Best Vacations with a Baby…
A question I’m frequently asked is, “What are the best places to travel with a baby?” So, I asked family travel writers and lifestyle bloggers to share what their best vacations with a baby were…
Where they went…
Where they stayed…
And what made it great for family vacation with a baby along?
I’m pleased to share their stories (including mine!) below…
Best Vacations with a Baby: Varadero, Cuba
Corinne from Have Baby Will Travel (me!)
Pre-baby I was quite the travel snob, but motherhood threw me for a loop. I struggled with the notion of leaving the house, never mind leaving the country! We chose a week in an all-inclusive resort as our first vacation with a baby and, in the process, discovered that Cuba is one of the best places to travel with a baby.
Cuba is safe, clean, and Cubans love children. You are never made to feel like your baby is a bother. An all-inclusive vacation is easy since you don’t need to sort out where to eat or the logistics of getting groceries. If you are feeling up to exploring, using an all-inclusive resort as a home base lets you focus your efforts on planning your outings. And Varadero is the most built-up region in Cuba for tourists. Most resorts are less than an hour’s drive from the airport.
But that’s the boring stuff. Cuba’s beaches are glorious. The history is fascinating. The people are lovely. You can choose to do as much or as little as you like with no judgement.
However, the one drawback to Cuba is the lack of available (or affordable) baby items that you may need on vacation. My super-dee-dooper baby packing list (that I am much-derided for) is based on our trips there.
Best Vacations with a Baby: Quebec City, Canada
Corinne from Have Baby Will Travel (me again!)
I was a bit braver once baby #2 came along, so our first vacation as a family of four was to Quebec City, Canada when my son was 10-weeks-old.
Family is super important in French Canadian culture, so babies are very much welcomed wherever you go. However, since Quebec City is over 400-years-old, some of the streets and establishments are not all that stroller-friendly. But if you can fold your stroller and feel comfortable leaving it at the entrance, your baby is as welcome at the chic-est hole-in-the-wall in Vieux Town as they are at St. Hubert (Quebec’s beloved casual chicken restaurant). The main attractions are barrier-free and my son stayed in his infant carrier car seat on our horse and carriage ride.
Quebec City has the charm of Europe without the trans-Atlantic flight or the less-than-favourable exchange to the Euro… both big considerations when looking for the best places to travel with a baby. In spite of the many stairs and cobblestones, it’s immensely walkable. There are a number of easy hotel options and vacation rentals as well. Quebec City food-wise you can go for fine dining if that’s your thing, but don’t forget about tortiere and poutine!
Best Vacations with a Baby: Italy
Mandy from Ciao Bambino!
Our favorite family vacation was a recent trip we took overseas to Italy with our daughter who was 10-months-old at the time of travel. During our month-long European adventure we started with the Italian Lakes Region, the Tuscan countryside and coast, then ended in the Eternal City of Rome.
With baby in tow, my husband and I relaxed with wine and some amazing Italian food overlooking Lake Como and the stunning views of the Alps in the background. In the Tuscan countryside, we enjoyed relaxing days with our baby in the beautiful rolling hills, where our views looked like they were from a postcard. We soaked up the atmosphere, sat in the piazzas, and visited local markets in Rome.
Our family stayed at different properties during the month such as the family-friendly hotel Borgo Pignano in the Tuscan countryside. We visited many incredible places like the agriturismo Al Gelso Bianco for a delicious authentic Tuscan meal. Our little one couldn’t get enough of their yummy homemade pasta.
The hospitality at our hotels was amazing; the Ciao Bambino properties we stayed at were so accommodating with kids. The waiters would literally entertain Alaria so that we could enjoy our meal. The baby crib was always set up upon arrival, the high chair was ready for us during breakfast, pureed baby food options were available, and our rooms were always conveniently located near the main building (and oftentimes on the ground floor). The staff really went above and beyond to help us and make our stay as enjoyable as possible.
This was truly a trip of a lifetime and we can’t wait for our next adventure!
Best Vacations with a Baby: Washington, D.C.
Trina from Mom Smart Not Hard…
One of our best vacations with a baby was to Washington, D.C. when our daughter was 17-months-old. You don’t typically think of D.C. as one of the best places to travel with a baby or young children, but there is so much to do there.
