Ah, going on vacation with a baby. It’s both the best of times – and the worst of times 😉
Watching your little one take a dip in the ocean for the first time, playing with (and probably eating!) sand on the beach or trying a new food is magical.
On the flipside, organizing travel and accommodation with kids in tow can require military-precision planning.
We’re here to help with travel tips (take a Jetkids By Stokke Bedbox with you – it’s a ride-on suitcase for children with an in-flight bed: lifesaver!) and accommodation advice.
Here are our best vacations with a baby, where parents are guaranteed to have as much fun as little one.
Best vacations with baby: destinations
Best for camping and hiking: Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is a great baby-friendly vacation for three reasons.
One, it’s stunningly beautiful and there's loads of wildlife to look at. Two, you can visit a large part of it over several days without having to change accommodation. Three, the main attractions, such as the famous geothermal area, where you can find the Old Faithful geyser, are equipped with comfortable wooden walkways that can be used with a stroller.
Packed your baby carrier? Try the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook Trail, which will take you to the top of Yellowstone’s most famous hot spring.
Best for a baby-friendly city break: Rome, Italy
Italy is well known for welcoming little ones with open arms. Head to Rome for an awe-inspiring yet surprisingly easy city break.
The entire city is essentially an open-air museum. Simply strap your baby into a carrier and wander around, taking in the Colosseum, the Vatican museums, the Borghese Gallery, the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain.
Best for family-friendly resorts: Barbados, Caribbean
A trip to the Caribbean is always a treat – but some islands are more suited to baby travel than others. Barbados wins first prize here, with its abundance of family-friendly five-star resorts, and sandy beaches that double as a soft-play pen.
The west coast beaches are calmest, with turtles swimming so close to the shore you needn’t even book a snorkel trip.
Best for baby-friendly activities: Destin, Florida
Destin’s calm shorelines and family-friendly activities mean you don’t have to stick to the pool. Known for its beautiful beaches, Destin’s warm Gulf waters are perfect for swimming and playing.
There are lots of things to do away from the beach, too. Take a baby-friendly dolphin watching cruise, and get up close and personal with some fascinating sealife. Or, visit Henderson Beach State Park, where you’ll find a playground, picnic area and stroller-friendly nature trails.
Best for … baby-friendly beaches: Maui, Hawaai
Maui is the best Hawaiian island for families, thanks to its swimmable coves – such as Lahaina, also known as Baby Beach.
Stay in Wailea for a quiet atmosphere, huge resorts with epic pools and five-star accommodations.
Head to Napili Bay for the ideal family beach day. This perfect semi-circle of soft sand boasts turtles along its northern rim, plus excellent child-friendly facilities, including showers and restrooms.
Best for nature and wildlife: Grand Cayman
Crystal-clear, warm water? Check. Sunshine? Check. Stunning wildlife? Check. Grand Cayman is a truly thrilling vacation for the whole family.
Head to Rum Point on the north side of the island for its island atmosphere, white sandy beach and shallow clear waters. It’s perfect for swimming and snorkeling, with beach hammocks, and shady trees for a harmonious nap time.
Best for island life with baby: Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Isla Mujeres is Mexico’s best-kept secret for baby friendly vacations. Just a 20-minute ferry ride from Cancun, this four-mile-long, laidback island has warm turquoise waters, swaying palm trees and pristine white sandy beaches.
Rent a golf cart (yes, really – baby and all!) to get around and explore. Visit the calm and shallow waters at Playa Norte – there’s plenty of shade and restaurants here. Take in Punta Sur lighthouse, the Mayan Temple and sculpture garden. Stroll Hidalgo Street and its shops, bars and restaurants. Don’t forget the Sea Turtle Sanctuary.
Top-tips for choosing baby-friendly vacation accommodation
A vacation with a baby or toddler can feel more like sleep-deprived parenting in the sun than a relaxing family holiday. Choose your accommodation with care, and that well-deserved R&R is yours. Here are some tips on choosing baby-friendly accommodation.
- Once you’re off that flight, you don’t want to be straight into a long car journey to your hotel or rental with a tired and hungry baby. Ensure your airport transfer is just a few minutes’ drive.
- At the very least, it’ll make your life easier if a high chair and crib are provided – check to see if bedding is included.
- Basic facilities to enable you to heat up a bottle of formula or prepare a small meal for your child will also come in super-handy.
- Large family suites or a separate living/dining area in a rental will give you more space to set up a travel crib or for older babies to play.
- If you want some child-free time or an adult-only meal, some hotels provide kids’ clubs or in-house babysitting.
- Ensure your hotel allows children in the pool before booking!