and weather of the Riviera Maya in Mexico. It makes the perfect getaway for toddlers since there is so much to do and explore. Here are a few of my kids’ favorite memories:
Check out the Yal-Ku lagoon in Akumal. The little ones can put on a floatie and enjoy floating along or masking up with a snorkel to see the incredible fish below. This mix of fresh and seawater is an ideal habitat for ocean life.
Then head south to The Mayan Ruins in Tulum. My kids loved walking through the tunnel, seeing amazing views of the aqua blue waters below, and watching for giant iguanas running along with the ancient structures.
Give your toddler a little bit of everything with a day at Xcaret Park, located near Playa del Carmen. Choose from a theme park, water park, water activities, trails, Mexican culture celebrations, and more. Your toddler will love this eco-adventure park.
One of my kids’ favorite memories of Riviera Maya was visiting Aktun Chen Nature Park. Located in the beautiful town of Tulum, Aktun Chen has various activities.
Toddlers will love floating in a cenote with the family or going through the cave at Aktun Chen. Afterward, you can meander through the surrounding jungle area and
watch for monkeys and other jungle life.
I love the family condo-style rooms so the whole family can fit in one unit! Great beach, great pools, and great food. It’s been our favorite place so far.
Christian from Punta Canta Travel Blog
A beach vacation in the Dominican Republic is the perfect way of spending a holiday with toddlers, as the little ones can enjoy the best Dominican beaches, the water, and lots of Dominican treats.
If you live on the east coast of the US, it is just a short flight, so you won’t have to fly with your toddler long.
When in the Dominican Republic with toddlers, there are two options for organizing your holiday. The first and easiest one is to book an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana.
All-inclusive resorts are the perfect place to relax and enjoy amenities: multiple pools, endless beaches, 24h-drinks (incl. juices and soft drinks), unlimited food, kids’ clubs, family suites, and so much more. It’s the perfect world for families traveling internationally with toddlers.
Some of the best family resorts in Punta Cana are Grand Sirenis, Princess Family Club, Royalton Punta Cana, and Hyatt Ziva.
There are plenty of family-friendly activities in Punta Cana that are perfect for toddlers, such as the cenote Hoyo Azul, plenty of waterfalls, or Los Haitises National Park.
The alternative to an all-inclusive holiday in Punta Cana is organizing your vacation to the Dominican Republic with toddlers individually. This is best done by renting a car and heading towards the Samaná Peninsula, with its cute fishing villages, pristine beaches, and cozy beach clubs.
In the main villages, Las Terrenas or Las Galeras, you can rent a family apartment (there are dozens of them, check Booking or Airbnb) and enjoy plenty of restaurants and shops, which are within walking distance.
The best family activities in this area are hiking through the tropical jungle, exploring pristine beaches, and enjoying the ocean on snorkeling or a whale-watching trip if your toddler is seaworthy.
The Dominican Republic is a year-round destination and always welcomes you with plenty of sunshine. However, the best weather is between December and April, so you can escape from the winter snow and get some much-needed sunshine with your toddler.
Nicole from Go Far Grow Close
Vancouver, British Columbia, is the perfect international destination for families traveling with toddlers. The best time to visit is from July to September when the sun is shining and the sky is clear. It’s also the best time to do all the fun outdoor activities that Vancouver has to offer.
One of the easiest and most spectacular ways to spend your time is to go to one of the gorgeous beaches located right downtown.
You have views of mountains all the while swimming in the Pacific Ocean. When the tide goes out, you and your little one can walk for miles into the tide pools looking for little creatures. There are also puddles for your toddler to run or jump.
Another fun activity is exploring Granville Island. There is an enormous free outdoor water park next to playgrounds. There is a large public food market for a nice picnic or a gourmet lunch by the water.
A trip to Vancouver wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Stanley Park. This 1,000-acre park is located in downtown Vancouver, so it’s easy to access.
You can spend time at the beach, swim in a ginormous pool that looks out into the ocean, go on a miniature train ride, visit another water park, or go to the world-renowned Vancouver Aquarium. You could spend days exploring this magnificent park.
Other than Granville Island, consider trying Cactus Club for a wide selection of foods that should have something for everyone in the whole family.
One of my favorite hotels is the Granville Island Hotel. You are close to all Vancouver attractions and within walking distance of the waterpark and food market.
Sarah From Cosmo Poli Clan
The Hawaiian Islands may not qualify as an international destination, but they make you feel like you’re abroad.
Maui is like a world away from the mainland, so we decided to include it on this list of the best international places to travel with toddlers. Plus, for me, it is an international destination because our current home base is in Belgium.