We accompanied my husband to D.C. for a conference in January and really made the most of it. We visited the Botanical Gardens, the Air and Space Museum, and the Museum of Natural History, which was our little one’s favorite. These museums are great because they are indoors, making them great attractions no matter what time of the year you are visiting. Best of all? They are all free to enter, so if your baby or toddler melts down you can quickly leave without feeling like you wasted a bunch of money.
In addition to the museums, we also visited the National Zoo. Any zoo is great with children but the D.C. zoo is especially great with the Pandas in addition to all the traditional zoo animals. And, similar to the museums, the National Zoo is free to enter.
I wouldn’t typically recommend traveling to D.C. in January due to the cold weather. But lots of fun can be had at any time of year with a young child in tow in the United States’ capital.
Best Vacations with a Baby: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Eileen from Families Go!
When my daughter was 15-months-old we wanted an inexpensive winter beach getaway. We wanted a kitchen and living space and knew we couldn’t take advantage of the activities (or open bar) that make all-inclusives a good deal. Instead of a resort we rented a condo in Playa del Carmen in Riviera Maya, Mexico, which was perfect.
We had a living room and roof deck to retreat to during naps and after bedtime. The little bodega on our corner had organic milk, mild Mexican cheese, fresh eggs, and tiny, sweet bananas that she ate by the bunch.
Our stretch of public beach had a mix of local families and vacationers. Every time we went, some kid would wander over to share their sand toys with our tot.
Playa del Carmen has its share of late-night partying, but we spotted plenty of families and older couples, too… Especially during our 6:00 dinners which are typical for vacations with a baby.
With one highway on the peninsula, it was easy to rent a car for sightseeing, but we mostly went between the beach, nearby restaurants, and our rooftop pool.
After running around in the sun at the town playground one morning, my daughter fell sound asleep in her stroller. I seized the opportunity to pop into one of the inexpensive spas around town for a quick massage. She woke up just as the masseuse was finishing. She felt refreshed and so did I.
Best Vacations with a Baby:
Colorado Springs & Rocky Mountain National Park
Stephanie from Consistently Curious…
Our recent visit to Colorado Springs and the Rocky Mountain National Park was not only full of breathtaking landscapes, but proved to be baby friendly.
Beginning our journey in Colorado Springs, we rented a spacious house with a relaxing patio through Airbnb. It made the perfect evening retreat after the little one retired to bed. Garden of the Gods is a must. The timeless beauty of mountainous landscapes paired with striking arrangements of monstrous red rocks makes for a photographer’s dream.
And a scenic motor trail with a paved walking trail throughout the park makes for a family with a baby’s dream!
A short drive will take you into the eclectic town of Manitou Springs, which offers tons of family-friendly eateries, boutiques, and attractions. Other baby-friendly sites include Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Red Rock Canyon Open Space, and the Air Force Academy.
The Rocky Mountain National Park was a remarkable experience. Bear Lake and Sprague Lake hosts stroller-friendly loops that are less than a mile long.
For a true Rocky Mountain adventure, take a drive on Trail Ridge Rd. for scenic pull-offs, harrowing curves, and breathtaking views. We stayed in an adorable Airbnb in quaint town of Lyons, Colorado while visiting the park.
Best Vacations with a Baby: Charleston, S.C.
Austin from Formative Adventures…
I’ve always wanted to visit to the South. What better place for a vacation with a baby than Charleston, S.C.? It has all the sweet tea you could sip, walkable streets, fascinating history, and even a couple of water fountains that your toddler can run through.
There are so many things to do in Charleston S.C. with kids. The downtown streets are easy with a stroller and there are plenty of parks and open spaces to let your toddler run wild. Make sure you head over to Rainbow Row to see all the charming houses. From there, make a stop at the Waterfront park… just bring an extra set of dry clothes. Once you’ve spent a day or two and had your chicken and waffles in downtown Charleston, it’s time to explore the surrounding areas.
Book a tour of a plantation, like the massive Magnolia Plantation, about a 20-minute drive from town. Don’t miss the Angel Tree, which is a little further out. It is an enormous oak tree that has its branches spread out over 17,000 sq ft.
On your way back, you can check out the several beaches in the area. There is Folly Beach to the West, and the more family-friendly Isle of Palms towards the East that has a nice playground.
Overall, this was one of the best vacations with a baby we’ve had with our 18-month-old toddler, since there were so many fun things to explore, both for us parents and our child.
