The best family travel destinations suggested in this article are all places that we, TraveLynn Family, have travelled to with our boys, not just places suggested from other travellers. So they get the first hand seal of approval from us and you can even follow our day by day itineraries.
I’m frequently asked, “What’s the best country you’ve ever visited?” and always fail to answer with just one country. Every country offers something different.
We love to get off the beaten track and take our boys on true adventures, pushing the boundaries of family adventure travel (whether it’s overlanding Africa or backpacking Southeast Asia), yet we still love a good European camping holiday or city break. But our favourite travel memories as a family are always amongst epic landscapes or bustling developing cities where we have stepped out of our comfort zone.
So to provide some inspiration, we’ve compiled our list for the best family travel destinations, drawing from our own experience. These are also our top recommended worldschooling destinations. Together as a family, we have now travelled to 28 countries, but this is our absolute top 12.
You will probably notice that the destinations are rather heavily skewed toward the African and Asian continent. One day we’ll make it to the Americas. Mexico is very high on our list.
Now the below is my own opinion. Do the boys agree? Well click here check out what they put as their top 10. There are definitely some differences!
But read on (in no particular order) for the best family travel destinations from our personal experience…
Adventurous travel and safaris go hand-in-hand, and one of the best places for intrepid family friendly places is Namibia. If you crave epic lunar landscapes, affordable and rewarding safaris, and a true African adventure, Namibia gets our vote as one of the best places to visit.
You might be tempted to book an expensive, all-inclusive tour but instead follow our advice and hire a 4×4 with roof tents and go it alone (here’s our Namibia itinerary)!
The quality of roads in generally very good (certainly compared to other neighbouring countries) and the campsites are well setup, maintained and comfortable. Add to this a low malaria risk and an amazing climate, and it’s a definite winner in our books.
2. Sri Lanka
An absolute favourite of ours, we fell head over heels in love with Sri Lanka as soon as we arrived. We visited whilst living in Bangalore and although there were many similarities with India, we found it to be cleaner and less chaotic.
It’s a relatively small country so travelling between places is easy, yet it still offers enough activities, must-see sights, and fun to keep the whole tribe entertained. Indeed, for a country roughly the same size as Ireland, it manages to offer so much variety (both natural and cultural) that we’re sure you’ll fall in love with it too. Our favourite experiences in Sri Lanka were the incredible beaches and spotting wild elephants.
For a long time, Iceland had been on our radar but we’d put it off as we assumed it was too expensive. But we were tempted by cheap easyJet flights and photos of those dramatic landscapes.
Admittedly the car hire and accommodation are going to be your biggest outgoings, but self-catering can keep costs down and, if you travel independently, exploring Iceland’s natural wonders and hiking through its expansive landscape is totally FREE! There are definitely ways to do Iceland on a budget.
If you’re a family who love the great outdoors and wild landscapes, Iceland is a perfect destination for you. Just ensure you pack layers as the weather is extremely changeable.
We love the energy, the ornate temples, the colourful markets, the polite people and the food… oh my THE FOOD! Oh, and of course the incredible beaches!
Don’t rush straight to the islands though, enjoy your first few days in bustling Bangkok. It has to be of of our favourite cities to explore with our boys
There are so many reasons to travel Thailand with kids. It’s easily one of the most accessible countries we’ve visited with the boys. Many restaurants, even along the original backpacker enclave of Khao San Road, have highchairs, and we found that some beach restaurants in Koh Lanta have toys and kids’ play areas.
Also, kid-friendly food is available everywhere; think sticky rice, banana pancakes, and tropical fruit aplenty. Throw in tuk-tuk rides, exploring mystical temples, and jumping in the waves crashing on to tropical islands, and you have the perfect mix for a fantastic family adventure holiday.
READ: Visiting India with kids
It must be said that India isn’t everyone’s cup of chai. It’s loud, chaotic and confronting, but it was our home for a year, and it feels wrong not to include it. Although we wouldn’t recommend India if it’s your first time travelling with kids in Asia as there are easier places to try first.
