With the summer well and truly behind us, minds are quickly turning towards thoughts of summers to come. Finding a great family travel destination, with enough to fulfil the needs of parents and grandparents while keeping the kids entertained throughout, can be tricky. Check out what we think are the best family travel destinations for 2019!
The United Kingdom’s de facto cultural as well as political capital, London has enough attractions to keep a family entertained for an entire lifetime, let alone a summer vacation. Internationally-renowned historic sites, from the Houses of Parliament to Buckingham Palace (open to visitors in the summer months) seem to dot every corner of its surprisingly small centre, while its world-class museums mean that even if the weather turns a little too British there’s plenty to occupy young minds. Green space, from small secluded squares to the large royal parks are easy to come by for a picnic, with London Zoo an added attraction in Regent’s Park. Then there’s Madame Tussauds, the London Aquarium, and London Eye – just three more of the capital’s major unmissable family-friendly sights.
Guaranteed good weather and a plethora of amazing theme parks means Florida really can’t be beaten as a family travel destination. The delights of Walt Disney World and Universal Studios (to name just two!) will meet the expectations of even the most adrenaline-fuelled of families, while children of all ages will also adore even the shortest of visits to the tropical wetlands of Everglades National Park, home to prehistoric-looking alligators, from the safety of an Everglades airboat. Alternatively, head to Tampa Bay to swim with manatees in the Crystal River, before taking in the awesome spectacle of the exhibits and attractions of the Space Shuttle Launch Experience at the Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex.
Well-known as a destination in which to take in the fading grandeur of Havana’s unbelievable colonial heart, accompanied by the deep engine sounds of the city’s iconic vintage vehicle fleet, Havana also makes for a great family destination. Incredibly safe, the residents of the Cuban capital simply adore children, and Havana has all sorts of attractions that will ignite their minds with wonder. The planetarium boasts four floors of exhibits, detailing the formation of the universe from the Big Bang onwards, while the Parque Almendares not only offers some welcome green space, but also crazy golf and rowing on the river. Opting for private tours in Havana is the best way of ensuring you don’t miss a thing as a family, from the street art of Fusterlandia to beaches such as Santa Maria del Mar, just 19 km from downtown Havana.
North Island, New Zealand
The panoramic landscapes of New Zealand’s North Island are really one big children’s playground. The sulphurous bubbling mud pools of Rotorua will leave kids (both big and small) scrunching up their noses, while the naturally occurring alien lightshow of the glowworms in the caves at Waitomo will leave them spell-bound. Hobbiton makes for an ideal family day out, even for children too young to remember the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films. Lake Taupo, meanwhile, provides spectacular backdrops from which to take to the water in a canoe or kayak, with plenty of opportunities for family-friendly hiking in the nearby forests and hills. Finally, be sure not to miss Waitangi, with its mix of history, parkland, and local Maori tradition.
Cape Town, South Africa
A destination that can meet the needs of even the most diverse of families, Cape Town has a magic that seems to enrapture everyone that visits whatever their age. Relax in the knowledge that unspoilt sand beaches are never more than a few minutes’ drive away, with that at Boulders now no longer a bathing beach thanks to the charming colony of African penguins that have adopted it as their permanent home. Drive for any length of time and you’re sure to pass troop of baboon, antelope, and ostrich too, while crazy golf and playgrounds are easy to find throughout the city. In a city full of gardens, don’t miss the Company’s Gardens, dating back to the earliest days of South Africa’s ‘mother city’, and complete with vendors selling bags of peanuts to feed the resident squirrels with!
With these incredible family travel destinations, there’s never been a better time to start planning the 2019 summer vacation!