Maui is the best Hawaiian island to visit with kids, especially toddlers. The west and south sides of Maui are sunny year-round, so the best time to visit is any time of the year.
The island is home to some fabulous resorts, especially in Wailea and Kaanapali. Family favorites include the Grand Wailea Resort, and The Westin Maui Resort, with cool slides and resident flamingos.
There are beaches galore but make sure to pick one with lifeguards and shallow waters, such as Baby beach at Baldwin Beach Park.
After spending time in the water, head on a submarine tour from Lahaina, visit the Maui Ocean Center, or tour the Tropical Express Tram at the Maui Tropical Plantation.
At the end of your fun-filled day, treat the little ones to colorful shave ice from Ululani’s. Be sure to make a quick stop at the giant banyan tree for a hug.
When the sun starts to set, head to a child-friendly restaurant, such as Monkeypod or Kitchen by Merriman’s. Be sure to leave some room for a delicious slice of hula pie from Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop.
The best way to end the evening is with a stroll on one of the coastal trails. The most popular ones for toddlers are the Kaanapali beach walk, Wailea beach path, or Kapalua coastal trail. These trails are stroller-friendly, so your little one can relax after a day of exploring.
BEST INTERNATIONAL PLACES TO TRAVEL WITH TODDLERS: ASIA
Brodi from Our Offbeat Life
Thailand is a haven for backpackers, but it’s also a great place to travel with toddlers. Hua Hin, Thailand, is an excellent spot for families to relax in Southeast Asia. There are so many things to do there with kids of all ages.
The best time to visit is between the wet and dry seasons, in October-November or February-March. December and January are considered high season for local tourism, so prices are higher.
The best things to do with toddlers in Hua Hin are relaxing on the beach, feeding the fish at Wat Huay Mongkol, seeing macaques on Monkey Island, and taking a day trip to Khao Sam Roi Yot. Less adventurous families may prefer a day at Black Mountain Water Park instead of hiking with toddlers in a national park.
A few of the best places to eat with kids in Hua Hin are Amber Kitchen, which won a Trip Advisor’s Best-Of Award in 2021, and Yummy Corner Cafe. The Kids ‘n’ All food cart tour led by Feast Thailand is also a fun family dining activity.
The best place to stay in Hua Hin by far is Dolphin Bay Resort. It’s a bit south of downtown, which makes it the perfect place to stay to explore Hua Hin.
It’s won a Trip Advisor’s Best-Of award for family-friendly accommodations numerous times over the last ten years, including in 2021. In addition to being a beachfront resort, it has two pools and a slew of other kid-oriented activities.
Martha from Go Places with Kids
Our favorite place to visit in Malaysia with kids is Penang. The best time to visit Penang is between December and February. These months are the coolest and driest months of the year.
When you’re in Penang, there are some sights that you want to be sure not to miss! Here are a few of the best things to do in Penang with toddlers:
Upside Down Museum- Creative upside-down sets allow you to take hilarious photos your child will love!
Adventure Zone- Fun indoor playground with slides and a toddler play area
Kek Lok Si Temple– One of the largest Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia
Batu Ferringhi- A beautiful white-sand beach, perfect for playing in the sand (but not so great for swimming due to the high concentration of jellyfish around Penang).
George Town Street Art- Wander through historic George Town on a scavenger hunt for the city’s famous street art.
Penang is known for its delicious and diverse food. Most dishes are a mixture of Malay, Chinese, and Indian dishes.
The best food is in hawker centers where you can choose from various food options. One of the most popular places to eat is the New Lane (Lorong Baru) Hawker Center in George Town. If you’d rather eat at a restaurant, Cheang Kee is another place to try some local delicacies.
One of the best places to stay when visiting Penang with toddlers is at the Doubletree Resort by Hilton. The resort has beautiful pools, a fun kids’ water area, a great kids club, and even a Teddybear Museum!
If you’re looking for a destination to visit with your toddler, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the gorgeous Malaysian island of Penang!
Nick Kembel from Spiritual Travels
The small East Asian island country Taiwan is a toddler-friendly country. It’s extremely safe, has some of the best public transportation systems in the world, the locals adore young kids, and there are loads of fun things to do with little ones.
Starting in Taipei with toddlers, the Taipei Zoo is an obvious favorite. Right next to it, my kids loved riding the Maokong Gondola. Only choose a glass-bottomed car if your kids won’t be scared, though.
