Although traveling with your fussy kids may sound like a scary idea, consider that travel allows you to connect with them on a different level - a level with less screen time and more adventure. Aside from opening up their minds and fostering their curiosity, your family trip will create memories and lessons that will accompany your kids into adulthood.
Related: What's it Like to Travel the World With 3 Kids?
To help us decide on the best family-friendly destinations, we've turned to Ciao Bambino, one of our favorite online travel planning websites. They've recently released their list of "Top 50 Places to Go in 2018 With Kids." From the untamed beauty of The Galapagos and Costa Rica to the ancient castles of Poland and Germany, this list of family travel destinations will motivate you to start planning your next trip.
We've filtered Ciao Bambino's list down to 10 of our favorite destinations. Check them out:
1. Bryce and Zion National Parks, Utah, U.S.A.
The sights and sounds of Bryce and Zion national parks will astound your entire family. Everything here is magnified - the colors, the waterfalls, the wildlife. Easily accessible by car, you can spend a week exploring the geological wonders of these rugged landscapes. Both places offer programs and activities for kids, inevitably turning them into nature-loving park rangers of the future.
2. Florida Keys, U.S.A.
The underwater world is a magical paradise that many kids are unable to explore, but the Florida Keys lets them tap into that magic. Ciao Bambino says, "On a snorkeling excursion with her children in the Keys, one of our Advisors saw thousands of bright lavender jellyfish as big as dinner plates, plus electric eels and schools of brilliant fish - an absolutely stunning display of the beauty and magic of the natural world."
Although the region is still recovering from the $500 million worth of damage caused by Hurricane Irma, the tourism industry is inviting families to visit, explore, and give the local fisherman and tour operators a much-needed boost.
Nope, this isn't the setting of Alice in Wonderland - it's the weird and wonderful South Plaza Island in the Galapagos. Here, your kids come face to face with nature - seriously, the wildlife here is not afraid of wide-eyed kiddos. Your kids will marvel at the island's lazy reptiles, and they'll dance along with the blue-footed boobies. The Galapagos Islands are the perfect classroom, providing your kids with first-hand lessons on ecology, geology, and conservation.
Related: 5 Reasons to Take Your Kids on An Eco-Friendly Family Vacation
If you want to show your kids how the happiest people in the world live, visit the Netherlands. One day in the town of Haarlem is enough to make anyone realize why the Dutch are so darn happy. Haarlem is a safe and beautiful city outside of Amsterdam known for its cobblestone paths and medieval character. Your whole family can take a bicycle tour along the lovely canals and visit the bustling Grote food market on a Saturday. Haarlem also gives your kids an opportunity to brush up on their history - the nearby Corrie ten Boom House is a place that sheltered Jews during World War II and definitely a must-see when you're in the area.
The old city of Krakow looks like it can only exist in a magical fairytale. From the ancient architecture and Wawel Castle to the cobblestone streets and horse-drawn carriages, this is a place that transports your kids to the pages of their favorite fairytale. Green parks, cute shops, historical architecture, museums, art galleries, and delicious pierogies - Poland has it all. It's a good time to visit now while the food and drink are still affordable.
Does Rapunzel live up in that tower? Well, you can take a tuk-tuk up to the Pena Palace to see for yourself. Located in the foothills of Portugal's Sintra Mountains, this town is perfect for a magical family getaway.
7. Rhine River Valley, Germany
The Rhine River is full of medieval splendor. Give your kids a glimpse into 13th-century life by visiting the Rheinfels Castle in St. Goar, known for its mysterious legends and labyrinth of trenches and tunnels. The architecture alone will put a spell on your little ones, inspiring them to take up history. Every church and home in the town looks like it's been plucked out of a fairytale and strategically placed in the gorgeous hillside villages.
8. Montana, U.S.A.
Also referred to as "Big Sky Country" Montana is the ultimate destination for a good ol' American adventure. Montana's mountains attract skiers, snowboarders, fishermen, and artists - everyone comes for the views and the adventure. Your kids will be so busy taking in the scenery and exploring the land that they won't even realize they haven't checked their smartphones in 24 hours.
9. Yellowstone National Park, U.S.A.
Yellowstone is the world's first national park. The best way to experience it is to rent an RV and camp out for a few days, but you can do it however you choose. From canyons to waterfalls, Yellowstone is 3,500 square miles of natural beauty that will leave your children in awe of Mother Nature. We recommend getting a ranger tour to learn more about the park and the wildlife it houses. A weekend-stay at Yellowstone will leave your kids with a lifetime of memories and a new appreciation for Planet Earth.
If you homeschool and have a month to spare, fly to New Zealand and rent an RV while you're there. Home of Hobbiton, where a large chunk of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and The Hobbit movies were filmed, New Zealand is a child's dream featuring incredible playgrounds, beautiful farms, active volcanoes, snowy peaks, and rocky shores.
BONUS: Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
Alright, so this didn't make it to Ciao Bambino's Top 50 list, but we have to mention it. The Osa Peninsula is one of Costa Rica's most untouched, most remote destinations. It's not easy to get to, but once you're here you won't want to leave. Your kids will love visiting the animal sanctuaries and learning about local wildlife. Known for its excellent eco-tourism options, the Osa Peninsula has several eco-lodges to choose from, making it an incredible place to teach children about conservation and sustainability. In fact, we'll be visiting one of these wonderful eco-lodges in May - Lapa Rios Eco Lodge. We can't wait to tell you all about it!