Wondering what the best places to travel with a toddler around the world are?! In this guide we will use our personal experience to tell you what are the best places to travel with toddlers in Asia, Europe, North American and Oceania to help you plan your perfect holiday with a toddler.
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Best places to travel with a toddler in Asia
Japan with Toddlers
When anyone asks me what is are the best places to travel with a toddler, Japan usually comes pretty high on the list. It is strange really as I was really concerned about travelling to Japan with toddlers when we first booked the trip. I was worried about the language barrier, business of the cities and how our little one would get on with the unusual flavours and Japanese cuisine but let me tell you I needn’t had worried.
Japan was actually easy to navigate transport wise, though I advise avoiding rush hour if you can when travelling in Japan with a toddler and it is possible to take a stroller with you though I would advise leaving this at home when at shrines and temples that may have stairs or uneven surfaces and opt for a hot weather baby carrier if you are there in Summer.
Depending on how long you have (and if possible I would advise allocating two weeks minimum though it would be possible to do a condensed itinerary in a week) then should places I would recommend visiting are:
- Tokyo – some highlights include the Meji shrine, gardens, Team Borderless Lab and of course the Tokyo Disney resorts. Click here for our complete Tokyo with toddlers guide which includes tips on where to stay, what to eat and what to see in Tokyo with toddlers. If you are wondering about visiting the Tokyo Disney resorts – there are two – then check out our Disneyland vs Disneysea comparison for toddlers as well as our guide to the best rides at Disneyland and best Disneysea rides for toddlers.
- Kyoto – some highlights include Fushimi Inari, Gion, the Golden Pavilion and the Imperial Palace. Click here for our complete Kyoto with kids guide which includes tips on where to stay, what to eat and what to see in Kyoto with toddlers.
- Hokkaido with toddlers – I only advise adding this onto your itinerary if you have longer than two weeks in Japan with a toddler. Hokkaido is the northern island of Japan and is a wealth of wildlife and Japanese hidden gems but given distance I would only suggest for repeat visitors or those with more time. Highlights of Hokkaido will depend on the time of year you visit but could be the Sapporo Ice Festival, the flowers of Furano, the beautiful canal city of Otaru as well as some of the beautiful national parks.
Hong Kong with Toddlers
Hong Kong is a great place to visit with toddlers because of the wealth of toddler friendly activities. A highlight of our trip was of course visiting Hong Kong Disneyland which we found to be very toddler friendly – for more Hong Kong Disney tips click here, but there were also plenty of toddler friendly cultural activities which included heading up the funicular railway to the Victoria Peak which offers beautiful views of the city, riding the ferries across the harbour and my toddlers personal favourite visiting the aviary at Hong Kong Park which as an added bonus was completely free.
For the more energetic then be sure to visit the Big Buddha.
Note: we did visit before the Hong Kong Protests.
The place we want to go to next – Sri Lanka with toddlers
This is the only place that we haven’t personally visited with a toddler on this list. We went to Sri Lanka pre kids but know many people who have visited Sri Lanka with kids and it is near the top of our travel bucket list with our toddler. Even when we were there we commented on how toddler and child friendly Sri Lanka would be. When we stayed in Sri Lanka we stayed in Tangalle and this is definitely an area I would look to visit again in Sri Lanka with a toddler as it has great hotels and easy access to the fort town of Galle and is a great base for doing an elephant safari at Udawalawe which would certainly be a highlight for my toddler.
Best places to travel with a toddler in Europe
Amsterdam with Toddlers
Amsterdam is my new home town and before I moved there I wondered how toddler friendly it would be. Well I needn’t have worried, Amsterdam with a toddler is a great idea. The city is very flat so it is easy to get around with a stroller, bike around while renting a seat for your toddler or do as the locals do and get a bakfiets for the toddlers to sit in the front or use the cities great public transport system.
While when you think about Amsterdam you may think about the Red Light District, coffeeshops and tulips there is actually a lot more to the city than that with a host of toddler friendly activities including the NEMO Science Centre, Artis Zoo, botanical gardens and maritime museum to name but a few.
If you are looking for a good time of year to visit Amsterdam then I would recommend visiting Amsterdam in April. At this time of year the tulips are out in full force and a day trip to Keukenhof Gardens is an essential but you will also experience Kings Day a city wide celebration that is not to be missed. If you are there with a toddler then the best place to head is Vondelpark which is filled with kids activities.
UK with Toddlers
My home country and a great pick for those looking for the best places to travel with toddlers. The UK is such a diverse place that whether you are looking for cities, beaches or countryside you will be able to find it.
Some of our essentials for a UK itinerary with toddler include:
- Visiting London with a toddler – the city has so many toddler friendly attractions (click here for a full list of things to do in London with kids and our London family itinerary) and it is also easy to get around even with a stroller (so long as you check the tube map for accessibility first). It is also a great base for a UK itinerary as there are loads of great day trips from London with kids that can be done. And it doesn’t have to be budget breaker as there are lots of free things to do in London with kids including some great London toddler friendly museums.