Best Vacations with a Baby: Samoa
Emma from Money Can Buy Me Happiness
We traveled to Samoa with our 16-month-old toddler and absolutely loved it. We collected a rental car fitted out with a brand new baby car seat in the capital, Apia. Then, we took the ferry across to the island of Savai’i. We kept the same rental car so we wouldn’t have to switch at the ferry terminal. It cost an extra $100 or so but it was worth the convenience.
Once we landed in Savai’i we drove off the ferry and straight to The Savaiian Hotel, our home for the next five nights. This hotel was perfect for a vacation with a baby as it has expansive grounds for wandering, mud-crab spotting, and an extremely casual atmosphere.
On Savai’i, we toured the Afu Aau Falls. They were fun to swim in, and the water was calm enough to splash in with our son. We also visited the north side of the island and discovered plenty of untouched beaches and a surprisingly delicious pizzeria (Leilina’s Pizza), where the staff actually entertained the baby while we ate.
Samoa is an easy and laid-back destination for vacations with a baby. I’d recommend it to anyone wanting to explore the Pacific Islands with a baby in tow.
Best Vacations with a Baby: Bear Lake Reserve, NC
Nikki from Mommy My Way
The best family trip I’ve been on to date was to Bear Lake Reserve when my son was about 13-14 months old. Bear Lake is near Asheville in North Carolina. It’s a secluded town near the Blue Ridge Mountains that is quite literally right on a lake with incredibly stunning views.
We stayed in a cabin near the reserve’s clubhouse so we could easily enjoy some of the amenities on site. The home was massive and overlooked the lake. It was stunning to wake up to and enjoy breakfast on the porch outside.
This was the perfect trip for me and my son because of how beautiful and relaxing it was. Our lives are go, go, go all the time and we rarely get to simply sit and enjoy our surroundings together. We rented a boat to tour the lake, lounged by the pool, did yoga outside, and simply relaxed together. I’d go back 100 times over!
Best Vacations with a Baby: Yellowstone National Park
Melynda from Traveling Mel
Yellowstone is great for babies!
Yellowstone National Park is practically in our backyard, so when we had kids, we knew they would spend a lot of time in the world’s first National Park. It takes a little extra planning to bring little ones into a place with such extremes — boiling water, temperatures well below zero in winter, grizzly bears, and so many summer tourists—but it’s well worth the effort.
One of our favorite things to do in winter is soak in the Boiling River. There is one pool that is really easy to get into, not too hot or cold, and shallow enough for a toddler to stand. Plus, there isn’t as much current as in the other soaking spots, so they won’t wash away. Afterward, we head to the Mammoth Inn for a picnic in the Map Room while we dry off and pull on snow pants. It’s less than a five-minute drive to the Upper Terrace parking area where we can strap on skis and pull the kids in the ski stroller on groomed trails.
Summer brings baby animals, stroller-friendly boardwalks, and easy trails to get a wild experience without too much effort. There are plenty of markets and restaurants, which makes it easy to sit and feed babies and toddlers without having to bring everything with you. It’s never too early to get kids started outdoors and Yellowstone has to be one of the best places to do it!
Best Vacations with a Baby: Alaskan Cruise
Hilarye Fuller from Dotting The Map
People always ask me what they think the best baby friendly destination is and I always answer without hesitation a cruise (as long as baby is six months or older of course). If you think about it, the key to traveling with a baby is ease, convenience, and flexibility. All easily achievable when traveling with a floating house. We learned so many amazing tips and tricks for taking a baby on a cruise ship during that vacation.
When my oldest was nine-months-old we took her on an Alaskan Cruise. It had been a dream of ours for a long time and we felt pretty excited to be accomplishing this goal with a baby at a time when many of our friends and family members were assuring us that our travel days were over.
At nine-months-old, our daughter was barely crawling and mostly eating baby food, nursing, and maybe gnawing on a breadstick here and there at dinner. The staff on the cruise ship were very attentive and thoughtful. Our waiter at dinner knew I was always going to order full fat plain yogurt to mix in with some baby food and just started bringing it out for me every night. They even offered to blend up some veggies and fruits for her.
Anytime baby needed a nap (which at that point was still 2-3 times a day) we would head back to the room and put her down and enjoy some snacks and sight-seeing on the balcony. She was easy to tote around with a baby carrier at every port and rarely put up a fuss. It is still to date one of my all-time favorite vacations, because even as a mom, it actually felt like a vacation. That, and of course, Alaska is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
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