My kids got a thrill out of riding the world’s fastest elevator to the 360-degree indoor observation deck of Taipei 101, once the world’s tallest building. Taipei also has a dedicated Children’s Amusement Park with lots of easy rides for toddlers.
In terms of dining, our toddlers always enjoyed easy-to-slurp noodles from local noodle shops; they are everywhere. Modern Toilet, a toilet, and a poo-themed restaurant, really made them laugh. For some reason, toddlers find poop funny.
For accommodation, we enjoyed our stay at Grand Hyatt, which had amazing views of Taipei, a children’s playroom, and free life jackets in the outdoor swimming pool.
Getting around Taiwan is easy. We recommend hopping on the MRT. Children under six travel free, it’s stroller friendly, and it goes everywhere. If you decide to use a taxi, they don’t usually have car seats, so plan accordingly.
Beyond Taipei, there are several other toddler-friendly destinations around the country, and most are only a few hours away. The National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung features a cool animatronic dinosaur display. Sun Moon Lake has scenic boat rides and fun docks to run around.
Alishan, Taiwan’s most famous mountain resort, has several easy walking trails suitable for young kids. Last, in Kaohsiung, we found bowling for kids, a great indoor play center, and go-karts for toddlers at Taroko Park.
Emma from Wanderlust and Wet Wipes
The Maldives are known as the ultimate honeymoon destination, not as a family-friendly one – let alone a toddler-friendly place to visit! And yet, it still stands out as two of our favorite family trips ever (it was so good we went twice!).
Your toddler probably won’t want to lie on the beach all day, so luckily there’s plenty to do in the Maldives with toddlers.
You can grab a canoe from the hotel (most will let you borrow them for free) and take a paddle with your toddler around the bay (or island if you’re feeling adventurous).
There are lots of opportunities for swimming – the island will have almost 360° of beaches and at least one swimming pool, so you can take the plunge multiple times a day if you want to and not get bored.
With so many beaches, there’s plenty of sand to play in – many of the hotels with kids clubs host sandcastle sessions, so you can go along and use their sand toys too.
Other fun things to do with a toddler include a sunset cruise, spotting wildlife in the shallow waters by the island, and eating together as a family in one of the restaurants on your island.
If you want, most resorts also offer photography sessions to capture your best moments together.
November-May is the best time to go to the Maldives with a toddler, but while the other months might be a bit rainier, they’re still great times to go.
When it comes to traveling internationally with a toddler, choosing a family-friendly resort in the Maldives can be overwhelming since there are so many to choose from. If you don’t want to travel far from the main island and don’t mind seeing it from one side of the island, Kurumba is a well-liked resort for families with young kids.
Overall, the Maldives is the perfect international place to travel with toddlers to relax, especially water lovers. Your little sea lover will enjoy the beautiful beaches, colorful fish, and fun playgrounds the islands and resorts have to offer.
Keri from Family Travel in the Middle East
Dubai is an actioned-packed city full of superlatives and “the biggest,” just about everything you can imagine. But toddler-friendly? Absolutely! It’s all about timing it right.
Dubai is one of the best international places that is best tackled with a toddler in the cooler winter months (November through to April). Like any big city, avoid going out and using transport during business peak hours.
There are so many fun seasonal places and events young kids will enjoy in Dubai. Our toddlers absolutely loved a visit in the early evenings to Dubai Garden Glow and Dinosaur Park, an illuminated spectacular.
A few other fun outdoor activities in the winter include Dubai Miracle Garden and flamingo spotting at Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. Don’t forget there are several short trips from Dubai that your toddler would love.
If you’re not afraid of heights, there are plenty of places that will give little kids a thrill, from walking the see-through skywalk floor of the Dubai Frame to taking in the views from the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa, or the largest observation wheel in the world, Ain Dubai.
Toddlers are delighted in Dubai with the incredible resort pools, water parks, or splashing in the warm Persian Gulf waters. Legoland Water Park suits the little ones, as does Splashers Island at Aquaventure, Atlantis.
Hotels such as the Grand Hyatt on Dubai Creek or the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi include mini water parks, just big enough for toddlers to enjoy.
There’s no shortage of places to dine out with your tot in Dubai. There is every type of cuisine you can imagine on offer in this multi-cultural city.
Our favorite stops are Eggspectations for breakfast in JBR, lunch in the colorful waterfront area of La Mer, and dinner at Carluccio’s in Dubai Mall, which will offer you seats to the city’s most incredible (free!) night-time show at the Dubai Fountains.
Note that entry is free to most attractions in Dubai for toddlers under 3-year-old.