For those with a bit more time on their hands I would recommend taking the train or hiring a car and heading down to the beautiful Cornish Coast. When we head to Cornwall we usually stay in Penzance however there is a wealth of things to do in Cornwall with kids, even on a rainy day in Cornwall no matter what part you go to. This is perfect for those travelling with toddlers that are looking for a mix of beach and culture on their vacation.
Or if you are looking for a more rural UK holiday with toddlers then my personal favourite is the Peak District. The Peak District with kids has a lot to offer from great walks to stately homes and children’s farms and attractions.
Iceland with toddlers
Iceland is another place that often tops my personal list of best places to visit with toddlers. Iceland is full of amazing natural wonders from waterfalls to black sand beaches and has a lot to offer for a family with a toddler especially if you like us enjoying spending time outdoors with your toddler. We found there were lots of great family friendly hikes in Iceland that there was something for everyone.
Iceland with a toddler is fantastic because there is just so much space to let your toddler be a toddler though safety information must be followed at all natural sites.
We went to Iceland in March but I don’t think there is a bad time to visit Iceland it just depends on what you want to see. We went to try and see the Northern Lights so went in Winter but summer offers different delights.
Italy with Toddlers
If there is one country in the world that is famous for their love of kids it’s Italy. Italy with toddlers is a great holiday as it offers a bit of everything – culture, history, beaches and countryside. But for me one of the reasons that Italy with toddlers is a great idea is because of the food. Italy is just full of toddlers favourite foods – I have never met a toddler that doesn’t love pizza, pasta and gelato.
My favourite city to visit in Italy with toddlers is Rome. Now Rome on the surface might not seem like the obvious choice with the summer heat, and uneven pavements which makes travelling around Rome with a stroller difficult but we had the best time.
Some sites were easier to visit with a carrier but everywhere we went with our toddler we were greeted with a smile and made to feel very welcome. For a full guide on best things to do in Rome with toddlers click here.
Other great places to visit in Italy with toddlers are:
- Puglia – the heel of the boot of Italy and a part of the country I still consider an Italy hidden gem. Puglia offers great cuisine, quaint towns and amazing beaches. Perfect for the family traveling to Italy
- Lakes – in the North of Italy so be sure to time your visit right for warm weather if that is important to you. These picturesque towns are the perfect place for a relaxing holiday with a toddler.
Spain with toddlers
Spain is a great traditional holiday choice if you are in Europe because of its almost year round good weather. And Spain with toddlers is a great option again because you are welcomed with open arms everywhere.
Depending on what type of holiday you are into there are options from city breaks, beach breaks to all inclusive that suit all budgets and types of traveller.
One of the first city breaks we did with our toddler was Barcelona. Barcelona with a toddler or baby is a great idea because you can combine a beach break and a city break in one trip meaning there is something for everyone in the family. Some of our favourite things to do with our little one in Barcelona include hitting the beach, heading to the aquarium or watching the fountains in Montjuic.
Other places we have enjoyed with our toddler in Spain are:
- Palma – a beautiful quaint town with amazing beaches in easy reach
- Valencia – one of the best parks in Europe for toddlers.
Looking for more inspiration for city breaks with babies and toddlers in Europe click here!
Best places to travel with a toddler in North America
National Parks with toddlers
National Parks with Kids are one of our all time favourite holidays. As a family we prioritise spending time outdoors as a family and national parks are a great way of getting outside with toddlers. No matter what time of year you are traveling there will be a great park for you to visit with your toddler. As a family we have an ambition to travel to them all with our little one and so far we have done and recommend these national parks with toddlers:
- Arches with toddlers – just outside the town of Moab. Can be combined in your Moab itinerary with the below so you get two for the price of one. We found there to be lots of really easy boardwalk and circular hikes in Arches that could be done with kids, and we even managed a few primitive trails too. The hike to Delicate Arch one of the most famous arches in the park is more challenging but doable even with a toddler
- Canyonlands – this park is split into three distinct areas. The only really toddler friendly area is the Islands in the Sky but is breathtaking.
- Badlands National Park – South Dakota is a place that took us by surprise as there was so much to do with kids there. Highlights for toddlers at this park are seeing the bison, prairie dogs at Roberts Prairie Dog Town and there are also plenty of family friendly hikes at Badlands too. Combine your trip with a visit to Mount Rushmore too !
- Yellowstone with kids – the big one when it comes to your National Park bucket list. There are definitely some rules about visiting Yellowstone with toddlers that need to be adhered to for safety reasons but this park is fantastic for kids with a combination of sights, wildlife and great walks.
We have also heard amazing things about Joshua Tree National Park with toddlers and have plans to hit up Shenandoah next.
San Francisco with Toddlers
Now the hills of San Francisco may have any stroller wielding parents thinking it might not be a toddler friendly destination however when we went to San Francisco with toddler we had a fantastic time. There is a wealth of amazing playgrounds in the city such as the Koret Playground and Golden Gate Park which offers parents some of the best playground views in the world, a brilliant aquarium and children’s museums and amazing day trips that toddlers will love such as Monterey and Muir Woods.