However, if you are ready to take on the challenge, India will be one of your most memorable family adventures ever. The tourist dollar goes far here, so you can spend a little more on accommodation to create an oasis away from the chaos.
Allow time to soak in the vibrancy and energy of this magical country, and once you’ve finished exploring the temples and spice markets, head for some downtime on the beaches of Goa.
For those of us living in the UK, Morocco is Africa at its most accessible. Whilst only a three hour flight away, you’ll land in a totally different world of vibrant medinas, endless apricot-coloured deserts, and jagged snow-capped mountains. It’s a country that defines the exotic and offers year-round sunshine.
It’s a fantastic place to explore on a family road trip and there are so many things to do in Morocco with kids. The highlights for our boys were sandboarding in the Sahara Desert, trekking the Atlas Mountains on a mule, and running around the quiet medina on Essaouira.
In fact we love Morocco so much, we’ve now visited five times and even spent four months living there.
Rightfully known as the ‘warm heart of Africa’, Malawi packs a lot in to its relatively small landmass; with majestic mountains rising from the tea plantations in the south, to the tropical white-crescent beaches fringing the lake, to an intimate big-five safari experience.
More than anything, though, it’s Malawi’s people and the everyday interactions full of warmth and kindness that will make your visit so memorable.
Malawi isn’t the obvious choice of for an African destination with kids. South Africa often steals the top spot. But this modest land-locked Africa is much more manageable with young kids especially and will steal your heart.
READ: Visiting Nepal with kids
Nepal is perhaps one of the most difficult countries we’ve travelled with the boys. Seemingly short distances on a map take a full day bouncing around stomach-churning bends on old rusty buses, and dressing the kids in layers to keep them warm in the colder months can become a battle.
But our five-day trek amongst the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas to Poon Hill was truly exhilarating, momos will forever be one of my favourite foods, and thinking about the genuine friendships we made with locals on our travels warms my heart.
Travelling Nepal with kids was most definitely rewarding.
France is an obvious choice for us as it’s easy to get to from the UK and we can take our Bongo camper over on the Dover to Calais ferry. Plus we LOVE France – the wine, the climate, the landscapes, the croissants, the history.
Over the years, we’ve made multiple trips over to France, including a five-week road trip from Calais to the Pyrenees and then a six-week road tripping France in our Bongo. We’ve visited dozens of French campsites and share our favourite family sites here.
So yes, we LOVE France and keep on returning year after year.
READ: Visiting Spain with kids
Just like neighbouring France to the north, Spain is a well-known and popular destination for families. With excellent internal travel links, including a high-speed train network, you’ll find it easy to explore this fascinating country.
Try out affordable and varied skiing in the Pyrenees ski resorts, the world class beaches and resorts in the south, world-class city breaks in ancient Andalucía, or sat outdoors with some tapas and wine.
Easily one of our favourite family travel destinations, Malaysia is a rich and diverse country which offers families a taste of everything. It’s a fantastic destination it its own right, although often also used as a handy stopover between Europe and Australia.
On Peninsular Malaysia, you’ll have access to world-class diving spots, cultural hotspots like Malacca and Penang, the mega-city of Kuala Lumpur, and the constant joy of the different cuisines on offer.
On the island of Borneo, Sabah and Sarawak offer some of the world’s premier wildlife and nature attractions, all easily accessible and surprisingly affordable. There’s so much on offer, ranging from a cruise on the Kinabatangan River, watching turtles laying eggs and getting up close to the Orangutans in Sepilok.
A country with a tragic recent history, Cambodia has emerged from its past and is now an ideal destination for an adventurous family adventure.
Kids will enjoy visiting the temples at Angkor Wat, especially if it’s combined with a canopy-high trip through the trees on a zipwire. Elsewhere you have the fascinating city of Phnom Penh where older kids can learn about the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge, the quiet country town of Battambang and the exciting town of Siem Reap next to Angkor Wat.
Cambodia is a safe country to visit which is still finding its way back onto the full tourist trail. Affordable and friendly, now is a perfect time to visit and see it for yourself.