Erin from Explore with Erin
Bali is our family’s favorite international destination for toddlers. I have been 18 times, and my children’s first trip was at 5 months old.
The Balinese consider the younger the child, the closer they are to God, so they adore children. You will find staff happy to watch your children while you eat or massage, plenty of kids clubs, and so much to do.
Anytime is a good time to go to Bali. November to March is the wet season, so while warm, you will find plenty of rain.
We have over 101 things for kids to do in Bali, but for toddlers, our favorites are:
- Waterbom – This waterpark has been a staple for any visit to Bali. From their toddler water playground to long, scary rides for adults. Also, the lazy river is a smooth floating ride through the entire park and all its greenery.
- Bali Safari Park – This animal park is fun for toddlers to see safari animals in a safe environment for young kids. If you can, stick around for the night tour.
- Devdan Show – There are plenty of Balinese dances to watch, but this one is in a comfortable theatre, so your little ones won’t get too restless.
- The Reuse Centre – Located in Ubud is a small shop that loves to show kids how to create crafts with recycled products.
If you are looking for great places to eat, some of our favorites are:
The Sheraton Market Brunch in Kuta is all-you-can-eat deliciousness. With dedicated kid’s tables and chairs and a supervised play area, your kids will have fun, and you can actually enjoy your food.
Also, at Sheraton is The Best Brew, where kids can create their own pizza. How fun is that?
Another favorite with kids is the Cat Cafe in Ubud. Head in for a snack, but stay to cuddle with the adorable cats.
- Bali is full of hotels suitable for a visit with toddlers, but highlights would be:
- Grand Mirage Resort – An all-inclusive in Nusa Due with a fun kids club and beach location.
- Bali Dynasty – A great location in Kuta, with a kids club and kids, pool to satisfy any picky toddler.
- Holiday Inn – In Nusa Dua, this resort has lots of activities for young kids including fruit carving.
Melissa from The Family Voyage
One of our family’s favorite toddler-friendly international vacation destinations is Israel. We love Isreal so much that we visited twice with our little kids!
Israel is a fantastic place for families with young children in large part because it offers such a diverse range of experiences in a compact, drivable, kid-friendly package.
A few can’t miss experiences for your Israel itinerary include:
- Exploring the Old City of Jerusalem on a walking tour
- Lounge on the beaches of Tel Aviv
- Hike waterfalls in the Golan Heights
- Sampling excellent Middle Eastern street food.
We’ve visited Israel during every season and prefer late Spring, but they’re all lovely.
Staying at an apartment near the beach in Tel Aviv offers the perfect base for exploring the country.
You can drive to most tourist sites and mix in city strolling and relaxing on the beach. You’ll also have access to plenty of restaurants; don’t miss traditional Israeli breakfast at Adraba and lunch at Falafel Gabay!
BEST INTERNATIONAL PLACES TO TRAVEL WITH TODDLERS: OCEANIA
Delilah from Our Travel Mix
The Cook Islands is the only place on our list from Oceania. Although it’s quite a ways from the US, it’s the perfect place for families based in Australia and New Zealand to vacation.
The Cook Islands are a collection of idyllic and truly underrated islands in the South Pacific. Rarotonga is the main island where the international airport is situated, and the best place to base yourself for your holiday.
Muri is where the action happens. The southern part of the island is the best area to stay and it is a perfect place for families and toddlers to enjoy their holidays.
There are plenty of Rarotonga resorts to fit all budgets, from lodge accommodation to luxury retreats. Muri Beach Resort is located in the heart of Muri and is just a few minutes’ walk from all the best things to do.
Water activities are a must in Rarotonga. Since everything is a stone’s throw away from the beach at all times, you can’t go wrong with spending your holiday swimming, paddleboarding, and kayaking.
Many fish occupy shallow waters, so toddlers and young can enjoy snorkeling too.
The best family activity is a lagoon cruise with either Captain Tama or Koka. Cruise out to the islets on a glass-bottom boat. After a morning of swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing on deck, enjoy a buffet lunch on a faraway islet complete with a ukulele and song by the cruise staff.
Be sure to eat at Vili’s burger joint and try their famous fresh fish burger. Another stop is the Muri Night Market for browsing, souvenir shopping, and local delicacies.
Time your holiday in Rarotonga for October or November. The Cook Islands have a tropical climate, so traveling during the shoulder season provides warm and dry weather at an affordable price. It will also avoid the flock of Australian and New Zealand tourists during the holiday season in December and January.
Escape the late Autumn chill to soak up the sun and enjoy the island paradise that is Rarotonga with your little ones.