Las Vegas with Toddlers
Now the city of sin may not be the first toddler vacation you think of however we loved doing Las Vegas with toddlers. Now it isn’t the same type of trip as if you were child free but children will marvel at the lights of the strip and the fountains of Bellagio as well as enjoying attractions such as the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay and seeing some of the toddler friendly shows at Circus Circus. But on top of the strip based attractions, kids will love the day trip options from Las Vegas which include the very toddler friendly Discovery Children’s Museum, Red Rock Canyon State Preservation and Valley of Fire to name but a few.
Best places to travel with a toddler in the Middle East
Dubai with toddler
I have often described Dubai as a type of adult Disneyland but it is also a city full of great attractions for kids. We lived in the UAE so were frequent visitors to the city with our daughter. Top of her list is always to visit the Dubai Mall Aquarium which is one of our favourite aquariums in the world to visit with kids and can be combined with a visit up the famous Burj Khalifa and seeing the Dubai Mall Fountain show.
On top of that the city is a great beach destination and there are lots of amazing family friendly hotels in Dubai to that are great to stay in with a toddler. there are a wealth of amazing day trips you can take from Dubai with kids such as Resorts World theme parks where children will love the Dreamworks land in Motiongate theme park which is dedicated to children’s films such as Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon and Madagascar. And of course no visit to Dubai is complete without a visit into the desert which is very doable even with a toddler which is why we love visiting Dubai with a toddler.
Abu Dhabi with toddler
Our old home of Abu Dhabi is another place that is very easy to travel to with a toddler. While it doesn’t get as much attention as its more famous sister Emirate of Dubai there are still plenty of things to do in Abu Dhabi with a toddler. For those wanting cultural travel you can head to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Otherwise you can check out one of the city’s many theme parks. The most toddler friendly of these is the Warner Brothers Theme Park but there is also a Yas Island Water Park. But out favourite thing to do in Abu Dhabi is to head to one of Abu Dhabi’s amazing beaches.
Qatar with toddler
Another of our homes, Qatar holds a fond place in my heart and is great to visit with toddlers. I would recommend Doha as a stopover and it has a lot of great things to do with toddlers including an array of fantastic parks. Qatar is an amazingly child friendly country and always found we were welcomed with open arms wherever we took our little one and our favourite thing to do there is explore the Souq.
Best places to travel with a toddler in Oceania
Sydney with Toddlers
We had five days in Sydney and we only scratched the tip of the iceberg in terms of great child friendly things the city has on offer. Some of the highlights of this city for us were traveling around on the ferry, exploring the city’s botanical gardens which have unrivalled views of the Opera House, visiting the city’s beautiful beaches and hitting up some of the city museums (be warned there is a Wiggles exhibition and it will get stick in your head). But our toddlers favourite thing to do in Sydney was the Taronga Zoo and the aquarium. I think the Sydney Zoo is one of the best we have ever been to and certainly has the best view.
Tasmania with toddlers
When we headed to Burnie Tasmania we weren’t sure what to expect in terms of toddler friendliness. What we found was a place brimming with amazing outdoor activities that our toddler loved. Among our favourites included hiking in Fernglade looking for Platypus. If you love the outdoors then Tasmania might be your perfect Ocean destination.
New Zealand with toddlers
Who doesn’t have New Zealand on their bucket list? And actually New Zealand is a very easy place to visit with toddlers. Again we love spending time outdoors with our toddler so it is no surprise that New Zealand was a hit. Some of our favourite activities included seining dolphins in Akaroa, visiting some child friendly vineyards in Picton and going on some fantastic hikes. The cities of New Zealand shouldn’t be overlook either as they are generally very easy to get around and have some fantastic museums with some toddler friendly exhibitions.
Are Cruises good with Toddlers?
We took our daughter on her first cruise when she was a baby but what about cruising with a toddler? Admittedly it is easier cruising with a baby over a toddler but we still enjoy them as holidays. Some things to consider however about taking a cruise holiday with a toddler include:
- will they be able to use the pool? If they aren’t potty trained then they can’t use the swimming pool unless you are cruising on Disney or the ship has a splash pool.
- Whether you are happy to share a cabin with your child
- What the best toddler friendly cruise itineraries are
Disney with Toddlers
Is there one best age to visit Disney? I don’t know that there is to be honest and we have found that visiting Disney with toddlers is actually a great experience. There are usually a good amount of rides at Disneyland that have no height restrictions that mean your toddler will have plenty to go on and at the toddler age we find there is a real magic to meeting the characters.
If you would like more information on individual Disney Parks with toddlers then check out the below toddler guides:
- Disneyland Paris with toddlers
- Hong Kong Disneyland with toddlers
- Tokyo Disneyland with toddlers
- Tokyo Disneysea with toddlers
- Comparison guide of Disneyland and Disneysea for toddlers
Best Toddler Travel Tips
Just as you think you have mastered travelling with a baby your baby turns into a toddler and you have a new set of travel challenges to deal with. If you want to master toddler travel check out our tips from us and other toddler parents that may help save your sanity including how to deal with toddler jet lag, the best toddler travel car seat and some our toddler travel essentials.